Dog body language is important. Dog body language illiteracy is partly why his well-meaning fans haven't driven Cesar Millan off television. It's why countless dogs' suffering is ignored or re-branded as power plays or manipulation. It's why good people laugh at "guilty dog" memes rather than expressing outrage that a terrified animal is passing for entertainment. It's why people aren't sure whether their dogs' play is safe or not. It's why people miss warning signs and are bitten. And on. And on.
iSpeakDog is the brainchild of Academy student and writer Tracy Krulik. Its aim is to up our body language literacy. This week is iSpeakDog Week and The Academy is thrilled to be partnering with Tracy to help to spread the word about accurately interpreting dog body language.
There's a ton of content in the site, including this nifty image generator.
From September 19th to 25th, 2016, The Academy for Dog Trainers hosted "Harness The Love" week. This all-out social media blitz was a way for us to highlight and promote the use of no-pull harnesses. Participation was through the roof and we are so very grateful to everyone who contributed.
We were delighted to see so much participation in the form of blogs, posts and videos. Though Facebook is our primary platform, we saw over 160 posts on Instagram that week using the hashtags #HarnessTheLove #HTL and #academyfordogtrainers. We were thrilled to see posts and photos using our logo generator by so many trainers—both in and outside of The Academy—but perhaps even more thrilled to see posts by dog-loving, harness-using members of the public, not to mention rescues and shelters like Weimaraner Rescue of The South, Pitty Love Rescue, Inc., West Coast Cocker Rescue, and Women's Humane Society.
For us, the most exciting part of all of this was seeing actual behavior change. People were asking questions, conversation was happening and dogs were being walked on harnesses. We saw conversations like these all over the interwebz:
"Do you sell the harness there ?"
A Place for Paws "Yes, we do. Would it be for your new guy? Not really a surprise that a husky would pull!"
"I just got back from the best walk with Sophie and Murphy I've had in 3 years. Why? I bought the no pull harness last night for Soph and it was AMAZING! Pure pleasure, thank you Tracy Krulik!"
"... I will be shopping for one for Oliver who thinks he is a sled dog and it is his job to pull his people when we are quite capable." West Coast Cocker Rescue "They have them at Tisol. 'Easy Walk' is the best one we found ...around $35/$40 but they really do help. Sarah used to use them on the real PULLERS back in the early days!!"
"Thanks we have a Tisol in Langley. I will go get one this weekend."
And our favorite kind of comment:
"We got ours today!"
We were also thrilled to see super sticky and simple posters, like the one below created by Academy staffer, Sarah Pennington of Yaletown Dog Training.
Blogs are such a great way to reach people and we had no shortage to share! Below is a list of blogs written for HTL week. Bookmark these and keep them handy so that you can share them again. So much great information on the benefits of no-pull harnesses and the brands available. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write a blog for this specific purpose! You helped open people's minds and change dogs lives!
The Academy for Dog Trainers is excited to announce the launch of Harness The Love, an initiative that highlights the benefits of no-pull harnesses.
Starting today, Monday September 19, 2016, use the hashtags #HarnessTheLove, #HTL and #academyfordogtrainers to help us flood the interwebz with images of happy dogs and people enjoying walks without the use of precise heels or painful collars. (See below to find the logo and how-to for adding it to pictures). If you are a blogger, find a post about no-pull harnesses and share it, or write up a new one. We will be monitoring the social channels that are using those hashtags and sharing content.
There are many benefits to using no-pull harnesses, not the least of which is that many dogs need little to no training for the harnesses to work: pulling decreases as soon as they realize that it gets them turned around and facing their owner instead of closer to the hydrant they were heading for! No-pull harnesses do not put pressure on dogs' necks and throats, which is safer for your pet (read more here and here). For the human end of the leash, no-pull harnesses can be a gift as soon as you step out the door: decreased pulling means less chance of injury to you.
Loose Leash Walking is a skill that dogs learn, and no-pull harnesses are a great tool to help move the process along. As dog trainers, one of the complaints we hear most often is "how do I get him to stop pulling?" Here's a couple of neat videos if you need some guidance on how to get started!
We'd love to see your dog or your client's dog stylin' in some no-pull gear! Use the generator and the hashtags #HarnessTheLove, #HTL and #academyfordogtrainers and you and your dog may be featured on The Academy's Facebook page. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible to help them understand why the switch to a no-pull harness is the way to go.
Check out this great video by our friends at the San Francisco SPCAabout the use of harnesses, other training tools and the effectiveness of rewards-based training in general. Join us this week and Harness The Love!