For Pitbulls...collar or harness when walking?

So which is better when training and walking an adult pitbull mix...A collar or a harness? I was walking w/ "T" today and he actually got out of both a harness and a choke chain when he decided to go after a cat. So now I'm wondering what is best to control him with when he sees something he wants and tries to break away like he did today.


Asked by "T" on Jun 24th 2008 in Leash Walking
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Lily

A martingale style collar. Check the Lupine website for pictures and retailers. It goes over the head and fits loosely, but if the dog pulls, it tightens. It cannot overtighten because you prefit it to him. That was the only collar my Siberian escape artist couldn't back out of. I still use them, just because they are so comfy if the dog walks correctly.

Lupine calls theirs an adjustable collar. A pit could have a 1" wide one. Lily has 3/4 because of her fur. Guaranteed for life, even if chewed. Nice, when Lily has a Husky/GSD cousin whose nickname is Slash.

A regular harness gives a strong dog too much control. I swear it increases the pulling power. Guess how I know?

A Gentle Leader gives the most control, but it doesn't teach the dog anything. A Halti is similar and has an extra strap, but my dogs didn't like it. Gentle Leader has a new harness might be worth looking into. Lily is such a soft dog, I don't need it or I might check it out.

Good luck!


Lily answered on Jun 24th.

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Jack

Personally, I don't think choke chains should even be an option.

You can do so much damage with one, even if you think you're being gentle. Most of us don't know how to properly use a choke chain and they cause a lot of problems.

Problems can also arise with walking the dog on a regular collar. Many vets see unneccesary early onset arthritis around the neck and shoulder area of dogs who are walked on leash with a collar alone.

I prefer either a prong collar (again, if you must have good control, and only if you can have a professional trainer show you how to use it) or even better a halti, which is like a harness, but lower down and across the chest. These are great because it slows the dog down a bit and causes the dog to be turned around a bit if he pulls, so he naturally paces himself after just a few minutes in the halti.

Also, make sure you have a sturdy, nylon leash and hold with two hands. You have so much more control like that when he decides to pull!


Jack answered on 6/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Gray Dawn Treader

I'd recommend a harness for T specifically. For my Papillon/Sheltie mix, I recently got a harness to use on walks (1) because he's a puller and when I use the collar on walks he sounds like he's choking and (2) he has tried to back out of his collar a time or two and he can't back out of a harness.
Once he is trustworthy on walks, you can use a collar.
While in some cases a choke chain is needed, in most cases more "humane" training practices work better.


Gray Dawn Treader answered on 6/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


TK, CGC

I second the martingale collar if you want something he can't pull out of. As far as training not to pull, I suggest either a Halti or an Easy Walk Harness.

The halti is commonly mistaken for a muzzle as it fits over the dog's nose and causes pressure/pull on the head when the dog pulls. The drawback to these is the dog can take a long time to acclimate to wearing them and spend more time trying to get the collar off than actually walking.

The Easy Walk Harness is what I personally use. It is basically a martingale front-clip harness. It works by both squeezing and pulling the dog to the side when it pulls ahead. It takes virtually no time for the dog to acclimate to but I don't think it's quite as effective as a halti/gentle leader could be.

I think you should also incorporate a "watch" or "target" command to grab your dog's attention when he sees something exciting. It's wonderful to see a responsible bully owner who has a well behaved, well controlled dog!


TK, CGC answered on 6/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Shayne CGC, RL2

I use martingale/no slip/limited choke collars pretty much exclusively. I had a newly adopted shelter dog years ago who could back out of collars and harnesses and she never could back out of the martingales.

I just made an order with lupine and i am EXTREMELY happy with the quality of what they call a "combo collar" which is a martingale.

There is a website that sells extra thick (wide) martingales that i know many pibble parent use because it distributes the pressure to more area on the neck. While lupine's largest collar is 1" wide/thick .. the collars at 2houndsdesign.com are up to 2" wide. I have never personally used this but i know many pibble owners who do love them.

The only thing about the martingales is that they should NEVER be left on the dog unattended. Because they constrict, if the collar gets caught on something and the pup tries to pull away the collar (will do it's job) and tighten making the dog unable to escape and can suffocate.


Shayne CGC, RL2 answered on 6/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Miss Buddie

I use a harness for both Buddie and Stevie Ray. They are both pullers and it helps me control them without choking.

T is gorgeous by the way! :D


Miss Buddie answered on 6/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Abby

A regular harness is almost never a good idea in this type of situation The reason being, a harness does not give you good control and allows the dog to put his full weight into pulling, too.

If you must use a harness, the front-clip harnesses are a better solution, as they turn the dog toward you when they pull. Be aware that dogs can get out of them if they're not fitted just right.

A choke chain is not a good tool to control pulling or lunging, and that is not what they are designed for, anyway. Plus, you have to constantly adjust it to sit around the upper part of the neck to use it properly, too.

A good tool to control sudden pulling is the prong collar, as it does not require a lot of strength on your part to control the dog when properly fitted. This is how you fit and use it correctly - leerburg.com


Abby answered on 6/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer