First let me explain how I communicate with any dog.

The leash is more than a tether to keep the dog from running away, it is a tool used to communicate with the dog.  The leash acts as a conduit, as a means of getting my message to the dog.  It doesn’t stop at the leash though.  The leash connect to some sort of devise on the dog, I use the word devise because there is so many out there, and this is where we get a communication breakdown.

  I see a lot of harness and flat collar dogs.  “I use the harness because I don’t want to hurt the dog” or “he breaths to hard/heavy while on the flat collar…” the list usually revolves around these two excuses.  My opinion of the harness….  I prefer not using them.  The harness is designed to make the dog pull.  Why do sled dogs wear harnesses?  So they can pull…  And pull while being comfortable.  The harness has zero communication value.

My opinion of the flat collar… it serves two purposes

Keep the dog tags with the dog
And securing the prong collar to the flat collar using a carabiner

The communication is there, but I have to yell!!  Can I stay calm and yell at the same time?  Yes, for a short time maybe.  After a while, I will probably get frustrated, and that is counterproductive.

This is where my tools come to play

Slip leads and martingale collars allow me to use a normal voice, an inside voice, to communicate with the dog.  Pressure on and pressure off, is my opinion, is where the dog learns best.

Prong collars and E-collars allow me to whisper, it’s like being in an almost empty church.  You can whisper to someone near you, but the entire church can still hear you.  That is how these tools work.

  In some cases, prong collars and e-collars help a great deal with anxious dogs

With the four mentioned tools, the dog learns how to keep pressure off.  In conjunction with a slack leash, there should be no pressure what so ever.  They get mild pressure when the there is no longer slack in the leash, and the dog will adjust accordingly, it gives them the feeling that they are still in complete control.

Some of these tools look menacing, some look downright scary.  And you know what?  You’re right.  They do look scary and menacing, but used properly, you will be singing their praises.