Walking Tools for your Dog

by | Dog Care |

If your dog is anything like mine, you have a black hole of energy on the end of a tiny string that people refer to as a leash. Despite our best efforts to teach her to heel and behave while on walks, as soon as Jersey sees a squirrel it is like a rocket trying to launch. (Let’s not mention the bunnies, mice and other wildlife that live in our area.)

While we continued to work on her obedience, or lack thereof, we needed some humane alternatives to keep her under control. There are many dangers in allowing your dog to pull, jerk or fight you while on the leash. Your dog may accidentally run into the path of an oncoming car, get into an altercation with another dog or even with a person. This becomes especially important when children, elderly adults or persons with physical limitations are involved and serious injury could occur if their dog pulled them over.

Here are some great walking tools to help make your outdoor adventures that much easier!

FRONT CLIP CONTROL HARNESS

Just like it sounds, the leash attaches to the front of the harness. When the dog reaches the end of the leash, he or she is turned around by the pressure at the chest.

PRESSURE HARNESS

When your dog pulls against the leash, this harness tightens around the forelegs or chest. Keep in mind that some stronger dogs can learn to tolerate the pressure, therefore reducing its effectiveness. This is more of a short-term training device than a complete solution.

HEAD HALTERS

This device fastens around the muzzle and back of the head, which gives the handler control over the head (which in turn controls the rest of the body). This is a great solution for tough cases as it is gentle but extremely effective. Owners with pug-type noses should not use this walking tool because it can hinder their breather.

LIMITED SLIP COLLARS

These collars have a typical flat surface like regular collars, but there is a chain loop at the back that exerts pressure if the dog pulls. These are a much better alternative for owners that have been using choke chains and want to switch to something that still exerts pressure (but without causing irreparable damage to the throat or skin that choke chains do).

Walking tools that are not recommended include:

-Pinch/prong collars

-Choke chains

-Flat harnesses

-Electrical collars

I have to admit that when we first got Jersey, I refused to use a head halter. I thought they sort of looked silly and since I had dogs since I was young, I could easily train Jersey like the Border Collies we always had. (As I later learned, fat chance! Owning a husky-mix is a whole other ballgame.)

Well… fast forward almost four years and the head halter is the favourite “accessory” we have for Jersey. It was so easy to fit and use that I couldn’t believe I never tried it before. Her response to it is immediate, and everyone in our family (no matter how big or small) can easily walk her despite squirrel or rabbits.

For owners that have dogs who lunge, bark or act up on the leash when walking past other dogs (and I know you’re out there!), this is an excellent training tool to encourage your dog to sit quietly or walk on while the other dog passes.

To learn more about the different types of walking tools and which brands the Ontario SPCA recommends, visit Training Tips.

Experiment with different walking tools to see which one best suits your dog, and happy trails!

Testimonial

Thank you so much for all you do

Thank you so much for all you do every day to rescue animals in need. I can’t imagine the terrible situations that you see every day.  It is great that you have the heart to help. Keep up the good work.

-Betty