How Helpfulness Are Harnesses?

Clients often begin their packages with us desperately trying to restrain their reactive dog with a harness.

This is understandable – hearing your dog choke themselves on a collar is unpleasant & concerning.

However, whilst we rarely make generalisations in dog training because it’s such a nuanced skill, we can say we rarely use harnesses to train dogs.

This is primarily because a great use of a harness is to allow safe pulling. Think bikejoring, scentwork, bitework, Canicross…

During these sports, the dog can & should pull freely & intensely….
….something we don’t want a reactive dog to do!

It’s not true that harnesses teach a dog to pull. Plenty of dogs walk with a loose lead on a harness!

But harnesses enable safe pulling, and therefore simply aren’t an appropriate tool when it comes to resolving lunging & pulling.

We might use a harness for a puppy during their early development, so that they can safely explore the world without hurting themselves or ‘poisoning’ future collar work.

For matters such as loose lead walking or reactivity, we prefer to use some sort of collar to teach the dog, alongside desensitisation to any triggers 👍🏻🙂

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