Loose leash walking is one of the holy grails of dog training. When reviewing our client application data to plan our training offerings for next year, my business partner and I discovered that approximately 48% of clients list loose leash walking as their number one training goal and 82% of clients listed loose leash walking in their top three training goals.
There are lots of tools on the market that are supposed to miraculously cure pulling on lead. Before I go further, let me clarify perhaps the most important thing to remember – no tool teaches your dog to walk politely on a loose leash. Training teaches dogs to walk politely on a loose leash. Tools can help expedite the training process and make it easier to handle your dog, but will not cure an established pulling problem. The eventual goal of all training tools should be their elimination, a truly well-trained dog will stay next to you on a buckle collar, harness, or with no collar at all.
Now that we’ve got the formalities and disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about the Freedom Harness.
I’m no stranger to no-pull harnesses. From Premier’s Easy Walk to Soft Touch Concept’s SENSE-ation harness to the Sporn harness, I’ve tried lots of harnesses with lots of different dogs. Recently, I had the pleasure of “test driving” a new harness which in many ways puts all the other harnesses I’ve tried to shame, the Freedom Harness. I’d heard wonderful things from colleagues (thank you, Grisha Stewart and Kathrine Breeden!) and contacted the company to see if I could obtain a sample to review for my dogster friends.
Before I even received the harness, I was already in love with the company. Their customer service was fantastic! Prompt and courteous communication + really fast shipping = one happy customer (me).
Here are a few other things I love about the Freedom Harness:
- Quality construction – this thing is really well made! Features velvet padding underneath the “armpit” section, a great development for short-haired breeds who have chafing problems with other harnesses. High quality materials rival, if not surpass, other no-pull harnessess.
- Holds shape – one of the things I really don’t like about some very popular harnesses is how quickly they pull out of shape if you’re walking a dog that pulls on the leash (and if you’re using a no-pull harness, you probably are!). While I admit the Freedom harness took me a while to fit initially, it does hold its shape very nicely once fit on the dog.
- Fully customizable – this harness can be customized according to your measurements (great news, since conventional no pull harnesses can be a tough fit on dogs with unconventional body types, like an English Bulldog!). Aside from offering size customization, you can decide how you want the product to look too! There are over twenty webbing colors to choose from, and you can select the color of the harness, the contrast loops, and the velvet padding, making yours one of a kind!
- Chewing guarantee! Like all harnesses, this tool should only be used when walking your dog and should not be left on your dog when he is unsupervised or crated. Click here to review the chewing guarantee.
- I highly recommend the “Deluxe Training Package,” which includes a two-ended leash. The leash is very well-constructed and versatile – you can walk the dog on a standard six foot leash attached to the front loop for loose leash walking practice, attached to the loop at the shoulders for use as a traditional harness, attached to both the chest and shoulders for more control and when you need to keep your dog right at your side, and yes, I’ve even used it as a coupler for Mokie and Cuba!
Positive trainers who have chosen to boycott Premier as a result of their recent merger may find this to be a great alternative to the Easy Walk when making recommendations to clients. Thoughts on Premier aside, there’s no question that in my opinion, if the Freedom Harness and the Easy Walk Harness starred in an episode of “Celebrity Death Match”, the Freedom Harness would probably win. I really prefer this to the Easy Walk and am going to do my best to see if I can convince our shop manager to offer this alternative down at the classroom.
In short, I love this thing. Eight paws and two thumbs up from the Lomonaco household!
(P.S. Sight hound folks – check out their martingale collars! *swoon* One of those may well be in Mokie’s stocking this Christmas, just beautiful!)