Just like humans, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with lots of different temperaments and personalities. Some pups will respond to loose-leash training on the Freedom Harness instantly — for others, it may take some more work to see results.
If your dog still pulls while using the Freedom Harness, first check your surroundings and the situation. Is life a little too crazy for a first walk with a new tool? Is a squirrel currently bolting and zigging and zagging? It might be best to delay the training and find a calmer place to practice and teach Fido that squirrels are for dog collars, not chasing. Dogs pull on the leash for many reasons, some of them can be eliminated to make training more successful.
If you still need a little help, these positive reinforcement training tips are for you!
If your dog is still pulling, Start, Stop, Turn Around
You got the Freedom Harness and put it on, but your dog still pulls! The start, stop, turn around method is a great practice to train your pup. Using repetitive action and positive reinforcement will teach your dog how to walk on a harness. Eventually, your dog will master loose-leash in a healthy way.
To begin, bring your pet to a large, clear space. Try to leave any distractions at home, especially any other dogs you may have. All of your dog's attention should be on you. Start your walk and continue on for as long as possible until your pooch pulls. Stop walking completely and wait for your pooch to stop; when they do, praise them and continue walking. If they pull a second time, stop again, grasp the harness, and turn your pup around to return to where you started.
You may be walking back and forth for a while, but your dog will quickly learn that they must match your pace. Soon, you should be able to walk without pulling. Keep in mind that all dog training needs reinforcement, and you may see pulling again a while after finishing their training. This is totally normal! Just give your pup a few refresher lessons and take them walking again.
Freedom Harness + Reward Training
Another way to train dogs to walk without pulling is reward training. As another form of positive training, you will reward your dog when they walk politely rather than punishing them when they pull. This will cultivate a good relationship between you, your pet, and walking, while still teaching them not to pull on their harness.
While walking, keep treats in the same side hand as your pet is walking on. In regular intervals, as long as your dog continues walking without pulling, praise them and give them a treat. If your pup begins to pull, stop walking and have your dog sit. Hold the hand with treats in it in front of their nose, then gently guide them to begin walking again. They should quickly realize walking nicely is the only way to get treats.
As your dog begins to adjust to the Freedom Harness, start increasing the amount of time between praise and treats. Start with every five steps, then move to ten, then fifteen, until you have completely phased out the treat stops. By now, your pet will be comfortable walking on the leash or harness at your pace. For more training tips, you can watch this Facebook video of a dog trainer using our Freedom Harness with her pet.
Positive Reinforcement Is Key
Loose-leash training will be an uphill battle if you don't bond with your dog. In order to build a strong, healthy relationship with your pet, it's important to use uplifting training methods. Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to teach your pup any new behavior, as happy pooches are the most receptive. Using kind words and actions to correct behavior will keep your dog comfortable and open to learning with a Freedom Harness. Being patient with your dog is the most important training tip; it will take a lot of repetitive lessons for your dog to learn, but they won't learn at all if you don't foster a comfortable learning space.