October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month, designated as such to highlight the positive stories, sweet faces, and sloppy kisses of this well-loved (but often misunderstood) demographic of the dog world. To celebrate this occasion, and to raise awareness and camaraderie for pit bulls in the Northern Colorado area, Humane Society of Weld County volunteer Jordan Flagg is organizing Pits on the Plaza, to be held on October 22nd at Centerra in Loveland. This event will feature training demos, fall fun for the pups like bobbing for hot dogs, and various vendors and educational displays.
One of the ways that Summit Dog Training is contributing to this event is through a Freedom Harness Exchange, where dog owners can surrender their prong, choke or electronic collars in exchange for a brand new Freedom No-Pull Harness. We believe that all dogs deserve a chance to walk without the threat of pain, regardless of breed, size, temperament, and past history. At this event celebrating pit bulls, we are excited about the opportunity to get a positive, effective training tool like the Freedom Harness into the paws of the dogs who need it the most.
Why Not Use Prong/Choke/Electronic Collars?
Although these tools might seem like a “quick fix” for some of your dog’s leash behavior issues, there are many reasons to find a different training alternative:
· A dog walking “nicely” on an aversive training tool is only doing so to avoid punishment and pain, not because it is learning what you WANT it to do on a leash. When you take this aversive tool away, the underlying behavior will still be an issue.
· When your dog gets excited and pulls towards normal stimuli in your environment (think stranger, children, other dogs, skateboards, etc.) and then experiences pain, this can contribute to an association between that trigger and pain and build up a negative Conditioned Emotional Response to the trigger, potentially turning excitement into reactivity.
· Even when used “correctly,” prong and choke collars can cause physical damage to your dog, not just to their neck and skin, but also, less obviously, to their thyroid gland, trachea, eyes, and spinal cord.
· There is no scientific research to support the claim that prong collars emulate the feeling (and results) of a mother grabbing a young pup around the neck in correction. Additionally, there is plenty of scientific research to support training without the use of pain!
Why Use a Freedom Harness (or Other Body Harness)?
The Freedom Harness is a dual-clip harness, with one leash connection at your dog’s chest and one martingale-style leash connection on your dog’s back. Made with stainless steel hardware and four points of size adjustments for the best look and fit! Other body harnesses that we recommend include PetSafe’s Easy Walk and Softouch Concepts’ SENSE-ation.
· A harness minimizes strain on your dog’s neck (which protects your dog’s spine, trachea, thyroid gland, eyes, etc.)
· A front-clip harness is useful for redirecting your dog’s pulling energy back in your direction so you can focus on teaching your dog the behavior you WANT while you are walking.
· A dual-clip harness (like the Freedom Harness) provides flexibility of use, so you can clip your leash in multiple configurations depending on what your dog needs most!
· A harness is comfortable and, when used correctly, should not cause any skin irritation or sores. The Freedom Harness even has a velvet underbelly strap for maximum comfort!
· Harnesses are Sexy. Step aside old-school prong collars, in 2016 all tough dogs are demanding harnesses to bolster their street cred.
This post is not about judging or condemning you if you have used an aversive tool in the past, or currently use one with your dog. We just care about getting the word about regarding other options available for walking tools, which is why we are so excited about the Harness Exchange at the Pits on the Plaza event! If you have more questions about this topic, please feel free to contact us and we’d love to discuss it with you further.
In the mean time, let’s get the word out about this event!
· If you have a pit bull, come check out Pits on the Plaza on October 22nd at Centerra in Loveland! Share with your friends, tell the neighbors!
· If you have been using a prong, choke, or electronic collar and might be interested in giving something different a try, bring your old tool to the event and get your pup fitted for a sexy harness for FREE!
And this event isn’t just for pit bulls either . . . all types of dogs could use some harness love!