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— By Dr. Betty Rigby,

Maul Rd. Animal Clinic

Harnesses have become very popular in the last couple of years. Commercials on TV and social media boast about how great they are!

Baloney!

As a person that is super grateful for a well-behaved dog, I can tell you that harnesses are NOT a good training tool. All a harness teaches the dog to do is PULL!

That is the original purpose of a harness for animals, such as, sled dogs, draft horses, oxen, and plough horses, etc. If you don’t have any control over the animal’s head, then you cannot train it properly.

A choke collar may seem harsh on a dog, but it gives you the control you need. Even a pinch collar may be needed for a short period if the dog is super hyper. It really gets their attention. These are common tools used to train a dog for basic obedience.

When you are done with a training session, put the dog’s regular collar back on. A choke collar is not meant to be worn all the time, only when training.

For a dog to “heel” by your left side as you walk, you also need a leash that is not retractable. A sturdy 4-6’ leash is all you need.

Retractable leashes allow the dog to run way ahead of you and pull.

You have absolutely NO control of the dog if a situation occurred where you needed an immediate response from your dog. Please don’t follow the trend of harnesses and retractable leashes.

If you want a well-behaved dog, you need to train it properly.

They don’t come into this world knowing how to behave. You have to teach them.

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