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Harness Information
Article by Donna Harris

  1. A dog harness is NOT a substitute for a collar. Humans worry about the Dog getting away so use a harness for a walk. Two problems here Humans. 1) If your Dog gets off the leash I should be trained enough to stay. If I don’t listen – I’m not trained. 2) Why are you worried about your Dog running away?! That’s not trusting your animal. That’s falling victim to human nature.

  2. A Harness encourages pulling! By design, the harness encourages pulling. Dogs are not comfortable leading and pulling on the walk – the main reason why they are nervous, excitable, and barking.

  3. Timing is always going to off. A Dog can walk with a human and can communicate simply by a wrist gesture on the leash. With a harness connected by the shoulders, the signal that you want the Dog to ‘do’ something is connected to the shoulder and is delayed to the dog. Often, the Dog sees this as a sign to PULL and will resist the tension and PULL.  With a collar the gesture is right to the neck, and I am aware RIGHT AWAY what to do next.

  4. Communication isn’t clear. With a signal going to the shoulders with a harness, the dog will feel the tension and resist it. This is not the clear communication. Murky at best. With a collar – a STRONG VOICE command FIRST followed by a wrist gesture is much more clear communication. I will know what you want.

  5.  A harness is not more secure. A harness is not as ‘secure’ as people believe. Securing a collar to your dog is very simple. For “Big Dogs”, there is a ‘two finger’ rule. Two fingers should fit below the dog’s collar. With a smaller dog, one finger may suffice. In all cases, your Dog’s collar should not go over his head.

  6. Less control over the dog. In fact, it is harder to control your dog with a harness than with a collar. As a collar is connected to your dog’s head it is easier to control and prevent any danger that may happen. With a harness controlling the head of your dog is not possible.

  7. Subtle messages are not sent to your dog (control your dog with your wrist). We mentioned earlier with wrist control it is possible to control (lead) your dog with a collar. Sit, Down, Heel, Slow Down, Stop, Left, and Right can all be done with wrist control. With a strong voice command, your Dog will eventually and not need a voice command at all.

  8. Inhibits you being a pack leader. Look when you see a dog or dogs on a harness. Normally, they are all tangled barking like crazy and in front of the Human. As a Dog, I have never seen this situation any different, especially with small dogs. Being a pack leader means leading the animals. Never behind. Seeing people tangled up with 3 Yorkies barking their heads off is not a good look.

  9. Encourages distractions. Harnesses encourage distractions because they are connected at the shoulder and not the head of the Dog like a collar. As mentioned above, the lack of proper timing means inherently there is ‘free’ time where a dog will REACT to whatever stimulus is next! Add a keen sense of smell and no wonder they get distracted on a harness. With a collar and a brisk pace, the dog will focus and go in to ‘work mode’. Try it!

  10. Harnesses may conflict with the Pack hierarchy. With multiple dogs, the hierarchy of the Pack is even more important. When walking with Dogs, they fall in the role of the Pack. When a harness is on and there are distractions everywhere – this confusion may lead to all kinds of bad behavior. Normally, one dog will ‘attack’ another dog in the Pack and everyone goes nuts with energy release. It’s not an ‘attack’ it’s a CORRECTION. The Dog is telling its pack member – HEY – KNOCK IT OFF! Usually, no damage happens, and the Human is freaking out for no real reason.  The Dog is telling you without dispute – it needs to handle the Pack as you are not leading.

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