Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 3 – Supplies (Part 6)
Chapter 3 – Supplies (Part 6)
Halters and Harnesses
If your puppy really pulls hard on the leash, if she jumps on people a lot, or if she’s a large, strong puppy and you’re having difficulty walking her, you may find a head halter or harness helpful.
Canine head halters operate on the same principle as head halters for horses. A nose loop on the halter gives you greater control over your puppy’s head. Control the head, control the puppy.
Head halters are not muzzles. Your puppy can still eat, give kisses, and drink while wearing a head halter.
Several different brands are available. Be sure that the person who sells you a head halter knows how to properly fit it. Your puppy may need some time to get used to having a loop over her nose. You can speed this along by offering her treats through the nose loop.
Harnesses are another popular option. If you have a flat-faced breed of dog such as a Pug or English Bulldog who has difficulty breathing in certain situations, a harness may be a better option than a regular collar because it doesn’t go across your puppy’s throat. A harness that has a hook in the back for a leash will not stop your dog from pulling. Think about what they hook Huskies up to sleds with—harnesses! Harnesses redistribute a dog’s weight across the back and chest so that your puppy will actually pull more efficiently. If she has an issue with pulling on the leash, try one of the newer harnesses that feature a leash hook in front. These are to teach puppies better “body sense” so that they don’t pull as much as they do with regular harnesses.
All puppies need identification in case they are ever lost or stolen.
The most basic form of ID is a tag. A variety of styles and colors of tags are available from which to choose. You can get one that hangs from your puppy’s collar. You also can get one that rivets to the collar itself, if you don’t like the jangling noise a tag makes. (This is also a good choice for very small puppies who would be weighed down by a hanging tag.) The tag should have your puppy’s name and your contact information. Be sure to include a phone number with voicemail that you check often. Also consider adding the word “reward!” It may offer an incentive should someone find your puppy.
A microchip is a small computer chip that is implanted under the skin between your puppy’s shoulder blades. It’s about the size of a grain of rice and has a unique code embedded in it. When scanned by a microchip reader, the code is displayed. You register the code with a company, providing them with your name and contact information. Several registration companies are available, with different prices and services; research them to find out which one best suits your preferences.
With the microchip, you will receive a special ID tag for your puppy’s collar with a toll-free phone number on it for your microchip registration service. When someone scans the chip, they can call the toll-free number and give the chip number. The registration service will then notify you that your puppy has been found.
A microchip is not painful for your puppy—once it’s inserted, she won’t even notice that it’s there. Each year during your puppy’s annual checkup, ask your veterinarian to scan the chip to make sure that it’s still in place and working properly. Consult your veterinarian for more specific details on microchipping your puppy.
Tattoos provide another form of identification. Some people choose this option because they want a visible, permanent ID on their dogs. If your puppy is stolen, for example, it will be easier to prove she is yours if there’s a mark on her that connects her to you. The tattoo is usually on a dog’s inside haunch, although some puppies, like those raised for service work, get tattoos in their ears. Choose a number that is unique to you, and a professional will tattoo it onto your puppy. Some registration companies that track microchips also will allow you to register a tattoo number in your puppy’s profile.
The ideal time to have this done is when your dog is under anesthesia. For example, when you neuter your puppy, ask your veterinarian to tattoo her at the same time. Anesthesia is not necessary for tattooing, but keep in mind that it can be a scary experience for your puppy to be tattooed while she’s awake. If several people have to hold her still, and someone comes at her with a loud machine that pokes her with a needle, she could be badly frightened. The procedure may even cause her to be afraid of people. So, if you’re interested in tattooing your puppy, talk to your vet to determine the best way to go about it.
If you choose to get your puppy tattooed without anesthesia, choose the person performing the procedure carefully. He should have experience performing the procedure, especially with impressionable puppies. Look for someone who is professional, friendly, and patient with your dog. Give your puppy plenty of treats throughout the procedure. Don’t fuss over her—this could make her even more afraid. Instead, calmly reassure her and act upbeat. The tattooing shouldn’t take long. Your goal is just to make the procedure as pleasant as possible.
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