Personally I prefer to use as little equipment as possible, maybe some nice tasty treats, a toy or my voice when it comes to training. However this doesn't always work, especially if the early work wasn't quite put in properly, perhaps through bad advice or lack of time.
We had new members to our class recently with a very persistent puller. On the first lesson it was obvious this young 9 month old dog had learned that pulling was an ok thing to do because he was a very strong dog and could get away with it. This wasn't going to end well though with one of the owners pregnant and needing him under better control before the baby arrives. First lesson we tried all the usual techniques, keeping a treat by the nose and rewarding for a few steps at heel, stopping if the dog pulled in front and guiding him back to the owners side. However it was clear we needed something that could help move things along a little faster.
I am all for taking time etc, however when you have a situation like this sometimes it is better to utilise a tool or piece of equipment which can help move things forward a little faster. I've never been a huge fan of harnesses on pullers because the dog can get more of it's weight into the shoulders and pull even harder. However there are now some rather nifty harnesses available which can help control pulling, especially if you have a dog who is either used to a harness or dislikes head collars, which was the case with this doggy.
So last week I took one of these 'tools' down to class with me. Fitted the boy up, and the change was almost instant. This did not mean he didn't pull, he still had his moments, but he was so much easier to walk that even his pregnant owner was able to safely walk him for part of the class. This was huge because the poor couple were getting anxious about his pulling even getting aching arms. The basics still need to be put in place, getting him to walk nicely next to them using positive reinforcement, but this training aid worked! They felt so much more confident seeing that he can walk nicely, and of course the handlers mind-set makes a big difference when it comes to training. So we have put an order in for them to have one of these harnesses of their own so that they can work with him effectively outside of classes and hopefully soon help him realise that walking with his handlers is much more comfortable than pulling at the end of a lead.
This is the link to the Easy Walk Harness which I can now thoroughly recommend having tried and tested it myself.
Dog Trainer, animal lover, artist and photographer