TeresaC wrote:I have successfully used the anti-pulling harnesses. The lead attaches to the front of the harness so they can't actually pull you forward. I have had success using the Easy Walk Harness.
My lab was a puller when I first got her and I used to wrap the entire leash around my back and shoulder to get some more leverage against her. lol. I've never used the Easy Walk Harness on my dog, but I have used it with small dogs and large breeds under 6 months old when teaching leash walking to some of our dog training clients. With the Easy Walk harness, we never do what we call the "drop and turn"; rather, we do more tight left/right turns into the dog's neck/shoulder area to change direction -- if the dog is paying attention, they won't get bumped by our leg, otherwise, they get a body check. Many people we teach are afraid they'll hurt their dog by doing this, so they make a huge circle when turning around to avoid bumping into their dog - this tells the dog the human is hesitant and isn't serious about a body check. Making sharp, 90 degree turns into the dog will help them build focus on you during a walk. Of course, with puppies, it's difficult since their attention span is literally 1-2 seconds...if even. lol. Doing left/right turns into the dog will take longer for the dog to learn how to focus and work for you on a walk versus the "drop and turn" method.
Since my lab was an adult at the time I got her, I utilized the "drop and turn" method on a slip chain. The "drop and turn" method won't work on an Easy Walk Harness - it'll hurt the dog instead. Every time I felt tension on the leash, I dropped my slack and took off in the opposite direction for at least 10 steps. If I had wanted to go in the direction I was originally going, I'd just make a left turn into her head to turn her around (since I'm right handed, she walks on my left). Her correction came from the slip chain and since I was 6 ft away from her, not looking at her nor talking to her, there were no hard feelings and in her mind, the correction didn't come from me -- the correction was because she wasn't paying attention.
With both methods that I described above, the goal is to get the dog into a working state of mind where they're focused on their handler - almost like dancing with your dog. The difficulties I personally had with these methods are:
-looking back after doing a "drop and turn" to see if she was catching up to me - in the dog's mind, it's me apologizing for correcting her in addition, she would know that the correction came from me; thus, bad feelings.
-giving a verbal correction prior to a correction (turn or "drop and turn") - gave her a warning so I couldn't really correct her effectively
The important thing with this method of leash walking is that we don't want to talk to them, touch them nor give them eye contact. The only time I talk to my dog during a walk is to praise her for looking at me and focusing on me. The only time I give her eye contact is if she gives me eye contact or looks to me for instruction if we encounter a situation where she could potentially take charge (chasing a squirrel on a walk).
Where I work as a dog trainer, we're not allowed to use collars on puppies under 6 months old nor on small dogs, regardless of age, to teach leash walking. For puppies under 6 months, their neck muscles aren't developed enough and we could damage their necks if we do a "drop and turn" - which is why we only do left/right turns. For senior dogs or dogs with hip/joint problems, we don't do the "drop and turn" - only left/right turns. We also don't start off using a slip chain right off the bat - we try using a cloth martingale, then upgrade to a chain martingale if the dog doesn't respond to the corrections, for power pullers, we use the slip chain because it mimics a true canine correction (verbal pop "chains gathering" and then a quick bite "when the chain gathers, it pinches" and then quick release). The chain martingale also mimics a true canine correction, but without the "bite" of the slip chain. We DON'T use prong collars!
As a last resort, if the slip chain doesn't work, then we use a dominant dog collar - not recommended for anyone, btw.
The method of leash walking described above mimics how your dog has taught you to walk on a leash - they don't talk to you; if they see something they want to chase, they take off. They don't apologize for pulling your arm out of the socket nor if they plowed through your legs to get to something they want. Finally, with the amount of force they can pull you, there's certainly no way you can hurt your dog in your "feel bad" mode. There's no physical punishment involved - the correction they get from a "drop and turn" is from their momentum, not how much force you're pulling to get away (which you don't want to do - just give the leash a pop and quick release of tension when doing a "drop and turn"). When bumping into them when turning around - it's just a slight shuffle of your leg to sweep them in the direction you want to go - you'll find after a few times (generally speaking), your dog will duck and weave to avoid being bumped (PRAISE!). If your dog runs to catch up to you and didn't get a correction from a "drop and turn", PRAISE!! However, if your dog got out of your way during a right/left turn, then don't go out of your way to bump your dog - they don't need to be corrected for something they did right. (Yes, I had one client that went out of her way to chase her dog's head to bump into her dog when her dog got out of her way during a turn.
A harness that has the leash attach to the back of the dog will multiply the dog's pulling power by 10x their weight.
For every 6 inches of leash slack that you give your dog, they gain 10x their weight in pulling force. (i.e. a 70lb dog with 6 inches of slack = 700lbs of pulling force)