Getting a dog to walk nicely seems to be a million-dollar industry with all the tools that are available to pet owners now. Pet stores, veterinarians, behaviorists and dog trainers are promoting snazzy looking items and claim that these items can make your dog a Rockstar just by wearing them. Funny though, just putting on a utility belt doesn’t make you Batman. Just like putting on scrubs doesn’t make you a doctor and putting on sweatpants doesn’t mean you can nail that yoga position on the first try.
How many of you have faced this issue? Or rather, how many of you just don’t walk your dog because the things that are promoted just haven’t worked for you?
There are so many items out there that are meant to make our lives better, but some things just don’t come with an instruction manual. There are typically no instructions for things you buy for your dog. While the harness package has a diagram for how it’s supposed to fit your dog, there are no instructions on how to make that harness work its magic and make your dog stop pulling you down the street.
It’s pretty upsetting. No tool is going to fix a problem on its own. In fact, tools are rather useless until there is practical application. I’m sure you have tools in your house. They probably don’t do anything by themselves, right? Other than go missing… Guys, a hammer and nails doesn’t put a table together. A person puts the table together by using the tools. And the quality of the table depends on the technique of the person using the tools. Here’s the kicker: you can put a table together with more than just a hammer and nails. You could use screws and a drill. You could use glue. You could even use duct tape and still have a sturdy, good looking, functional product. Crazy right?
The tools and users of the tools all have one thing in common: the work it takes to get to the finished product. It’s not always about the tool or handler. And when it comes to dog training, many will disagree and tell you that you NEED this harness or that training collar and you MUST do this and NEVER do that if you want the perfect dog.
Thing is, those set in the ways of what you NEED to have, MUST do and NEVER do are often narrowminded individuals that may have never encountered the problem that you are trying to solve. The “my way or the highway” philosophy is unfair to those that really want help but can’t find something that works for them because they are misled to believe that there is only one way to get a job done. While I do preach about certain training tools, I make myself clear that how I do things certainly isn’t the only way to get them done. There is a secret though and I’d like to share it with all of you. It’s the secret that has helped each one of my clients get through some of the most difficult situations. And this secret is IN FACT the BEST way to train your dog.
Here goes. Get your pens ready…
That’s the best way. And if it isn’t working, guess what? You can try something different! Because we live in a world were there is so much information at our fingertips, it’s so easy to search for How To videos and 10 different ways to do this or that. You can compare reviews of products and services online before even trying them for yourself.
Here’s what I want you to do though, and this is the biggest take home message for this post.
Ignore those that say, NEVER do it this way. Don’t let someone else’s opinion on a tool or method sway you from trying something that could very well save your dog’s life. Seriously. Dogs are killed for not being able to walk properly on a leash. If you want to use a harness because it looks cool and your dog doesn’t pull and isn’t reactive, then use it. If you want to use a prong collar because it’s super effective in curbing reactivity in your dog, then use it. Do me a favor though. When you see someone else using something you don’t agree with, stay in your lane. If they wanted your opinion, they’d ask. Instead of attacking other dog owners for the tools and methods they use, find something else to work on. If what you are saying or doing isn’t benefiting the world for the better, what are you really doing?
If you truly want to make change happen, it starts with trying. So if nothing else, try.