If you’ve ever read The Other End of the Leash, then you probably love Patricia McConnell every bit as much as I do. And today I was thrilled to see that her fabulous behavioral series co-authored with Karen London is now available via eBook.
For those who don’t have the time to sit down and pour through some of the longer, more seminal and in-depth texts out there on the art and science of dog behavior, these books are an affordable, user-friendly resource for effectively and appropriately addressing the most common behavioral issues we face with our dogs, ranging from leash reactivity to separation anxiety.
Here are a few excerpts from a couple of my favorites in the series below.
From Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-dog Household on the issue of walking multiple dogs
One at a Time. We’ve had lots of clients who had nothing but trouble trying to walk their two or three dogs around the neighborhood. Perhaps one dog was reactive to other dogs and set the rest of the group off . . .
All of these clients were grateful when we said: “You know, it’s okay to not walk all your dogs at the same time.” That may seem like a stunningly obvious thing to say, but when you’re the one in the middle of a forest of paws, it’s easy to lose track of the path out of the woods. . .
Of course, separate walks take lots more time, and you simply may not have it. That might not be a problem–in some cases your dog might be better off skipping neighborhood walks . . you can use trick training and exercises inside the house and yard to keep the non-walker busy and in condition.
I cannot emphasize enough how life-changing it was for me when I bothered to discover how much more enjoyable and productive three 20-minute walks with one dog at a time can be instead of one hour-long, action-packed walk with all three dogs at once. Quality of a walk (for both dog and human) is considerably more important than duration.
Start by getting the right equipment, asking yourself if your leash and collar system is helping you, or if it’s working against you. . . Avoid retractable leashes of any kind . .
Collars are even more important when working with a reactive dog, so be thoughtful about what kind of collar you are using. Punitive collars like prong collars and choke collars that tighten as the dog pulls can make the problem worse, and we avoid them like the plague. A much better alternative that works for most dogs is a body harness such as the SENSE-ation Dog Harness or the Easy Walk Harness. . .
Halters, body harnesses, and regular harnesses all avoid triggering a problematic response in dogs who have a learned association between the approach of an unfamiliar dog and a collar tightening around their neck. They are safer as well, because pressure around the neck from regular collars can cause serious damage to your dog’s throat and spinal column.
It was a profound yet simple experience finally acknowledging that collars are for carrying dog tags, and harnesses are for walking the dog.