Dog Collars : A Real Pain in the Neck
Collars, Leash Corrections and Pulling
Some dogs are pulling on collars and/or being harshly corrected daily, without even a thought for the damage that’s being done—physical or emotional. This post is focused solely on the physical, because the emotional side warrants its own spotlight.
Contrary to what some might believe, a dog’s neck is fragile and vulnerable to damage, just like our own. We’re sure you know how uncomfortable it is to have even a small bit of pressure on your throat; now, imagine how a dog that pulls or one that is being “corrected” feels. There’s no doubt that they’re experiencing higher stress levels as well as neck and back pain. Other issues like coughing, headaches, issues with eyesight, damage to the trachea and thyroid, can, and often do occur.
The neck houses so many vital things: the vertebrae of the spine, veins and arteries, the thyroid gland along with many nerves that carry signals throughout the body; any damage to this area is hugely detrimental to a dog’s health.
What can we do to prevent neck issues developing in our dogs?
- Use a quality, well-fitted harness instead of walking them on a collar. Our preference is for a Y-shaped harness that does not restrict movement in the shoulders or chest. Our favourite (by far), and the only harness we sell is the Haqihana. They’re an Italian company that manufactures superior quality products.
- Teach them how to walk nicely on a leash: this is one of the most basic—but important—things we can do for our dogs. Loose leash walking employs very simple techniques that enables both dog and owner to enjoy relaxed walks together. It also allows your dog to move around freely, exploring and sniffing as they go.
- Give your dog gentle massages to alleviate pain or discomfort. You can do this manually with your bare hands, or use a rubber “brush.”
- See a canine chiropractor.
- Provide them with a pillow or a cushion to support their necks when relaxing and sleeping. They enjoy elevated neck props as much as we do!
Please bear in mind that even if your dog doesn't pull constantly, it truly only takes one, or a small handful of incidences (i.e. lunging to grab secret sidewalk snacks) to do long-lasting damage.