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Choosing the Correct Training Aids to Walk Your Dog

Getting a new dog is very exciting, and there is nothing more rewarding than a loyal dog that is obedient and understands what you want from them. But sometimes training them might be more of a challenge than expected. And because not all dogs are the same, you need to be careful about choosing the best training aid available to benefit you and your loyal companion. Some of these training accessories will make sense to your dog and aid in your training, while others might just be a complete waste of time or can even have a detrimental effect.

This article is not aimed at telling you how to train your dog, but rather pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of some lead systems available. Remember the best person to advise on your dog training is a professional dog trainer with experience, who both you and your beloved pet trusts.

THE BASIC COLLAR AND LEAD SYSTEM:

This is by far the most conventional, well-known system to most pet owners and has many advantages. These include their large availability and choice, their cost-effectiveness and convenience. And the fact that one can leave them on your dog along with a tag for easy identification. Rogz offers many awesome colours and sizes and is a proudly South African company.

The main disadvantage of this system would be the amount of pressure and injury it potentially can place on your dog's neck and trachea if used incorrectly. This is especially true if your dog pulls on the lead.

This system of training generally works well if taught from a puppy. It, however, does not work well in older dogs that are very excitable, pull on the lead or don’t understand what you are trying to teach them. And of course, it really will not work at all without training, so don’t expect to put a collar and lead on your pet and think they will instantly understand what you are trying to make them do.

THE DOG HARNESS SYSTEM:

This system works well for many dogs, as the pressure is directed away from the neck and placed across the back or around the chest, depending on the design and thus prevents injury. It also allows for a bit more control on excitable or strong, pulling dogs.

This control is however limited and won’t be of benefit to dogs with behavioural issues such as aggression, excessive pulling or jumping, as they can still easily display these actions, except that you are less likely to lose them as they can’t slip out of their collars and run away.

Another advantage I find with the harnesses is actually using them on small dogs, as their tracheas are especially sensitive, and should one ever be in the situation that you need to pick your dog up in an emergency situation, such as in a dog fight, one can do so safely without causing too much trauma.

It is however of utmost importance to remember that a harness has got to fit your dog correctly otherwise it will just push and pull in all the wrong places. There is quite a variety to choose from in the harness range depending on your requirements, such as the Rogz range.

THE HALTI HEAD HARNESS SYSTEM

The Halti Headcollar was first designed by Dr Robert Mugford to aid in the training and management in dogs that really pull hard and are difficult to control. It is a head collar that somewhat resembles a halter worn, to lead a horse around. Even though this system often gets confused with a muzzle, it is definitely not. It must be emphasised that Halti’s and muzzles are very different and designed for completely different uses.

The Halti Headcollar’s main purpose is to provide better control around the dog’s head as it reduces pulling. Some dog owners who have used this system, refer to it as ‘power steering’, as with a car. Halti’s are comfortable and offer many more attachments for further training aids if needed. They really are amazing to use if needed and your dog understands them.
Personally, I prefer the original Halti in comparison to the many other variations, but this is completely up to you.

There are however some disadvantages which include first and foremost that they have to be fitted correctly. They are also not the simple solution for a strong pulling dog but need to be combined with good training, bearing in mind that dogs take a while to adjust to them. And lastly, be aware that injuries are still possible to the neck and spine should your dog suddenly lash forward and pull its neck at an awkward angle.

The three different lead systems discussed above all offer different advantages and are designed for different dogs, which makes complete sense, as all dogs are very different. The trick is to decide, ideally with the advice from your trainer, which system is best for your individual, unique dog. Remembering that this may not be the one that sounds best on paper, but the one that works best for your dog on a walk.

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