When Walking Your Dog, your choice of collar or harness can make a huge difference in the success of the experience for both you and your pooch! While there are many variations, in this article we will address three basic styles you have from which to choose. These three are traditional collars, traditional harnesses and the original Gentle Leader Halter.
Traditional collars offer a way to keep identification pet collars and harnesses on your dog should he become lost. To walk your dog using a leash on his collar is not something I like to see done or recommend. I like to put myself in my dog’s paws… how would it feel for me to have a collar around my neck and be pulled or led that way? In addition, as a dog ages, the upper part of his spine toward the neck area can become arthritic, and in many dogs tends to be a weak point in the spinal structure. Putting stress on this area by walking your dog with a collar is not a great idea.
Traditional harnesses are an improvement over walking your dog using a collar. You will need to get your dog used to putting the harness on of course. This can be approached as an activity you both enjoy. We always used the phrase, “Get dressed” with our dog, and she would lift up her paw and put it through the harness to put it on. The down side to a traditional harness is that if your dog is a “puller”, this original version of a harness does not address or modify that behavior.
The Gentle Leader harness was introduced over a decade ago, and was one of the first versions of harnesses that address dogs that pull and are hard to control when walking. The basic idea is to connect the collar area to the dog’s snout so that if he pulls, his focus does not go forward thus gently leading him not to pull you forward. There have been numerous modifications to this type of harness in the past few years. All are designed to kindly and gently modify the behavior of dogs who are hard to walk because they pull and are difficult to control when on lead.
As you can see, there are choices to be made when walking your best friend. The method and product chosen should take into consideration both the needs and age of the dog as well as the needs and age of the pet parent!