If your dog pulls so much that it feels more like he’s walking you than the other way around, you are not using the right lead. Fortunately, reclaiming your spot as top dog is as simple as choosing the right leash and collar system.
A head halter looks similar to a muzzle and is specially designed to reduce pulling behavior in dogs. One strap loops around the back of the dog’s head, a second strap loops around his snout and the leash fastens to a ring at the bottom of the snout loop. The dog’s head is forced to move down or to the side if he pulls, which reduces his leverage and discourages him from pulling further.
A front-clip harness is the most common no-pull harness and is designed to reduce pulling behavior by redirecting the dog’s attention back to his owner. One strap on the front-clip harness loops in front of the shoulders, while a second strap loops behind the front legs and the leash fastens to a loop on the chest. Since the lead sits at the front of the dog’s chest, any pulling behavior from the dog naturally pulls him right back towards his handler.
A Horgan Harness uses pressure around the dog’s back legs to discourage pulling. One strap loops around the dog’s neck and a length of material stretches across the dog’s back to link the neck loop with padded straps that wrap around the dog’s back legs. When the dog pulls, the straps around his legs tighten and make it more difficult for him to continue pulling.
Zuba DreamWalker Harness
The Zuba DreamWalker harness also uses pressure around a dog’s legs to discourage pulling. Unlike the Horgan Harness that focuses on the back legs, the DreamWalker harness applies pressure to the front legs when he pulls. The DreamWalker looks like a traditional harness, but includes an extra cord that wraps around the dog’s front legs and is designed to constrict when the lead is pulled on.
Leash Training Tip
One of the biggest mistakes people make when walking a dog with a pulling habit is to inadvertently reinforce the unwanted behavior by continuing to walk. Each time your dog pulls on the leash, stop the walk immediately and do not continue walking until he has settled down into a calm state of mind. While this practice requires a considerable amount of patience and may keep your walks rather short in the beginning, your dog should eventually learn that pulling gets him nowhere, whereas calm walking leads to long, enjoyable walks.
Training collars and leads are designed for temporary use only and should be removed after each training session. Since some anti-pull devices can lead to serious injury or even death when used improperly, talk to an experienced dog trainer for advice about the right fit and use of training collars to reduce pulling.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.