If your dog is pulling you along when on the lead, then it’s not under your control – and he could injure his neck and shoulders as a result.
Have your dog attached to a suitable lead, which is also comfortable for you to hold. Position your dog by your left side; attract his attention with a favourite toy or treat, keeping your lead as relaxed as possible. As you move forward, continue to focus his attention upon you by using his name, encouraging words and command ‘heel’. As the lead tightens and your dog gets too far ahead, suddenly stand still and use the original word ‘no’. As the lead tightens, encourage your dog back to the original position and begin the training process again. Repetition and a consistent approach is key to success with this training method that requires patience but pays dividends long-term.
Traditional harnesses fit across the dog’s chest and back, providing pressure distribution which may enable them to pull more. Originally harnesses were used by dogs when pulling carts. Traditional harnesses generally encourage dogs to pull possibly because of the ‘opposition reflex’ which was first discovered by Pavlov in 1917 as the Freedom Reflex. It is the natural response to want to move away from something which touches the body. However, occasionally a harness will discourage dogs from pulling by applying pressure in places that discourage forward movement.
Rope or cord harnesses can be constructed by owners in emergencies to restrain their dogs for short periods. There are cord harnesses available which are often designed to stop dogs from pulling on leashes by exerting pressure onto the brisket by tightening as the dog pulls. There is a small risk of ‘rope burns’ particularly in thin coated breeds typically in their arm-pits because of the degree on movement here. This could be avoided if the harness is gradually introduced on short walks over a period of weeks but owners should be told to check their dog for signs of irritation.
Easy Walk Harness is the most innovative recent harness. The Easy Walk Harness key feature is that the leash attaches to the front of the chest. By using the front of the chest as the point of attachment if the dog pulls it turns itself toward the owner who can then easily gain the dogs attention. This is a similar principle to a halter which places the point of attachment of the leash forward under the dog’s muzzle. However with the Easy Walk Harness there is no risk of straining the neck and little risk of rope burns.