Pulling for Harnesses!

dog pulling

When it comes to walking your dog, how do you know what tools will work best? With all of the different options out there, it can be tricky figuring out how to keep you and your dog safe and happy on walks around town. Many dogs pull and lunge at the end of their leash whether it be towards a squirrel, another dog, or something that smells delicious in the grass. In most cases, aversive tools like choke collars and pinch collars will increase the fear of or aggression towards whatever your dog is pulling towards (or away from in some instances). This can also lead to increased anxiety towards you if after pulling, your dog feels pain or discomfort and then attributes it to you being at the other end of that leash! Even more important is the health concerns of using such collars. Both pinch and choke collars can cause damage to the trachea or neck. So how can you stop your dog from pulling and lunging? There are many positive tools to use in order to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with your dog while maintaining control. My personal favorite is the front clip harness. It puts no pressure on the neck and controls the momentum of your dog in a way that simply turns them back towards you when they pull forward. My favorite is the Sense-Ation by Softouch Concepts (http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ation-harness), but there are other good options out there. Another tool that is still better than aversive techniques if is the Gentle Leader by PetSafe. I rarely recommend the use of these simply because they can easily be misused and can also cause neck damage if the dog continues to pull with it on, or if you pull them. In addition they take a lot of desensitization for most dogs who are not used to having something over their muzzle. The most important and effective tool for walk etiquette is training! Distract your dog with treats and try to stay as far away as necessary from the things that trigger your dog to pull or lunge. Start at whatever threshold they can handle and ask for a sit with a nice juicy treat in their face (and your body in between your dog and the distraction to block any reaction) until whatever distractions goes away (or until you walk away from it if necessary). Then slowly move closer and closer to distractions until your dog can handle them close up!

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