Monday, 7 March 2011

How to walk a dog that pulls like a train

As a rescue dog who came into our lives at the estimated age of 18 months; Neko has proved to be a challenge. Her breed characteristics do not do much to help. The breed are notorious for having selective hearing which coupled with an extremely high prey drive means we cannot really let her off the lead. She will come back eventually but only after she has chased every single other dog/cat/bird for as far as she can. If we can find a field that is free from any other living animal, then she generally will be fine. We do try to do this as we feel so sorry for her. As a large athletic dog, she does like a run. And its good to give her legs a stretch. She runs like a graceful gazelle!

For street walking she pulls. Like a train. No amount of dog training has eradicated this. My boyfriend can manage fine but if I walk her on a normal collar I usually end up on the floor. Therefore we have employed a variety of head collars. She does grumble about wearing these and they do tend to make the general public view her as dangerous and muzzled but they Give Me Control. And when you have a 5 stone dog it is imperative to be in control!

So first of all we have the Halti headcollar. One benefit of the Halti is that it also connects to the dog's normal collar which adds an extra element of safety. This I think is extra necessary with the Halti as Neko has on occasion wriggled out of it. But when it works it does stop the pulling. There is an element of the dog walking sideways however because of where the lead connects to the collar. But overall it is a cheap and effective product that you can purchase easily at Pets at Home.

Then we tried the Canny collar. This worked fine also but tended to dig into the dogs nose more, leaving a mark. It also would rise up into her eyes. The canny benefits from the lead connecting to the collar behind the neck meaning that this solves the sidestepping problem of the halti. Yet Neko always seemed to be able to pull more on the canny than with the others. I think this was reasonably priced and also easily available online.

And finally we tried the Dogmatic head collar. This was the most expensive (maybe £15-20 range) and was ordered online. As you can see we were able to buy a lovely pink collar. With Neko being a large breed dog it often is assumed that she is a boy. Therefore a touch of pink affirms her bitch status and also looks pretty. This is hands down the best head collar, minimises pulling and works and fits very well. It was worth paying the extra money for it.

We have also tried a half check collar but found that this made little difference seeing as she has a neck of steel. The pull harness type thing (also made by Halti) also just gave her all the power in her shoulders to drag me along! There is also a collar called the gentle leader that we haven't tried but that seems quite popular. But I am settled and happy with my pink dogmatic collar and would recommend it to anyone looking for a suitable head collar for their dog.


  1. Came across your Blog on cpd23 and can't believe that the first two posts I read relate so closely to my life! I have a Sprocker spaniel who runs on the lead (and ate the Halti on first wearing!), untameable curls (leave in conditioner and diffuser work quite well for ringlet creation I find), and you're a Librarian too! I feel we are kindred spirits :)

  2. Hi Angela! Only just read your comment - I'm really excited to meet someone else who understands my world, hehe.
    What is your sprocker spaniel called? I will go to your blog in a minute and see if I can find some photos! That is so funny that he/she ate the halti. I have recently been using leave in conditioner as well - but should really purchase a diffuser! How are you finding CPD23? I am going to do Thing 2 now by reading your blog!
    Aneesa xx