Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by chelsey, Jul 9, 2013.
They're much bigger in person
Great pictures of Ace, you can tell he really loves it.
Here is a quick video of Wiley from a couple weeks ago at the seminar I mentioned above. These are the two bitework exercises required for his Brevet (entry level title) the face attack and defense of handler (and then an extra face attack with a a second decoy is on the vid too).
Here is a video of my dog at 20 months, he's 24 now. We've done the BH already, and are getting ready for an IPO1. Not a fancy video, it's something I did for the breeder because I am lax on videos of this boy.
And here is the new dude, who's original owners wanted to sell at 16 weeks.
So soon I will have videos of Icarus...
If I raise this thread from the dead, will you guys come play with me?
Let's start with any thoughts on using harnesses vs. collars for protection work... My dog already yanks me forward slightly when I fire her up (I am standing with my feet planted wide and bracing the lead behind one hip, I'm just weak). I've heard that a new handler with a strong/intense dog should avoid a harness because it's too easy to lose control... thoughts? My dog does not cough, hack, or have her tongue turn blue while working but she does get bloodshot eyes. I'm started to wonder if maybe a harness would be better.
I use both a harness and collar, it really depends on what I'm planning to train in that session. If I am holding the dog back and the decoy is agitating them etc I think a harness is better and it makes no difference to the control I have, but my dog has pretty good self control in bite work. We did a scenario style training session on the bite suit the other day and she was off leash the entire time so in those situations I don't find it makes a difference.
Are you using an agitation collar? The 2 inch ones are good for bite work.
Yes, I'm using a 2" wide agitation collar currently.
We have good control and obedience around the decoy but are still doing certain exercises where she benefits from either firing up beforehand or doing some drag up work, especially for targeting on the suit. So while she's definitely not spending most of her time putting pressure into the collar, she does still fling herself into it pretty regularly.
We use harnesses if the dog will be held back. I worry about the throat otherwise and I don't want to risk making bitework unpleasant, especially in drive building and grip work.
I personally would definitely use a harness in that case.
We're not really drive building any longer, and she definitely isn't put off by the collar pressure, nor she seem to suffer any physically effects outwardly but I wonder with such a physically insensitive dog if damage being done even if she's not hinting at it yet... I may ask to borrow a harness from a club member to see how it goes.
I usually work my younger and less experienced dogs on harnesses just to reinforce gripping behavior. I also typically have another line and a prong for control as we advance. So I think it depends on what you're working on. I typically don't use my collar and I don't have a lack of control with either dog on a harness. I think it just takes time to get used to using. And I've spent plenty of time holding back my almost 90lb male and psycho young female back too. We also will sometimes use the pole/post to tie the dogs on harnesses with to avoid any mistakes. I'm just not as keen to the idea of all the weight of the dog being put on the neck when it could be spread out more evenly with a harness.
Yeah that's how I'm starting to feel too. Plus I don't like the agitation collar I have anyway. lol
FWIW, I would also consider how the dog is thinking with each tool. Such as with some dogs the unpleasant pressure will fire them out of clarity.
That is definitely possible with this dog and a good thought, thank you.
We've started using X back sled harnesses instead of leather agitation harnesses because we found that some dogs who push hard into the chest plate, where there might not be a perfect fit have trouble breathing when in tension. Our decoy guy was like OMG wrong and was sure the rope tag would break - but he has no idea the drive and strength of a sled dog in full pull. lol. My friend's beast of a mal (size wise, he's a big goofy oaf of a dog) broke a bungee line pulling in a sled harness for a bite. SO we bring both to training if there is a new dog, and if we hear that raspy breathing we switch to a different harness.
There are wide strapped agitation harnesses made by CanAm that work really nice. I find certain dogs do the best in those.
I don't care what people use. I've mostly always used a leather collar, unless doing leg and suit work. I know some people have a strong opinion one way or another on them, myself, I don't think it makes that much difference over all. In some cases sure, but generally not.
with harnesses I do notice a lot of handlers don't have much control, so when their dog goes to take the sleeve or pillow to the ground and munch or thrash, i think a collar is much more handy.
If a harness is choking a dog, it isn't fitting right and needs to be adjusted. I haven't seen any adjustable x-back harnesses and every leather one I've seen is. Xback also gives zero lateral contol, it just folds over the back. I have one and use it to have my dogs pulling things. I'd never use it for bitework and if I was the helper I wouldn't allow it to be used on a dog I was working.
they may be able to handle some stress, but don't kid yourself it is NOT the same. There is pressure at the start, and then once momentum is generated, the forces go way down and it's a relatively constant application of force and at the start there is often help in the form of pushing from the handler either by feet or skis, and if it's a sled, the load is spread out over multiple dogs.
Bitework is very jerky. Lots of maximal load, back down to nothing, back to maximal. There is no loss of tension by reduced friction and gained momentum, it's stretch to load, stop, and back down. Very different forces, very different effects.
slow steady applications of load tend to be far less destructive than sharply applied ones that are repeated.
the xback might hold up for a while, I'd never trust it over a well made leather harness with heavy duty rivets.
Do you do both sledding and bitework? Using an x back to "pull things" doesn't give you any experience with sledding, or the equipment we use, sorry...
We've been using them with no issues and the dogs can actually breathe properly over the session and have better endurance. We work on bungees lots and the line work we do isn't jerky as sledding. We keep the dogs in tension on a line and they have no reason to run to the end of a loose leash.. More give and take and tension and release.... Sledding is way more jerky - you have one dog being pulled by a team, and the startline at a race is just insane, there is way more repeated lunging at the end of a gang line (which is why it needs to be anchored by something the size of a truck) than a leash in bitework.....
We have well fitting x back harnesses for each dog, and own a range of sizes for friends (they don't have adjustment because there is no need for adjustment, they are made for the dogs' builds. Adjusting parts = weakness and something to rub on the dogs). I have excellent lateral control driving a dog in an xback because it is well fitting and doesn't fold because the harness stays in place around the ribcage. I can provide vid if anyone is curious. Most people who don't have access to sledding experts do NOT have properly fitting x backs. If you sized yours by your own measurements I suggest you get the fit critiqued by someone in sledding... Most people are wrong and surprised by the correct fit. If it is flopping over the back the xback is the wrong size. My issue with leather adjustments is the lack of adjustments... 3-4 holes on each size isn't enough. Yes I could add more but I can't be bothered.... I do use my leather on my male but my young female's narrower chest doesn't fill out the chest plate properly and it slides.. My amish leather harness from leerburg bottom piece wasn't sewn in properly and slides annoyingly, and I can't be bothered to send them another $100+ for a new one to replace it... hence the xback use..
We've converted multiple people with years experience in the sport we play (ring) who are now doing lifework on sled harnesses....
I'm not talking out of my a** here.. If you don't like the suggestion let it be and do what works for you, but to suggest it never be used in bitework ever is ridiculous...
oh boy, no I don't sled, though I did get to sit down with Dallas Seavy and talk sledding and wrestling and bitesports, but no, that doesn't make me an expert. I do know a bit about physics and beyond the start, I don't think the stresses on the harness are close to the same.
I do have both a leather and an xback, I don't see how an xback would fit better, unless you didn't properly fit the leather one, not every xback fits perfectly either. doesn't fit, drill a hole, it's not that tough. Xbacks do not have a handle, they do not have lateral support at all. Besides holding a dog back, they would be pretty useless. I do know a thing or two about bitework and there's a lot more happening than simple restraint. Give a dog a high target on a back tie and take it away, an xback would be wrapped around the dog with the dog jumps and wraps. Leather stays right where it is supposed to. I'm not talking out of my ass either.
Who are these lifers that now use xbacks in ring sport? I have probably trained with at least half the people in this country and one point or another that do Ring sports and i have never seen an xback harness being used. and if you want to use one fine, but you wouldn't be using one on me
Leerburg is pretty stand up when it comes to defective product. I have never been charged anything for a return. A lot of people i know get big ticket items from them for exactly that reason.
I went ahead and found an agitation harness with good reviews that only costs $45ish. I am concerned that it the chest plate may be big on my little Mal bitch but this harness is adjustable at all points so I'm hoping to make it work, and will use a hole punch if necessary.
I talked with our TD and he said that while a collar can be better for certain things (he also referenced dogs picking up equipment lying on the ground to give it a shake, like RTH) I have more than enough obedience/control to make that a non-issue. So we'll try the harness. My dog is not likely to spare her body or show that she's hurting, and sometimes her eyes look bloodshot after working, so I would feel better with her on a harness ultimately.
Our agitation harnesses are from Stillwater kennel supply. I don't love doing business with them but they were about 30 bucks and last. Sloan, at 57 w/a deep chest, can loan hers out to 5 month rottie puppies (which we did last weekend).
Just an option if a standard Mali size harness isn't working, these are made for pit bulls as "walking" gear.
Awesome, thank you for the tip!!! If I have to return this one, that may be my next option. It is frustrating with sizing... Blossom isn't "small" per the standard at all but she is lanky/narrow/skinny. I'm also stupidly picky (like, to the point it's illogical ) about how stuff looks so I back myself into a corner with equipment. I really like the look of the harness I bought, but if it doesn't work I'll compromise on appearance/materials (I prefer leather with fleece padding). $30 is a great price too.