Walking your dog should be a pleasant experience for both you and your pup.  Unfortunately many dogs pull to get where they want to go and that leaves their walker hanging on for dear life.

There are two types of equipment that are both humane and helpful for strong pulling dogs.

Dog walkers at the Brown County Humane Society shelter often use no-pull harnesses for strong, active dogs.  These harnesses are designed with a ring on the dog’s chest where the leash clips.  These front-clip harnesses change the point of leverage.  When the dog pulls, the harness simply turns the dog to the side instead of allowing him to pull forward.  Most dogs seem to accept the front-clip harness quickly.

Proper fit of no-pull harnesses is essential.  Improper fitting may allow a dog to slip out of its harness or, more concerning, interfere with their natural shoulder movement, potentially causing damage.

Dog wearing head halter.
This dog is wearing a head halter.

The head halter is another piece of equipment than can discourage aggressive pulling dogs.  This tool works exactly like a halter on a horse; it controls the dog’s head, and where the head goes, the body follows. It stands to reason that if a person can control a 1000 pound horse with a halter, then the same should work on a 100 pound dog.

The head halter has a strap that goes around the dog’s nose, and another that clasps around his neck, just behind the ears. The leash attaches to a ring below the dog’s chin. Rather than pulling against the dog’s whole weight on a regular collar that rests just above his powerful shoulders, you simply put gentle pressure on the halter to turn the dog’s head toward you.  Almost like magic, the rest of the dog follows.

Head halters take some training for most dogs to get used to.  It is also very important that only gentle pressure is put on the halter to prevent strains on the dog’s neck.

There are many different brands of head halters and no pull harnesses on the market now, each with its own special design.  With research you can determine which will work best for your dog.  Most of the harness and halter companies have useful videos and usage instructions on their websites to help you properly fit and walk your dog.

No-pull harnesses and head halters for dogs are easy and gentle ways to discourage your dog from pulling.  Of course, no device is a substitute for training your dog.  Both tools can be used while you train your dog to walk with good manners.