Flat Collars Risk Damage to Dogs’ Necks if They Pull or You Jerk the Leash

Don’t use leash jerks, and if your dog pulls on leash, walk them on a harness, as new research shows the potential pressure applied to a dog’s neck by the use of a flat collar.

New research published in the Veterinary Record finds that the pressure exerted on a dog’s neck by a flat collar when the dog pulls is enough to risk damage to the dog’s neck. The study, from scientists at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham, used a model to simulate the dog’s neck, and measured the forces applied when the leash was pulled. The study aimed to mimic the effects of a dog pulling consistently on a leash or the human tugging the leash (sometimes called a “leash correction”).

The results show the importance of teaching your dog to walk nicely on leash, using a harness if they do pull, and never using leash corrections.

The study tested a variety of eight different collars, including flat and padded webbing collars and leather collars, a rope slip leash, and a check chain.


The International Dog Behaviour Conference

The International Dog Behaviour Conference is online this weekend.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

This weekend, I will be speaking at the International Dog Behaviour conference organized by Victoria Stilwell. My talk is about Helping Dogs Be Happy (or Even Happier).

As well as myself, there is a wonderful line-up of speakers:
Victoria StilwellHolly Root-GutteridgeSarah FisherJ. Nicole SmithSherry WoodardSarah HeathClive Wynne I am really excited for the conference! You can find out more details of the Dog Behaviour Conference here.

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

Useful links:
Check out what the Animal Book…

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club May 2020

"The most thought-provoking book ever written on dog behaviour and training."

By Zazie Todd, PhD

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading a classic of the dog training literature: Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.

From the back cover,
"Generations of dogs have been labeled training-lemons for requiring actual motivation when all along they were perfectly normal. Numerous other completely and utterly normal dogs have been branded as canine misfits simply because they grew up to act like dogs. Barking, chewing, sniffing, licking, jumping up, and occasionally, (just like people), having arguments, is as normal and natural for dogs as wagging tails and burying bones. However, all dogs need be taught how to modify their normal and natural behaviours to adjust to human culture. Sadly, all too often, when the dog's way of life conflicts with human rules and standards, many dogs are discarded and summarily put to death. That's quite the Culture Clash."

This book (…

Beating the Boredom Blues: Sniffing Out New Opportunities for Dogs

7 scent-based tips to try at home - and the benefits for dogs.
Guest post by Sienna Taylor and John Binks 

For many dog owners, COVID-19 has positively benefitted their relationship with their dog.  Restrictions on human movement has involved us spending more time with our dogs, providing us with companionship and making us feel less isolated in these uncertain times.  Greater restrictions have also provided a newfound opportunity for dogs to spend more time with their humans! For a number of dogs though, changes in routine can be unsettling.

Here in the UK, we are currently restricted to exercising once a day only. With limited opportunity to walk our dogs and undertake less exercise, some dog owners may have noticed a change in their dogs’ behaviour. Pawing and nudging for attention, sitting and staring at you whilst you are working from home – sound familiar? My dogs’ favourite trick is to ‘say hello’ and bark during my video conference calls! When dogs are bored they tend to look e…

Fellow Creatures: An Excerpt from Wag

Over at my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures, you can read an excerpt from my book Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy.

When we get a dog, we imagine a long, beautiful friendship, kind of like a canine equivalent of walking off into the sunset to live happily ever after. But it doesn’t always happen.

In this excerpt from Wag I write about the importance of understanding dogs' needs, and how it helps us to make dogs happier.

You can buy Wag via my Amazon store,  via Indiebound (your local independent bookstore in the US), via your local Canadian indie, and in all good bookstores.

Photo: Krystian Beben/Pexels.

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Hag…

Why We Love and Exploit Animals: An Interview with Kristof Dhont and Gordon Hodson

"We recognized that we were creating the book, in large part, to benefit animals more than ourselves."

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Why We Love and Exploit Animals: Bridging Insights from Academia and Advocacy is a new volume co-edited by Dr. Kristof Dhont (University of Kent, UK) and Dr. Gordon Hodson (Brock University, Canada). This is a groundbreaking book that includes chapters by leading academics and animal advocates on our complicated relationship with animals. I interviewed Kristof Dhont and Gordon Hodson about the book.

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Zazie: Why did you decide to put this book together?

Gordon: We wanted to READ a book that bridged academia and front line animal activism, but it didn’t exist, so we decided to make it happen ourselves. Rather than write the book ourselves, however, we sought a true diversity of opinion, so we decided to play the role of editors instead, soliciting chapters from people we respected and admired. We are both academics and enjoy a…

Companion Animal Psychology News April 2020

The effects of quarantine on dogs, dog poop in history, the cone of shame, and wasps... this month's Companion Animal Psychology news.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

My favourites this month “Our drive to keep animals, dogs in particular, strikes me as similar in nature: Their simple presence, and their willingness to be touched, is viscerally satisfying." Dogs, at least, love home quarantine, by Alexandra Horowitz.

“If we are home all day, it totally disrupts what they would normally be doing with their schedule.” This Guelph Today article by Kenneth Armstrong, Consider how self-quarantine is affecting your pet, includes quotes from Dr. Lee Niel.

“You are not alone if you are having a hard time being at your best with your anxious dog.“ Life in quarantine with an anxious dog – 5 things I am doing by Suzanne Bryner.

“There are plenty of DIY projects waiting to be done and—while you’re stuck at home and if you’re lucky enough to have a dog—why not give DIY dog training a go? “ DIY dog trai…