Some dogs are notorious for pulling their owners along whenever they’re on the leash… and it’s a bigger problem than you may have expected.
While proper training is usually the best solution… there’s no hiding from the range of products which have cropped up to solve this problem, too.
In this guide, we’re going to explore the issue of a dog pulling on the leash, and you’ll also discover the best leashes and harnesses for dogs that pull.
Why Do Dogs Pull On Leashes?
Before we look at any products which can help, it’s important that you understand why your dog may be pulling on its leash in the first place.
In general, there are a few main reasons why dogs pull on the leash.
First up… the dog who loves to smell and explore.
If you have a dog that just loves to explore, then the environment may just be so stimulating to them that they can’t control themselves, and they’re impatient to get ahead and explore the world around them.
It can take a while for some dogs to settle down when they’re on a leash, especially if they’re new to it.
Their impatience can quickly become a bad habit, and they get used to pulling on the leash to get what they want.
Second… you may have a dog that’s trying to run off because it sees something interesting.
For example, if your dog is going for a walk in an area where there are lots of other dogs or people walking past… it may get excited and start pulling on the leash because they want to be closer to all of those other dogs or people.
Most dogs live in the moment, and they can’t control themselves because their excitement is too much for them to handle.
How Can I Train My Dog To Stop Pulling?
Here’s the thing…
The only way to train a dog to stop pulling on its leash is through proper training.
You have two options here: you can either get the help of a professional trainer, or you can train your dog yourself.
What you choose to do is up to you, and it will depend on your time and budget.
If you don’t have a budget to hire a trainer, then you can get the help of books or online videos, or even use the advice of other dog owners in your area.
Whether you choose to do it yourself, or whether you find the money for proper training, the most important thing is to be consistent.
The key is repetition… you have to repeat the lessons over and over again, and do it in a way that’s fun for your dog, too.
Disadvantages Of Using A Retractable Or Extendable Leash
You may have considered using a retractable or extendable leash before, but you may be surprised to hear that they can actually make the dog who pulls on their leash even worse.
That’s because these leashes give them more control, and if your dog is pulling in an attempt to get closer to other dogs or people, then it encourages them, even more, to pull ahead of you.
Because when the leash extends, it makes it easier for your dog to get ahead of you… and so they will just pull even harder.
After all, it’s reinforcing the benefit of pulling and demonstrates that it’s working to get what they want.
So why wouldn’t they continue?
Disadvantages Of Using A Choke Chain Or Pinch Collar
In general, choke chains and pinch collars are not recommended as a solution for dealing with dogs that pull on their leashes.
This is because they can cause aggression in your dog, and they also test the strength of your relationship with your pet.
Not only that… but using a choke chain or pinch collar doesn’t help to solve the root cause of the problem, and it simply provides a temporary fix.
It’s like using a band-aid where you need stitches.
It’s important to understand that these training tools only place pressure on your dog’s neck in an attempt to get them to stop pulling, and they don’t actually teach your dog the right behavior.
The problem is that when you eventually remove the collar or choke chain… the dog likely returns back to its original ways.
What Are The Best Leashes To Try For Dog Who Pull?
If you want to make it easier for your dog to get used to walking on a leash, then here are a few options worth considering:
The Head Halter
The head halter is a great choice if you’re having issues with your dog pulling on its leash.
It’s designed so that it goes over the muzzle of your dog, and it controls their movements by gently putting pressure around the snout area.
The strap goes under their chin, and this means that they have to follow the direction that you’re moving in… because if they try to pull forward, then it will put pressure around the snout and make it a little uncomfortable.
This is a great training option to use with your dog when they’re young, so you can teach them how to properly walk on a leash without having to deal with the problem of them pulling.
But this type of halter is not a good choice for dogs that could potentially hurt themselves.
For example, if you have a small dog and they’re determined to run after something, then it could cause them to trip or choke — which is obviously not ideal.
It’s also important to note that even though head halters are pretty good for dogs that pull, it’s not 100% foolproof.
Some dogs will try to paw at the muzzle of the halter, so it can be challenging to get them accustomed to this training tool in the first place.
The Front-Clip Harness
The front-clip harness is another great option, and it’s often a favorite because of its versatility.
It works by placing pressure around the chest of your dog, and this makes it uncomfortable for them to pull ahead.
Instead, they have to follow you when you move and walk in the direction that you’re leading them.
This helps them understand how walking on a leash should be done and gives them the opportunity to learn it correctly from the beginning.
Another benefit of a front-clip harness is that it distributes the pressure of pulling more evenly, instead of placing all of the stress and strain on one part of your dog’s body.
So if you have a big dog who can pull hard… it’s important to take this into consideration.
The last thing you want is for them to hurt themselves by straining too hard.
It’s also easy to put on and take off, and you don’t have to worry about fitting it over the head of your dog.
But just like with the head halter… there are some downsides to consider when you’re thinking about using a front clip harness.
Some dogs find them uncomfortable because they can be used to place pressure on the chest, neck, and shoulders.
So if you’re using a front clip harness for an extended period of time… then it can cause stress or discomfort.
The Around-The-Torso Harness
If you’re looking for a harness that provides more control over your dog than the front-clip model, then an around-the-torso harness might be worth considering.
This one is designed to go around the torso of your dog as well as their neck… so it allows you to stop the pulling from multiple areas if they start to get ahead of you.
Since this type of harness covers a larger area, there is more control over the dog.
It also distributes the tension so it’s not focused on one area, and this makes it a pretty popular harness option for owners who prefer to give their dogs more freedom when they’re outside.
But just like with the other options… there are some potential downsides that you should be aware of before you use this type of harness.
For example, your dog could find it uncomfortable to wear.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs will try and paw at the strap or harness if they’re not too fond of wearing it — which can lead to it coming off.
So you have to put a little bit of effort into getting them used to wearing this type of product before using it on your daily walks.
The Compression Harness
The compression harness is another option to help you get your dog to stop pulling on the leash… and it’s a good choice if you have an especially strong dog that doesn’t seem to respond well to any of the other training tools.
This one works by getting tighter when your dog starts to pull, and this distracts them and makes it uncomfortable to move ahead.
This gentle correction will help them to turn their attention back towards you, which is the goal of training your dog not to pull on the leash.
But just like with any other harness… there are some potential downsides to consider.
For example, your dog might find it uncomfortable and very restrictive — so you need to take this into consideration before trying to use one.
You may also have problems getting it on and off of a smaller dog in some cases, which is another one of the downsides.
It can also cause issues with their joints, especially if they’re too young to be using it… or if you have a dog that just sucks up the discomfort and doesn’t respond in the way intended.
How Can A Specialized Dog Leash Help?
A specialized dog leash can help to fix this problem in a number of ways:
- It can stop your dog from getting ahead of you.
- It can keep them from pulling on the leash whenever they spot something interesting that catches their attention.
- It can also help to improve your overall control over your dog when they’re walking next to you, rather than pulling ahead.
But no matter which one you go with… the goal is always to give your dog freedom while giving you the control when they’re walking next to you on the leash.