We are excited to have a new product available at Animal Hospital of North Asheville for those who need either more control or less pulling (or both) when walking their dog. We now offer the Freedom No-Pull Harness which is not a head halter but looks much like a traditional dog harness. While head halters work well for many dogs and the people walking them, some dogs fight wearing them. We are happy to have found the Freedom No-Pull Harness which dogs find comfortable, is difficult to slip out of, and best of all, it is easy to learn to put on.
The Freedom No-Pull Harness is recommended by local certified professional dog trainers and dog behavior consultants. It is a training tool designed to discourage pulling on the leash by taking advantage of the opposition reflex. This reflex causes dogs to lean into pressure applied by regular collars and harnesses to the throat and chest area (causing them to pull even more). When a dog pulls with the Freedom Harness, it tightens slightly around the girth, applying pressure to the back. At the same time, an additional leash ring on the chest allows you to "steer" your dog sideways, further discouraging pulling ahead. The harness comes with a double-ended leash: One end can be attached to the back ring and the other to the front ring for maximum control, but you may attach the leash to just one of the two rings, depending on your dog's strength and your preference. We are happy to demonstrate how it works at your next visit or you can schedule a time to work with our patient care coordinator or techs.
No-pull harnesses, head collars and other walking equipment won't replace teaching your dog proper leash manners, but they will ease and speed up the training process. Some collars, such as prong collars and choke chains, can make leash pulling and other behavior issues worse and cause injury. Click Here to read more about concerns for using aversive methods.
Many of the staff at Animal Hospital of North Asheville use the Freedom No-Pull Harness with their dogs with much success. The harness is easy to put on and is readily accepted by most dogs. If your dog seems to feel uncomfortable in it, you can desensitize him to wearing this new piece of equipment, just like you would with a head collar, backpack, muzzle or any other item unfamiliar to your dog. Give treats or toys (whichever your dog loves the most) while slowly introducing the dog to the gear, and only use it for short periods of time at first. Keep the sessions short and never force it on a dog. We are happy to show you how to introduce your dog properly to the harness.
The Freedom Harness, just like any other no-pull device, should not be used with a retractable leash. Retractable leashes not only encourage pulling since the dog constantly has to pull against the spring-loaded handle, they also leave the handler with little to no control. Strong leash pulling dogs can easily knock the handle out of the handler's hand causing injury to themselves or anyone around. However, the handle is not the only dangerous part of a retractable leash. Long lines, especially the thin rope type lines, are known to get tangled around canine feet or tails or human fingers and have the potential to cause serious injury, such as broken bones and loss of limbs.
We are excited to be able to offer the Freedom No-Pull Harness to our clients as a better and safer way to manage leash pulling or reactive dogs. If you are interested in learning more, ask about the Freedom No-Pull Harness at your next visit.
Dutchess has been a "puller" her whole life. She has a history of reacting to other people, dogs, kids and bikes by lunging, barking and pulling. Being deep chested, she was also able to pull out of a traditional harness. Thus she was a challenge to walk. She never adjusted well to a head harness, so walks consisted of her continously rubbing her head on the ground. Having used the New trix and seeing her postive response to redirecting the opposition reflex, her family decided to try the Freedom No-Pull Harness. She adjusted very well and quickly to the new harness. By using this harness and working with training she is now able to go walking on public trails with other people, dogs, kids and bikes. The harness has given her family confidence that she will not slip out the harness and it allows them to help control the pulling while working on positive training with her. Dutchess is featured in the below video. Before the using the Freedom No-Pull harness, this was unthinkable. They scheduled her veterinary appointments early or late in the day to avoid having to walk where there was a possibility of having to deal with her reacting to anyone or dragging them to the car. Now the whole family can enjoy walks.