Hi, I'm looking for some advice on a new lead and harness for my 1yo GSD.
She currently has a halti head collar which doesn't seem to sit correctly across her face and digs into her eyes when she moves or pulls. She hates it and it looks very uncomfortable. I'm looking for something that is not padded or a different kind of harness which is still anti-pull but that will be much more comfortable for her.
Her lead is also on its way out, it's a cheapy flat black fabric one about 1m in length. I'd like one that's comfortable to hold and a bit longer than the one we currently have. I'm not keen on the idea of extendable ones though.
We've got Gencon lead/harness anti-pull leads. They're easier to put on than a Gentle Leader as you don't need to clip anything, it's just two loops. My dogs are Portuguese Water Dogs but they also fit on kelties, springers & springer/poodle crosses. The Gentle Leader really didn't work on a beardie.
If you want to stick with a halter type of thing try a Canny Collar , we found them much better than the other headcollars as you are still leading from behind the head , like on a normal collar . Apparently lots of police /army dogs use them. I use a halti training lead ,which is adjustable length but not particularly exciting . We walk ours on a Doxlock harness now, easy to put on , washes well and seems escape proof ,and we had tried lots before we settled on this .
All anti-pull devices are going to be aversive in some way, otherwise they wouldn't work. I've heard good things about the fit of Dogmatic headcollars compared to the Halti but really in the long term it would be far preferable to regard the headcollar as an intermediary step on the way to teaching the dog to walk on a plain collar.
Traditionally GSDS are handled and shown on very long thin leather leads, once they're worn in they go butter soft and are very comfortable. These are very good value for money. My second favourite would be a Softex police style training lead with double trigger clips, again these are long, soft and adjustable. The Halti training lead is similar but not as long or soft.
Also, harnesses tend to facilitate pulling by their very nature - think of what huskies wear to pull sleds - they are comfortable, anchored to the strongest part of the dog and allow the head and neck to snake about wherever they please.
Never known a police or army dog to wear a headcollar yet, they are usually in some kind of choke collar or leather collar. I'd default to a long link Sprenger choke collar (NOT a prong/pinch) with a GSD but appreciate that this is an unpopular choice on here and not something to be used by the average pet owner without supervision.
Not all harnesses facilitate pulling; the anti-pull ones work very well. The easy walk (and others similar) has a clip on the front of the chest, so that if the dog pulls, the force is redirected.
I don't recommend the use of a choke collar, especially on a dog that is not trained to walk nicely because it will just have a horrible experience. Kikopup has several videos on how to teach loose leash walking (including if using a harness at the same time), and they are really good.