Friday, 13 April 2012

No Pull Aids

Kobi and I have experimented with almost every single no pull aid available. I'm still not sure which one is right or better, but each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
I originally started off with the quick snap on the collar when the dog pulls (like the TV shows say to do). But it didn't work, if anything Kobi learned to pull harder. Our bog problem was with people, some people he would full out lunge at and choke himself on the end of the leash. So having used a gentle leader in the past with my mothers dog with great success I went to go buy one. I went to our local Canadian Tire, which didn't have a gentle leader but had a Halti. So that's where we started.

The Halti is a head harness with a very similar function to the Gentle Leader, differences being that it has more fabric which can be annoying to the dog, but also provides the benefit of mouth closure. This allowed up to be able to pull up on the leash and close his mouth when he barked inappropriately. Two features of the Halti that I did like was that there was extra padding on the nose strap, and it came with a small buckle attachment to attach to your dogs collar, so that in the event that the dog manages to slip his head out, you are still attached to the dog. Downsides of the Halti, all that fabric, no matter how much desensitizing I attempted with Kobi he hated the damn thing. He would face plant to the ground and rub his face in the dirt every few steps.

Gentle Leader:
We switched to the Gentle Leader because its simplistic design on has two pieces, one to go behind the head and one to go over the nose. It did not have the collar attachment option and it gave you no control over the mouth. Also the thin fabric left a groove in the fur over Kobi's nose and has a tenancy for wearing away fur in that area. Kobi tolerated the Gentle Leader better than the Halti, but he still hated it. I also found the head collars were preventing him from meeting people and dogs properly, if any tension came into the leash when he tried to greet someone it resulted in his face being pulled away making him more reactive and fearful. As well when he really wanted to get at something he would pull against it anyway contorting his face in random ways.
Head collars are great if your dog accepts them or if you specifically need control of your dogs head.

SENSE-ation Harness:
We then moved onto the sensation harness which we loaned from our trainer for a week. Kobi was not bothered by wearing the harness and it was simple in design and easy to put on. The one we borrowed was a touch to big for Kobi and where the leash attachment is in the front, when he pulled against it most of the fabric pulled to the side before it affected Kobi.  I did find Kobi couldn't pull as effectively against the harness as he did the head collars, and he was able to meet dogs and people without being pulled away from them by accident.

Freedom Harness:
We were then given a Freedom Harness to test out. Our trainer had just switched to one and had mixed opinions of them and wanted an outside non- trainer review. The Freedom Harness has pro's and con's like they all do, but I do find I am so far liking the Freedom Harness best. The harness is slightly most complicated to adjust properly and put onto the dog but we've gotten used to it. The harness has a velvet tummy band to attempt at preventing wearing away of fur along the stomach and in the arm pits. This harness has an attachment point in the both the front and along the back. And interestingly the attachment point along the back has the cinching ability seen in the front of Easy Walk Harnesses. We did not try and Easy Walk but were told they needed constant adjustment because of the front cinching making them a bit of a pain.

The Freedom Harness also comes with a double clasp leash allowing you to attach to both the front and back and has a free floating hand loop. This is the recommended way to use the product and so far it is my preferred way. At first I didn't like the idea of the double attachment leash, so I used it like a regular front walker with a regular leash wrapped around my waist. It worked, but every time Kobi pulled on it he drifted right into my walking path and I walked on his feet a couple of times or just kept running into him which drove me crazy. I switched to leashing it the recommended way just to give it a try and I did find I had more control of Kobi when he pulled and it was easier to correct him to a proper position. Attaching the leash like this it does tend to get twisted and sometimes Kobi would get his head stuck or a leg stuck but it worked well for the most part. I liked that it was a shorter leash this way however if I needed real control I would have to grab onto the main leash closer towards the front, easy if done when loose, hard to do if they're already pulling. I've tried attaching the leash to my waist, it works but again the leash gets really twisted this way and I don't feel like I have as much control. I've started jogging with Kobi and when I do I clip both clasps in the front to avoid tangling and this seems to work fine. So for the control and multiple options of ways you can use the harness, the Freedom Harness is my favourite so far. It can be annoying at times and is harder to get on and off, but so far it is the best no pull aid we have tried.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on any of these products or if you have other products you think work well.


  1. Interesting - I've been looking into the Freedom harness (use a sensation harness with Sally usually) ... nice to read a "real" review!

  2. Anyone have experience with the Walk'n'Sync harness?