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Hi!
I dog walk for a few people in my area. One of the dogs is a pitbull who is the sweetest dog in the world but really hard to walk. Pulls like crazy and, of course, is really strong. We are working on her leash manners and I was wondering what everyone thought of martingale collars? Pros? Cons?
 

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If you size the collar correctly, there is nothing wrong with a martingale collar. You want it to be loose when relaxed. When tightened, you want it to be snug and not go over the dog's head, but not so tight as to actually choke the dog. You also don't want to just pull on the collar - give a quick "pull release" and then go the direction you want to go.
 

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I use martingales for the safety of a collar that a dog can't pull out of. However, there've never made a difference with a strong puller.
 

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I use martingales for the safety of a collar that a dog can't pull out of. However, there've never made a difference with a strong puller.
I have found that there is no collar or harness or halti that will stop pulling. It's all in the actual training. With that, I have found that a martingale collar provides better control over the dog while you work on the training.
 

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A properly adjusted martingale is nearly impossible for a dog to slip. However, dogs can, and do, pull like fiends on them.

The Fenzi Dog Sports Academy has a couple of paid resources on addressing teaching a dog to walk politley and not pull. There is a self study class that is a compilation of three webinars Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - EW100: Reducing Overarousal and Reactivity via the Circle Method of Leash Walking and an on-demand video Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - LS140: Stop Leash Pulling: Multiple Methods to Loose Leash Walking

If you'd prefer a free resource, then Kikopup on YouTube has some videos.
 

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There's nothing wrong with martingales, but they're not going to do much to decrease pulling. They're more of a slip proof type collar that tighten just enough so the dog can't back out of them. If you're struggling to handle the dog, a head halter is going to be a more effective temporary solution while you train, just so you don't have to work quite so hard to keep him under control.
 

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I agree with others, properly fitted martingales are great, secure collars! But their use against pulling is limited. Some dogs don't like the pressure on their neck and are more respectful than they would be on a flat collars, but those aren't usually the dogs who pull hard enough to make themselves gag/cough on other gear. If you want to try it, and the dog doesn't have any health contraindications that would make pressure on her neck especially dangerous, definitely go with (or suggest the owners go with) a wide martingale, as opposed to, say, a rolled leather style, as this will help distribute the pressure some.

I've personally found the best success with physically controlling a pulling dog with a front-clip harness - not a no-pull version, just a regular, unrestrictive harness with a front clip harness (I have not personally tried head halters). Blue-9's Balance Harness is a good example. However, I have not had to deal with a puller as large and strong as many pit bulls are. If it's at the point of endangering the handler, dog, or other people/animals, I have no problem with using more aversive tools (like no-pull harnesses) short-term, until you're able to catch up on leash manners training enough for everyone to be safe on a regular harness or collar.
 

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I like martingales by lupine. Has a lifetime warranty, even when chewed! I had a Shiba Inu and these worked great because his head was close to the same size as his neck, so he tended to slip out.

I tried gentle leader, but it didn't work for me. Ez Walk worked better, but good ol' walk the other way if they start pulling worked best.
 

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The only time a halti (gentle leader, etc) worked for me was with an abused dog who had been dragged by her leash and collar. She freaked if there was,any pressure on her neck, so the halti eliminated that. And when she went bling in old age, it seemed to help to turn her nose first.

I tried a halti with my Bat-dog, but it never stayed on her nose. No one could ever get it to fit right on her.

And for me, harnesses are just a hassle to put on when the dogs are excited to be going out.
 

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I hate harnesses. I also hate a dog that pulls.
Why do dogs pull? Because we pull back.. oppositional reflex kicks in and you are in a tug of war.

You can use front hook harnesses, head harnesses or prong collars on a puller.. but NONE of these things TEACH the dog not to pull (or teach the handler not to pull back).

With a pulling dog your job becomes finding a way to keep the leash slack. The more you pull against the dog the more ingrained the behavior of pulling against you becomes. Think about this a bit.

A week or so ago a friend brought their dog to an event. They said their dog was "bad" and a puller. I said "let me have a few of your treats and hand me your dog." I handled the dog for about 10 minutes and the dog never pulled.. and he also did nothing "bad." I rewarded sits and downs and focus and we walked all around.. really nice, confident and intelligent dog. Handed dog back to the owner and I told him "stop pulling on your dog and he will stop pulling on you."
 

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The thing about saying to someone to stop pulling on the leash is that it doesn't tell the person what to do instead. Someone once told me when I was very young and just starting out training dogs, "if the dog pulls, give slack to the leash". But I thought a long time about this, and as far as I could figure at the time, the only way to do that if the other end is being pulled is to move toward the dog, then the dog pulls again, you move toward the dog to give slack to the leash.... and pretty soon you are running along after the dog trying to keep the leash slack. So I was still without a clear idea of how to stop the pulling in a humane manner.
Fortunately I have learned a lot since then, but I always like to give people specifics when advising them on a leash pulling dog. Kind of like with a dog....you don't just want to tell them to stop something, you show them what to do instead.

For really good instruction on how to get your dog to walk on a loose leash, I recommend KIKOPUP's videos on YouTube. Here are two of them, but there are several others, showing different techniques that you can use to train the dog to walk on a loose leash.
 
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