How to Stop Excessive Leash Pulling with a Front Clip Harness
Let's be honest. We have all seen or personally owned dogs who cannot seem to walk nicely on a leash. We may enviously watch owners who have perfectly behaved pups who walk directly next to them while looking up at them lovingly. I assure you that the second scenario is not the norm, so don't be discouraged.
As with all obedience and behavioral training, starting puppies as soon as possible with leash training is your best chance to have a perfectly healing pup. However, walking nicely on a leash is a very foreign experience for dogs. Especially for certain working breeds (huskies, malamutes, etc), pulling is something that is instinctual and particularly difficult to train out. Leash training is a topic for another post.
Getting to the main points:
While your dog walking ahead of you may be slightly bothersome, this behavior in itself isn't really cause for concern or correction (unless you're training to be in dog shows or something). The issue arises when there is excessive pulling to the point where your walks are unpleasant, but especially if it could cause injury to yourself or your dog.
So what do we recommend? Like I said earlier, leash training as soon as possible is your best bet, but sometimes training alone does not work. Your savior is a front clip harness. A front clip harness is a great tool to discourage pulling, because the leash clips on the dog's chest and automatically causes the dog to turn to the side if they begin to pull forward. This is a somewhat uncomfortable feeling for the dog and they are inclined to leave more slack in the leash, which causes them to walk nicely. BOOM. There really isn't much more to it.
Introducing a front clip harness to your dog will hopefully go perfectly smoothly, but your dog may have some eversion to using this new tool.
Use these tips:
Make sure the harness fits properly. If it is too small or too big, your dog will feel uncomfortable and there is more of a chance they will become resistant to having a positive experience. As with a regular collar, you want the harness to be snug, but loose enough that you can fit two fingers between the harness and your dog's body.
Always use positive reinforcement. Give lots of praise and treats when you bring the harness near your dog and while you're putting the harness on. Continue using praise and treats while you are walking with the harness on. Do this until your dog has become acclimated.
Be consistent. Consistency is the key to all training. Always use the harness for walks.
Maybe leave the harness on for extended periods of time even when you are not going for a walk. The more your dog feels that the harness is just a normal part of life, the easier it will be for he or she to get used to it.
From personal use, we recommend Easy Walk harnesses, which you can find here: http://www.petsafe.net/easywalk (we are in no way affiliated nor do we receive any compensation)
Use these tips and your dog should be a polite walker in no time.