Dear Miss Behavin’:
We recently adopted a new pup and are looking to get some new equipment to help with loose leash walking. There are so many different choices out there; I am not sure what would be best for our pup.
Congratulations on your new addition! I agree with you there are a lot of equipment choices on the market. All equipment is geared to help with the training process, not to stop the pulling completely. This means that you still need to do training to address the pulling and the addition of the new equipment will help. The two most common are a front attach harness or a head halter.
Your front attach harnesses come in many styles and brands, some of the more common ones are the Sensation, Easy Walk and Freedom Harness. These vary from a single front attachment to a two point attachment, on the chest and back. These are great for dogs that don’t do a lot of pulling. The concept behind these harnesses is that when the dog gets to the end of the leash, the harness will help redirect them back toward you, lessening their ability to pull.
Your head halters also have many styles and brands to choose from, the two most common ones are the Gentle Leader or the Halti. These are great for dogs that are serious pullers or those that have reactivity issues. The concept is similar of the harness, the dog gets to the end of their leash and the halter will redirect their head toward you and lessen the ability to pull forward.
A final piece of equipment that I like to pair with either of the above or for those pups that like to slip their collars is the Martingale collar. This is a no slip type of collar and when fitted properly your dog should not be able to get out of it if they try to back out.