Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What sort of harness or collar is good for a dog who pulls on the leash?

Dogs that pull on the leash is the second most common thing that people ask me about. Second only to housebreaking. If you have a dog that pulls on the leash there are loose leash walking techniques that you can learn. I will be happy to teach you how to train your dog to walk properly on a leash using these techniques.

For a dog that is really bad about pulling, in addition to the loose leash walking techniques, I also suggest a no-pull harness.

There is a difference between a no-pull designed harness and a traditional flat harness.

The green and black and the orange and black harnesses pictured above are both flat harnesses. The orange and black one is a mesh comfort harness. Both of these are good for their intended purpose which is to distribute the pull from the leash across the body rather than at one point on the neck ( as with a flat collar). They do prevent choking. However they offer no resistance to pulling. They actually tend to encourage pulling because the dog gets no resistance.

There are a couple of options that I recommend for no-pull harnesses:
The Petsafe Easy Walk is a very good solution. The handsome Labrador in the picture is sporting an Easy Walk harness. It has a D-ring in the front of the collar. The d-ring in the  front is attached to a buckle that pulls the two nylon pieces in the front tighter when the dog pulls, thus giving the dog resistance. When adjusted properly, the harness does not really squeeze the dog it simply gives him resistance. The Easy Walk is the harness that I used to teach Copper proper loose leash walking technique. It is a really good product however, my experience has been that it does not fit all dogs properly. The other caution I will give you for this harness and pretty much any no-pull type harness is that they are only for walking. After the walk they need to come off because the dog can easily chew them up. Copper chewed up two of the Easy Walks because I neglected to remove them after walking.

The Beagle in the picture is wearing a typical no-pull harness that is available in many different brands at your local pet stores. It has a little bit of mesh in the front but it is different than the mesh flat harness. Notice the padded strings that attach to the mesh and go behind the little beagle guy's front legs. These strings are attached to the d-ring to which the leash is attached. When the dog pulls, he feels resistance on the strings. When adjusted properly, this does not hurt him, he simply feels resistance. This is the type of harness that I am using now to train Cody, our newest addition to the pack. This harness is generally about half the price of the Easy Walk and seems to fit a wider range of dogs. The Easy Walk is a little easier to get on and off the dog, however.  I will give you the caution again that this harness needs to come off  the dog after a walk. They will chew this one too!
The brown collar here is a martingale collar. These are very popular with people who own sight hounds (or greyhounds). The reason they are popular is that they do not easily pull over the head. This is important with the sight hounds because typically the neck is wider than the head. After your dog stops pulling as much, you may want to transition him to a collar for walking. The martingale is a good choice. When adjusted properly, the martingale fits snug when the leash is pulled but does not choke the dog. I have a martingale on Copper. I have the leash connected directly to the martingale most of the time when we walk. It took a while to make the transition.

These are the products that I have used in training many times and I know that they work. There is a new product that I have heard nothing but good things about from people I respect. That product is the Walk-in-Sync harness. It is a little more expensive but seems to have the advantages of the Easy Walk while fitting a wider variety of dogs. If you are interested you can find more information at http://dogwalkinsync.com/ . At some point later on, I will test this product and post the results on this blog. The black lab in the picture is wearing a Walk-in-sync.
If you have a dog that pulls on the leash and/or is not well behaved on walks, please contact me at any time. I will be happy to help you!

Till next time


William Moore
William Moore Canine Training

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