Which brand do you prefer?
I am trying to decide between the Premier Easy Walk, the Sense-ation and the No-Pull Training Harness. I'm open to any other recommendations also. This is for an at times over-friendly 5.5 month old Mastiff puppy. He is no longer a huge puller, but needs reminding not to pull sometimes, especially if he spots a human or a dog in the distance.
Having tried several no pull harnesses for both my cocker mix and my lab, I never found one that really worked well. We really like head collars though. The dogs don't pull while you direct where their head is going and is a humane solution to controlling a big dog well. I prefer the Halti brand because the straps are more substantial and my Lab will try to wipe it off when I'm not looking and the Halti always stays on. I taught my lab to pull to help me get up from a sitting position after I was injured in a car accident. I didn't realize at the time it would be a problem later when he needed to be walked on a leash. (He's 13 and deaf now and wanders) He is a very big dog and pulls hard unless he's wearing the head collar. My 38lb 5 yr old can and does walk him with the Halti on without problem. If he tries to walk him without it, he gets a ride on the end of the leash through the yard, sometimes this is the goal though .
We have the EasyWalk for our 85lbs Husky-Lab mix. The Husky is obvious when we walk him-- he just instinctively pulls, and on a regular leash can drag my 6'2 275lbs DH around, and the Husky pulling is augmented by all the charming enthusiasm and distractibility of a Lab-- we've obviously had to do a lot of training and reinforcement to have peaceful walks with him! Gentle Leader first and then the EasyWalk have made such a difference in his behavior-- a trainer we worked with has seen similar results with many, many dogs, and remarked that using them "is like turning the dog's brain on."
We used a Gentle Leader for awhile, and those were great, too, but we found that they wore out pretty quickly-- we went through 2 in less than a year, and then we got the EasyWalk, which we've had for almost 2 years. Not sure how well a Gentle Leader or Halti-type head harness would work for a Mastiff, though, and the body harness works just as well, at least for our dog.
No pull harnesses and head collars can both work well...but since he is still so young I would personally recommend just amping up your leash manners on a regular or martingale collar. Is the pup in classes? You really should focus on getting the basics down now while he is still (relatively lol) small.
For times when you need a bit more control, if you have a long enough leash you can attach it normally to the collar and then wrap it under him, around his chest just behind his front legs, and then thread it back through the ring the leash is attached to.....its like an instant no pull harness:) What I like about this is you can be working on leash skills and if the pup gets just too distracted or things start amping up it only takes a second to adjust the leash and give you a bit more control.
We use the Gentle Leader harness with our Husky/?. It's awesome :). We haven't had the wearing issues that a pp did though. She's between sizes and we put her in the larger one so just a tad too big. Might be why..............
Thanks for all the responses. I did try the gentle leader but couldn't even get it on him, so gave up on the first try. I have been using the flat collar, and would like to get a martingale collar but haven't found one that clips on locally. He is growing in front of my eyes, so I didn't want to have to buy multiple collars, but it s probably a fact of life with this pup for a while. He has made real progress with the collar, but he is a big dog and very much still a puppy, so for longer more relaxed walks, I would like to have more control over him. He wants to say hello to everyone, and not everyone wants to say hello to him, so a harness is really a very useful tool. I did buy an Easy Walk locally which is working out well. I have also ordered the Freedom Non-Pull and a Sporn Mesh harness to see if either of those will work even better. I will also order a martingale collar for our shorter training walks.
He hasn't done puppy classes because of the vax issue (I have mentioned this before) but I hope to take him to a private trainer to do some dog/people sensitivity training in the new year. He is a super dog, generally very well-behaved and not an aggressive bone in his body. He is living up the breed's reputation of being a gentle giant.
Here he is this morning.
I have had the best luck with large dogs/pullers with a pinch collar. It's the steel mideval looking thing with prongs towards the inside. It looks like it stabs dog in the neck, but it's action is when you give a leash correction (sharp tug) it pinches the dog's skin. Much more gently than a choke collar, and much easier to use. They learn very quickly that pulling gives you the pinch. It's also helpful for training.
Your pup is going to get HUGE, he's so cute!!!
A lot of people find these collars cruel, but to me my dog's safety trumps all. If that's what I need to use to keep her from taking off into the street or getting into a dog fight, so be it.
Also, be sure he is on a short leash (non retractable) close to your body, and keep him moving. No stop and sniff, no look over here look over there, just face forward, when we walk we walk, all business.
I will not use a pinch collar, but I know many people do. He isn't a big puller, and I have been working with him on loose leash walking and he is getting to be pretty good. I use the harness because he wants to greet every person/dog he sees and I need to de-sensitize him to this. I am working on "look at me" with treats to distract him, but he is strong and I am guessing he has probably hit 100 lbs now and he is still very much a puppy. I have been experimenting with finding the best harness for us and so far have used the Premier Easy Walk and the Sporn. The Sporn seems to be the better of the two for us, but I am still waiting for the Freedom No-Pull harness to show up, I ordered it 12/9 and it just shipped yesterday, I do not use a retractable leash, and do keep him close to me, although he has improved enough that I can have the leash slack now, but as soon as I spot a person or a dog in the distance I keep the leash short and tight. I do let him enjoy some sniffs on the walk, but generally like to keep going forward, but I guess I could be more business like with him!
Thanks, btw,, he is a very handsome boy, and yes he is going to be big!
I just want to add, I do not do walks = all business. They are supposed to be fun!! I will do portions business only, but the reward for that is to go sniff and wander around, as long as they are not pulling.
I think this is something that for many causes some issues.....its like taking a kid through a toy store and expecting them to totally ignore everything on the shelves. While it is not acceptable for them to run around like loons screaming and lunging for toys, it should be ok for them to check things out and even play with some of them:) A dog learns a lot more than just loose leash walking (or formal heel which I would not use for an entire recreational walk). They learn how to interact with the neighborhood, with people, the sounds and smells, and sights are all information to them.
And no, prongs are not horrible and cruel, but they are a punishment. And often dogs that are a bit reactive or over excited actually turn leash aggressive from them. Everytime they see another dog they get a correction for pulling, they often associate the correction with the other dog and start thinking other dogs are bad. They are a training tool, and if used correctly, should be weaned off rather quickly. And honestly, a prong is not going to stop a dog from running out into the street or getting in a dog fight, training does. I used to use prongs on all my dogs so I do have a lot of experience with them and will never use one again.
I've been happy with the Easy Walk for my maniacal Pointer mix. It was recommended in my first class with her and it really helps us. I'm not a Halti fan. I tried that with our older dog when he was a pup and he hated it and just pulled it off. Might just depend on the dog, though.
I really just wanted to pop in and post a link to the leash technique greenmagick was referring to. My instructor calls it "balance leash". I've done it a little bit in class, but I really prefer the Easy Walk because it's, well, easy!!
I never have this crazy dog in a situation where she is not in her harness or her harness is not readily available. If she's out of the house/yard, she's in her Easy Walk.
Regarding the short, tight leash when you see someone in the distance, everything I've read says NOT to do this as it sends a signal to the dog to get ready because something exciting is happening and consequently the dog might want to pull. I have never owned a dog as large as a Mastiff so I don't know the best way to deal with them and I know a longer leash gives a dog more leverage (physics), but you might want to do a little research into that and see if there's a better way. Maybe you could distract him with a treat as you approach the other walker and have him heel and then sit?
Best of luck. He looks like a real sweetie!
lol one more quick comment
when using a head collar, you shouldnt just pop it on and try to walk them. Not saying anyone here did this, but thought it would be good information for those reading who may think of trying one. You need to slowly desensitize them to them. It would look something like show them the head collar, give them a treat. Let them sniff it, give them a treat. Put the treat so that they have to stick their nose in it and release. DO this over and over and then move to putting it on for just a second, then a bit longer, etc....giving lots of treats as you go. It may take a couple days or longer before you are ready to use if for walking.