Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Head Collars

Head Collars

There are many dog products out there to help assist humans in training their dogs.  Head collars are an excellent example of a tool you can use to help train a dog.  Remember that all these things are tools to assist in training, not something to get instead of training.

When you control the direction of a dog's head, you are more easily able to control the direction of the dog's body.

Head collars are helpful because they can give the human a high level of control while using far less physical exertion.  Many times head collars are mistaken for muzzles.  Only gentle pressure is necessary when using a head collar to teach a simple cue.  These are self-correcting collars for the dog, and one of the most humane and safest of training tools.  It is strange for a dog to put a head collar on for the first time.  It is best to let the dog slowly get used to it.  Start by holding the head collar and a treat.  Hold the treat in such a way that the dog has to place his head through the head collar in order to get the treat.  The first few times you allow your dog to wear the head collar, do so for only a few short minutes, making sure the dog has positive experiences in this time.  Then take it off until the next session.  After the dog begins to become comfortable with having the head collar on, use in training.  Do not unintentionally make your dog afraid of the head collar by moving too fast in its use.

Although there are many types of head collars, most people recognize one of the following three kinds:
1) Control Ease
2) Halti
3) Gentle Leader

All three of these types of head collars have a strap that goes over the dog's nose, to lead the dog.  Many times people have trouble understanding how to put these contraptions on their dog.  I recommend taking your dog to your local pet shop and actually trying a few out on your dog.  Remember to STAY CALM.  Again, have your treats so that you can pair the head collar with something positive for the dog.  If you have problems, ask an employee for help.  Read the directions before attempting to place the head collar on your dog.

All of these head collars offer your dog freedom of mouth movement, unless the dog pulls on the leash.  Your dog is still able to pant, eat, and drink, which is a big plus for your dog.  The head collar also offers the human the positive benefit of control.

This type of tool can be helpful for many owners, but I especially recommend them for people with very wild dogs that like to drag their owners, jump, or aggress towards other dogs or people.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Our dogs, like most everyone's dogs, like to stick their heads out the window in the car.  It's exciting outside the car window with all those interesting and new smells going by.  It is actually not very good for you to allow your dog to stick their head out the window of a moving car.  Many times dogs can get debris stuck in their eyes and can cause serious problems.  Our answer to the problem:  Doggles.  These are goggles made for dogs, and they're pretty cool.  Here are some pictures of our dogs sporting their new Doggles.

Nekita & Caravaggio with their Doggles.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Breed of the Month--Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Color:  Red wheaten to light wheaten
Height:  Males:  25-27 inches/  Females:  24-26 inches
Weight:  Males:  75-85 lbs/  Females:  65-70.5 lbs
Life Span:  10-12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  hypothyroidism, elbow and hip dysplasia, cataracts, dermoid sinus, congenital deafness, and cysts.

Coat:  Dense, sleek, short, glossy
Country of Origin:  Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia)

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

This breed is very well named for its symmetrical ridge that runs along the dog's spine.  Many breeds contribute to the Rhodesian Ridgeback including: the Khoikhoi dog, Mastiff, Pointer, Greyhound, and Bloodhound.  The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1959.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an excellent hunter, loyal, and an exceptional companion.  Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very loyal and protective of their family.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is very curious and must be given regular vigorous exercise to remain happy.  This breed is powerful and athletic.

Only the occasional brushing and rub with a hound glove is necessary.

Many people think Rhodesian to be stubborn, but they just bore easily.  Training must remain interesting and challenging.  Puppy socialization for the Rhodesian Ridgeback is essential.

The well know Ridge the breed was named for.