Effectiveness of Dog Board and Training

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

What Is Board and Training?

If you are looking for a fast way to train your dog and find you do not have the time or skill to commit, you may have stumbled upon some board and training programs. The advertisements can be really flashy, with luring descriptions of how the dog trainer will do all the work for you. But do these programs really work? Let's take a look at how board and training works, what it entails and the advantages and disadvantages.

Board and training is a service offered by a trainer where the dog is kept overnight at the trainer's facility or home for a certain period of time. The following are some types of board and training services provided by dog trainers.

Types of Board and Training Services

  • In Home Board and Train: The dog is kept in the trainer's home and becomes a part of the family. This means the boarding is cage-less. Because a dog is kept in the home, he will learn the basics of indoor living such as not surfing counters, house training and respecting invisible boundaries. In the meanwhile, the dog can be taught basic manners, behavior modification and put on an exercise program with daily walks, playtime in a fenced area and socialization with other dogs. Many board and training programs require a 2-week minimum stay, but some offer one week if just a basic refresher course is needed.
  • Kennel Board and Train: Unlike the home board and train, the kennel board and train keeps the dog outside in a kennel where most likely other dogs are boarded as well. The dog is generally kept in the kennel when not trained or taken out for exercise. While home board and train is preferable, kennel board and train is better than regular boarding where dogs are often kept inside the kennel all day long or perhaps given a 15 minute outing once a day (which requires a fee).

What Services Are Offered in Board and Training Programs?

  • Basic Training: The most common services are obviously training. Dogs boarding are often taught basic commands such as sit, down, stay, heel, come and to watch me. Often, behavior issues are addressed and dogs are also taught how to stop jumping, stop pulling on the leash, running out the door, counter-surfing, etc. In certain circumstances, trainers toss in a few extra helpful commands such as leave it, drop it and even some tricks.
  • Behavior Modification: Some dog training centers also address serious behavior issues such as aggression, anxiety and other problem behaviors. During the dog's stay the dog is typically exposed to the stimulus the dog is reactive towards, ideally at a low level of intensity (under the threshold). The dog's behavior is then changed using different behavior modification techniques (desensitization, counter-conditioning, Behavior Adjustment Training etc). Note: not all methods employed are good, some trainers may use flooding and other methods that can fix the problem temporarily or aggravate the issue. Some trainers resort to shock collars, prong collars, choke collars and use training methods based on coercion to obtain fast results, this is really wrong!

General Requirements for Board and Training

Many board and train programs requires dogs to adhere to certain requirements. The following are some of the most important:

  • Proof of Vaccinations(Rabies, DHLPP, kennel cough, heartworm preventive)
  • Kennel cough needs to be given in advance before boarding
  • Boarded dogs must have leash, collar and appropriate tags
  • Owner must provide food to prevent digestive stress
  • Medications given and frequency
  • Feeding directions
  • Signed contract and agreements

Advantages of Dog Board and Training Programs

  • A Good Part of Training is Done for You: In board and train your dog is trained by a dog trainer that will take his time to train the dog for you. The dog is basically trained certain behaviors that may be basic obedience or custom tailored for your needs. Because the trainer is experienced, success rates should be higher than what the regular dog owner may attain. Most trainers have many techniques up their sleeves to ensure the dog learns, and if one method does not work, they may have another one as a back up. However, it is wrong to expect a perfectly trained dog delivered to your door; you also will have some work to do (see disadvantages).
  • A Possible Solution When You Go on Vacation: Are you going on vacation and want your dog to learn some basic manners? A board and training facility offers a win-win situation because your dog gets a place to stay when you are out of town while learning something new. This is better than average boarding where the dog is given little or no attention for most of the day. So you get boarding and training all in one; just as getting two pigeons with one stone. Of course, expect board and training to be considerably more costly than regular boarding.
  • Dog is Open to Learning: Because the dog is in a new environment and with a new person, he may be more open to learning new habits -if he is not too anxious about being away from home-. Because dogs have a history of rehearsing behaviors with a certain person and in a certain place, a board and train program offers dogs a blank new slate to start from fresh. This takes some adjustments. For this reason, some trainers may recommend to not visit the dog during board and training as they fear the sight of the owner may cause the dog to regress in training or get a bout of separation anxiety.

Disadvantages of Dog Board and Training

Board and train programs of course have some disadvantages and it is very important for dog owners to be aware of them so to make a good choice.

  • Dogs Have a Hard Time Generalizing: Because dogs are not that great in generalizing behaviors, there may be some challenges in transferring what the dog was taught from the trainer to the owner. Also, because the dog at the owner's home has a history of rehearsing bad behaviors there may be some initial extinction bursts (the behavior gets temporarily worse than better). To remedy this, it is crucial that the trainer give the owner a comprehensive briefing of behaviors taught before being picking up the dog and resuming normal activities in the home.
  • Owners Have Work Ahead: To make a dog board and training program successful, the owner must commit to follow through. This means, after being briefed on what commands the dog has learned and how to implement them, it is up to the owner to maintain those behaviors consistently and help the dog generalize to another environment.
  • There are no Guarantees: Because of the fact that dogs learn at different rates and the fact that part of success depends also on the owner's commitment, no dog training guarantees can be made on the outcome of the board and training program. A good trainer should always be a phone call away for follow up questions and to provide assistance for help in generalizing the behaviors taught. Some offer free follow-up sessions as needed.
  • You do Not see What Happens: One of the biggest disadvantages in relying on board and train programs is that you have no clue how the dog is treated in your absence. There are have been reports of trainers abusing dogs in their care. Be wary of trainers using shock collars, prong collar and choke collars and suggesting "dominance based" training or "alpha" training. Also, consider that some trainers may slack off for the most part of your dog's stay only to train your dog the last days for quick results. Important: look for a reputable positive reinforcement trainer that has good reviews. Ask for references. Do your home work to pick the shiny gems out of all the bad apples.

If you are extremely busy and need some extra help, a board and train program may be helpful. Just don't have too many expectations. Your dog cannot realistically be returned to you and start baking cookies! I emphasize this before having any client sign up. I also prepare a DVD on how I trained the dog so the owners can see how it can be done and print out handouts for each command taught. This helps owners realize that training their-untrainable- dog is actually possible and often gives them encouragement and motivation. I also give free follow up sessions as needed. Truth is, most dogs can be virtually trained; but it is ultimately up to the owner to continue implementing the training so to maintain all the work done. And remember: just as with regular boarding remember it may be difficult for your dog the very first days, so consider the pros and cons very carefully.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 07, 2019:

Ch, there is a lot wrong with prong collars and even veterinarians are starting to point the physical and mental damage they can do.

Kim Ray on May 01, 2019:

If there’s nothing wrong with a prong collar, why don’t you give it a try...they’re barbaric!

ch on July 30, 2018:

There is nothing wrong with prong collars. Stop being so ignorant.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 04, 2012:

thanks for stopping by bodylevive, good to hear your dogs were easy to train!

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on December 04, 2012:

voted up useful. I enjoyed the hub and you made some very important points. Personally, I trained my own dogs the way I want them to be. I have two dogs, Eragon is a pit bull and Squeaky a lab. They weren't hard to train at all.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 14, 2012:

Dogs that are trained as service dogs and for other tasks are often trained by different people and change "hands" frequently before being delivered to their final handler. Several are trained through "board and train" programs. Dogs sent to board and train go through the same emotions than any dog that is boarded when the owner goes on vacation, with the extra advantage of getting attention and care. It may cause some adjustment and stress in the dog the very first days because of the new environment, but better a board and train than a dog risking being relinquished to a shelter.

Lawrence Da-vid on June 02, 2012:

Having dealt with dog's that were raised and trained for protection or obedience, consider the animal. It has become accustomed, no matter how slight, to its immediate environment and people. To train then return the pet, or working dog to the owner, leaves a bad effect on the animal. Once used to one so called "leader of the pack," then to be re-introduced to another pack (family) causes a grief separation for a time. I have taken over attack trained animals, and had their acquired possessiveness of the prior owner/trainer changed, leaves confusion in the dog. I would much rather, and have been directly involved in the training. When the dog creates its possessive attitude and is trained by the possessor, that creates loyalty and a super protective nature. My Shepherd, raised by our family and trained with us, responds accordingly.

Cholee Clay from Wisconsin on June 02, 2012:

You make some really great pros and cons for training programs, personally I think if someone is going to buy or get a puppy or even an older dog that they should make the time to train the puppy themselves.

Like you said learning is not universal and you could end up with the same problems or more problems when the puppy comes back.

For example I do all the training of my puppy at my house and so when I take her to my fiance's house she is not as well behaved because we do not do much training at his house.

However, I think training programs can be beneficial in helping people start training their puppy especially if they are new pet owners. But it's always best to be involved in your pets learning and to keep teaching them new things. Great informative hub! Voted up and useful!

Donna Cosmato from USA on June 02, 2012:

I've never heard of this type of training, but it sounds intriguing. You've done an excellent job of pointing out the pros and cons to help readers make an informed decision. Voted up!

Board & Train For Reactive Dogs

Our Board and Train programs are uniquely designed to cater to your dog’s training needs. Our Reactive Board and Train is geared towards dogs who have a hard time seeing/meeting other dogs, often barking, lunging and growling. While Board and Trains are not a “magic fix” to your dog’s behavioural issues (because magic fixes do not exist!), they are a great way to set up a solid foundation give your dog a kick start in training.

One of the first and biggest obstacles we face when working with reactive dogs is that in order to be effective the handler must first learn A LOT- thresholds, body language, handling skills, clicker timing, when, where and how to reward and how to do all of this consistently in controlled environments. Board and Train eliminates this first hurdle as the dog will be working, multiple times and day, every day with Head Trainer Andrew Richards.

Andrew’s expert handling and ability to create controlled environments and scenarios within the facility will help your dog learn and gain much needed confidence faster. Before you get too excited, remember training doesn’t stop the moment your dog leaves the facility.

You need to keep it up and continue to build on the foundation that Andrew has set for you. For this reason, included in the Board and Train package are owner coaching sessions during their stay and a follow up session 2 weeks after your dog has returned home. As with all of our training, our methods are based in science. Positive Reinforcement Training has been empirically proven to help change and shape behaviour not only in dogs but across all species.

This means you can be assured that no pain or fear will be inflicted on your dog during their stay with us. Outdated tools like prong and e collars and disproven alpha, dominance and pack ideologies have no place here at Good Hound. We strive to stay up to date in our education and to train only with the most current, humane and science based training practices.

And your dog will certainly benefit from that!

Board & Train Reactive Dog Package

Board and Train have a recommended minimum of 3 weeks long.

  • Custom Packages are available, contact us for a quote
  • Good Hound has the right to send home any dog we believe will not benefit from the board and train by the 4th day. If this is the case, you will only be charge per night at the rate of $150/night.

Dog Training: Obedience Training for Dogs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Most people love their furry companions. However, not every moment is enjoyable when your dog isn't trained to behave in specific ways or avoid unwanted behaviors.

There are many techniques passed on from unknown sources that tell you the best ways to get your dog not to do something. But what is the best method, and how do you use these techniques?

Learn the most common methods for how to train your dog, as well as what techniques not to use.

An untrained dog of a protection breed is a “lethal weapon that can pull its own trigger.” [25]

Pet supply stores (e.g., Pet Depot) stock the equipment and supplies you’ll need (crate, collar, leash, brush, comb, shampoo, flea spray, bowls, etc.), but their prices are higher than those of mail-order suppliers. One of the fastest and most reliable mail-order suppliers is R. C. Steele Co. (see References and Sources).

I was talking with a friend who was asking my advice about what sort of dog to get. She wanted a large dog that would be easy to train and groom, safe around her children, and a good protector. I said she was describing a Dobie…. a good Dobie is the dog I would choose if I had a child who needed a reliable pal and lived in an atmosphere of risk – but I emphasize that a lot more is captured than I can go into here by the expression “a good Dobie.”
Vicki Hearne, Animal Happiness (16)

A. Why a Dobe? If you want a highly trainable, medium-sized, short-haired dog who doesn’t drool a lot, who’d make a great family pet and who’d also deter criminals by her appearance alone, then a black female Doberman is the kind of dog to get.

B. Avoiding health problems: C. David McLaughlin, DVM, Chair of the Health/Medical Registry Committee, Doberman Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) and Vice-President/Grants, The Doberman Pinscher Foundation of America, Inc., [26] writes:

The primary diseases associated with the Doberman are von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD), cervical vertebral instability (Wobblers Syndrome or cervical spondylopathy), dilated cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, chronic active hepatitis (copper associated toxicosis), chronic skin disease associated with color dilution (blues and fawns), and the conditions associated with the recent addition of albinism (sometimes referred to as “white Doberman”) into the gene pool. [27]

He advises screening for VWD and hip dysplasia and checking family background for Wobblers, cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism. [28]

At the present time the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) maintains a registry for hip dysplasia [see Appendix A] and hypothyroidism providing valuable information on … [puppy’s parents]. As reliable tests for other diseases are developed they will be added to the registry.

Dr. McLaughlin also emphasises that

… at the rate veterinary medicine is advancing, some material [on dog health problems] may be obsolete even before it is published. Consequently, there is no substitute for soliciting the advice of a primary care veterinarian for the most current information…. Research is underway to develop DNA tests for cardiomyopathy and VWD. A DNA test is available for copper toxicosis in some breeds at this time, but not for the Doberman, as yet. [29]

Some breed ‘giant’ Dobermans (over 28″). These dogs are more susceptible to bone problems like hip dysplasia than normal Dobermans, and so are best avoided. It’s doubtful that the extra size yields significantly more protection for the owner.
If you do want an even bigger dog and don’t mind one who slobbers, then consider:

VI. Larger Short-Haired Alternatives: Bullmastiffs and Rottweilers

Bullmastiffs are not quite as “stable” temperamentally as the mastiff, but most people say they are sweet. A few tend to attack and/or kill cats and other dogs. [30]
Hip dysplasia is a common problem in the breed, as is lymphsarcoma

Rottweillers have an overpowering need to be dominant, and only a few people can successfully deal with this. They also have a tendency to “mouth” things, hands in particular. Many tend to be dog aggressive but most of the behavior problems stem from owners. The biggest problem overall is spoiled dogs. Behavior that might seem cute in a puppy gets dangerous in a 90-120 lb. adult. One “problem” in the Rottweiler is herding behavior. Many people don’t recognize these behaviors for what they are, especially in puppies they view it as aggressive behavior and either harshly over-correct it or aggravate it into aggression. This breed has some problems with shyness as well, but not to the extent of the GSD.
Health problems: common: coronoid process (fragmented) FCP, osteochondritis dissecans, ectopic ureter (esp. females) not uncommon: achalasia of esophagus, cruciate ligament rupture uncommon: retinal dysplasia rare: hypomyelinogenesis.

VII. Longer-Haired Alternatives: Akitas, Belgians, Bouviers and GSDs

If you don’t mind the copious shedding and grooming requirements of a longer-haired dog, then a Belgian might be a good choice. The Sheepdogs are black the Tervuren can have a mixture of dark and light (rich fawn to russet mahogany with black overlay) the Malinois resemble German Shepherd Dogs in their overall coloring (fawn to mahogany) and coat-length. Since they are as yet less popular than many of the other protection breeds, they’ve not been overbred to the same extent. [31] Nevertheless, to guard against hip dysplasia, check OFA certification in the dog’s pedigree also ask for CERF certification and be on the alert for any familial tendency towards epilepsy and other seizure-causing disorders. Anywhere from 10% – 35% of Tervuren may be affected to some degree by the latter the Sheepdogs appear less susceptible to this range of problems. Shyness and herding behavior can also be a problem in Belgians. [32]

Well-bred GSDs are versatile working dogs. The most common temperament problem in GSDs is shyness. Most of the snapping is by fear biters, rather than aggressive dogs. This problem tends to be exacerbated by owners who either coddle the dog, because they realize that the dog is scared, or who praise the dog for “protecting” them. As in Rottweilers, one “problem” in the GSD is herding behavior.
Health problems: common: malabsorbtion, VWD, panosteitis, ununited anconeal process, chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, idiopathic epilepsy (esp. females) not uncommon: achalasia of esophagus, anal furunculosis, pannus (corneal disease), subaortic stenosis (in some strains) uncommon: hemophilia A, persistent right aortic arch, pyoderma rare: dermoid cysts, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, giant axonal neuropathy, (hem)angiosarcoma variable: cataract not common: corneal dystrophy. [33]

Bouviers are outstanding kid’s dogs. They are even-tempered and extremely intelligent, but not immediately obedient, though sensitive: stern language is more effective than physical correction. For a big dog, they have a relatively small appetite (except when a puppy). Though big and imposing. (95 to 105 lbs. is typical) they are remarkably agile and like to play hard, especially when younger. Indoors, they are calm outdoors, virtually inexhaustible. Grooming can consume most of a Saturday twice-weekly grooming is preferable.

Health problems: common: hip dysplasia, entropion not uncommon: laryngeal paralysis, myopathy rare: glaucoma. Some suffer from hypothyroidism, but the breed is not noted for this problem.

The biggest problem with Akitas is aggressiveness towards other dogs, though they tend not to act unless provoked. Like Rottweilers, they require a firm, but not harsh, hand. Properly trained, they can be great with people, children included.
Their coats are very much like Siberian Huskies’s. They blow coat twice a year (a mess for about 2 – 4 weeks), but the rest of the time they have very little hair loss, nothing a good weekly brushing wouldn’t control. They are very clean animals, and bathing is normally not required more than once every 3-6 months.

Akitas are prone to hip dysplasia. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a problem in the breed (as well as entropion and cataracts). Autoimmune thyroiditis is very common. Several autoimmune diseases – VKH (Voight-Koyanagi-Harada), pemphigus, autoimmune hemolytic anemia – are fairly common. Hyperkalemia is usually a misdiagnosis in Akitas their red blood cells are different from other dogs (except for one type of poodle) and are more fragile. Skin problems like flea allergies are becoming more common, too.

VIII. “Rare” Breeds [section in infancy]

In the previous versions of this FAQ, I focused on the more common, AKC-registerable breeds. Concern about breed health problems and comments from some people who are experienced with dog and security issues have led me to try to expand coverage to include breeds less common in the US. (Of course, there are never any guarantees that a dog will enjoy good health, even with the most responsible care.) Getting a dog of a rare breed does present some special problems, however.

Two breeds that recommend themselves are the American Bulldog and the Beauceron (or, Bergers de Beauce – a French herding dog). The appearance of black dogs of either breed would deter all but the craziest criminals, and their protective behavior should discourage the rest.

St. Sacrement Beaucerons [lots of information and links]

The American Bulldog has a bulldog head, but is much taller and heavier than the English or French Bulldogs, often weighing well upwards of 90 lbs.

The Beauceron has been described as looking like a cross between a Doberman and a GSD, with height and (in 90% of the breed) coloring similar to black Dobermans but somewhat more thickly built.

The Caucasian Ovcharka, a Russian breed that has recently made its way to the US, is feircely loyal to and protective of its immediate family. At 160 lbs for a male, the breed is truly not for everyone.

Wonderful dogs can be found at animal shelters, but the risk of getting one with health and temperament problems is significantly higher when information about the dog is very limited, as is commonly the case. (The risk can be reduced somewhat by hiring an experienced trainer to help choose the dog and having a vet check the dog before adopting it.) Your Purebred Puppy and The Perfect Puppy offer some good advice, as does The Adoption Option. The Art of Raising a Puppy and Owner’s Guide to Better Behavior in Dogs and Cats contain detailed sections on puppy temperament testing. Simpler versions of the tests are described in Carol Lea Benjamin’s Second Hand Dog and Chosen Puppy, and in The Adoption Option and The Perfect Puppy.

Many breeds have active rescue organizations, another good source of ‘second-hand’ dogs. Breeders and kennel clubs often know whom to contact. And there’s a directory of rescue organizations: Network for Ani-males and Females, Project Breed Directory. Some of the most up-to-date information is available via the world-wide web.

X. Neutering, Health and Temperament

The connections among neutering, behavior and rate of maturation are not clear, although neutering of male dogs does seem to reduce roaming, fighting, mounting and marking that are specifically sex-driven. [34] As already noted, the vast majority of dog bites are by unneutered males. There is also one very powerful health argument for early spaying of female dogs. Of the diseases to which they are subject, mammary cancer is the biggest killer of females. Spaying before the first heat reduces the risk of mammary cancer by over 99% spaying between the first and second heat is not quite as protective, but still reduces the risk by over 90% spaying between second and third heat reduces the risk by about 80% but spaying after the third heat does not significantly reduce the risk after four heats, there is no measurable difference between spayed and intact female dogs. [35]

References and Sources (must be updated)

Many of these books are available in public libraries and/or chain (‘mall’) bookstores. Almost any dog book or tape can be ordered from Direct Book Service: Dog and Cat Book Catalog (1700 titles!), PO Box 15357, Seattle, WA 98115, 1-800-776-2665. An enormous amount of information is also available via the world-wide web.

American Kennel Club, The Complete Dog Book 18th Ed. (Howell House, 1992) $7.99 ISBN 0-87605-464-5
Massad F. Ayoob, The Truth about Self-Defense (1983, The Police Bookshelf, PO Box 122, Concord, NH 03302-0122 1-800-624-9049) $7.99 pbk ISBN 0-317-64452-1
Carol Lea Benjamin, Chosen Puppy: How to Select and Raise a Great Puppy from an Animal Shelter (Howell Book House, 1990) $7.95 pbk ISBN 0-87605-417-3
Carol Lea Benjamin, Dog Problems (Doubleday and Co., 1981) $13.95 hardcover ISBN 0-385-15710-X
Carol Lea Benjamin, Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog (Howell Book House, 1985) $15.95 hardcover ISBN 0-87605-666-4
Carol Lea Benjamin, Second Hand Dog: How to Turn Yours into a First Rate Pet (Howell Book House, 1988) $6.00 pbk ISBN 0-87605-735-0
Carol Lea Benjamin, Surviving Your Dog’s Adolescence (Howell Book House, 1993
John Blackwell, American Bulldog (T F H Pubs, 1994) $14.95 ISBN 0866228675
William E. Campbell, Behavior Problems in Dogs 2nd ed. (Goleta, CA: American Veterinary Pubs., 1992) $32.95 hardcover ISBN 0-939674-36-X
William E. Campbell, Owner’s Guide to Better Behavior in Dogs and Cats (Loveland, CO: Alpine Publications, 1989) $14.95 pbk 0-931866-42-D
Delbert G. Carlson, DVM and James M. Giffin, MD, Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (Revised and Expanded) (Howell Book House, 1992) $25.00 hardcover ISBN 0-87605-537-4
Annette M. Carricato, Veterinary Notes for Dog Breeders, (Howell Book House, 1992) ISBN 0876058055.
Ross D. Clark and Joan R. Steiner, Medical and Genetic Aspects of Purebred Dogs, (Edwardsville, Kansas: Veterinary Medical Pubs., 1983) ISBN 093507824X
Sydney C. Cooper, Anne Scott and the Editors of Consumer Reports Books, Home Security (Consumer’s Union, 1988) $15.00 pbk ISBN 0-89043-087-X
Stanley Coren, The Intelligence of Dogs: Canine Consciousness & Capabilities
(Bantam Books, 1995) ISBN 0553374524
Mark Derr, Dog’s Best Friend: Annals of the Dog-Human Relationship (Henry Holt & Company ,1997) $25.00 ISBN 0805040633
Karen Freeman Duet and George Duet, The Home and Family Protection Dog: Selection and Training (Howell, 1993) 0-87605-619-2
Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Sirius Puppy Training Program (Pacific Arts Video, 1-800-538-5856, 50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211) $14.95
Ian Dunbar, How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks (Sirius Puppy Training Program Manual) (Oakland, CA: James and Kenneth Pubs., 1991) $17.95 spiral bound
Fiorenzo Fiorone, ed., Encyclopedia of Dogs (HarperCollins, 1973) ISBN 0690000561 [and (Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1973) ISBN 0-690-00056-1]
Cathy J. Flamholtz, A Celebration of Rare Breeds (OTR Pubs, 1986) ISBN 0-940269-00-7
Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD and Lynette A. Hart, PhD, The Perfect Puppy (WH Freeman, 1987) $9.95 pbk ISBN 0-7167-1829-4
Vicki Hearne, Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog (Harper, 1991) $11.00 pbk ISBN 0-06-019005-1
Vicki Hearne, Animal Happiness (HarperPerennial, 1995) $12.00 pbk ISBN 0-06-092606-6
James Herriot, Dog Stories (St. Martin’s Press, 1986) $5.99 pbk ISBN 0-312-92558-1
William R. Koehler, The Koehler Method of Guard Dog Training (Howell Book House, 1962 & 1967) $24.95 ISBN 0876055528
R. M. Koster, Carmichael’s Dog (Norton, 1992) ISBN 0393033910
Michele Lowell, Your Purebred Puppy: A Buyer’s Guide (H. Holt and Co., 1991) $10.95 pbk ISBN 0-8050-1892-1
Maurice Luquet, Les Chiens de Berger Français (Editions de Vecchi, 1982) LC 83-131973 SF428.6 .L865 1982 ISBN 2-7328-0325 85.00 Francs
Jack MacLean, Secrets of a Superthief (NY: Berkley Books, 1983) ISBN 0-425-05645-7
Donald McCaig, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men: Seeking through Scotland for a Border Collie (Harper, 1991) $10.00 pbk ISBN 0-06-098114-8
Monks of New Skete, The Art of Raising a Puppy (Little Brown, 1991) $17.95 hardcover ISBN 0-316-57839-8
Network for Ani-males and Females, Project Breed Directory: Yellow Book (Germantown, MD, 1989) $18.95 pbk ISBN 0938073028
Network for Ani-males and Females, Project Breed Directory: Red Book (Germantown, MD, 1993) $25+$3.05PH 18707 Curry Powder Lane, Germantown, MD 20874
Mary Randolph, Dog Law 2nd ed. (Nolo Press, 950 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710, 1-800-645-0895) $12.95 pbk. ISBN 0-87337-216-6
Roy Robinson, Genetics for Dog Breeders (Pergamon Press, 1990) ISBN 0080374921
Eliza Rubenstein and Shari Kalina, The Adoption Option: Choosing and Raising the Shelter Dog for You (Howell Books, 1996) ISBN 0876054254.
Clarice Rutherford and David H. Neil, How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With 2nd Ed. (Loveland, CO: Alpine Publications, 1992) $9.95 pbk ISBN 0-931866-57-X
Carl Semencic, The world of fighting dogs (TFH Pubs, 1984) $23.95 ISBN 0866226567
Larry Shook, The Puppy Report (NY: Lyons and Burford Pubs., 1992) ISBN 1-55821-140-3
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Hidden Life of Dogs (Houghton Mifflin, 1993) 0-395-66958-8
David Alan Wacker, The Complete Guide to Home Security: How to Protect Your Family and Home from Harm (Betterway Pubs., Box 219, Crozet, VA 22932 1-804-823-5661, 1990) $14.95 pbk ISBN 1-55870-163-X
Bonnie Wilcox, DVM and Chris Walkowicz, The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World (Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Pubs., 1989) ISBN 0-86622-930-2
Malcolm Willis, Genetics of the Dog (Howell Book House, 1989) ISBN 087605551X
Malcolm B. Willis, Practical Genetics for Dog Breeders (Howell, 1992) 0-87605-782-2

For Supplies:
R. C. Steele Co., 1989 Transit Way Box 910, Brockport, NY 14420-0910 for catalogue requests: 1-800-872-4506 for credit card orders: 1-800-872-3773. (There is a $50 minimum on each order.)

Appendix A: Incidence of Hip Dysplasia in Featured Breeds

Breed % Dysplastic # of Evaluations
Bullmastiff 29 1500
Rottweiler 22 57158
GSD 20.8 46089
Bouvier 18.1 3704
Akita 15.7 8871
Great Dane 13 4879
Ridgeback 8.3 3920
Belg. Malinois 6.9 522
Doberman 6.8 6656
Belg. Tervuren 4.4 2234
Belg. Sheepdg 2.9 1799

Period covered: Jan ’74-Jan ’95 [36]

Appendix B: Choosing a Protection Dog

1. Do you have the resources for a dog?

Time [1 hour/day or more – probably more]

Space [cubic feet vs. Personal see end of II. D.]

Energy for walks and play

Buying the dog

From a breeder
From a shelter

Dog door
Food bowls
Toys (nylabone, etc.)

Money – Monthly Maintenance

Supplies (flea & tick repellent, heartworm preventative, etc.)
Vet bills (immunizations, medications, dental care)

[A rough estimate of the range of costs: for a small male from a shelter, about $200 initially and $25 per month for a very large female from a breeder, about $1200 initially and about $70 per month. Your mileage may vary.]

2. What kind of help with personal safety do you need?

Watchdog – almost any barking dog will do (consult Lowell and Hart and Hart and check Coren’s lists

Attack – Unless you like living with an uncontrollable loaded gun, this requires thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. The dog may cost $3000, and you’ll need to go through 1-2 years of intensive, professionally guided training with the dog. Please read Duet & Duet and Koehler and then consult with the relevant experts.

Protection – What kind of protection dog do you want? (see chart)
Size, Sex, Ease of Care, Trainability

Breed Size Care & Clean-up Brains
F M Coat Drool
Wgt lbs Hgt Wgt
Akita 24-26 90 26-28 110 M-H N C
Malinois 22-24 65 24-26 75 M N A
Shepherd 22-24 65 24-26 75 H N A
Tervuren 22-24 65 24-26 75 H N A
Bouvier 23.5-26.5 80 24.5-27.5 100 H+ N B
Bullmastiff 24-26 110 25-27 120 L Y C
Doberman 24-26 60 25-27 70 L N A+
GSD 22-24 70 24-26 85 M-H N A+
Rottweiler 22-25 90 24-27 110 L Y A+

Appendix C: Some NC Research Triangle Resources

Ms. Jan Santel, an agility competition judge and trainer, is an excellent source of information and forthright advice. She has had several Dobermans, though does not breed them, and runs Autumn Winds, a dog agility and obedience training center at Route 1, Box 11-D, 3701 Bosco Road, New Hill, NC 27562 (919) 362-4084, 4091. E-mail: [email protected] Novices and experienced owners alike have found Ms. Santel to be very helpful.

For help with herding breeds, contact the Triangle Herding Club.

I’m sure that there are other fine trainers in the area.

[*]A November 15, 1992 LA Times article reports security expert Richard W. Kobetz’s view that criminals will try new tactics as home security improves, and that car-jackings will likely increase. It is estimated that in 1994, there were over 300,000 incidents of breaking and entering in NC alone fewer than 2000 of the criminals were sent to jail. The national average is about the same. And most crime goes unreported.
[1]See References and Sources for more detailed information on books and tapes.
[2]For color photographs, see: AKC, The Complete Dog Book and Wilcox and Walkowicz, The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World.
[3]A great place to meet all three together is at dog shows. Check the monthly Dog World, available at many libraries and newsstands, for extensive listings. Local kennel clubs can also help.
[4]Life with a dog is also well described in fiction. R. M. Koster’s novel, Carmichael’s Dog, is a profoundly witty account of how a dog’s purity of heart may be enlisted in the fight against even the most tenacious personal demons. James Herriot’s Dog Stories is wonderful ‘faction’. Some excellent contemporary nonfiction narratives are: Stanley Coren, The Intelligence of Dogs Vicki Hearne, Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog (an artfully written and sophisticated consideration of the question, Do dogs have minds?) and Donald McCaig, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men (on the importance of giving dogs some work to do). You can find many other dog tales, fictional and factual, in public libraries.
[5]A police officer in a K9 unit agreed with MacLean’s reassessment of criminals who say they’re not scared by dogs: almost all of them are lying.
[6]This is not the name of a breed. The term refers to dogs of various breeds: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and perhaps Bull Terrier, as well as dogs resembling these. See Bandit for a discussion of why this isn’t merely a matter of semantics. None of these breeds fits the profile of a protection dog in section D. An ill-bred, badly mistreated ‘pit bull’ might attack people – the owner included. Who’d want such a dog?!
After getting a dog, it’s wise to have it tatooed with, say, your SS# and to register the dog and number with the National Dog Registry, Box 116, Woodstock, NY 12498 (914) 679-BELL FAX (914) 679-4538. (There’s a one-time fee of $35 per owner – so if you later adopt, say, 50 dogs, there’s no further fee.) If you do register with the NDR, you’ll get a window decal that reads, WARNING: TATOOED PETS REGISTERED WITH NATIONAL DOG REGISTRY WOODSTOCK, N.Y. (800) NDR-DOGS. At least, this may give a burglar pause. Perhaps s/he’ll think that your dog’s a really mean biker.
[8]The average installed cost of such a system is about $2000 the monitoring service charge runs about $25 per month. The lifetime cost of such a system is therefore comparable to that of a dog but no such system can greet you with joy at the end of hard day.
[9]Wacker, The Complete Guide to Home Security, quotes relevant data from The Figgie Report Part VI-The Business of Crime: The Criminal Perspective (Figgie International, Inc., 1988). See also Cooper, Home Security on MacLean’s survey.
[10]The Duets call this “Level I Protection Training.” They agree that it’s reasonable for most people to stop training at this level.
[11]Levels II and III Protection Training in the Duet’s terms.
[12]Training a dog properly as an attack-dog is a difficult and very time- (and/or money-) consuming process. (The Duets say it takes 1-2 years, with the help of professional trainer. See also The Koehler Method of Guard Dog Training.) An improperly trained attack-dog can be dangerous to its owner. Dogs made ‘mean’ through brutal and so improper training methods are unreliable and so not safe around other living things. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Humane Society of the US show that the most likely victim of a dog’s aggression will be its owner, a family member or a neighbor in six out of ten cases, it will be a young child.
[13]The K9 unit officer reported that his field experience strongly supports the claim that black dogs are more of a deterrent.
[14]Koehler gives a list of dog breeds (pp. 36-52) to look at if one seeks watch, protection or attack capabilities: Airedale (P), Belgian Sheepdog (P), Belgian Tervuren, Bouvier des Flandres (P), Boxer (P), Briard (P), Bullmastiff, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chow Chow, Collie, Dalmatian, Doberman (P) (“one of the best choices”), German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, GSD (P) (“there is not a finer working dog than a good GSD”), Kerry Blue, Kuvasz, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Staffordshire Terrier (P-some), Standard Schnauzer, Weimaraner. A “(P)” indicates suitability for police work (pp. 78-79), with Giant Schnauzers added for this purpose. Dachshunds and some Toys can also be good watchdogs.
[15]or withers, as it’s called dog heights are standardly given in this way.
[16]As Hart and Hart have documented, dogs of toy breeds and other comparably-sized dogs tend to be highly reactive, and dogs of some of the larger breeds tend to be quieter. It’s not inconceivable that some would find a Pomeranian more intrusive than a Bullmastiff.
[17]Ayoob suggests considering Great Danes (he’s owned them) and Rhodesian Ridgebacks, too. The sheer size of a Great Dane is intimidating. Ridgebacks were originally bred in South Africa to protect farms against lions and human marauders. Others have suggested Corgis they make fine watchdogs but are too small to serve as protection dogs. Lowell advises:

If all you want is a dog that barks, you can make your choice from among all the breeds [except Basenjis]. But if you must have a breed with some size, muscle and protective reputation, choose from: German Wirehaired Pointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Weimaraner, Norwegian Elkhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Akita, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Doberman, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Komondor, Kuvasz, Mastiff, Rottweiler, Standard Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Irish Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Australian Cattle Dog, the Belgian herding breeds, Bouvier des Flandres, Briard, Germand Shepherd, Puli, Australian Shepherd, Chinese Shar-pei, Chinook, Leonberger, and Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. (23)

As indicated above, however, size, muscle and protective reputation are not all that’s necessary in a protection dog, so it’s better to go by the profile and breed list in D. (The Duets add Boxers to the list, and say others might be suitable, too.)
[18]For more on this topic, see Randolph’s Dog Law. Some courts have found that a dog can be a deadly weapon and its presence can be an aggravating factor in an assault, even when the dog never touches the alleged victim.
[19]-for the largest dogs, way up: $800 is not unusual. The price for such a pet-quality puppy is just about the cost of breeding and raising it properly until it’s ready for adoption around 10 weeks. Very few breeders break even. So there’s reason to be suspicious if a dog of larger breed is offered for less.
[20]For additional cautionary tales, see: Larry Shook, The Puppy Report. Shook reminds us that a guarantee, oral or written, is only as good as the guarantor. (Only a few states have even adopted ‘lemon’ laws for pet buyers: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Virginia.) For additional information, consult: Roy Robinson, Genetics for Dog Breeders or Annette M. Carricato, Veterinary Notes for Dog Breeders. For even more detail, see: Ross D. Clark and Joan R. Steiner, Medical and Genetic Aspects of Purebred Dogs (encyclopaedic, out of date, but still useful) and Malcolm Willis, Practical Genetics for Dog Breeders (simpler than his Genetics of the Dog).
[21]Some owners who’ve suffered with or even lost a dog to defects will say, “I’ll never own another _____. I couldn’t go through the pain again.” If the defect is uncommon or readily treatable, then this (understandable) reaction might be a rational basis for caution, but not for avoiding the breed altogether.
[22]One dramatic example is Clark and Steiner’s section on Beagles, which gives one of the longest lists in their book. But this is due in large part to the popularity of Beagles as lab animals.
[23]The latter is based on a standard text, Campbell’s Behavior Problems in Dogs. These books explain how most ‘dog’ problems really result from unreasonable owner expectations and behavior or from treatable dog health problems.
[24]If you consult several books and/or tapes, you’ll discover that there is disagreement about dog training methods. But much the same is true for books on child-raising, another very complex subject, which has been far more extensively studied. There does seem to be universal agreement that for dogs as well as for children, preventing behavior problems is best achieved through rewards for desired behavior, rather than punishment for undesired behavior. Of course, different dog/owner teams may require different sorts of methods, just as different parent/child ‘teams’ may need different approaches towards child-raising.
[25]There are about 53 million dogs in the US, and about a million dog bites reported each year, with perhaps three times that number unreported, and about twenty percent requiring medical attention. Unneutered dogs account for about eighty percent of all bites and nearly 100 percent of serious maulings 87 percent of all biting dogs are male (CDC and HSUS). Of course, human beings are far more dangerous than dogs are, by any reasonable statistical measure. There are about five times as many people as dogs in the US dogs kill about 15 people per year, humans about 22,000 and there are over 10 million violent crimes per year, about fifty percent resulting in significant injury. And people kill about 5 million dogs per year.
[26]144 Algonquin Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010-8602, 847-428-7155, FAX 847-428-0610. The Foundation, which is distinct from the DPCA, accepts tax-deductible donations and bequests for medical research.
[27]Albino Dobermans have been reported to have some temperament problems, possibly associated with extreme sensitivity to light.
[28]Some information on VWD from Leah Cohn, DVM, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine, UMissouri: There are three types of VWD, only one as severe as human haemophilia. Dobermans have the mildest of the three types: an afflicted dog will have increased clotting times if cut (e.g., during surgery), but bleeding incidents respond very well to transfusion and drugs. Generally, the Dobermans who are carriers only won’t bleed excessively, and the affected dogs will bleed, but not much. [If a VWD dog is taking aspirin (say, for orthopaedic problems), then this can make the clotting problem worse.] Hypothyroidism can cause the VWD factor to decrease, too, but this is remedied by thyroid hormone replacement therapy. There are three tests for VWD most samples are sent to the lab of W. Jean Dodds, DVM, in Albany, NY. The tests are not all that reliable. For example, if less than 40% of the normal amount of the VW factor is present, the dog is called affected, with 40%-70%, the dog is called a carrier, more than 70%, the dog is said to be clear. (These are very rough figures.) But dogs classified as carriers in this way can bleed more than dogs classified as affected – there are other factors that will determine the severity of symptoms.
[29]Dr. Cohn also offered this additional information about Doberman health problems: The choice of a black female is a good one since blacks (and reds) have less skin disease, and females have much less cardiomyopathy. Dobermans (and to an even greater extent, Rottweilers) may not respond as well as other breeds to parvovirus vaccine, so it’s a good idea to give them extra vaccinations later, e.g., again at 6 months.
Far less frequent Doberman health problems: congenital renal disease (similar to glomuleronephritis), apparent by 16 weeks, rare osteosarcoma (far more common in giant breeds, e.g. Great Danes), a disease of middle age, first apparent as a lump toward elbow or away from knee producing lameness by the time the lump is seen, the cancer has already spread and it’s too late to do much about it copper storage disease of liver, beginning in puppyhood (quite common in Bedlington terriers), affects older females more severely tribrissin arthropathies: an inflammatory response to a very common antibiotic, which, however, stops soon after the medication is withdrawn there are other, even better (though more expensive) antibiotics to use instead ciliary dyskinesia in nose and throat, seen as runny nose in young puppy.
A small percentage of Dobermans will lick a spot on their flanks repeatedly (‘flank-sucking’), causing a multiple lick granuloma (or, acral lick dermatitis). The psychoactive medications that help human beings trapped in obsessive-compulsive behavior may also help dogs. Some veterinary dermatologists contend that the licking is the dog’s response to a deep skin infection (pyoderma) and that anti-staph antibiotics are therefore at least as effective as the psychoactive medications.
[30]Other kinds of mastiffs, e.g. Neapolitan, may also be suitable for protection.
[31]The K9 unit mentioned above uses Belgian Malinois (and the similar but rarer Dutch Shepherds) because they have fewer health problems than German Shepherd Dogs and some other protection dog breeds. The increased popularity of Belgian Malinois for police work has led to a corresponding increase in their popularity generally, an effect that has been observed with other breeds, as well.
[32]Every breed ought at the very least to have a registry like that of the DPCA, but few do. As Shook discovered, it is difficult to get accurate data on health problems because many breeders of most breeds are reluctant to talk about such problems.
[33]Six helpful books on GSDs: Anna Katherine Nicholas, The Book of the German Shepherd Dog, T.F.H. Publications, 1983 M. B. Willis, The German Shepherd Dog: Its History, Development and Genetics, Arco Publishing Co., 1991 Winifred Gibson Strickland and James A. Moses, The German Shepherd Today, Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974 Jane G. Bennett, The New Complete German Shepherd Dog, Howell Book House, 1982 Fred Lanting, The Total GSD Susan Barwig, The German Shepherd Book. Get Willis if you’re only going to get one. The German Shepherd Quarterly covers working dogs in obedience, herding, search and rescue and Schutzhund as well as the breed ring. Subscriptions are available from The German Shepherd Quarterly, 4401 Zephyr Street, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033-3299.
[34]One of the few systematic studies of this very complex subject was done by leading animal behaviorist Dr. Benjamin L. Hart. Hart’s study found that

… castration doesn’t affect hunting ability or watchdog behavior. There are individual differences in how it affects other behaviors. Some differences are probably a result of the environment but many are due to breed and genetics. Roaming showed the greatest degree of change with over 90 percent of the dogs having either a rapid or gradual decline. This is probably a result of the lessening in sexual drive. Fighting with other male dogs showed 40 percent to have a rapid decline and 22 percent a gradual decline. About 50 percent showed a decline in urine marking in the house. The act of mounting dropped rapidly in about one-third of the dogs studied and gradually declined in another one-third. Much of this decline was in mounting people so castration appears to be a good way to reduce this problem.
There doesn’t appear to be a proven difference in effect from castration before puberty or in the adult dog. In fact, some humane shelters and breeders are neutering their pups by four months of age before they are placed in their new homes. Recent studies have shown no ill effects. And as is true with the female spay operation, there is no basis for the idea that castrated dogs become fat and lazy. (Rutherford and Neil, 155-6)

Experienced breeders and trainers often offer anecdotal evidence that spaying before a female’s first heat will cause her to retain, perhaps permanently, her puppy personality. See, for example, DK Bates and M Miller, “Does early spaying cause bad behavior?,” letter to Dog World, December 1992, p. 4. (In this letter, “early” seems to mean “before the first heat.”) An equally recent comment on this issue appears in the “Questions from Our Readers” column of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Newsletter Vol. 10 No. 11 (January 1993):

Q: Is early spaying related to the development of behavior problems in a bitch?
A: It is unlikely that spaying would increase activity level or cause it to remain at a high puppy-like level. Activity would be expected to decrease when the source of estrogen, the ovarian hormone that increases activity in most species, is removed. This is believed to be the basis of the weight gain observed in spayed dogs.There is one report from the U. K. of bitches who were aggressive before they were spayed and became more aggressive afterward.
There has not been an objective study of the effects of spaying on activity level, however. Because of the recent decision by some humane organizations to neuter animals at a very early age, an opportunity now exists to survey the owners of bitches that were spayed at a very early age, at the traditional prepubertal age, and postpubertal. We hope funds for this study will be forthcoming.

Some of these points are also made in a reply to Bates and Miller: DL Bledsoe, BF Heald, LA Farrell, AJ Tucker, “Early Spaying Reduces Mammary Cancer Risk,” Dog World, March 1993, 4-5.
Some puppy bitches are born with immature or underdeveloped vulvas. These bitches, if spayed before their first heat, may continue to have problems throughout their lives. The physical results of going through heat often correct this problem since the vulva will swell during heat and not shrink back to it’s former size (though it does shrink down from maximal heat-induced size). And one wants to prevent constant vaginal infections as they can lead to bladder infections and possibly kidney infections. Not all puppy bitches are born with this problem. For these normal puppies, spaying before the first heat does not pose any problems.
The often-cited problem of older spayed bitches having continence problems is not a function of when they were spayed. Many, but not all, will respond to estrogen supplementation.
[35]Of course, neutering will also help with the terrible dog overpopulation problem. Millions of dogs are put to death annually because of this.
[36]Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals, University Missouri – Columbia, 817 Virginia Ave, Columbia, MO 65201, (314) 442-0418.

This page was last revised on Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Compare Gentle & Effective No-Pull Dog Training Devices from Pet Expertise

In order to help every dog and person have an enjoyable walk, we offer a variety of gentle and tested to be effective no-pull solutions. However, with this variety comes confusion on which product to choose!

Our owner and dog trainer, Jess Rollins, compares and contrasts our No-Pull harnesses, collars and leashes to help you select the best option for you and your pooch.

Of course, no device is a substitute for training! How to Teach Your Dog to Walk Nicely on the Leash.

Beautifully made, with velvet lining on the belly strap to prevent chafing.

Optional double-ended matching leash is available.

Multi-functional: Can be used as a regular harness or a no-pull harness.

The back attachment tightens somewhat when the dog pulls, which can help prevent pulling as well as escape.

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. For these dogs we recommend that you attach the leash to both the back and the front or use a head halter.

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet when attached to the chest.

Not recommended for running with your dog when attached to the chest.

The velvet can absorb liquids and get dirty. (It is washable though!).

Unique design of the front-attachment strap prevents gapping and shifting.

High quality, durable construction.

Matching leashes and collars available.

Unlikely to chafe your dog.

Made in the USA of USA materials.

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet.

Not recommended for running with your dog.

Rarely causes chaffing on dogs with very short coats. Works great with our new Strap Wraps!

Whole Dog Journal's top rating!

Every strap is adjustable.

Multi-functional: Can also be used as a regular harness!

Made in the USA of USA materials.

Doesn't restrict your dog's shoulder movement.

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet. (unless attached to the back).

Not recommended for running with your dog. (unless attached to the back).

Rarely causes chaffing on dogs with very short coats. Works great with our new Strap Wraps!

Multi-functional: Can also be used as a regular harness or to restrain your dog in the car (although it is not crash tested),

Doesn't restrict your dog's shoulder movement.

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet (unless attached to the back).

Not recommended for running with your dog. (unless attached to the back).

Easy to fit, put on and take off.

Made in the USA of USA materials.

Chest strap lies higher across the dogs chest so it doesn't restrict your dog's shoulder movement.

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet.

Not recommended for running with your dog.

Rarely causes chaffing on dogs with very short coats. Works great with our new Strap Wraps!

Available for very small dogs.

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet.

Not recommended for running with your dog.

Can cause chaffing on dogs with very short coats. Works great with our new Strap Wraps! or you can choose the Deluxe version which has padding.

Some dogs escape from this harness. We recommend that you attach your leash to both the front clip of the harness and a collar ring.

The straps are away from the dog's armpits and the padding helps prevent shifting and chaffing.

The collar clip is a great security measure.

Multi-functional: Can also be used as a regular harness!

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet when attached to the chest.

Not recommended for running with your dog when attached to the chest.

In our usage we found that the straps would loosen over time. To remedy this, simply place a stitch through the straps once you have it adjusted to your liking.

Multi-functional: Can be used as a exercise harness and no-pull harness.

Comfortable, padded design that is easy to put on.

Lots of great extra features and Ruffwear quality.

May not be quite as effective as other no pull harnesses such as the ones above (we are still testing).

A few dogs are so strong or aggressive that a front attachment harness is not enough control. Those dogs do best in a head halter (and training!).

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet when attached to the chest.

Not recommended for running with your dog when attached to the chest.

Easily converts from a regular leash to a no pull harness.

Does not turn the dog's shoulders or put pressure on any joints.

May not be quite as effective as other no pull harnesses such as the ones above (we are still testing).

Does put a small amount of pressure on the throat for some dogs.

Head halters are best for very strong pullers and aggressive dogs since it gives control of the head.

The shape of the HALTI Optifit head halter makes it comfortable for most dogs and it has more adjustability that others we have tried so it can work with even short nosed dogs. It also has some nice security features such as a collar link and reflective detail.

Very easy to put on and to fit.

Great price and good quality.

Takes some training (like all head collars) for most dogs to get used to it.

Possible concern about straining the neck if the dog lunges strongly into the collar.

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet.

Head halters are best for very strong pullers and aggressive dogs since it gives control of the head.

The shape of this halter makes it comfortable for most dogs.

Extremely easy to put on and to fit.

Takes some training (like all head collars) for most dogs to get used to it.

Possible concern about straining the neck if the dog lunges strongly into the collar.

Not recommended for use with a leash longer than 6 feet.

The chin portion is not adjustable like the Halti Optifit.

Only our Xtreme Leashes or Leash Shock Absorber are strong enough to effectively reduce pulling.

These work well in addition to one of the above harnesses / collars or for dogs that don't pull very much, or the pulling is only occasional.

Your dog may not learn to stop pulling, but the pulling will feel less strong.

May feel like you have less control over your dog until you get used to how much the bungee stretches.

Curious about other no-pull devices that aren't listed above? Check out our article, Comparison of No-Pull Devices.

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