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All Equipment is Essentially & Simply a Tool. 

All tools they have a specific purpose and the mastery of their use takes time, while improper use can be messy and even dangerous. Every tool can be ranked in how difficult it is to master and how dangerous it is if used incorrectly.


There are multiple animals that use tools, however, the use of a huge variety of tools is really what sets us as humans apart. We have a plethora of tools that help us to complete tasks more effectively and precisely. The use of tools to communication and control animals is no different. 


*Note: we realise the use of control in the previous sentence might make some people feel uncomfortable, however, the reality is if you are riding a horse with a bridle, or walking a dog with a leash you are controlling that animal irrelevant of the training methods you use. 


If we consider carpentry, most people can use a hammer correctly without hurting themselves, however, a planer is more challenging and poses more dangers. This has a direct analogy to tools in the dog training space. We can rank different tools by their purpose, skill required to use and danger of incorrect use.


Below is a table of some commonly used tools in Denmark in dog training. It is important to note that the tool itself is rarely the problem, but instead it is the way it is used. Think of a knife, for example, it can either be used as a kitchen aid or a dangerous weapon depending of the holder.

Tool

Purpose

Recommended

Difficulty level

Possible benefits

Possible dangers

Leash

To restrain and communicate

Easy to restrain, moderate to difficult communicate

Keeps dog and society safe. Can give clear and precise directional communication

Restraining incorrectly can create unwanted reactivity and frustration. Additionally inappropriate amounts of pressure (correctional or directional) can cause stress for the dog. The leash is there to motivate the dog, not to move the dog.

Harness

To safely pull

Y Harness for every day use (note different for each breed, pay special attention for breeds such as Whippets and Dachshund): https://www.nonstopdogwear.com/en/product/line-harness-5/


Canicross leash: https://www.nonstopdogwear.com/en/product/freemotion-harness-5/

Easy

Puts pressure onto the strongest muscles of the dog. A well fitted harness reduces risk of injury.

A poor fitting harness (one that puts pressure on the shoulder joints and restricts movement, for example Norwegian style harness - Julius-K9 IDC) or a front clip harness that causes a twist in gait can cause skeletal and muscular issues. Restraining incorrectly on the harness can also build unwanted reactivity and frustration. Due to the restricted communication on a harness often large amounts of force are needed to control the dog.

Collar

To restrain and communicate

Easy

Easy directional communication to the dog.

Too much pressure put on a collar can cause issues for the trachea of the dog. Appropriately teaching a dog how to walk on a collar is important.

Martingale

To communicate

Easy

Easy directional communication to the dog. Gives slightly more detailed information than the collar.

Too much pressure put on a martingale can cause issues for the trachea of the dog. Appropriately teaching a dog how to walk on a martingale is important.

Slip leash positioned high on the dog’s neck

To communicate

Moderate to difficult

Delicate and precise information can be given, both directional and correctional to the dog. Very little force necessary, particularly useful for large powerful breeds to avoid confrontation of strength and keep the dog under control. Gives more detailed information than the collar and martingale. 

Positioned high on the dog’s neck on the delicate muscles around the ears and jaw, incorrect use of pressure can cause issues. Incorrect positioning of the slip low on the dog’s neck can cause unwanted pressure on the trachea. Due to the precise nature of the tool, incorrect use or too much force can cause great discomfort to the dog and/or cause confusion and frustration. Focus must be put on ensuring the dog understands the communication of the tool so as not to accidentally build resilience to pressure. 

Prong collar (be aware of the law around prongs in Denmark: maximum length of 8 mm from the lower edge of the subsequent link with blunt mental bends.


https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2020/1749)

To communicate

Herm Sprenger, ensure it has the correct measurements: https://brugshundeshoppen.dk/shop/81-dressurhalsbaand/

Moderate to difficult

Distributes pressure more evenly around the neck, unlike a collar and a slip leash, reducing the risk to the trachea. Delicate and precise information can be given, both directional and correctional to the dog. Very little force necessary, particular useful for large powerful breeds to avoid confrontation of strength and keep the dog under control. 

Due to the precise nature of the tool, incorrect use or too much force can cause great discomfort to the dog and/or cause confusion and frustration. Focus must be put on ensuring the dog understands the communication of the tool so as not to accidentally build resilience to pressure.

 

As with all tools the quality and design have a huge impact on the effect. We have added a few of our recommendations, however, these are general recommendations and since dog breeds vary so much it is advisable to contact us for specific recommendations.

 

To learn how to use each tool correctly you can either follow our online course, 'The Fundamentals' or book an in person session.

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