Hot Around the Collar: Tools for Walking Dogs

I’m hoping Moose will be a good trail dog someday. But first I have to figure out how to take him for a walk, without him walking me.

Here’s what happens: Moose is pretty dialed in with having me as his pack leader. But on walks he becomes very focused on what’s ahead. He starts out at a good heel, but slowly picks up the pace. A quick yank on the leash gets his attention well enough, but soon he’s back in front. I’ve heard that constantly tugging on the leash is about as effective as nagging a teenager to clean his room.

Since I’ve been using a harness on Moose (until he chewed it off this afternoon, my bad for leaving it on him) I decided that I need a collar that offers some kind of correction. At first I considered getting a choke-chain collar. In my experience after one or two corrections the dog responds to the sound of the chain and does not need to be “choked.” However, in Moose’s case I’m pretty sure he could quickly escape a conventional choker collar.

There’s also the prong or pinch collar–which supposedly isn’t as horrible as it looks. But prong collars do look evil and so I’m trying a Martingale collar.

The Martingale collar works by applying even pressure around the neck, supposedly bringing to the dog’s mind a top-dog’s mouth-around-the-throat type of correction. The other benefit of a Martingale collar is that it is more difficult for a dog to slip its head out of the collar. Moose has a big neck, meaning it’s pretty easy for him to back out of a collar.

Already I’m having trouble with Moose’s collar slipping too low on neck–the optimal position is up high behind the dog’s ears. It’s virtually impossible to keep the leash slack and the collar high. Which is why Cesar Millan offers the $$$$ Illusion Collar, certainly worth every penny if it works. But spendy if your dog doesn’t respond to it.

On my first day using the Martingale collar it worked as advertised. Meaning that Moose didn’t back out of it when he went bonkers at the sight of a Pomeranian. But it still doesn’t seem to keep him from tugging on the leash.

We’ll see how the next few days go.


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  1. Carrie January 7, 2010
  2. Carrie January 7, 2010