This morning I got a pretty hateful comment on one of my old reviews for some leashes. The comment was in regards to my dogs wearing harnesses:
"oh god... harnesses.. great way to teach your dogs to pull are you too stupid to actually train your dogs to walk CORRECTLY on a collar?!?!?!?"
Usually I don't feed the trolls but today I decided I wanted to talk about this, since there's a huge misconception about harnesses.
Harnesses DO NOT teach dogs to pull on leash. Humans teach their dogs to pull on leash by not teaching them what they would like them to do instead of pulling. It can also be an impulse control issue as well. A "back clipping" harness **can** give a dog more leverage to pull if they have not been trained and the dog can be more easily reinforced for pulling because the owners might have less control. This is a training issue. It's NOT about what sort of gear you choose. Dogs can pull in any sort of gear at any time, even aversive equipment.
Now let's address the "too stupid" part. It is actually much more challenging to train a dog to walk nicely on a harness than it is a collar and if I can train a dog to walk politely in a back clipping harness, surely I can teach a dog to walk nicely with the leash attached to collar. My dogs can and do walk nicely in their collars all the time and I spend several nights a week helping other owners to achieve this as well, you know... at the dog training facility, where I work...
I **choose** to use harnesses on my dogs because I feel they are safer and more comfortable for the dog to wear. If a squirrel were to run across our path and they do lunge for it, their necks and tracheas are protected. Even the most well trained dogs might go for a squirrel or something and I'd rather the dogs not hurt their necks. I think a harness can be a great piece of equipment to use on a dog, especially for hiking and other outdoor adventures and we will continue to use ours.
We are product testers and I am fully aware the harness on Phoenix does not fit her very well. I didn't feel like bringing her home, putting a different one on her and re-filming.
For further reading about harnesses you can check out my friend Emily's post here:
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.