Often after a long winter, dogs have trouble making the adjustment from couch potato to social butterfly. And leash walking can be a real pain for the owner’s shoulders with pulling, lunging and sometimes even downright frightening reactivity to sights and sounds.
What is an owner to do?
My go-to item for teaching nice walking is the Easy Walk harness and the Gentle Leader. These both require the proper fit so when sizing it helps to have your dog present. There is also a video on fit and use by the manufacturer on the Internet.
The reason I like this equipment is that it makes it easier for the owner to communicate to their dogs by this gentle pressure method which will not harm the dog’s trachea. Owners of rescues and greyhounds have found the Martingale to be helpful as it prevents dogs from pulling their heads out of the collar and running free. Some chain models often serve as a warning that the collar is closing, but these are not meant to choke the dog.
I do not recommend the slip or choke and prong collars for pet owners as they should only be used with expert guidance and supervision because of their potential for harm.
Equally as important is working on getting your dog’s attention and teaching them to walk properly.
Dorice Stancher, MBA, CPDT-KA Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT), Consultant for Pet Therapy, Writer for AKC Family Dog and Gazette, Owner of Canines Can Do. Dorice has trained dogs since childhood and her dogs have received many national and international awards. She was mentored by master trainer, Bill Delaney and continues to study with international competitors and renowned trainers Betsy Scapicchio and Diane Goodspeed. She is a certified evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program and an evaluator for the Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs. She was elected into the International Honor Society for Teaching, and participates in AKC and CKC performance events.