My resolution for the New Year is to overcome this terrible tendency I have of letting my dogs walk me. No longer will I allow myself to be dragged down the street by rambunctious K9s, all the while enduring the predictably clichecommentary of passing pedestrians: “Who’s Walking Who?” indeed. Iresolve tobe morelike the gal in the photo at left: calm, relaxed, with a brace of big beasts heeling perfectly.
So, what’s stopped me all these years? Simple:I could never finda humane training tool that workseffectively yet is totally safe for dogs.
Choke and prong collars are just not humane; besides being painful to the dog, they can cause permanent damage tohis trachea, throat, neck, eyes (eyes!), and esophagus if not used correctly. And honestly, what choke chain actually stays up high on the dog’s neck, where it’s supposed to stay? For a while I was led to believethat the plastic version of the prong was the ticket – but that wasn’t kind to dogs, either, so I stopped using that too.
Harnesses are humane, but dogs pull me even harder while wearing them – or, worse, step clean out of them, ending up naked in the middle of oncoming traffic. That’s notjust inefficient, it’s downrightlife-threatening.
So what’s left? The head halter, worn arounda dog’s snout. This thing looks like a muzzle, causing passersby to eye your doglikes/he’s Hannibal Lecter on four feet- which is definitelynot the desired result if you’re escorting a sweet, gentlepit bull along the sidewalk. What’s more, dogs hate wearing it. Dogs I’ve subjected to this training tool have spent the better part of their walk sidling up to passersby and attempting to rub the head halter off on strangers’ legs! This isboth sad andembarrassing.
But it turns out that head halters, although touted as “gentle,”arein factalmost as detrimental to a dog’s health as the dreaded choke collar. Often used incorrectly, they can cause serious damage tothe wearer’sneck and spine,for they placeextreme stress ona dog’s cervical vertebrae.
Alecia Evans, a professional dog trainer in Aspen, Colorado, believes that the tools for dog training have not changed in the last 40 years – and she’s right. “I’ve been training dogs for ten years, and I got to the point where I got tired of having to choke dogs to train them. I knew there had to be a better way.”
Evans says that, as aresult of the unsafe, inhumanetraining tools out there on the market,”98 percent of the ‘aggressive’ cases I’ve worked withhad a spinal or neck misalignment – so I sent those dogs to a veterinary chiropractor for realignment before I started rehabilitation training.”
“To bring dog training into the 21st century,” Evansresolved to invent a convenient tool that would be humane, effective, and perfectly safe. That’s a tall order, but herbrand-new product, the Walk in Sync Humane Dog Walking and TrainingSystem,promises to end pulling and let the dog-walker set a clear boundary – all within five minutes, without theneed fora trainer.
The harness-and-leash set offers three easy steps to a dog that’s much calmer and easier to walk. Basically, the dog learns that every time he pulls against the leash, he has to back up. “The dog chooses to back up,” Evans explains. “He learns how to harness his own energy, making the choice not to pull without getting popped by a choke chain.”
Walk in Sync, Evans promises, is “the most humane training system on the planet – and it works better thanany inhumane training tool. There’s no need to choke dogs,” she adds. “The way I’ve set up the leash, it puts you in the leadership position withno stress at all, on you or the dog. And it works with all dogs, from Dachshunds to Dobermans, eight-week-old puppies to full-grown Bernese Mountain Dogs.”
For dogslabeled”aggressive,” Walk in Synccan bea life-saver. You know how you feel when your neck and/or back hurts: cranky, right?But a cranky dog exhibits behavior thatbrands himaggressive- and that can have serious, often tragic,consequences.
One success story Evans is particularly proud of is the 120-pound German Shepherd whose frustrated owners turned him in to an Aspen animal shelter. Calledin to evaluate the dog,Evans immediately arranged for him to see a veterinary chiropractor.
“Within five minutes of his first chiropractic adjustment, that dog went from taking 15 seconds to sit, to sitting down immediately,” she recalls.He’d beenexperiencing severe back pain, which translated to insecurity and fear – and those traits were misread as aggression issues. A perfect poster dog for Walk in Sync, “He got adopted by a new family one month later,” Evans adds.
That’s the kind of product any Dogster can get behind – or rather, in sync with. To learn more, go here.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Please share it in the comments!