If your dog is a ‘puller’ you’re gonna have a lot of trouble walking him on the leash, especially if you use a dog collar for this purpose. He’ll pull, twist, jerk, and do all the things that are guaranteed to make a walk tiring for both of you. This is why a good alternative is to use a harness.
It’s definitely better for a dog that pulls a lot to use a harness, but without a proper harness training, it won’t do you a big favor. Properly training your dog to walk with a harness is of the essence. So, how are you supposed to do it?
Well, there’s not much philosophy really when it comes to harness training. Time is the most important thing. The more time you invest in training him to walk with a harness, the more likely is for him to give up on his leash pulling habit. Still, there are some tricks that can help you cut down on the time spent on harness training. Here are 6 such tricks!
1. Use a Front-Clip Harness
Most harnesses on sale in your local pet shop are probably those that have a clip at the back. You might think that it doesn’t matter much, but the position of the clip is extremely important. Attaching the leash at the back seems convenient, but you’re going to forget about the convenience as soon as the dog starts pulling.
Such a design allows him to pull forward with all his power, without affecting his walking direction. And if your pup is a strong dog, the clip (or the leash) might break. If that happens, your dog might get away. This is why our advice is to go with a harness that has a clip up front.
The reason why we suggest using a harness with such design is that the dog’s center of gravity is upfront. What this means is that when you attach the leash near his center of gravity, if he tries to pull forward with all his strength, he won’t go forward; instead, he’ll start spinning around on the spot. Once he figures out that there’s no point in pulling forward with all his strength, he’ll start waking more elegantly. And after a while, he will get used to it, so you won’t need to use a front-clip harness anymore.
2. Use a Dual D Dog Harness
If you’re not familiar with this kind of harnesses, a Dual D ring no pull dog harness is the one that has a clip up front and one at the back. A leash with two clips on one end is usually also included in the package, so that you can connect it to the harness from both sides. And if the leash isn’t there, you can always use two normal leashes at once.
This kind of a harness design makes your dog walk straight at a normal pace, rather than encouraging him to pull forward as strongly as possible. At the same time, this kind of harness is much more secure than any other type. The only problem we see here is that it’s not easy to find such a harness. You probably won’t find it in your local pet shop, so your best shot is to use Google to look for it.
3. Walk Around the House
Sure, your dog pulls like crazy sometimes, but have you ever wondered why that is the case? Well, the answer is that there are too many distractions out there, making him lose his focus. It can be another dog or some other animal that’s distracting him, there might be some food on the road, etc.
This is why our advice is to harness train him at home. If you live in the apartment, you probably don’t have too much space in there, which is why we recommend walking him around your building’s backyard or doing in in a park that’s not too crowdy.
4. Make Sure He’s Fed
As we’ve already mentioned, your dog’s focus can wander off easily. Food is among his biggest distractions, especially when his belly is empty. This is why it’s of utmost importance to feed him before, rather than after the walk.
Of course, if you do that right before going for a walk, he might get sick and puke it out during the walk. That’s why our advice is to do it half an hour before the walk. Another advice we have is to feed him dry food, as it won’t make him feel nauseated.
5. Make Sure He’s Drank Enough Water
Again, it’s about distractions. If he feels thirsty, your pup won’t be focused on the walk but will look for water. So, when you give him his pre-walk meal, make sure to give him water as well. Another reason why this is important is that he could get dehydrated during the walk, especially if the weather is hot.
6. Have His Favorite Treats on You All the Time
When it comes to dog training, any kind of training, harness-training included, it’s all about the reward. This is how dog’s brain works – if he receives a reward for his action, he’ll keep on doing it. So, if you reward him with his favorite treat for behaving well on the leash, you can be sure he’ll be eager to keep on doing the same.
Likewise, you also need to give him negative motivation if he’s misbehaving. Of course, we’re not saying that you should hit him. What we’re saying is that you should raise your voice when he’s not walking properly. Another good way of showing him that he’s not behaving well is by stopping the walk.
If he suddenly starts pulling more than you want him to, you just need to stop rather than trying to control him. Once he calms down, you can resume the walk. And if he does the same again, just repeat what you’ve done.