Anyone use Easy Walk harness to teach heel?
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Thread: Anyone use Easy Walk harness to teach heel?

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    ksweber's Avatar
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    DefaultAnyone use Easy Walk harness to teach heel?

    Anyone use Easy Walk harness? My goal is solid heeling, I'm looking for a good training device/lead while we learn, and also for general leash walking. Been practicing "heel" for several weeks using both nylon flat collar and nylon martingale. Maisy (4 mos) is getting to be pretty good with "heel" as long as there are no distractions .... but of course, there are always distractions - especially bec we live in NYC and sidewalks are a buffet of tempting distractions every 2 feet - pigeons, dogs, people, kids, etc. She wants to check it all out, so a fair bit of pulling. I'm tired of the pulling, and putting so much pressure on her throat with collars. People swear by the Easy Walk harness (martingale design across chest, attachment ring at chest, not back). Anyone have experience with it? If goal is eventually true heeling off-leash, is this the right tool to use for training, or is it "cheating?" A trainer I spoke with pointed out that you can't give a "correction" with the harness like you can with a slip or martingale collar, so can you really teach heel?? What do you think? Thanks!
    Meet Maisy!

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    I LVE it.

    MUCH better than any other alternatives I know of.

    Puff's learned to respond to the command "Puff, HEEL" much faster, better with it than any other alternative.

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    Thanks Bob! I hear these can be hard to fit right, and proper fit is important. Do you know what size Puff uses - apparently there's Large and Med/Large "in-between" size. Would you get one for growing pup, or wait? Thanks.
    Meet Maisy!

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    They are a great tool, and fit is important. With some luck, you will have the training complete and bullet proof before its outgrown, but I would plan on buying a second one of the next size.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

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    We use that kind of harness (martingale loop and leash attachment at chest) and it works very well for us. I don't see why a quick tug with it is not viewed as a correction by your trainer. We have found it very effective and humane.

    Fit IS tricky! We got our right at about 4 mos, and it was a tad too big. I was a little worried about our dog's armpits - I didn't want the strap to chafe him. Hank is now 5 mos, and it seems to fit just fine now.

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    I love them, and recommend them to all my dogwalking and training clients, but they are more of a management tool than a training tool - they will certainly make your walks easier and reduce the pulling, and you'll likely find it easier to maintain attention and focus while you train, but they won't teach the dog on their own.

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    Update from Katherine/Maisy: We got Easy Walk harness and have used it for 2 days. We do a lot of walking, so it's been put to the test. LOVE it!! I agree with the above poster, I still need to train "heel," but I think this is a much better tool than a collar (have tried flat, martingale, slip) or a traditional harness which made the pup act like a sled dog. I'm amazed at how well this works, with apparently no pain, only gentle correction, without much force needed from me - gentle tug to remind her to "heel." No gagging, choking, straining at the end of the leash. Loving it! I highly recommend it. BTW - it IS hard to fit the right size, but my pet store let me try on and adjust several, so that helped. We ended up with size Medium, adjusted on the smallest settings.
    Meet Maisy!

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    It DOES take some time and many adjustments and re-adjustments to get the GL "Easy Walk" fitted properly.

    The "Gentle Leader" website (IIRC) does have some guidelines for measuring your dog and ordering the appropriate GL Walker.

    Since the proportions and build of Labs differ so greatly (my Puff is a HT & FT build Lab -- leaner, lankier, leggier, more "tuck") what works best for us wouldn't work for many other Labs.

    To repeat -- I adjusted and readjusted our GL "Easy Walk" for several months before getting it right.

    FWIW, we first used the GL head collar. Puff HATED the over the muzzle strap and I quickly negotiated a bargain with her: I'd make it loose enough so I could usually leave it off BUT quickly hook a finger under it to put it back on when needed OR to quickly remove it when not needed.

    Despite this, despite the strap NOT being over Puff's muzzle for very long, it quickly began aging her fur -- turning the yellow hairs white -- under the strap.

    That effect is clearly visible in my siggy picture.

    I switched to the "Easy Walk".

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    Please, Bob, what is HT, FT, and "tuck"?

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