Friday, January 9, 2009

Pawduct of the Week: The Sensation Harnass

This is a picture of Frodo, one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's home…with his new loving owner.

The harness in this picture is a Sensation harness. This is the ONLY harness I have ever recommended. For those owners who are looking for a quick fix, this is definitely the way to go. Although I personally recommend training for better management of your four legged friend, this tool works very effectively because of its mechanism.

It fits over your dog’s body, and the main strap fits across the front of the chest; from one shoulder to the other. This strap prevents the rotator cuff in the shoulders from moving in a motion that would allow the dog to pull. The leash is attached to the circle ring in the center of the front strap (should be adjusted to fit right in the middle of the dogs chest), this way you have total control over the front of the dog’s body. Other adjustments need to be made to the strap that fits across the back and under the dog as well. The reason it works is very simple, if you have control over the front of the dog’s body, you will have control over the back.

The sensation harness also works phenomenally when changing directions on your walk. Until your dog learns the prompts (whether physically due to the tightening of the harness on one side, or verbal cue), having your dog turn right and left on walks is very simple with this harness. It works like a rein on a horse, if you turn right, the left side of the harness tightens, opening up space on the right side for your dog to move into…. and vice versa.

Other harnesses fit to encourage and allow the dog to pull, with the leash connector on the dogs back, and the straps going under the dog’s front arms. This allows complete movement of the shoulders, and gives the dogs strength when pulling. Now you have lost control of the front of the dog’s body, leaving you no option but to drag behind your dog.

My personal opinion on Gentle leaders and other head halters is that they restrict the dog’s world. A dog’s mouth is their world and how they learn everything…. Touch, smell, taste, texture etc, and to restrict that you are not allowing your dog to experience things. In most cases these are the dogs, that when not on a head haler act like everything is like going to Disney World… so exciting, never been their done that.

Also, like I mentioned, our goal is to have control over the dog’s front part of the body. With head halters, the dog can still flip around, such that he/she may be facing you, but his/hers body is now opposite you…. Now you have a dog playing tug, trying to get away from the pressure.

I use the Gentle Leader and love it for dogs that have severe behavioral issues…. But only as a tool for met to get control over their face in cases like working with dogs that display aggression (leash aggression, dog-to-dog aggression).

Here is a great video on the Gentle Leader

Click here to see pictures of the rest of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick.



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