MemberDecember 21, 2017 at 4:24 am36
The Foundation Style training method can be divided up into 3 phases.
Phase 1 is purely positively reinforcement. The purpose is solely to teach the dog in this phase. We only use treats, toys, praise, and other form of rewards in this phase. So you should be fine training your dog in this phase regardless of what equipment you typically use with your dog. Phase 1 must be completed BEFORE you attempt phase 2 training.
Phase 2 is when we introduce the concept of consequence to our dog. In this phase we teach our dog how to escape from the correction and how to avoid the corrections altogether. This is where the collar/equipments you use matters. Certain tools makes this phase easier, while others make it harder.
The reason the prong/starmark type collar is ideal for this phase is because it is very “black and white” to the dog as to when they can feel the discomfort applied by the collar and when the discomfort have ceased. These tools also allow us to accomplish creating subtle discomfort with very little effort from us, allowing us to be “softer” with our dog.
However, if you cannot use these tools, other tools can also be used. The concept would remains the same.
For the Harness, instead of using a prong/starmark collar to “pump the leash” as a form of discomfort/correction as we typically do in phase 2 training, you would apply pressure onto the harness to create a noticeable amount of discomfort to your dog so he can see there is a consequence for breaking position (and that when he stay or return to position, he can alleviate that discomfort). The timing is the same.
With the harness as a tool however, there are a few downside to it. First, communication is much less clear compared to the prong/starmark. Sensation wise, it’s not as clear to your dog when he can feel the pressure of the harness and when that discomfort has ceased. The harness was not technically meant for this purpose. Thus, you would end up using much more effort in putting pressure on the harness in order to create a noticeable amount of discomfort your dog would be able to notice.
Secondly, the harness also lack the benefit of direction. With the prong/starmark attached to the leash, we have the benefit of guiding and helping the dog with certain position that can benefit from directional guidance. The down command for example can be helped during a correction with a collar that have a downward directional pull. The harness lacks the ability to give any directional help for the dog.
To be honest, I personally don’t think the harness is an ideal tool to teach your dog in phase 2 at all. I just wanted to answer your question and give you an idea of what it would look like if you do use the harness.
But I can be wrong. Maybe some one on here who have had success with the harness for phase 2 can chime in and help out. Maybe there are certain models of harness that is more beneficial for phase 2 training? Or technique/handling specific for the tool?
Have you considered using a Halti type collar (head halter) instead? I would recommend this over the harness.
It would make a great alternative for dogs that can’t wear collars. It is effective and communicate fairly clearly to the dog when used properly.
If you are interested, we do have videos here to show you how to properly use the head halter for our style of training.
Hope this helps, feel free to ask any other question.