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Things worth avoiding!

IMPORTANT: "Pack walks" (or - PLEASE watch this video: dog parks - and free-for all-style daycares), involving getting together with a bunch of other dog owners and walking a group of dogs that don't know each other together, off lead, while the owners socialise.


A) Domestic dogs don't form "packs" B) A group of dogs that has just met for the first time is definitely not a pack. Often the owners know very little or nothing about the health/temperament of the other dogs in the group, and interactions are rarely controlled or even monitored. Worryingly a lot of people with reactive/aggressive dogs will actually be advised to go on such group walks to "socialise" them! (with your dog as the target of said dog's reactive/aggressive tendencies!) The peer pressure to "let your dog join in" can be immense. Weaker/smaller/younger dogs get picked on, chased (see predatory drift), pinned, bullied, harassed and the owners tend to be oblivious or worse mistake it for play. Dogs can get injured (owners have been known to find puncture wounds on their dogs after returning home from these pack walks!).


These are to be avoided, with puppies or adult dogs, for obvious reasons. You might find people saying "oh but she gets so excited on her way to a pack walk" - mistaking adrenaline and anxiety for excitement/enjoyment. You'll often see people with their dogs on a lead in these pack walks while the other dogs are off lead, free to launch themselves at the on-lead dog who is effectively trapped. Way to get a lead-reactive, defensive mess of a dog. Domestic dogs prefer the company of their humans or a familiar, close canine friend to other dogs, especially a group of unfamiliar amped-up dogs in a high-adrenaline environment: stick to the kinds of walks that are good for your dogs' physical and mental wellbeing.


















Letting your dog run up to random dogs or people/asking random strangers if your pup/dog can meet theirs for the same reasons as above; also see the section on Socialisation



Advice from well-meaning but clueless people - these tend to crawl out of the woodwork to offer advice when you acquire a new pup, said dog/pup does anything at all to indicate it's a living creature and not a programmed robot, or even if you're simply minding your business on a walk but have an interesting-looking dog. From experience, such advice will often focus on "being the boss", insistence on trimming/shaving your Samoyed, demanding you let the dog off lead in wholly inappropriate situations, or demanding you let your dog meet/play with theirs (often these people have a dog with issues that they feel would benefit from meeting (biting?!) your dog, or would like their dog to teach your rambunctious young Samoyed "manners"). Some people can be very compelling and authoritative with their nonsense; don't let yourself be pressured into doing something you know you shouldn't and will regret. Come up with and practice get-outs beforehand (sorry, my dog is recovering from kennel cough/mange/...rabies...); (my trainer/breeder/vet said not to); (no hablo ingles) and just keep walking, don't be drawn into arguments/proving a point and upsetting yourself and your dog.



















Julius k9 harness or similar shoulder-restricting harnesses or no-pull harnesses, to put it simply these are like walking with a band around your legs. They were created for use by military and police to be able to lift and control working dogs during operations - not for walking them! Yes the customisable patch is great and everyone and his uncle uses one, but they're not worth messing up your dog's musculoskeletal system over. Use a harness with a Y front that sits clear of any moving parts on your dog. See Must-haves.















Haltis go around an extremely sensitive part of the dog's anatomy, filled with nerves and blood vessels. Like most aversive tools, haltis work by causing a dog discomfort, yet because they're so commonplace they don't get the (deserved) bad rap prong collars do. A walk is the best part of most dogs' lives, why ruin it for them? Early and consistent training is the answer to minimising pulling (or better yet getting a breed that wasn't bred to pull!), not painful tools and devices. 

Dog ball launcher - as discussed in the Exercise section, these are no good for joints.

Talcum powder - some people love using copious amounts of talc-based powders to make puppies smell good. Just avoid, talc inhalation can cause wheezing, coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing, and possibly cancer. 

Slip collar, prong collar, shock collar - you might hear all manner of arguments in favour of these, but the bottom line is that they make the dog do what you want by causing it pain. There are other, acceptable ways.

Seatbelt harness, boot guard - have a look at the Must-haves section on crash-tested dog crates for reasons to avoid these former options. GIFs below from



























Furminator - this type of comb shreds the dog's guard hairs (top coat) which it needs for insulation and dirt/water repulsion. If you need to work through a stubborn tangle use Banish dematting spray and a matt splitter.

Bones - harmful for these reasons. 

To keep your dog's teeth clean, use dog toothpaste and toothbrush regularly.

Washing up liquid! - for some reason this is often recommended to bathe dogs with. There are many excellent dog shampoos and products out there, avoid using something that has several health warnings on it!

Diatomaceous earth, rabbit ears etc. as "alternative dewormers" - the premise is that this somehow kills internal parasites such as hookworm and tapeworm by "drying them out". Yes, DE is applied to chickens to dry out mites on the skin. However - try holding a bit of DE on your tongue (actually don't), trust me it doesn't stay dry once inside the body, and a glob of wet powder or a bit of chewed up/digested rabbit ear is going to do nothing to a parasitic worm that has evolved very sophisticated organs for attaching to/laying eggs in/forming cysts in a dog's intestines, lungs, or brain. Worms such as heartworm, tapeworm etc are deadly, use veterinary-approved dewormers. 

"Nosodes" - again, please use veterinary products whose safety and effectiveness has been tested, diseases like parvo are a horrible way for a young puppy to die. Although there is some risk with everything, unlike infectious diseases, vaccine reactions are extremely rare and usually mild and transient.

A bad trainer/puppy class - sadly despite all the awareness being raised around positive methods being kinder and more effective for training dogs, there are a few trainers who will still insist on things like "respect", "showing the dog who is boss", "not bribing the dog", etc, or worse causing it pain and fear. You didn't get a puppy in order to hurt and scare her, you got a puppy to love and cherish as a family member for the short time she will be in your life. Please refer to the section on choosing an appropriate training class.


















































Outdoor dog coats - Even the best dog coats restrict movement to some extent and any part of the dog that is covered will experience restricted air circulation through the coat. A Samoyed really needs air circulation to the skin to keep cool when running around or just going for a walk outdoors, and will overheat otherwise. Beware of dog coats or poorly fitting harnesses/collars getting snagged in things while your dog is running around/paddling/swimming too; this can be dangerous. Yes, your Samoyed has a big coat that is going to get wet and muddy, but you knew this when you chose to have one. Use an outdoor hosepipe or portable Mud Daddy, towels, and of course blaster-dryer; your dog's comfort is worth the extra effort.

Flexi/retractable leads: These can tangle up around limbs and throats of dogs, snap, the winding mechanism often jams in dangerous situations, they can cause rope burns to both dogs and people...

Emmipet "toothbrushes": While the cosmetic difference these make may look impressive, they are useless and dangerous. Why? Because they fail to remove the decay/tartar from the gum line, which is where bacteria enter the blood stream of your dog and go on to cause kidney/heart/other vital organ damage. Brush your dogs' teeth daily for prevention and maintenance and leave the dental treatment to the vets. Would you trust your vet to groom your dog? No? Then don't look to your groomer for veterinary advice/treatment!

dog parks.jpg
Advocating for your dog during general interactions.jpg
dog harness.jpg
Choosing a trainer 1.png
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ret leads.jpg
retractable leads.jpg
EMMIPET 1_edited.jpg
EMMIPET 2_edited.jpg

First picture: Before Emmipet. 

Second picture: After Emmipet

Impressed? But wait - look at the zoomed-in gum lines in the third picture. This dog still needs dental treatment!

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