For most SM dogs and dogs that do not have SM, a harness has got to be the preferred way of walking a dog (not one of the ones that pinches or restrains to prevent a dog jumping or pulling though -- for those kinds of dogs simply get a humane, front clip harness. :) I use these on all my cavaliers and our alsatian. Some SM dogs have more sensitivity if walked on a harness and are better on a collar but this is more unusual.
Alarming facts from a recent survey :
63% of the dogs examined had neck and spinal injuries.
78% of the dogs with aggression or over activity problems had neck and spinal injuries.
Of the dogs with neck injuries, 91% had experienced hard jerks on a leash or had strained against their leashes.
The study concludes that leash corrections, the dog forging ahead or a tethered pet hitting the end of a solid line may inflict spinal injury.
Excerpts from the above mentioned survey:
“During 1992 several Chiropractors, my students and I conducted a study of 400 dogs from different dog clubs in Sweden. Dog owners were offered a free examination of their dog by a chiropractor in return for their voluntary participation.
Those who volunteered to participate in the study had mostly ordinary dogs, in that owners presented them to us without any suspicion of spinal anomalies…Canine back problems are common. The result of our study showed that the chiropractors found back anomalies in 63% of the 400 dogs…dogs that “acted out” in other words, that exhibited over activity and aggression, 78% had spinal anomalies. Spinal anomalies seem to constitute an irritation that often results in stress reactions, aggression or fear.