Are Harness & Flexi-Leads Good For Leash Training?

Training a dog is a difficult, but rewarding job, especially when it comes to leash training. It’s normal for a pup to be curious about the world while going for a walk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to let him have his treats and eat them too — cue the harnesses and flexi-leads!

If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing either one for your puppy or adult dog, you’ve come to the right place. Dog Training Code recently linked up with Danielle Cavanagh, a Behavior Buddies dog trainer at Camp Bow Wow Naples, to get the scoop. Here’s what Dani had to say:

How Do Dogs Benefit From Harnesses?

  • Little Dogs — Harnesses are a great tool for all dogs, and for little dogs in particular. Choosing a harness over a flat collar allows pet parents to put pressure on a pup’s chest when they pull, instead of around their neck. As Dani mentioned, small dogs are prone to trachea issues, so keeping that pressure away from their neck is very important. For this reason, we always recommend choosing a harness for a small dog when possible.
  • Big Dogs — Though big dogs might be able to handle the added pressure from a flat collar more gracefully than a little dog would, Dani and the Camp Bow Wow team still recommend harnesses for them, and here’s why: Harnesses allow pet parents to have better control while taking their pup for a walk. Big dogs are stronger, and therefore, are more likely to pull with excessive force. A harness can help pet parents retain core control by applying pressure to their chest overall.

How Do Harnesses Make Training Easier?

Besides giving pet parents and trainers more control when going for a stroll, Dani also explains how harnesses can allow you to “cheat” a little with training. Allowing a dog to pull in a flat collar will result in a training setback, but when a dog pulls in a harness it won’t since control is kept.

How Should Flexi-Leads Be Used?

“Flexi-leads are the most misused tool on the market,” says Dani. They’re not intended for an untrained dog at all, and should never be used as a tool for leash training. Dogs that are ready for flexi-leads are those that already walk nicely on a leash and are very well trained to come when called — we call this “recall.” If a dog is not able to do both of those things, they’re not ready for a flexi-lead.

Where Can Pet Parents Use Flexi-Leads?

Flexi-leads are most commonly used for trips out in the woods, in open fields or on the beach. Basically, anywhere that pet parents want to give their dog freedom, while also having a secondary backup on hand just in case. Dani explained that they should never be used for daily walks, trips to the pet store or vet, or to be brought in for boarding or grooming. You never want to allow a dog to have too much freedom in a situation where they can hurt themselves or others.

If you’re having trouble training your dog, give your local Camp a call to find out more about how the Bow Wow Buddies training program can help benefit you and your dog. Our premier dog training offers flexible programming for every dog and every lifestyle.

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