Adopting an adult dog

You will not see who this dog truly is until he or she is in your home for a few months.   They will be insecure at first.  They have been uprooted from where ever their home was and really do not understand why they found themselves suddenly in a cage or a strange foster home.  Be patient and understanding.  But also set your boundaries.  I recommend getting a trainer as soon as possible to help you with the transition and creating a pack with your new dog.  You must be the master, the alpha, for the dog to successfully meld into your family.

Male vs Female

I think this is simply preference.  I have had both male and female dogs.  In my own personal experience, my female dogs were more nurturing to my kids.  I do believe if you are a multi dog household it is most ideal to have one of each.

Use of Collars vs. Harnesses

Your vet will tell you to only use harnesses.  The reason your vet says this is because most people do not know how to correctly use a training collar and he does not want you to damage the dog’s trachea.   I do not believe in a harness for large breeds as they give the dogs their strength.  Think about sled dogs and you’ll understand.

A harness will not damage your dog, however, it will damage you if they are not totally obedient and un-phased when they see another dog, cat, bicycle, bird, squirrel, butterfly, leaf or anything else that would make them want to chase.  I ended up having back surgery due to a chow and a golden in a harness.  You also have no control over what their head is doing.  If they choose to eat something they shouldn’t, then they will and you’ll find yourself sticking your hand down their throats to get it.

Easy Walker

This harness is good to help stop the pulling.  It tightens around the shoulder area whenever they pull.  However, it will not stop jumping and you have no control over anything they pick up off the ground.

There are pros and cons to each kind of collar.  In using any collar you must know what you are doing.  First you must be able to put 2 fingers between the dogs neck and collar to ensure it is not too tight or loose.

Snap Collars

Doesn’t damage trachea but doesn’t give much control.  They can pull easily.  When they pull the snap can come undone and bye-bye doggy.  Good for tags.

Buckle Collars

Doesn’t damage trachea but doesn’t give much control.  They can pull easily.   Good for tags and bling-bling.  My pit bull has a beautiful leather buckle collar with silver hearts and pink rhinestones.  Makes her look quite the diva.  This is my preferred collar with puppies.

Choke Collars

This is a training collar. It CAN and WILL damage the trachea if used incorrectly.  This collar must always be kept up directly behind ears and under chin above the trachea.  Take your hands and feel where the trach is and make sure the collar stays above.  I recommend having a trainer show you appropriate usage.

Prong Collar

This is a training collar.  Many people flinch at the thought of a prong.  If you have an excessive puller with a lot of power i.e., boxer, pit bull, doberman, chow, even golden, you may need this collar. When used correctly it DOES NOT hurt the dog.  It gives them the sensation of a bite, much like their mother’s bite letting them know to behave.  You can even get little rubber buffers on it so it does not pinch as bad.  However, it CAN and WILL damage the trachea if used incorrectly.  This collar as well must always be kept up directly behind ears and under chin above the trachea.  Take your hands and feel where the trach is and make sure the collar stays above.  I recommend having a trainer show you appropriate usage.  There are two types of prongs, quick release and regular.  I recommend the quick release as you put it on around the neck rather than over the head.  Additionally the prongs are less likely to loosen.

Gentle Leader

The concept of this collar is to take all the strength away from the dog.  Their power is in their shoulders and bottom of their neck.  It has one strap which goes over the snout like a muzzle snugly, then through a small ring under the chin and up around the very back of the ears at the edge of the skull.  You hook the leash on the ring under the chin. I will not use this collar on any of my clients’ dogs whether they have requested it or not.  I’ve seen too many dogs get the collar off their heads and take off.  All they have to do is take their paw and push the strap off the chin and you are left with only the chin strap.  I have also seen them do what I call alligator rolls to get them off.

  • With whatever collar you decide to use with your pet, please learn how to use them correctly and leash train your dog.  I find that dogs who follow their masters on the leash are better behaved in the home usually.  Good luck and have a wonderful journey with your new best friend.