We watch their food source, feed them vegies and bones, keep the toxic flea and worm chemicals to a minimum, titre test to stop over vaccination and after all that, the plain old classic dog collar lets us down.
Here’s the thing. If a dog puts ANY pressure on a lead then they shouldn’t be in a collar when we take them for a walk. There’s a great book to solve problems you have with your dog on a lead – I’ll put it at the bottom of the article.
Think about it horse people, if your dog is pulling on a collar around their neck, their head is in the air, their back is arched the wrong way and their back end isn’t working properly – exactly the kind of posture that we know causes joint and muscle problems in a horses.
I’ve seen dogs that were looking at major surgery, fixed by working with their human while they are leading them on a chest halter and while the human is in the same good posture that we teach here for good horsemanship. Our Maremma Lily Bear is a great example of the healing possibilities when we walk our dog in a chest halter with good posture.
How does OUR good posture affect the dog’s posture? Because good posture is contagious! lol! It’s a bit weird, but they just seem to copy us when we’re in good posture. I’ve taught quite a few humans to do this type of leading from the chest instead of the neck with their dog and all the dogs reacted in the same way. The dog changed their posture for the better too AND then they started to develop stronger muscles in the back legs and that created healing possibilities that hadn’t existed before.
Lily Bear has deformed back legs from poor breeding and at six months old she was so lame she didn’t want to put one back leg on the ground and the other leg wasn’t too good either. I didn’t think she would make her first birthday.
Robyn Hood of T Team fame taught me how to teach Lily Bear to lead differently from the chest and later on I bought a chest halter. I applied my horse training ideas of connection, communication and good posture to the chest leading – and within weeks, she had built up muscles differently and wasn’t lame any more. The legs are still at weird angles, but the good muscle that she’s built means that she copes with the weak legs so much better than I ever thought possible. She’s now rising 7 years old.
Effortlessly powerful posture is one of my passions – whether it’s our posture, our horse’s or our dog’s. Regular readers shut your eyes for a minute, or you’ll be sick of hearing me talk about how emotional stress causes muscular tension that causes posture problems – with irregular joint wear and inflammation the eventual result. With the interconnectedness of the whole body there’s a lot more than joint and muscle problems too, but I don’t have time to go into all that in this one article. 🙂
The solution to poor posture is NOT to stand up straight and pull your shoulders back like we were taught at school. In fact that is the opposite of good posture. Our speciality here is attending to posture in such a way that is becomes effortlessly automatic and creates opportunities for healing that simply are not there when muscles are tense and joints are grating on each other.
If you’re a horse person and want to know about effortlessly good posture for yourself so that you can help your dog AND your horse at the same time, then Foundation for Riding Excellence, the riding seat improvement program will give you that posture.
And the best dog training book EVER. The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell