Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok- This is probably the quest for the impossible- but I am wondering if anyone has found a harness that works well for a dog that pulls? We are def. still trying to train her out of this, but sometimes if the treat isn't of high enough value or if the cat/squirrel is just too tempting Tandy will pull like a maniac. I think I am looking for a front clip harness but all the ones I have tried don't really fit Tandy right I think she is a weird shape- she has a ~29in girth and a ~15in neck (measurements are approximate as she is super wiggly).

The Easy Walk Dog Harness gaps in the front all while riding up and abrading her under her front legs.

The Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness gaps less in the front but does the same thing to her armpits.

We have tried the Halti and the Gentle Leader but they don't seem to work on her-they just end up cutting her mouth. We have even tried the Horgan Harness (this works pretty well- but is a pain in the butt to put on!).

If anyone have any thoughts or ideas please let me know!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,186 Posts
The measurements need to be exact for those to work. In the training forum, there's a sticky at the top for loose leash walking. Try that before you break out the prong collar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Its so much easier to teach a dog how to behave and control himself on a leash, you just have to spend the time training your dog. Most people think the harness will teach the dog not to pull. The harness is only managing it. I see people getting pulled around by their dog with a harness on all the time. A lot of the furmommies on this site will tell you old school training methods are inhumane, and to use a harness and treats for training. Hows that harness working for you so far? Hhhahahahaahaha!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Let me address the prong collar issue first. I have seen too many dogs getting strangled by prongs/choker collars (or just not respond to them at all- they are choking themselves but they still keep pulling) that I am VERY hesitant to use them. I assume some of that is incorrect handler usage and not just on the dogs, but I still am leery of them. Plus Tandy is a super sensitive dog most times and reacts like she is being hit if someone in the house just raises their voice to be heard from one floor to the next. So the idea of introducing a negative reinforcement like a prong collar seems like it would be too much for her.


Amaryllis- I have been working on Loose Leash Walking- and she is getting better- but she gets nervous/anxious on the street (or her high prey drive for a squirrel kicks in) and training seems to fly out of her head. It is a long process but we ARE working on it!

As for what my problem with the Freedom harness was- it never seemed to fit her right- it was like she was between sizes or something (we tried both the larger and the smaller)- and no matter what we did with the front it ended up gaping and dipping down and the band around her body ended up in her armpits and she would be cut after a long walk. We have asked multiple trainers and even people at the Vet's office to look at/fit the harness but no-one can get it to fit right.

I have re-measured her now and her measurements are: Neck- 14-16in (depending on how high you are measuring- it get narrower towards her head) Girth- 29in right by her armpits and 31in a little bit back from there. Chest- 17-17.5in....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,837 Posts
Its so much easier to teach a dog how to behave and control himself on a leash, you just have to spend the time training your dog. Most people think the harness will teach the dog not to pull. The harness is only managing it. I see people getting pulled around by their dog with a harness on all the time. A lot of the furmommies on this site will tell you old school training methods are inhumane, and to use a harness and treats for training. Hows that harness working for you so far? Hhhahahahaahaha!!!
I'm gonna guess that harness isn't hurting the dog in any way, so let's start there? The OP also plainly stated they ARE working with the dog. I can tell you're a great trainer when the first thing you do to any opposition is belittle any one having a problem with their dog. Where do I sign up for your classes?

It does take some effort and basic knowledge to skip the choke chain and actually train the dog, so I understand your problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Its so much easier to teach a dog how to behave and control himself on a leash, you just have to spend the time training your dog. Most people think the harness will teach the dog not to pull. The harness is only managing it. ...
Well I have to have something to "manage" it while I train her- otherwise she will drag me down the street- or rip the leash out of my hand or something else completely awful every time she sees a squirrel or gets excited.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,250 Posts
A lot of the furmommies on this site will tell you old school training methods are inhumane, and to use a harness and treats for training. Hows that harness working for you so far? Hhhahahahaahaha!!!
I've trained 6 pit bulls to walk on a loose leash using a plain (not even a "no pull") harness. So the harness is working out wonderfully thank you :)

To the OP: Another choice is a Lupine no-pull training "harness" which is not really a harness but a strap that attaches to a plain flat collar and another strap around the chest, so it should fit even an oddly built dog.

Or just stick with a plain harness and work hard on the training and realize that sometimes she'll get overexcited and pull but that doesn't mean you aren't making progress with the loose leash walking and those times will get less and less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,849 Posts
Is there a reason you haven't tried a prong?
Are you being serious? Prong collars are barbaric, painful, and do not stop pulling. You don't need to hurt a dog to have it do what you want. (same goes for choke chains or "training collars")


Shelter dog I worked with once before he was put down due to kennel stress, he obviously didn't understand that pain meant to stop pulling.


Prong collars can make dogs untrusting and wary of having their head and neck touched. They can cause negative associations toward people and other dogs and cause or exacerbate aggressive responses, as the dog realizes Person/Dog -> Excited -> Pulls -> Pain and Punishment so that becomes Person/Dog -> Pain and Punishment. (Again, same is true if you use a choke/"training" collar). You don't want your dog to get stressed and start "Yelling" at new people and dogs to stay away so he doesn't get hurt by you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,837 Posts
Well I have to have something to "manage" it while I train her- otherwise she will drag me down the street- or rip the leash out of my hand or something else completely awful every time she sees a squirrel or gets excited.
If you're doing the work, it just sometimes takes a while. :) It might not be a harness issue in general. I like the Freedom harness for one of the dogs, and every one else just walks in plain old mesh harnesses for comfort. With my super difficult walker, I had more success with silky lead + a head halter. Now he walks nicely on a martingale.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Whoever injures their dog with any training device obviously doesnt know what they are doing. Ask some harness users how long it took to see some progress. Just go to an obedience class and learn how to train your dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,849 Posts
Put simply, stopping pulling requires 2 things. First, to reward the dog for doing what you want, and second, to stop rewarding the dog for pulling.

Hold treats in your hand next to your leg at the dog's nose level and think of your hand like a Pez dispenser. Keep your hand down as you walk, delivering a treat every few steps and letting your dog lick and nibble between treats. If your dog is very mouthy (or short, for that matter), use peanut butter or something sticky on a long spoon and the dog can lick that. Practice starting, stopping, and turning. Keep your dog on the same side as the treats. Meaning hold the leash with the other hand, so leash is diagonal across your body. If you're reaching across yourself to deliver treats, the dog will start walking sideways under your feet. After you've practiced a lot and the dog is staying with you, pull your hand up for a moment, go a couple steps, then immediately put it back down and give a treat. Repeat, practicing starting, stopping, and turning. Over the coming weeks (if not months) you can leave your hand up for longer periods.

Make sure you release your dog to go sniff. Walks are about adventure and exploring, not just physical exercise. Every so often, release your dog to "go sniff" and stand still or follow your dog as long as the leash is loose so it can sniff, potty, explore, and be a dog.

So what happens if your dog pulls? First you need to understand why dogs pull. They pull because it gets them *exactly* what they want. It is extremely self-rewarding. They get to go forward, get to sniff what they want, get to look at and watch what they want, and so on. To remove the reward of pulling you must stop immediately as soon as there is tension on the leash, or preemptively stop when your dog suddenly picks up its pace. Make sure when you stop that the dog cannot reach what it wants, and is not staring at something- otherwise it is being extra rewarded for pulling. If it can, apply gentle even pressure (no popping, jerking, yanking) and call the dog back toward you. The *instant* the dog turns back toward you, reward. Use a treat to lure the dog back into position beside you and go again, or even better you can reward the dog by releasing it to go sniff or go to what it wanted as long as the leash remains loose to get there and of course as long as it's safe to do so. This is called the Premack principle, which states that a lower probability behavior (staying by your side) can be reinforced by rewarding with a higher probability behavior (going toward what it wants).

In working with shelter dogs, many are too stressed or excited to take treats so I use mainly the stop-and-go method. Most dogs catch on in about 10-15 minutes that if they pull, we stop instantly. They are by no means perfect at that point but they don't pull as hard, as soon as there is tension they self-correct, and walks are much more enjoyable.


With my rescue husky she was an INSANE puller at first. She would stand up on her hind legs when I stopped and would balance. With her, I started by walking backwards while giving treats, then I could rotate besides her still giving treats, then back in front, and swivel back and forth. I used a head collar with her for added control at first, and because we do mushing where she is supposed to pull I continue using the head collar for walks because I find the difference in equipment helps her understand when it is pulling time vs walking time. She walks fantastic on leash, but pulls very hard when we mush.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Put simply, stopping pulling requires 2 things. First, to reward the dog for doing what you want, and second, to stop rewarding the dog for pulling.

Hold treats in your hand next to your leg at the dog's nose level and think of your hand like a Pez dispenser. Keep your hand down as you walk, delivering a treat every few steps and letting your dog lick and nibble between treats. If your dog is very mouthy (or short, for that matter), use peanut butter or something sticky on a long spoon and the dog can lick that. Practice starting, stopping, and turning. Keep your dog on the same side as the treats. Meaning hold the leash with the other hand, so leash is diagonal across your body. If you're reaching across yourself to deliver treats, the dog will start walking sideways under your feet. After you've practiced a lot and the dog is staying with you, pull your hand up for a moment, go a couple steps, then immediately put it back down and give a treat. Repeat, practicing starting, stopping, and turning. Over the coming weeks (if not months) you can leave your hand up for longer periods.

Make sure you release your dog to go sniff. Walks are about adventure and exploring, not just physical exercise. Every so often, release your dog to "go sniff" and stand still or follow your dog as long as the leash is loose so it can sniff, potty, explore, and be a dog.

So what happens if your dog pulls? First you need to understand why dogs pull. They pull because it gets them *exactly* what they want. It is extremely self-rewarding. They get to go forward, get to sniff what they want, get to look at and watch what they want, and so on. To remove the reward of pulling you must stop immediately as soon as there is tension on the leash, or preemptively stop when your dog suddenly picks up its pace. Make sure when you stop that the dog cannot reach what it wants, and is not staring at something- otherwise it is being extra rewarded for pulling. If it can, apply gentle even pressure (no popping, jerking, yanking) and call the dog back toward you. The *instant* the dog turns back toward you, reward. Use a treat to lure the dog back into position beside you and go again, or even better you can reward the dog by releasing it to go sniff or go to what it wanted as long as the leash remains loose to get there and of course as long as it's safe to do so. This is called the Premack principle, which states that a lower probability behavior (staying by your side) can be reinforced by rewarding with a higher probability behavior (going toward what it wants).

In working with shelter dogs, many are too stressed or excited to take treats so I use mainly the stop-and-go method. Most dogs catch on in about 10-15 minutes that if they pull, we stop instantly. They are by no means perfect at that point but they don't pull as hard, as soon as there is tension they self-correct, and walks are much more enjoyable.


With my rescue husky she was an INSANE puller at first. She would stand up on her hind legs when I stopped and would balance. With her, I started by walking backwards while giving treats, then I could rotate besides her still giving treats, then back in front, and swivel back and forth. I used a head collar with her for added control at first, and because we do mushing where she is supposed to pull I continue using the head collar for walks because I find the difference in equipment helps her understand when it is pulling time vs walking time. She walks fantastic on leash, but pulls very hard when we mush.
We have def. been trying these techniques. She is stubborn though at times. The "make like a tree" thing works- sort of. But she hasn't gotten that even if we are moving she can't pull. As for holding something by our leg we tried everything but no food is equal to something once her prey drive is activated. We are now trying Baby food in squeeze bottles- and this does seem to work better- but sometimes the other things just get to be too interesting (It is for these times that I need a front clip harness or something to keep her from dragging me around or injuring my back further.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,470 Posts
OP I would suggest the Sporn Harness. You can get it on Amazon.com. I love them and use them on all of my dogs (I just use them because they are soft and not stiff). An added bonus is that it doesn't break my Aussies fur. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,262 Posts
You've gotten some great advice and I'm not even close to as experienced as others, but your dog sounds very much like my Katie. When we first got her, she was good on the leash until she saw a squirrel or rabbit or cat or deer or dog... You get the idea. We used an Easy Walk for management (and it sounds as though hers fits the way yours does - tool loose in the front). It helped, but I'm not sure it worked exactly as advertised. And it did nothing for her fixation on neighborhood critters.

What I think really made a difference for us was training for "attention" and loose leash walking somewhat separately. We took a few days where we walked in a relatively controlled area (our yard - which as I type has half a dozen deer graze on the weeds). When Katie was walking, but not focused on anything, I called her name and marked/rewarded when/if she looked. At first, I was careful to call her only when I was fairy certain she'd look.* Gradually, I started calling her the instant I noticed she saw something and did the same mark/reward. Eventually, we got to the point where I can usually call her and have her sit after she sees a squirrel, deer, or other critter.

We practiced a bit on walks, but I didn't expect too much too soon and I didn't call her if I suspected she was too entranced with something. I did learn to be hyper-vigilant on walks and tried to notice things before she did and I got to learn which houses had dogs, where the deer tended to hang out, etc. The trick was to notice things before she did and start reinforcing her attention on me before she got distracted.

She's much better now. Yesterday we went outside and she noticed a group a deer in the yard before I did. She stood and watched them intently, but didn't pull or bark. I'm very happy we did this training now that we have a skunk living in the area. :(

*You can start training this inside or other less distracting environment, but for us, Katie would just sit and stare after the first reward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,405 Posts
The "be a tree" method never worked for me, but "penalty yards" did, and fast! I didn't do it exactly like the guide says -- I stripped it down to the very basics and just backed up when the dog started to pull, then treated once he was walking nicely again. Worked like a charm. http://www.clickertraining.biz/nopull.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
OP I would suggest the Sporn Harness. You can get it on Amazon.com. I love them and use them on all of my dogs (I just use them because they are soft and not stiff). An added bonus is that it doesn't break my Aussies fur. :)
We actually had this harness (or the Sporn harness w/o the mesh in the front) when we first got her- she ended up breaking it- she pulled so hard she ripped the part that goes under her legs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
The "be a tree" method never worked for me, but "penalty yards" did, and fast! I didn't do it exactly like the guide says -- I stripped it down to the very basics and just backed up when the dog started to pull, then treated once he was walking nicely again. Worked like a charm. http://www.clickertraining.biz/nopull.htm
I tried that today- and it does seem to be working! :) Or maybe she was just too tired to keep pulling? lol. I think I will keep trying this one though- it seems to work better than the "tree" method.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top