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Dog walking query - The "Happy At Heel" Dog Training Harness

Errol has got used to the Halti and is starting to muck about again. It also sits very close to his eyes despite it only being size 2 (meant to be for a Cocker!). I inspected this harness at the petshop the other day but it's an expensive piece of kit and I didn't want to invest in it without gathering some genuine feedback first. Has anyone tried it? It's fairly new on the market...



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Hi Sue H. and Charlotte,

I have nothing against harnesses at all when I work with owners dogs in my bag I always have at least three sizes and several types of Harnesses I use the Sporn and Easy Leader the problem with them is they do tend tangle in the feathers of Setters . the Head Haltie I use for dogs with aggressive problems as I have contol of their heads. I alway pop a harness on to help people that have just got a rescue dog like a Lab that has never been leash trained as they pull like a Mack truck be stupid not to. I recon these harnesses have saved the life of many dogs as instead of them being returned to the shelter it gives their owner control and it then becomes a joy to walk them..

I was saying on my pup I am trying the stop start method it is working, as I said in company not as good and if Roos are around forget it all training out the window. Was just meant as a helpful suggestion certainly not a criticism of any helpful aids.


Rosie you have it right with a rescue dog ( our Molly is one).....far better to have control and work with treats to get them to heel or stop pulling then go sidewalk surfing !  I use one here still in crowds so I know I have control of Molly and periodically have to use one on some walks we take....then I go back to attaching to her regular collar with her wearing the Gentle Leader but not attaching the leash to it for a bit to remind her to heel....funny as she seems to not realize it is not attached to the lead....takes a short part of the walk only with it and then I just take it off and no more pulling.  Molly was late to leash training here so has taken a wee bit more to establish that we do not pull as that means an automatic sit for her.....she is always eager to see what is around that next corner.  I do think part of our problem with pulling results after Alan has walked her as he does not make her heel for him when they do their wild side walks!

Sorry if you got the wrong idea Rosie, I was saying that I use that technique so wasn't criticising it or defending headcollars or harnesses :)

While the use of training aids like harnesses is fine, it's only a short term solution and I'd much rather train good on lead behaviour using something such as the stop/start method, like you said.

I think harnesses are better left to Huskeys.  I prefer to have control of the power which is the head, neck & shoulders.

Training dogs to walk to heel without using training aids is all well and good if you are only walking one or two dogs at a time.  I used to walk 6 dogs together and found the gentle leader to be a product I could not do without. 

I personally couldn't care less what people thought when I walked my six dogs on headcollars, it did the job well and they walked better than most dogs without.  Whatever makes life easier I say.

Hi All -

I just wanted to say thank you to all those who contributed to this discussion... and in such a civilised fashion who would have thought...   ONLY JOKING!!!!    ;-)

I did not decide to go for the harness in the end - Errol has been much better on the leash these past few weeks although by no means perfect. I think he still goes through phases and sometimes gets carried away by the sweet smell of adventure. He is also ever so excitable. I probably have to wait another 3 years for him to calm down a bit.

I have yet to find a head collar that fits more snuggly than the good old Halti but I do not have the financial resources to try 10 different makes which - let's face it - all seem to work on the same principal. And everybody seems to have their personal faves which makes it difficult to pinpoint the most effective contraption. However, I have bookmarked the discussion just in case I have to get back to it one day. Thanks again.


Best, Catherine

I find medium is large enough for a IS. If you have a very large dog you might want the large size though these tend to be huge and fit giant breeds.

The key to success with the gentle leader is making sure you fit it correctly, it has to be a snug fit high up behind the ears (not down where a normal collar sits) and securely locked under the chin. 

AS soon as you have fitted it, go for a walk at a fast pace,keep the lead reasonably short, if your dog plays up, completely ignore him/her and carry on walking, keep going until your dog calms down and walks at your side. 

Some times it takes a few days for dogs to accept wearing the gentle leader and for the handler to find the best way of controlling the attached lead properly but it is worth it in the end.  I have used GL's for years.

Hi Sue, maybe little one could benefit for the TTouch xtra dog harness with the double ended lead?  Not just for lead pulling issues, but to help balance her?  as you will well know, nervous dogs throw themselves around, loose contact with their feet, and using this harness, double ended lead, setting  out a labyrinth and guiding her through it can help create balance, and feet awareness.  I use this in my puppy training classes now towards the end of the course where rapidly growing dogs become quite unbalanced. It is amazing to see how quickly they start to become aware of where their feet are, and the calming effect it has upon them :-)

I tried a method used by Mick from the BBC "Dog Borstal" programme.  Loop the lead in the right hand and with the left hold it gently.  If the dog moves off in front, drop the lead in your left hand and turn in the opposite direction.  Do this everytime he pulls in front and they soon learn that it gets them no where.  I found it very effective but you do need patience and be prepared to do it quite alot.  I've also found Clicker training is also worth teaching as it re-inforces good behaviour.

The method used in Dog Borstal is effective if you have lots of time to spare.  I used this method on a few of mine to begin with but I don't have the time to be going two steps forward, one step back on every walk so I use Gentle Leaders and combine the two methods, making walks a pleasure.

Like all tv trainers, Mick makes it look as though dogs are trained in 5 mins flat which we all know is not the case in real life.

I know what you mean as it takes time and you do need to have the patience of a saint.  I find that Rigsby knows full well what he should be doing but the sheer excitement takes over so I now use a gentle leader for the first 10 mins of the walk and then switch to the collar when he is more responsive.  I think a combination of things works the best.




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