Pulling Labrador

Posted by tammy
Aug 24, 2009
Hi there
I have a black labrador retriever,4.5 years old,very loving ,very obedient in the house,sits ,stays nicely,waits for his food ,has accepted me and hubby as alpha dog,etc.my one problem is that when we go walk he pulls-I tried some of the sggested training methods in the book-I know it is my inability to train him properly,as he is very intelligent.
I really want him(and me ) to succceed in this -as walking is not fun-we made the mistake when he was small not to leash- train him ,as we always took him and the 6 year older dog on walks where they could run-now we moved and have this option very seldom.So we had to start when he was 4 with that-our mistake-can still something be done-the older dog is 10 now and walks very slow-so we take them anyway for apart walks.
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 24, 2009
Hi RRT and thanks for your post,
I was wondering if you would be interested in trying a head collar such as a halti or gentle leader? This could be either an instant permanent solution to your walking problems or a temporary tool while your persist with lead training, either way you would be able to enjoy walks again as well as work both dogs at the same time therefore increasing each dogs overall walking time.
Posted by tammy
Aug 28, 2009
Thanks for the suggestion-where would one get such a thing you mentioned-cannot really imagine what it is-something over the muzzle?
is there a section in the course-remember seeing something -do you know which pages?
Thanks a lot
Posted by kjd
Aug 28, 2009
Hi, Tammy,

Most pet stores carry either the Gentle Leader or the Halti or both. You can also buy them online from places like Petco and PetsMart.

Posted by Maggiesmom1
Aug 31, 2009
My dog Maggie loves to pull. I tried every type of collar possible including the head collars....she hated them and I thought she looked silly. Finally, I found a prong-type pinch collar. I ordered mine on line and it really works. [url=http://leerburg.com/prong.htm#1288]Leerburg | Prong Collars and Fur Saver Collars[/url] They look awful--like a torture device but I have seen such an improvement in Maggie's ability to walk without pulling. I live in Atlanta and heard the Atlanta Dog Whisperer speak recently. She also recommends these collars. It just seems to offer you greater control. Good Luck I know how important walking your dog is! I do it every day!
Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 2, 2009
Hi again

Here is some information on head collars for you. I would always recommend a head collar over a prong collar or a choke chain because they are much more effective and will not cause damage to the very delicate structures of the neck such as the carotid artery, jugular vein and many vital nerves.

When you’re walking a dog on a lead and using a normal collar, the dog wants to reply to your pull with a pull of its own. That’s their natural response. Because the result of these two pulls can be a blocked throat or a choked airway, dogs learn to modify their natural urge.

When the use of a normal collar and lead isn’t working – your dog insists on pulling – we recommend using a head collar such as a Gentle Leader® or Halti®.

The head collar is designed to control your dog quite differently from a normal collar. It’s based on the same premise as a horse’s halter which is a "head harness". It means that the dog is attached to the lead via its head muscles rather than it’s strong pulling neck and shoulder muscles. One strap goes over the dog’s muzzle and another strap goes around the back of his head. Instead of aggressively exerting dominance, if your dog goes off to one side or tries to pull ahead, the head collar swings him smoothly and effortlessly back into line again. It teaches your dog not to pull but without restricting his breathing or pinching his neck. Haltis® and other head collars work in a similar manner.

Because you get immediate, direct control we have found head collars effective in correcting pulling, lunging, and jumping and it has shown marked success helping owners facilitate basic training commands such as "sit" and "down." Head collars are also very useful in alpha training for example they are helpful in moving dominant dogs out of doorways and off couches.

According to the designers of the Gentle Leader®, each strap of the head collar makes a special contribution. The nose loop is said to mimic the action of a pack leader grasping your dog’s muzzle in its jaw to show dominance. The neck strap aims to mimic a mother’s calming grip on the back of a pup’s neck.

Here are three criticisms of head collars and our responses to them:

The science is suspect. Some have questioned whether the individual straps live up to their claims. We are slightly sympathetic to this view, in that the explanation of the mechanics of each strap can sound over-determined. But regardless of whether these straps are actually mimicking pack behaviors, there is no doubt that the lead effectively controls the dog's head.

It looks like a muzzle. It's not a muzzle. A dog on a head collar can vocalize, eat, drink, and pant. The more people see dogs with head collars on the more normal it will be and the less they will be confused with muzzles. Also, it's likely that people are so used to seeing dogs pulling on their lead and gasping for breath they no longer see that method of dog control as inhumane. As more people become educated about alternative methods, the more they will accept them.

Dogs hate wearing it. Many dogs will make a tremendous fuss about wearing it at first. Some will act like it's intolerable and try to paw at it or rub their face on the ground. This display is temporary and it's important to realize that they are not responding to pain but rather to a form of discipline. In fact often dogs will only try to paw it off when they are frustrated because they are trying to do something naughty like pull you across the road to another dog. As long as you follow the introduction instructions that come with the product and distract your dog with lots of fun and treats your dog will soon forget its even wearing it.

We like the gentle approach
The head harness design is a gentle and effective way to manage a dog and train it to behave well on a lead. It is also an indispensable training tool for a variety of canine behavior problems. The head collars is also a lot more humane than prong collars which although giving you some control can severely damage your dog’s neck and also encourage aggression and dominance problems.

In our opinion, because the design is more dog-friendly and more effective than conventional collars and other alternatives, it really should be the first choice. For the sake of the dogs – and their training.

Head collars are available at most pet shops and on many websites. If you would like to purchase one you can simply google halti or gentle leader. If you do get one online though make sure you can return it if it is not the right size as having the right fit is important for comfort and to make sure it doesn't fall off. I have personally used head collars with several dogs and find them amazing tools. Exercise is so important for dogs both physically and mentally and head collars remove the barrier to regular exercise that is fun for both dog and owner.

All the best,