Collar V Harness?

(84 Posts)
Alwaysgrey Sun 21-Apr-19 12:41:10

We joined puppy classes a while back and our trainer seems erm quite old school (no clicker training, but does do reward training and is quite free with the water spray). She likes all dogs to wear a collar. I’m working hard with Grey pup on lead walking (he’s 5 months). But he’s terrible. Loves people and other dogs. Although we are very bonded he still pulls. Trainer thinks harnesses are the devils work and cause a dog to pull more but I’m worried we could be causing neck problems for Grey dog given how much he pulls.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 21-Apr-19 12:50:45

Your trainer is relying on the unpleasant sensation of the collar to create the loose lead. Plus the added control (steering) of having a tie round the neck.

If your dogs pulls a lot then a harness is much safer because of the risk of neck damage. It should be training, not pain, that teaches loose lead.

Keep the harness. Ditch the trainer. A substandard trainer can do such damage that you will spend time, effort and tears undoing. Get out now and find someone who suits you and your dog better. Please.

Floralnomad Sun 21-Apr-19 14:12:56

The trainer sounds awful , harnesses do not encourage pulling and what the hell is she doing with a water spray ?

labazsisgoingmad Sun 21-Apr-19 14:14:41

some dogs have delicate throats and a pulling lead can really hurt them i always prefer a harness

DogHairEverywhere Sun 21-Apr-19 14:23:00

If your dog pulls, then it is likely to damage it's neck if it's wearing a collar. It will do less damage to itself if it's wearing an appropriate harness.
Obviously, you want to train it to walk on a loose lead, but this can be done at home/ in the garden to start with, without even using a lead. If your puppy is fed dry kibble, use that to reward whenever the puppy is in the 'heel' position. When my puppies are young, they never ate from a bowl. All their meals were used for training.

If you are at the stage of wanting to be out walking your dog, a balance harness (like a
Mekuti) where you clip a double ended lead to the front and back clips of the harness, and sort of 'unbalance' the dog, if it pulls, can help you get to a stage where you have more opportunities to reward the dog for being correct.

Please, please do not go to a puppy class/or dog training class where water is sprayed as a deterrent.

Walney Sun 21-Apr-19 16:12:23

Definitely harness rather than collar. We have an 18kg 9 month basset who pulls and I can't imagine the damage it would do to her neck. We are training to stop pulling but I do think harnesses are great. We went to pets at home and tried on lots of harnesses to find one that works.

stucknoue Sun 21-Apr-19 16:18:05

They need to wear collars as it's the law. But a harness is a good way to walk a dog, ours doesn't pull as much on it either, the trainer seems very old school, I would advise shopping around for a different trainer


pigsDOfly Sun 21-Apr-19 18:37:16

Harness all the way here. It's too easy to cause irreparable damage to a dogs if it's pulling on a collar.

Agree with pp get rid of the trainer. No one should ever use things like a water spray as a 'training' tool. You want to build a strong bond with your dog, not make it fearful of you.

cakeallday Sun 21-Apr-19 18:42:39

Water spray or any "punishments" are outdated. Reward the behaviours you do want as soon as you see them. Punishing the ones you don't will create other problems.

Dogs will apparently pull to the point of injury on their neck. A harness is much safer.

Also please bear in mind that your dog is very young. It's going to take time, maturity on his part and consistency and positivity from you to improve things. Personally, ours improved dramatically after the teenage age smile

cakeallday Sun 21-Apr-19 18:45:26

Just remembered - we tried walking in the opposite direction every time our puppy pulled. So that they're not having a reward for pulling. Obviously you can't do this when you are in a hurry to get somewhere! Set aside time to practise.

LunaFortuna Sun 21-Apr-19 18:46:35

Yep, harness definitely. I can’t copy and paste as I’m a Luddite who can’t work an iPad but what missbattenburg said - a substandard trainer can do much damage. Been there and have the t shirt and probably won’t ever be able to fix it. Find a good trainer and good luck with your lovely pup.

Doggydoggydoggy Sun 21-Apr-19 19:28:54


Pulling on a flat collar or chain can cause damage over time not only to the esophagus but also the eyes and spine.

If you don’t want to use a prong (most people don’t) then harness definitely although it won’t do anything to stop him pulling in my opinion but won’t damage him at least

Springiscomingsoon Sun 21-Apr-19 19:35:56

Your trainer sounds awful. Use a harness. It will take time for your dog to mature. Not many puppy's walk nicely - it comes with age. And no punishments!

Floralnomad Sun 21-Apr-19 19:38:51

They do not have to wear a collar by law , they need to wear a tag with the correct info on it , my dog wears that on his harness . Do not use a prong collar , they are very cruel .

Alwaysgrey Sun 21-Apr-19 19:58:28

We’ll switch to a harness. Took him out on the one our trainer said we should discard for the collar. Still pulled but I didn’t feel like I was throttling him. We’re going to keeping working on the pulling and also the pulling to see other dogs. If anyone has any advice on that I’d appreciate it. Trainer advised meeting as many dogs as possible although we don’t seem to meet loads when we walk. Though I do try different times.

This is the second trainer we’ve tried. First set of classes they said we’d be fine to come after our first jabs, vet said no and the classes we did go to were very very busy. Plus in an evening so he was too tired. The next trainer I found through kennel club and although some of what she says makes sense I’ve never been 100% on her. I feel useless that I keep not getting it right on classes.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 21-Apr-19 20:01:26

I feel useless that I keep not getting it right on classes.

Don't. There are far too many rubbish ones out there and little regulation to help owners choose a good one.

If you give an idea of where abouts in the country you are, people here may be able to make a recommendation.

It really is worth perservering until you find one your are 100% happy with.

lorisparkle Sun 21-Apr-19 20:10:56

If you join the Facebook group 'dog training advice and support' they can give you some suggestions for positive dog trainers and some suggestions on dealing with pulling on the lead and socialisation. Best thing I ever did.

Alwaysgrey Sun 21-Apr-19 20:29:26

We live in Uttlesford in Essex. About 20 minutes from Cambridge.

OP’s posts: |
Floralnomad Sun 21-Apr-19 20:49:59

What sort of harness are you using OP?

Alwaysgrey Sun 21-Apr-19 21:03:13

I think it’s the Trixie one. We haven’t used it in a while as the trainer recommended not using one. I’m thinking of investing in a perfect fit harness.

OP’s posts: |
DogHairEverywhere Sun 21-Apr-19 21:04:19

WRT pulling to see other dogs. You need to go where there are dogs that he can watch from whatever distance he feels comfortable at. If he is too close to other dogs, so that he is pulling and over excited, he is not in a position to learn anything.
Sit where you can see dogs and reward him for looking towards them in a calm manner, (you may be three fields away!). Once you've done that a number of times, delay your reward to him and he should look towards the dog, then look back at you as if to say 'where's my treat?'. At this point, you reward him for looking at you. So the routine is then, he sees a dog, and looks back to you, at which point you reward him. (Don't use the food to make him look at you, it should be his decision). Then over time, you can repeat the exercise slowly getting closer to where dogs are. If he gets overexcited, move further away again.

A well socialised dog is one that can calmly pass another dog, without becoming hysterical wanting to play.
A bad training class will "socialise" dogs by letting them all off together to "play". A good training class will use suitably matched dogs to maybe play for a minute or two before teaching them to recall away. They also use the dogs to teach yours to concentrate on you, when other dogs are present.

OverFedStanley Mon 22-Apr-19 08:38:47

Prong Collar are you serious Doggy ?

Doggydoggydoggy Mon 22-Apr-19 08:55:54

I wouldn’t have suggested it otherwise..

It doesn’t have the bad safety record of choke chains or long term pulling on flat collars.

No reputable study AFAIK has found a definate link between prongs and physical injury.

The images I’ve seen of horrific prong injuries have been images of dogs with embedded prong collars, the same injury will occur with any too small collar that becomes embedded.
It’s gruesome but it is not evidence of a dangerous product, any collar needs to be sized correctly and can cause injury if it isn’t.

Absolutely minimal pressure are used with them, certainly no harsh harsh leash pops or anything, you just curl your hand slightly, it’s a rare dog that pulls in one.

You don’t need to use it forever, they usually learn not to pull reliably in just a few walks.

Like any product they can definitely be abused but used properly I do not think them cruel at all.

I use one with my dog and she certainly isn’t adversely affected, she’s excited when it comes out and walks are much more enjoyable now for everybody.

Most people don’t like them because they look cruel and that is fine, use a harness then so the dog isn’t at risk of injury.

missbattenburg Mon 22-Apr-19 09:40:33

OP, are these guys any good to you...

missbattenburg Mon 22-Apr-19 09:41:53

p.s. perfect fit harnesses are VERY good.

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