As a dog walker, I often find myself walking 4 to 5 dogs at a time, sometimes even 8 to 10! That might sound overwhelming for a lot of people. My wife doesn’t understand how I do it. She often becomes overwhelmed at the thought of walking our two well behaved dogs by herself.
If you would like dog handling tips and lessons, I would be glad to set up training sessions with you. However, there are tools at your disposal to help you master an easy walk.
Maggie & Molly will model most of these below.
Everyone I know owns a standard collar. They come in different materials like nylon or leather, but it simply buckles or clasps around the dogs neck and provide a point of connection for a leash.
This is a great place to start. If you have a low to mid energy dog with good temperament you should have no problem walking a dog with this basic collar. This is not ideal for those who have dogs who pull.
British Style Slip Lead
This is actually even more simple than a standard collar because it’s a collar and a lead all in one. A good slip lead has some sort of adjustable stop so that the leash will remain at a certain fit even when in a relaxed handling position.
For dogs that pull, a slip lead may be a great tool. If you position the lead at the top of the neck just under the jaw line of the dog you now control the head of the dog. If you’ve ever watched a dog show, this is where they place their slip leads. It keeps the dogs head high and confident and gives you ultimate control over the the dogs direction.
However, without proper handling technique (knowing where to position the dog, when to apply pressure and when to relax) you may still have problems with a dog who pulls.
Choke chains and prong collars are a more extreme version of the slip lead. I have not personally used them because, in my experience, other options seem seem to work equally as well with less discomfort for the dog. However, if you use this equipment and are still not getting the results you were hoping for, please contact me for a consultation. I’d be glad to point you in the right direction.
Not all harnesses are created equal. In fact, not all harness are created for the same reason.
Often people who are having ‘pulling problems’ will go out and buy a harness, but without the right information you could make the problem worse.
Maybe you haven’t mastered the walk and you are tired of pulling at the neck of your dog. You feel bad because she seems to be constantly out of control and choking himself/herself. So you run to your local pet shop and grab the first harness you see. This could be a problem!
Yes, you’ve alleviated the pressure from the neck, but you’ve equipped your dog with a tool that actually makes her more powerful! A traditional dog harness was designed so that a dog could use it’s body to pull a load (dog sled, cart, bike, etc). So if you put a pulling dog into a traditional harness, you’ve just further complicated the situation and made her ever MORE POWERFUL.
These harnesses are great though for dog sports like bikejoring (which is when a dog or dog team pulls a bike) and dog sledding. They can even be used as a safety harness during transport in your car. I also often use them while training off leash by connecting a drag line to the harness. Then if I have to stop the dog quickly by stepping on the leash, I don’t jerk the dogs neck.
So a traditional harness is a great tool if used in the right setting.
Easy Walk Harness
This is the harness you want if you have a pulling pooch. This harness was not designed to help a dog pull a load. It was designed for the dog to pull itself to you.
This harness connects the lead to the front of the dog on a d-ring that pivots from side to side. When your dog pulls away from you, it is automatically brought back towards you through the physics of the harness.
Information, pricing, and size chart available on the PetSafe website, here.
If you have a serious puller and don’t want to invest in training, then your last resort purchase would be a gentle lead head collar or halti head head collar (face/nose lead). This attaches to the face of the dog (much like you would see on a horse) and directs the nose with precision. The dog cannot and will not pull in most cases. This is not necessary for all dogs, but some dog owners swear by them.
Again, If you would like dog handling tips and lessons, I would be glad to set up training sessions with you. You may find, that with the appropriate training, a standard collar is all you need.