Collars and harnesses

As a follow up to my post on Ella and our search for a workable harness or collar, I will ask for recommendations for 1) a harness that might help prevent pulling but at least will protect a hard pulling Basenji from rubbing groves into her shoulders, and 2) a collar that she cannot back or slip out of.

Quick background.

The first day we had Ella she backed out of a standard nylon collar and almost died on the interstate. Welcome to the first day of Basenji life! We switched to a harness that night. We finally bought the smallest limited slip collar we could find and within a week she had figured out how to get out of it. It is an extra small. She will dig her heels in and drop her shoulders in a split second and be in a position to get out of any collar we have tried. She weighs about 20 pounds (9 months old).

We have also been through 4 harnesses with her and realize harnesses are the preferred Basenji attachment. After she slipped her collar we used a standard nylon harness. She pulled like a wild animal and rubbed herself raw. We have had 2 Sporns (a small and a medium becausee basenji's are between sizes) and as time goes by she pulls more and more in them. They worked at first but not so much anymore. We are working on leash training but she is pretty bad and we need something to help. That is one reason we tried the limited slip collar–the trainer thinks you can get the dog's attention more by training in a collar versus a harness. Also, she pulls so hard that even the fleece lined Sporn is rubbing through her fur.

We need a better harness and better training. As for training, we are clicker training and she gets a treat every time she walks with a loose leash and looks at me. She manages it maybe 10% of the time. She is just a psycho most of the time outside--sniffing and pulling and zigzaging. There is nothing relaxing about a walk with her and that is beginning to take a toll.

Thank you for the link to the web master harness. Does it do anything to prevent pulling? Also, are we wasting our time trying loose leash training on our Basenji? Do they just pull all the time and that is that?

I recommend the Easy Walk Harness if the main goal is to reduce pulling during daily walks. The nice thing about the Easy Walk Harness is that you can order them in 'tweener sizes. Most basenjis are a S/M 'tweener.
http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/behavior/easywalk/productdescription

For a collar that is difficult to slip out of I would recommend a correctly adjusted martingale collar. If they are ajusted properly they are difficult to slip, http://allhoundsapparel.com/custom/list.asp?c=20620

For loose leash walking, I really recommend working on eye contact/attention, then loose leash, then add the walking. For eye contact/attention, I start with name response. Say her name when she begins to turn to look click and treat. At first you may have to click for even the smallest motion towards you but usually they start turning pretty quickly for that treat. After a while of working name response, often they will start to stare at you anticipating the click for turning toward you when that starts to happen start clicking and treating for eye contact. My favorite obedience instructor always said this was the most important thing we should work on for class because you can't train butts you can only train heads so we need them to focus their head on us. Once you have built attention, you can start working loose leash, at first just stand in place and click for the clip of the leash hanging down loosely. This should be about 10 click/treats (break the treats up small) then try taking one step and click for loose leash. It is really slow going but it does work. There are several other methods for teaching loose leash. Here is another method, http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/LLW/index.html

I've used White Pine Outfitters for years and love their product. I use the limited slip collar (it's a martingale) and have one for each of my basenjis.

http://www.whitepineoutfitters.com/

This is the nicest feeling new product I've ever put my hands on. (Well worn leather is hard to beat, but takes a while to get there.) The collars won't break hair or discolor the fur when it gets wet. And last forever if nobody uses them as a chew toy. I used another brand for years, but when I got one of these, I never looked back. I don't know of anyone who has been disappointed in this product.

They also have harnesses, but I haven't used used harnesses on my dogs.

As far as your training goes, is she getting her exercise before your walk or are you expecting the walk to be her exercise?

Hey Lisa, can you get the Easy Walk at like a Pet Smart in the States? or do they need to be ordered from the site?? Living in Europe makes these shipping things such a pain 😉

You can get it from PetSmart and Petco but not in the 'tweener sizes.

Thanks a bunch

Schouiffy, I have 4 Easy Walk Harness (size M, S) I only use them when I walk a dog at a time so have 3 available. If you want one just tell me and I will send it to you for shipping price!

One of mine tries to slip his collar, I use a gentle leader on him but have a link to a normal collar as well.

For helping with the pulling, I second the Easy Walk Harness. I got some a while back and they are very helpful. Most of the time I still prefer regular collars though. A good martingale or limited slip should be better at keeping in your dog than a harness. Just make sure the collar is adjusted well. The Premier collar is a martigale:

http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/collars/other#premiercollars

Thanks for the tip Lisa, I didn't know they made "tweener" sizes now! I have mediums, and it's doable, but a close call for little girls. I don't like how narrow the webbing is on the smalls, so nice to see they have something in between with a bigger web.

If you're worried about chafing, I recommend walking harnesses that are made by weight pull harness makers. Not sure how good these are for escape artists though?

http://www.weightpullharness.com/Wal…Harnesses.html

http://www.itsmysite.com/cgi-bin/its…&webdir=cdpits

@bcraig:

Thank you for the link to the web master harness. Does it do anything to prevent pulling? Also, are we wasting our time trying loose leash training on our Basenji? Do they just pull all the time and that is that?

For pulling I don't think the web master really does much for correcting the pull, but it does provide more comfort to you and the dog; one wonderful benefit of it is a handle that you can quickly grab your dog out of any sticky situation it can get in (I've had to do this a few times). Also having dealt with much stronger dogs than basenjis (I do know how strong a basenji is though, they are quite strong little buggers) in the pulling angle I would go with the web master harness hands down over any other harness. The Easy Walk harness is a good tool also to help with teaching to walking, but if your girl is hardheaded about slipping a collar she could slip an Easy Walk or any other standard harness.

If you are looking to go for loose leash walking you can look into the Gentle Leader and start from there. It is a head collar and has the same concept as horse halter - where the head goes the body will follow. This is a training tool and make sure you read the book and watch the dvd also, but dogs can do wonderful on the gentle leader when used correctly.

The first step though is always remember PATIENTS and TIME is key especially with hard headed stubborn breeds. Basenjis aren't dumb, they just want to do things their way and you have to find they way to work around their thinking.

Have you maybe considered a obedience class for you and her? Don't think that she's untrainable, they just take more patients and a little more finesse LOL

If you are looking to go for loose leash walking you can look into the Gentle Leader and start from there. It is a head collar and has the same concept as horse halter - where the head goes the body will follow. This is a training tool and make sure you read the book and watch the dvd also, but dogs can do wonderful on the gentle leader when used correctly.

The first step though is always remember PATIENTS and TIME is key especially with hard headed stubborn breeds. Basenjis aren't dumb, they just want to do things their way and you have to find they way to work around their thinking.

I would highly recommend the Gentle Leader (speaking as a prior B owner and a current horse owner/trainer). It is a no-combative and gentle way to help teach your B to walk with you… not 20 leagues ahead of you sprinting left and right every-which-way. HOWEVER, timing is everything. Watch the video (comes with the head collar) and read the information. Just like clicker training, your timing has to be spot-on or they learn to pull against it also.

Keep up the patient work and remember, you can convince a B to work with you and not against you. Although in their mind, the "against you" is much more entertaining for them. grin

http://www.woofandwag.com/servlet/the-1/Puppia-Dog-harness,/Detail

I use a Puppia harness for Shelby. It's been a life saver since she does like to pull a bit. I can guide her much much easier. We don't leave home without it.

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