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What tool is best for walking your dog?

The tool is not as important as you think. I teach dogs how to release the tension on the leash. When they pull forward, creating the tension, they release the tension by closing the gap between themselves and me. And of course we use food to reward in the early stages! Dogs can learn this pressure-release system on any tool.


What tool you specifically should use is dependent on you and your dog. If there's something you are completely uncomfortable using, for a lot of people that's a prong collar, do your education on that tool. (I'd personally be happy to talk with you about each tool and help you come to a decision). If you're really uncomfortable with a tool, how are you going to feel going on walks with your dog? You want to have positive, calm, and confident energy when you're walking your dog because how you feel transfers down the leash to your dog. If you are uncomfortable, your dog will likely be uncomfortable too.


The next thing to consider is the dog themselves. How much control do you need to safely handle your dog? How much clarity do you need to provide when communicating through the leash? Tool options (listed from what gives you the least amount of control + clarity to the most) are the back clip harness, front clip harness, flat collar (usually what ID tags are attached to), martingale collar, prong collar, and slip lead/collar. If you use a tool not listed here, it’s because it’s a tool I do not personally use. If you have a dog that easily drags you down the street and has even pulled you over before, there's a safety issue and you need to start with a tool that give you as much control as possible. If you have a working breed that loves to pull (huskies and berners are two of the popular ones in my area), I prefer to use a harness for working purposes, not for loose-leash walking. I love to put these dogs to work pulling weight, and they love it too! Which means I recommend teaching loose leash walking on a collar.


Here's the point I really want to get across; the tool itself is not as important as the work you’re doing. The tools are just your sidekick on the journey. When we go on walks with our dogs, we want the walk to feel like we're walking with a friend. We are enjoying the walk together, enjoying the environment together, taking in the sights and smells together. The walk is about relationship and connection, so the exercises to focus on the most are ones that promote your relationship. The real question to ask is how can you strengthen your connection with your dog? Stay tuned!

A corgi happily walking in a neighborhood.
Heidi loving her walk on a harness!

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