As a dog walker, I find that many of my customers have their dogs in collars which are too loose. Please! Follow the two-finger rule. You should be able to fit two fingers between your dog’s neck and the collar. No more.
People don’t want their dog to be uncomfortable, and I certainly understand this, but a dog who suddenly slips backward out of the collar, and bolts away in confused excitement, only to be hit by a car- well, it’s just not worth the risk. I use a martingale on most of the dogs I walk, for the dog’s comfort and for my piece of mind.
If you like a loose collar, buy a martingale type. This can be loose on the dog’s neck, but operates like a choke collar if suddenly pulled. The nylon web will not stay tight, as a chain choke collar often will. I love martingale collars on any dog who might be a flight risk!
Halti type collars (similar to horse halters) are nice for large dogs who are difficult to control. Training is a much better idea, however! I recommend professional trainers- they will make an amazing difference for your dog. A halti (or one of those special harnesses) will keep your dog from pulling while it is wearing the halti (or harness). Generally, it won’t teach the dog not to pull when the dog is not wearing the equipment. (Hint: if the dog gets excited, be sure to hold the leash up high in the air, or the dog will probably get the halti off. Then you only have them by the safety strap, which is surely not great considering the situation you are most likely in!)
To teach a dog not to pull, here is what to do:
As soon as the dog pulls the leash tight, stop and (gently) turn the dog around to face you. Say a command such as “Don’t pull.” I use a downward gesture with my left hand also. Dogs respond well to gestures. Wait for a minute, and then calmly proceed. Never walk a dog in training when you have to be somewhere by a certain time!
If you have a medium – to -large dog who wants to pull, I recommend the following:
After three times of having to stop the dog, I put the leash under a front leg. This works very much like the halti or a no-pull harness would. The dog feels the leash against the chest, and doesn’t want to pull. More effective with some dogs than others, it is certainly worth a try. An advantage this has is that you can train the dog with the normal leash until the third strike, so to speak. Using this method keeps you from having to stop every few minutes all the way home. It works on small dogs also but may be more difficult to keep the leash under the leg.
I like harnesses on small dogs. They give me a sense of security.