Using headcollars to help train, the benefits of excercise for old and young dogs, and why socialization is so important.
The Headcollars, the Halti, the Gentle Leader, the Dogalter used correctly
are one of the best training aids on the market and used extensively in the
U.K and the USA. Used on horses and cattle since time began they transfer
the strength from the animal to the handler. Who would ever dream of taking
a headstrong stallion over the field without a halter. Roger Mugford was
the pioneer of this system.
Advantages: Used for walking to heel. They tend to calm excitable dogs. It is easy to
turn the head if the dog shows aggression at another dog i.e. break eye to
eye contact. The dog has not the strength to pull the handler if it lurches
forward. Ideal for a person where the dog is too strong for the handler.
For every one dog where the headcollar has not been appropriate I have had
a hundred where it has. Dogs that wear headcollars will also accept muzzles
Disadvantages: They can look like muzzles, people sometimes do not like them. The lead
should not be jerked hard with the ones that lock the mouth closed. (I
always recommend that they be used with a Kombi (half check) so that the
dog can not back out of them and also to allow for correction should this
be required. With some dogs and bad handling the dogs are seen to ‘crab’
along with the neck and head twisted which I have no doubt may cause damage
in the long term.
Exercise: Exercising young or small dogs needs special attention. One must realise
that that small dog take 10 steps to our one, young dogs under 18 months
need most of their energy for growing! Dogs in kennels need plenty of shade
and water and it is a good idea to hose down your dogs a couple of times
every day with the hose, not on the head or ears.
Finally a lot of thought should go into grooming and clipping your pet.
Many owners think it better to clip their pets short in hot weather. I
recommend that dogs are not clipped too short otherwise their skins will
burn. Dog’s coats are for protection against cold weather and the sun.
Fighting Dogs: A dog which fights another has nearly always lacked early socialization.
Normally, as long as there is no human interference, dogs will quickly sort
out which is the dominant one without causing much damage to each
other as long as they are off the lead.
Putting a leash on a dog, when you see another dog approaching, teaches it
that it must get to that other dog quickly to escape the punishment of
being put on the leash. Take the dog to a training class where it can
“One dog is a pet and two is a problem”. That is the saying in our
profession. Two male dogs fight over status or through jealousy over you. A
behaviorist can analyze who is the Alpha. Once this has been established,
and there must be no error, then the junior should be castrated to reduce
his status. This normally stops the fighting.
Two female dogs which fight are another matter altogether. It is no good
having one of them spayed and the only real answer is to find one of them
An older dog and a newly acquired puppy can work out how to live together
if you allow nature to take its course. Simply walk away when the older one
gets vocal. Feed and pet the older dog first. If they start fighting always
walk away for your presence causes jealousy. Similarly when you touch the
young pup you put your scent on it so the older one gets jealous.
David the Dogman