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I have/am trying to train Reuben to walk to heel and sometimes he is really good and other times awful, especially in new places and first walk etc. I will keep perseveering and am patient. However he is so strong now and my shoulder is really hurting and maybe I need something to help me along or at least use in the morning when on the school run and holding school bags, dog and child! I have never used a Halti or anything as I was worried that this would just mask the problem and not teach him how to walk nicely. I have tried a half check collar but am not convinced this has helped much and I don't want to be yanking him about.

Any ideas?

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Hi. We already had a Halti headcollar in the cupboard when I rescued our Irish, and since he was a terrible lunger on the leash I tried it on him. Someone had got there before me - he had obviously been trained with one. Problem was that he continued to pull, and while it wasn't strong pulling (manageable for me) I didn't like to see it riding up and causing pressure on his eyes. We have a hand-me-down gentle leader too, but I don't like how tight that's supposed to be. Looks uncomfortable. had tried a Lupi harness before, and wrote that off after one use because our Gordon loved to pull against it and I thought it could easily rub her raw (turns out I was right to be concerned - I have read reports of this happening). I vowed I would never try a harness again, but a few weeks ago I ordered a Halti Harness (not to be confused with the Halti Headcollar). It has two connections, one on the back and one at the front, and the design is very different from anything else I've seen (doesn't go under between the legs like the usual harness designs). Well, instant success. He hates pulling against it and walks beautifully, and because it isn't attached to his head he can still have some freedom to sniff if I give permission. I still take the Halti headcollar on our walks, and use it when I need some additional control (I have two dogs to walk at the same time!). Just another thing you might want to consider.
I am positively surprised that with most dogs, Haltis actually work!
I tried it with my two dogs, and they hated it. They threw themselves on the ground and did not move, and if, they pulled, which twisted their heads. I was desperate and did something everyone warned me of - I bought two harnesses. What can I say, I am absolutely happy.

I walk both dogs, a strong boisterous boy and my girl. We jog (and walk) together as a pack of three, without pulling. Even though they know that we walk or run to their beach where they can run free, they don't pull in anticipation. But then, each dog is different I guess.

Good luck with Reuben.
Thank you for your replies and this week my trainer has lenses me a gentle leader head collar. So far it is good and does not ride up into the eyes like the other one did. Reuben fussed a bit with it but is getting use to it and accepts it. Jennifer, you mentioned about free exercise first but unfortunately my garden is not that large and the first part of his walk is on route to school (5 mins away). However he gets free exercise straight after in the fields and then back on lead on and off. If he walks nicely I keep it off but if he insists on pulling( after a lot of stop starts, then it is back on. The second walk later in the day is usually just around the park and I really spend that time doing the stop start stuff. It is sinking in slowly as when I stop, he automatically sits down beside me waiting for the heel command. I know it is a patience thing and believe we will get there in the end. He just has to learn(with the help of maturity too), that walking nicely is expected even when very excited, new places or with other people and their dogs. So maybe that will happen when he is 3 yrs old! Haha. At least the head collar stops me getting so frustrated and hence getting sore shoulder and wound up. Thank you everyone.
I tried the head collars with Dublin and he went crazy, doing flips to get it off. His obedience teacher insisted he wear it and that was 8 classes of hell where he only learned how to get it off rather than anything else. I gave up on it. I found that as he got around 2, he would walk much better without pulling as much. And I agree that after a good run, he would walk like a prince next to me. He just had to get it out of his system first. Cash is already a major puller and is dragging me along while he hops in the air to get me going quicker. He also does better after about the first 15 minutes of pulling since he tires out. It's really fun when you try to get in our dog park on a sheet of ice with a 70 lb dog dragging you along! Talk about scary!
Hi Susan. I would really recommend trying a Halti Harness (not head collar) with Cash. If he pulls, his front legs will lift off the ground, which isn't very conducive to moving forward! Plus you don't have the issue of breaking in the harness - neither of my dogs mind having it on - no struggles. Costs less than a tenner, and is proving to be the best purchase I have made in ages. I also got the double ended Halti training lead so that I can hook it onto his collar, or the front connection on the harness if I want to, and because the lead is so soft it is very nice to use. Multi-purpose too! I look forward to walks now instead of worrying about them!!
Thanks to all! I had tried at least 6 different halters, harnesses, techniques etc. and the tugging continued, except in dog training class where Gracie won hearts with her sweetness and rewards for her mastery of all skills. What a big faker! In the real world she was off as soon as the door opened. She was the first dog I could not train to heel. She laughed at patience and consistency! She had “stop” down to a science followed by lunge that could dislocate your shoulder. We spent hours working on this last summer to no avail. No fun for anyone. I had tried everything mentioned except the Easy Leader halter. After reading I immediately went to the store and bought one. Many treats were given while we fit it and began the walk. Within 10 minutes she was heeling like a pro. We had a wonderful hour long walk, no problems with distractions. I could control her with a gentle tap of left fingers on the leash. I added a “sniff” command to let her know when she could go explore. I can’t wait until our walk tomorrow. As I write this, she is sleeping on her back with a big stuffed toy in her mouth and her tongue hanging out. All worn out. YEAH

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