Animal Behavior Wellness Center only recommends humane equipment for use with your pet. If we recommended alternate equipment for your pet’s specific behavioral concern, it will have been included in the homework section of your discharge summary.
Leashes, collars and harnesses:
The Gentle Leader is a style of head collar that can be used to help manage pulling or reactivity on walks. It can be highly effective - however it does take longer to train dogs to wear one comfortably. Be sure to gradually and positively train your dog to wear a head collar.
The Freedom Harness is a unique body harness that can be used to help manage pulling or reactivity on walks. The leash has one handle with 2 clips: one attaches between the shoulder blades and one on the front of the chest. When pressure is applied to the harness, it is evenly distributed to both attachment points. The martingale on the back snugs up, making it physically more difficult to move forward. The front clip helps redirect the dog back towards the handler and away from the object. Remember to purchase the harness/leash combo, or both a leash & harness (if sold individually) since they are designed to work together.
"Houdini-Proof" Houndstown Convertible Harness A unique, customizable, fully adjustable, 3-piece harness! Perfect for hard-to-fit bodies and our beloved escape artists. Features an over-the-head design, adjustable shoulder, chest, and yoke straps, and a third waist strap for the highest in safety, giving the perfect fitment and control for any pup in need of a little extra control or protection against neck pressure. Matching accessories, such as leashes and collars, are also available.
Muzzles are a highly effective tool in managing aggression during training sessions or as an extra layer of safety. They also have the added benefit, for some patients, of ensuring other people avoid them during walks. Dogs need to be gradually taught to wear a basket muzzle.
The goal is to ensure the muzzle is a positive piece of equipment, much like their leash and collar, that predicts good things are about to happen. Muzzles should never compound or exacerbate your pet's anxiety.
The most common types of muzzles we use are:
Italian Basket Muzzles - designed for long, thin noses
Baskerville Muzzles - designed for wider, shorter noses
Short Snout Friendly Muzzles - designed for dogs with no nose bridge (Pugs, Bulldogs, Frenchies and some Boxers)
Custom Muzzles - designed for dogs that fall between sizes, have special needs, or just crave to express themselves with unique style and extra bling.
Slowly introduce the muzzle to your dog by filling it with high-value snacks such as spray cheese or peanut butter and simply holding/offering it to him/her as a "treat". Allow your dog to approach, lick the muzzle and retreat. Repeat this exercise frequently in order to build a positive association with the object. This is step 1 of muzzle training.
Visit The Muzzle Up Project for the next steps of muzzle training, lots of information about muzzles & their proper use, and debunking the stigma surrounding them.
If you need extra help with the delicate process of muzzle training, schedule a muzzle conditioning session with an ABWC Trainer HERE, which can be conducted remotely via ZOOM.
The public is well programmed to leave service dogs alone. One of the visual cues that indicate a service dogs needs to be ignored is their vest. While we can't put a "Service Dog" vest on our patients, we can take advantage of this psychology and use vests, leash patches and bandanas that say something like "In Training" or "Needs Space."
These machines are fantastic for helping dogs learn to stay in one spot and for giving intermittent reinforcement while you are otherwise engaged.
Cat specific equipment:
Veterinary staff-friendly cat carrier that easily opens from the top.
Place a comfortable, non-slip mat/bed in the bottom of the crate.
Cover the entire carrier with a large towel to reduce visual stimulation.
Carry the carrier like a "delicate gift:" against your chest with both arms underneath. Do not carry by the handle.
Break-Away Collar with a bell.
Placing one of these collars on the "bully" cat can help the victim cat easily recognize where he/she is located when moving around the house.
Cats feel most secure when they can climb high and survey their environment from above.
Ensuring your cat has plenty of locations to run and hide and relax will help prevent further anxiety and/or aggression.