Teach Your Puppy To Walk With A Head Collar
Every puppy is different
Some very large puppies will walk sedately beside their owners and yet other smaller breeds will strain at the lead, to the point where they’re balancing on their hind legs to gain maximum traction. The answer to whether or not to use a Canny Collar is that much depends on the dog, the person, the relationship between the two and the requirements of both.
The temperament of the puppy and the requirements of the owner are the main considerations. Some puppies respond very well to simply being called and encouraged along using just a normal, standard collar, whilst some people are quite happy for their puppies to pull them along.
If either of these sounds like you, then continue as you are until your puppy gets the idea or you feel the time is right to remedy the situation. However, if you are becoming frustrated and having problems walking your puppy in a way that benefits you both, then perhaps you should consider using a Canny Collar. More exuberant or distracted puppies can be helped to focus more and learn more quickly by wearing a Canny.
Teach lead walking early
We believe that it is best to teach a puppy the correct place to walk right from the beginning so as to prevent problems developing as the puppy grows to adulthood. The Canny Collar is widely regarded as a corrective device for dogs with an existing pulling problem but it is also a kind and effective tool for beginning your puppy’s training programme.
It is comfortable enough to be worn from day one and beginning his training this way means you can teach him exactly where you would like him to be on his very first walks. Within a short time you should be able to release the nose-strap periodically to check on his progress, replacing the nose-strap when further guidance is required.
Puppies who start using a Canny Collar on their first outings learn very quickly to walk without pulling, so that assuming the ‘correct’ walking position becomes second nature to them.
Ensure your collar fits snugly
It is important that the Canny Collar you purchase fits your puppy correctly, even if this means that as he grows older, he needs to move up to the next size. Do not buy your collar thinking of the adult dog he will become, it is essential for his safety and your peace of mind that the fit is a snug one to behind the ears.
It should also be remembered that puppies have an immature skeletal and muscular structure, so the usual care and consideration should be exercised in the application of whichever type of collar you ultimately decide to use.
Get your puppy used to the Canny Collar first
A head collar can feel strange to a dog that has never worn one before, a little bit like us when we wear a watch for the first time. To make wearing it a positive experience, get your puppy used to it over a short period of time before putting it on him.
Let your pup just sniff it at first and make this a positive experience by rewarding him with his favourite treat. Take the collar away and then a few minutes later, repeat the process. Perhaps do this three or four times a day for the first two or three days.
The idea here is to create a 'conditioned emotional response’ and make the Canny Collar a ‘predictor’ for then receiving a treat. Once your pup positively associates the head collar with the treat, he will associate the head collar with going for a walk and will look forward to having it put on.
Put the collar on your pup
The next phase will be to fit the collar part around your puppy’s neck and then put the slip line (nose band) over his nose by looping it over the back of your hand, in which you have a treat.
Put the treat into his mouth while simultaneously moving the slip line onto his nose with your other hand. Give him lots of vocal praise and/or patting.
Leave the nose band on for 5-10 seconds, take it off and again, give lots of praise. Repeat this a few times.
Start by walking in the house
Once your puppy is happy with the nose band on, get him used to walking with the Canny Collar on while in your house. This is where you spend 90% of your time with him and so it is the environment in which he feels the most comfortable and secure.
When you feel he is ready to venture outside, build up slowly by walking in places with as few distractions as possible and ideally familiar to your dog such as your garden, your street etc.
Good walking training for life
This progressive approach works well for puppies to start your training off in as positive a way as possible. We wouldn’t expect young children to immediately learn how to walk, read or ride a bicycle and it’s the same with our puppies. We simply need to take a little bit more time with our training.
By not expecting an instant result and investing more time at this stage, you will guarantee that your puppy learns good walking habits from the beginning and you both enjoy a lifetime of happy walks together.
But don't take our word for it. Meet Murphy....
"I was very unsure about buying this for my 5 month old Border terrier puppy, Murphy. I had been using a soft, body harness with him but he would pull so hard on that, it made him cough every time we went out. He would zig zag all over the place and walking him with my 6 year old Border was a nightmare.
It felt much too early for what I saw as a last resort, head collars were only for older, much bigger dogs I thought. How wrong I was! I thought he'd hate it but after a couple of minutes of puzzled head shaking, he was as happy as a puppy should be. He walked beautifully and it was a delight to get back from a walk with them without feeling frazzled, exhausted and miserable.
He now runs to get his collar on and go out as he knows it will be a positive experience. This has helped enormously with house training him too.
Please, if you have a young puppy who is very difficult to walk, buy a Canny Collar earlier rather than later. It will save both of you a great deal of stress and you will be able to enjoy your puppy. Thank you Canny Collar!"
Shelley Robertson, Witham, Essex, UK