Lots of dogs have poor leash manners. This is partly the fault of their humans (not enough training or the wrong kind of training). But it’s also partly just how dogs are.
They are eager to explore. To check out interesting smells. To meet fascinating people. To chase smaller animals. Also they lead pretty dull lives, mostly inside, often alone. Going for a walk is stimulating and fun. So they pull.
There are a couple of problems with this. One is that it’s annoying for the human and makes walks with the dog a chore, rather than a pleasure. If you don’t think that walking your dog is one of life’s greatest pleasures, a) I feel very sorry for you and b) please read Dog Walks Man.
The other problem is that, since most dogs’ leashes are attached to a collar, when the dog pulls, she puts a lot of pressure on her throat. Some dogs have thick, muscular necks and don’t really feel it. But for many dogs, the pressure could cause damage.
Luckily, there is an easy solution. It’s not 100 percent guaranteed to work, but with many dogs, the results are close to miraculous.
What is this magical cure? A chest-fastening harness.
A standard harness with the leash hooking into a ring on the dog’s back will not help. It will actually enable the dog to pull harder (no throat pressure).
But something about a chest-fastening harness inhibits most dogs from pulling. I tried it with a friend’s 6-month-old puppy just this week, and the change was instantaneous.
Several brands are available, and they all fit a little differently. Some are a little complicated to put on, at least initially. The best thing to do is go to a large pet store and try a few on the dog.
Note: Don’t confuse chest-fastening harnesses with the halter-type deals that go over a dog’s nose. Dogs hate those. And if either the dog or the human pulls or jerks too hard, the dog can seriously injure her back or neck. I do not recommend those at all.
That’s not always possible. I’ve had great luck with the Balance harness (also rated #1 by the Whole Dog Journal) and the Sense-ation harness, which is easier to find. I dislike the Easy Walk because even if I’ve adjusted it correctly, it loosens up and slips around on the dog. I either haven’t tried or I’m neutral on several other brands.
What are you waiting for? You could be enjoying a walk with your dog!