Collars and Harnesses - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Collars and Harnesses

Today I had my first session working as a volunteer at the local Humane Society.

Most of the dogs in residence are large breeds. The small, cute dogs are the ones that get adopted first, unfortunately.

Anyone who thinks they can control an 80 to 100 lb. dog with no leash manners on an icy outdoor pathway using only a flat collar or a harness seriously needs a reality check...

They don't use prongs or chokers, but they do put martingale collars on the big dogs that have no manners. And that's most of them. They wouldn't be in the Humane Society if their owners had bothered to train them. There is no way they could be walked without the martingale, and even then, most of the women have to let the men walk the larger dogs. Treats help, too, but when a dog this size decides he wants to check out something off the trail, it's pretty hard to stop him!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 12:39 PM
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Do they at least let you use a front clip harness?

I have a personal policy that I will not walk your (general "your") big pet dog without a prong collar. MY prong collar, that I bring and fit myself to your dog, because yours probably has prongs that are way too large and probably isn't fitted properly. If you don't like that, then I don't need to walk your dog for you. I'm not a terribly large person, and because I didn't raise and train your dog, I'm not taking chances with safety or control. Luckily none of our friends who ask us to watch their pets take issue with that, but if they did, their dogs would just go unwalked.

Obviously that would not fly in a shelter/volunteer situation, but seriously, that's a safety issue. No leash manners + large dog + ice = danger. I would minimum want a front clip harness or - I hate to say it - a halti, if they're absolutely set on force-free methods. I understand the rationale that volunteers should be working with the dogs and all, but I don't think they should do it if it puts them at risk.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 01:34 PM
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sigh, all collars and halters, etc. work by making the dog uncomfortable when going the wrong way. That being said, I use martingales on my dogs and my boy knows that he could drag me down the street if that is all he has on. Bless you for walking these dogs with just a martingale! I guess the only thing that would work is a very firm, "stop and go" method. With a dog that hasn't learned that about you, you might not make it past the door step if he doesn't figure out "pull and we stop".

Can you adjust the martingale so that when it tightens up it is good and snug and there is a little bit of a consequence for tugging hard?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 01:37 PM
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Yep. That's the same as my local humane society when i was in university. Easy walk harnesses only and Positive reinforcement only. No telling a dog when he's being an butthole. No thanks. I'll assist the local obedience groups classes for my dog fix instead.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I used the stop and go method. He was a very large lab/lab mix, and they are only feeding him 3/4 c. food 2x a day in order to get him to slim down! So, of course, the treats I had with me were VERY popular!

Due to being overweight, he had poor endurance, and by the end of the walk, was walking fairly nicely, and beginning to focus on me. But a lot of the corrections I used on him when being dragged off into the thistles at the side of the pathway definitely would NOT have met 'force-free' criteria!

I was not given any instructions as to how to walk him. A lot of these dogs are so large and out of control that I can't see anyone being able to walk them using 'force free' methods. Even getting a leash on this dog took the efforts of two people, as he wouldn't stay still, and kept jumping up on me.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 01:57 PM
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If they've been kenneled for a long time that probably doesn't help matters. A friend and I used to walk beagles that were being held at a boarding facility for a local rescue. Even those relatively small dogs could pull hard, especially with all that pent up energy.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Sebrench, they get walked 2x a day, plus turnout/play time in an outdoor run with a volunteer. Am quite impressed so far with their facility and the way they treat the dogs!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
Sebrench, they get walked 2x a day, plus turnout/play time in an outdoor run with a volunteer. Am quite impressed so far with their facility and the way they treat the dogs!
that sounds like a great facility!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 07:37 PM
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My friend had a neighbor that had just adopted a large mastiff mix, they were all about the positive training and anti prong..and the dog dragged his new owner down the street and attacked her Westie mix. Thank goodness only got the hind leg. Some punctures and soft tissue damage.

Would they let you use a dominant dog collar from Leerburg ?

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Comet, the person who was supposed to do my orientation today was sick, so there is a lot of stuff I didn't find out about. Hopefully, next time I'm there, I'll get the whole scoop on what their rules are.

But I got the feeling that they really didn't care too much how you walked the dog, as long as you were able to keep it under control!

In addition to two walks a day, plus socialization time with volunteers, the dogs also get frozen stuffed Kongs, or ice treats - a mix of wet and dry dog food plus water, frozen into a large puck in a plastic margarine container.

Most of the dogs have Kuranda type beds, though the really dedicated chewers aren't allowed beds or bedding, because swallowing the pieces presents too much of a risk of intestinal obstruction.

The animals could have more space, and they only have two dog runs, but my first impression of the place was very positive. I adopted a cat from the a couple of years ago, and he's a great lap warmer, and stands up to the dogs and puts them in their place. He also catches any mice that he finds in the house!
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