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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Harnessing energy

I have a five-month-old black Labrador bitch, Holly, who is gorgeous and a really good girl except for one thing: she pulls on the lead. My children are nine and 11 and they are finding it too hard to take the lead when we go on a family walk, and I admit I’m struggling too. I do most of the walking but it would be nice for the kids to be able to walk her too.

A friend suggested getting a harness. Would this help and can you recommend a good one?

Thank you in advance.

Hayley Gower, by email

13 comments:

  1. Mekuti or Tellington Touch are good. Have D rings at front for more control of the dog and help stop pulling. Come with instructions to get you started.

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  2. Hello, I am a dog trainer and I work a lot with the XtraDog walking fleece harness. They are very comfortable for the dog and have two attachment points, one at the top like most harness, but also one at the front. When use with a double ended lead (so you can clip on both rings), they are great to help dogs walk in a more balanced manner, rather than putting all their weight forward when walking, which results in pulling on the lead. It's not easy to explain in writing, much easier to demonstrate. I hope this makes sense.

    And remember that whichever piece of training equipment you use, practise, patience and consistency are the key. Good luck with it all.

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  3. A halti is the best purchase you will ever make with a lab!Our boy is coming up for 2 now and for the first year he was a nightmare to walk however after a bit of research online we discovered the halti and haven't looked back since,no pulling whatsoever!You can pick them up on ebay for less than £10 or pets at home sell them too but they are a little overpriced.A word of warning though she probably wont like wearing it at first and our boy spent weeks trying to rub his face on the ground or against bushes to get it off so just be careful she doesn't end up with a grazed nose :)

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  4. No, in my opinion a harness will not solve the issue on pulling.The Lab must first be trained not to pull. when your dog starts pulling give him/her a little tug on the lead.Keep doing it until the dog understands not to pull.
    Hope this helps
    marc from London

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  5. Hi!

    I have 2 labs & a weimaraner, all of whom used to pull like crazy & have a neck injury which was exacerbated by the pulling. Tried every harness on the market. Then I came across a 'Gencon' I can now walk them with ease and pain free. It is truly a fab trainin aid, I now just have to show my dogs the Gencon, and I have them walking perfectly relaxed and on heel, with no pulling. My 5 year old nephew is also able to walk with me and the dogs without being pulled over.

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  6. You could try a Halty. Its a bit like a bridle, it doesn't hurt and is very effective.

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  7. Halti or head collar good. Do make sure you introduce the head collar slowly and desenstize the dog to it. Feed treats through it , put it next to dish at feeding time, put on and take off straight away and get dog used to wearing it for longer periods before you use it to take them out wearing it.

    If you want a harness try Perfect Fit from Dog Games web site. Sturdy, fleece lined, comes in 3 separate pieces to ensure perfect fit. If you get the one with a 2 point fixing, back and chest, and use a training lead like Makuti, this will give you better control. Staff very helpful.

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  8. The law states that on a public highway (any road used by the public), a dog must wear and identification tag and attached by a lead to a person not less that 16 years of age, so it would be illagal for your children to take the lead anyway. It takes a bit of googling to find this tho'.

    Having had reactive and very nervous dogs in the past, 'children' unable to control a dog or properly understand what's going on, is a major gripe of mine.

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  9. We were told a harness would make it.more likely that our lab would pull, since it removes the pressure from their.necks and spreads it accross their.chest instead.
    We've just kept on with trying to train.her to heel and she's getting it about 90% of the time now and is 7 months old.

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  10. First off, the days of jerking a dog to 'teach' it not to pull are thankfully starting to disappear. Tugging or jerking the lead can be damaging to the dog's spine, neck and wind pipe. Far better to train the dog to want to walk on a loose lead and together with rewarding the dog when the lead is loose, much of the equipment mentioned can help with this training.
    I often recommend a Halti Harness. It has a link at the chest plate area. If you connect the lead to this link any pulling results in the dog gently being guided back to your side. Also it has a link on the back which is great when you want her to run off and sniff and generally be a dog, in the park for example. You then still have an element of control with a long line connected or a training lead.
    The Halti Harness gives you a contrast between lead on front...no pulling, lead on back... she can pull when she wants.
    Equipment such as harnesses and head collars can be useful in providing management and control whilst training. It helps keep the dog out of trouble, enables the handler to relax a little and therefore makes the training possible. If equipment makes life easier and enriches the dog's life without any harsh corrections, then use it.

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  11. Any tool or piece of equipment you use to "get" your dog to stop pulling is only a band-aid, at best. The one, long-lasting, foolproof way to teach your dog to walk nicely on a loose leash is training. A good, force-free training class - such as one run by a member of the APDT and/or PPG will show you safe and humane methods to teach your dog the skills Holly needs to keep in step with you, and to ensure your children can continue to hold the lead while out on walks (and under your supervision, as per UK law). Training isn't a "magic cure", and will take time, but it will be so worth it for the next 12 or more years of Holly's walks with your family.
    https://pawsitivelytraining.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/do-dogs-pull-in-harnesses/

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  13. I, too, would be careful about letting children walk dogs especially the size of a lab. I have had dogs for nearly 40 years and have had instances of meeting children walking dogs who cannot control them mainly because of size. If a dog is highly trained then children can control them, but dogs will see another one and want to say hello. I have seen children pulled over and dragged even while an adult was nearby. It happens too quickly for the adult to assist unless the dog is well trained and responds well to verbal distance control. If the child ends up frightened and covered with mud - no lasting harm BUT if near a road the consequences could be disastrous. Take dog and children to training classes where the instructor trains you and the children and you train the dog. That way the bond between you all grows and control is much improved. Head collars are great for large dogs. Good luck but please be safe. Margaret

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