Is Harness Training Right For You and Your Dog?
You know how much we believe in dog walks – the health benefits are proven and it’s such a wonderful way to enrich your bond with your pet. That is, of course, if your dog knows how to behave on a leash. It’s a wildly common issue among dog owners that their companion pulls on their walks, which is frustrating and can result in shorter or no walks. And no one wants that. So we’re going to let you in on a little well-known secret: there’s a whole world of harnesses out there intended to curb pulling so your fresh-air strolls can continue. Of course, there are a few need-to-know tidbits before you strap your dog up and expect a perfect walk – so sit, stay, and watch us.
The Right Harness.
It’s all about finding the right harness for your needs, and there are quite a few varieties to choose from. Back clip harnesses are easy to put on and are a secure option for pullers, while a soft mesh harness offers comfort for pups who walk with a slack leash. Multi-clip harnesses are the most popular and versatile, but also have a higher price point. For dogs who seriously pull, a head halter may be necessary. Consider your dog’s strength and peruse the aisles (or websites) for something that fits your needs.
Try it Out.
Let your pet wear the harness at home first and make sure they don’t show signs of discomfort. It may take a few fittings to get the adjustments right, but you want to make sure the harness hugs their chest but doesn’t rub their underarms. Be sure to praise their patience and maybe throw ‘em a treat.
Understand that harnesses are intended to safely curb pulling in that it relieves pressure from their trachea and gives you more control, there is no part of the apparatus that will ensure they stop. If your pet starts to pull, stop in your tracks and wait until they stop, then resume walking. Do this every time they pull and, if you have a “heel” command, say it.
Keep Sessions Short.
This is for both of your sanity. Losing it on your pet will only deter them from listening and make you feel bad later. Consider this an investment in both of your lives, even if it takes thirty 10-minute sessions to make progress.
Don’t Forget to Treat.
Positive reinforcement training is effective, so come up with a ‘heel’ command your dog can follow and treat them when they do. Sometimes just holding a treat in your leash hand is enough to make them slow their roll.
Like we said, harnesses are a tool – not an assurance that the behavior will stop. But, they are a highly recommended tool (especially for large dogs.) If you have a harness tip you swear by, we’d love to hear more on our social media. Facebook or Twitter, whichever you prefer!