As part of our Labrador feature, we’ve gathered together quotes from emails, tweets and facebook posts from Labrador-owning grateful customers. Labradors are beautiful, affectionate dogs and make wonderful pets but they are big and strong. When they pull on the lead, they can make walking a misery.
The K9 Bridle is your answer – it’s the ideal headcollar for Labradors and it really does work and you will notice an instant difference. Just make sure you get your dog used to the bridle before walking for the first time and you will never look back! See videos for getting your dog used to a headcollar on our Video page.
Read more about training your Labrador to walk on the lead in our special ebook “How do Labrador owners cope with their dogs pulling on the lead in 2019?”
Labrador are wonderful and affectionate dogs but many pet Labradors get into the habit of pulling on the lead. They aren’t the worst breed for pulling but they are big. And VERY strong. Young labradors are excitable, fun-loving dogs with, on the whole, friendly personalities who want to investigate everything.
We’ve written a detailed ebook about how Labrador owners in 2019 cope with their dogs pulling. It’s packed full of hints and tips for training and for training aids that people have found successful as well as theory about why Labradors pull and how to make walking much pleasurable for dog and owner. The following is a summary of our research.
Labradors, and all breeds, pull because we have trained them to pull without even realising.
Whenever a Lab gets where he wants to go by pulling on the lead, he is learning that this is what he must do to get there. It doesn’t matter if it hurts his neck or makes his owner angry, his overwhelming desire to investigate everything takes over. And because pulling on the lead has always got him where he wants to go, he is convinced that this is the only way to do it.
There is also a subconscious reflex called the “oppositional reflex” that is partly to blame. When part of the dog’s body is pulled in one direction, his natural instinct is to balance himself. He therefore pulls in the opposite direction to maintain balance. Once a dog pulls and you pull back, just by holding on to the lead, this oppositional reflex comes into play and makes the pulling even more difficult to control.
When labradors pull on a flat collar and lead, they can cause a wide range of injuries, many of which are only just starting to be picked up by vets. See our ebook for more information about these injuries.
We wanted to find out how Labrador owners in 2019 are managing their dogs pulling on the lead, what training aids they are using and what training methods work.
We asked 500 Labrador owners how they have managed to train their dog to walk nicely on the lead. The results were:
62% of owners use a headcollar or harness
62% of Labrador owners simply used a headcollar or harness to manage the pulling. They didn’t use any definite training method and are happy that their dogs are under control.
35% have trained their dogs to walk on a flat collar and lead
They used the following methods:
4% of Lab owners haven’t stopped their Labradors pulling
Some comments from these owners included “Give up and accept she is going where she wants” and “Never managed to stop it and she’s 13 now.”
The majority of respondents to our polls (62%) haven’t carried out any formal lead training with their labradors. They use a headcollar or a harness to restrain their dog and find that this works for them. The dog is fully under control and both parties enjoy their walks. You may choose to do the same and there is nothing wrong with this.
Many owners reported that once their dogs have got used to walking nicely on a headcollar or a harness they will walk nicely on any lead. The training aids have helped to train the dog almost without either the dog or owner realising.
You will always get people who claim that it is “lazy” or irresponsible and that the dog should always be trained. However, this ignores the fact that people have a whole range of different circumstances and priorities. Never feel bad about doing what you feel is best for you and your dog. You know what your capabilities are and it is better to use a training aid for walking the dog than either struggling on or not walking the dog at all.
We would always recommend training the dog to walk nicely on the lead if possible and the following section sets out all the methods that the respondents to our polls said that worked for their dogs.
There are two sets of options to consider when working to stop your Labrador from pulling:
1. A training method that you feel comfortable using
2. A way of managing the pulling while your dog is in training
There are a few different methods of training that people in 2019 use to train their Labradors to walk on the lead.
With all methods it is important to only walk the dog when he is in a calm state of mind. Don’t leave the house until he had calmed down, even it if does take 15 minutes or longer. Setting off with him like a coiled spring is setting him up for failure.
Some of the respondents to our polls suggested walking the dog first (off-lead or using a management tool such as a harness or headcollar) then training using the following method after the walk when the dog has calmed down.
Please download our ebook for a full explanation of how to teach each method.
This method focuses on how to train your Lab to walk by your side in a position that is best for you and the dog. He stays by your side because he has been trained that this is the nicest place to be.
This method works to rectify the dog’s belief that by pulling he will get where he wants to go. Once you start using this method, whenever he pulls on the lead, you will either stop, turn and walk the other way, do a figure of 8 or ask him to sit. He will only be able to go forward when the lead is loose.
The slip lead method is traditionally used for training Labradors and gundogs in general. Slip lead training involves using a quick “correction” by giving a very quick, sharp pull on the slip lead then immediately releasing. The lead must be put on the dog correctly according to the side that your dog will walk. If it’s not correctly fitted, it will not release, causing discomfort to the dog and will not be successful.
This was suggested by a few respondents to our survey and they swear by it. The handler carries a stick of some description while walking the dog and waves it just in front of where they want the dog to be. The dog will choose not to walk into the stick and therefore maintains the heel position. He is then rewarded.
This is a similar theory to the stick method but a tube of cheese spread is the stick and dog is rewarded periodically with a small squeeze of the tube! Or something nice is smeared on the end of the stick that the dog is allowed to lick when in the correct position. Once the dog is walking nicely, the tube/stick can just be carried and used if the dog does surge forward and eventually it can be dispensed of altogether.
“Give up and accept she is going where she wants.”·
While in training, it is vital that your Lab is never allowed to pull on the lead and get to where he wants to go. This would be selfrewarding and undo your training up to that point. Therefore, if you need to take the dog out anywhere and, for whatever reason, you are unable to keep up the training, you will need a way of managing the pulling.
Some people will say you should just train the dog, others will say that you are being lazy. But it’s not that simple. This ignores everyday living in the real world. Training takes time and your dog needs walking in the meantime, even on days when you don’t have time to train him. It’s essential to be able to control your dog if he is stronger than you. Dog anti-pull devices come in when you don’t have time or are not able to train and don’t want to be dragged under a bus.
There are two types of apparatus that can be used to control pulling: headcollars or harnesses:
Headcollars stop dogs pulling by giving you more control over the dog’s head and taking away most of the dog’s strength when he pulls. As one dog trainer told us, “if you have control of the head, you have control of the dog”.
There are a number of brands of headcollar, and many Labrador owners that we spoke to were relieved and amazed by the instant effect of headcollars in stopping their Labs pulling. However, the problems with most of the headcollar options currently available are:
The k9 bridle was created when the designers were frustrated by seeing dogs at shows with their headcollars pulling over their eyes and across their mouths. The dogs often looked miserable and depressed. They wanted to find something different.
There are 5 good reasons why the k9 bridle is more suitable for helping owners to control their dogs than other brands:
As with headcollars, dog trainers’ and vets’ opinions also tend to be divided about harnesses. There are three types of harness available:
Don’t buy one of these unless you want your dog to pull like a steam train! As we have already described, the oppositional reflex means that as soon as your dog pulls on this harness and you, by holding the lead, pull back, he will just pull harder. His attention is directed away from you, facing forwards. This is why sled dog back-fastening harnesses are so effective.
Your lead attaches to the front of these harnesses, somewhere on the chest. These are somewhat successful in stopping dogs pulling. When the dog pulls against the harness, the force of his pulling against the force of you holding the lead, swing the dog’s body round to face you. His attention is then diverted from where he was pulling back to you and he cannot go forwards in the direction he wishes to.
There are concerns regarding the safety of this type of harness:
Using a double-ended lead, these can be a good compromise that are becoming increasingly popular.
Some respondents on our survey reported that when a harness doesn’t work they also use a headcollar, usually with a double-ended lead. This gives them choices about the type of control restraint they use on the dog and with particularly strong dogs, has been shown to be what they needed to ensure that they can continue to walk the dog.
As mentioned above, using both headcollar and harness can help control an aggressive dog.
Labradors are a wonderful breed. Their friendly, loyal nature makes them ideal pets for families with young children and it’s a shame when their relationship with their owners is put under strain due to pulling on the lead.
We hope that this study has helped. We have examined why Labradors pull, why it’s dangerous to allow them to continue to do so and we’ve looked at the different options that Labrador owners are using to control their dogs’ pulling in 2019.
Despite most people being aware that training the dog to walk on the lead is the best option, in the fast pace of life in 2019 this is not always possible. Labradors are often family pets and families have busy lives. Labrador owners come with their own set of circumstances and everyone has different priorities.
In our polls, 62% of respondents use headcollars or harnesses to control their dogs’ pulling and there is nothing wrong with this. If it means that you are avoiding all the risks of pulling to your dog and yourselves and your dog gets the exercise it needs, that is all that matters.
If you do decide to train your dog, we’ve listed the five methods that lab owners responding to our polls have successfully used. We’ve gone through the basics here but there is a lot more information available in our ebook and online.
Thank you to everyone that responded to our polls, thank you for reading and good luck with your dogs!
In our recent customer survey, the dog breed for which most people bought a k9 bridle was the Labrador. We therefore decided to offer Labrador owners a bit more help by investigating how Lab owners in 2019 cope with their dogs that pull on the lead. We visited different social media platforms and groups and asked how people manage their pulling labs. We ran polls to find out more information from owners, professional dog walkers and trainers.
It seems that, just like their dogs, Labrador owners are a wonderful breed who were happy to offer their hints, tips, ideas, struggles and methods. We’ve done our best to capture these and, along with Labrador-related research online, we’ve created the unique, definitive 20-page guide for all Lab owners in 2019:
Please open and download the ebook to find out more…
We’d like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who responded to our recent survey!
Last month, April 2019, we sent a survey out to 99 K9 Bridle dog training head collar customers, people who ordered a bridle from our website in March 2019. We know that we always get amazing verbal feedback from customers, and some people are kind enough to take the time to leave us good reviews. But we wanted to find a way of demonstrating to people considering buying a bridle just how many people find it effective.
We didn’t want to take up loads of your time, so we kept it brief and just asked the following three quick questions:
1. How successful was the K9 Bridle in stopping your dog from pulling on the lead?
2. What breed of dog was the K9 Bridle for?
3. How likely would you be to recommend the K9 bridle to a friend?
Of the 99 customers, 47 responded to the survey, which was an amazing response, demonstrating the support that people have for K9 Bridle once they have discovered it!
So, what answers did people give?
We were delighted to find that 94% of respondents found the bridle successful: almost half found it extremely successful, a third very successful and 13% somewhat successful. We were sorry that 6% didn’t find the bridle to be very much help, but dogs, like people, are individuals, and what works for one dog won’t work for all. A 94% success rate is pretty good and worth a £19.99 gamble – these are pretty good odds!
We asked this question because, although we see the breeds that visit our stand at shows, we wanted to get a better idea of the breeds that our customers own and find out for which breeds the k9 bridle is most successful.
We organised the results into a “word cloud”. The larger the breed name, the higher the number of individual dogs of that breed that our customers bought the bridles for. The smaller the breed name, the fewer individual dogs of that breed for which our customers bought bridles.
As you can see, some of the biggest pullers owned by our customers appear to be Labradors, Spaniels of many different varieties and crossbreeds, with Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Border Collies, Lurchers and Great Danes following close behind. German Shepherds, Pointers, Setters, Dalmations, Weimaraners, Cockapoos, Poodles, Boxers, Whippets, Beagles, Samoyeds and Spinones were also all represented as well as some of the rarer breeds such as a Podenco, Leonberger, European Sledge Hound and a Griffon Vendeen.
Please see the Breed List size guide for more information about the expected bridle sizes for different dog breeds.
This question tells us a bit about our customer service and how easy we are to buy from, as well as how effective the k9 bridle is. Amazingly, a whopping 96% of survey respondents said they would recommend the K9 Bridle to a friend.
So, to all of you who may be reading this, not too sure about giving the K9 Bridle a go, please take comfort in the fact that it’s 94% successful in stopping dogs from pulling on the lead, and 96% of our customers would recommend it. These are pretty good odds that you won’t be wasting your money.
Thanks again to everyone that responded to our survey! We’re very grateful to you for taking the time to do it.
In a recent customer survey, 94% of people that bought a k9 bridle found that it successfully stopped their dog from pulling on the lead. A further 96% reported that they would recommend the k9 bridle to a friend. There are a number of reasons why so many of our customers rate the K9 Bridle as the best dog collar for stopping dogs from pulling. These all relate to the unique design of the bridle.
When you think about it, this makes sense. When your dog is pulling on the lead, you are behind the dog, not at the front, under his chin. Under the chin is where most other headcollars designed to stop dogs from pulling attach. It makes sense that the lead joins the headcollar from behind.
It also serves as important for 3 main reasons:
1. It gives the owner more control
The majority of other anti-pull headcollars that attach under the chin have the effect of pulling the dog’s head sideways when it pulls forwards. The dog sets it head sideways and pushes its shoulders into the headcollar. This makes these alternative headcollars much less effective than the K9 Bridle.
By contrast, the k9 bridle exerts pressure on the back of the head and slightly on the top of the nose. This has the effect of dipping the head slightly and gives you much better control of your dog’s head. This takes a lot of strength away from the dog and means that it is much easier for you to maintain control. Much less strength is required to use the k9 bridle than other no-pull headcollars.
2. It is safer and more comfortable for the dog
Keeping the dog’s head and neck straight, in line with the body and injury-free is much better for the dog than having its head twisted to one side. If the dog does pull sharply to the end of the lead, the k9 bridle will not damage the dog’s neck like other headcollars would by twisting the neck sharply. If you do use retractable leads, the k9 bridle is safe to use with these forms of restraint.
3. The k9 bridle will not cover the dog’s eyes or mouth.
Due to the way it is designed, the soft lightweight material with which it is made and the location of the point of control, the k9 bridle will NEVER cover your dog’s eyes. Nor will it cover his mouth or interfere with his breathing, eating or drinking in any way.
When we are at shows, we see many dogs pulling their owners round with headcollars covering their eyes and restricting their breathing. This can lead to eye problems, sore places on the face and cause stress to the poor dogs.
The k9 bridle was designed specifically to stop this happening. It’s much more comfortable and stress-free for both dog and owner.
The k9 bridle features a strap at the back of the dog’s head along which two rings move freely. The rings slide towards each other or away from each other according to whether the dog is pulling on the lead or not. As soon as the dog stops pulling the two rings slide away from each other and the whole headcollar loosens. The dog can easily understand these signals and the bridle therefore acts as a training aid, helping the owner to teach the dog to stop pulling.
This is in stark contrast to many other dog headcollars that do not have this immediate release mechanism. They tend to stay tight or loosen much more slowly. This is not effective for training the dog and is one of the reasons why many dogs hate headcollars. They tend to just be tight all the time and dogs frequently get in the habit of trying to rub the straps off in an attempt at loosening the headcollar.
The k9 bridle webbing is soft, lightweight and made especially for the k9 bridle. The tubular design of the material means that there are no hard or abrasive edges to rub against the dog’s face or neck. This makes the bridle much less likely to cause any sores or rubbed fur. The soft, lightweight material sits lightly on the dog’s face, and once he or she is used to wearing a bridle, it is unlikely to irritate him or her.
From tiny lively Jack Russell, all the way up to stately and regal Old English Mastiff, the k9 bridle will fit most breeds. There are five different sizes and each size is fully adjustable so that you can get a perfect fit. If, for some reason, one of the standard sizes doesn’t fit, we can make one to fit at no extra cost. Getting a good fit is important because it means that the bridle is comfortable for the dog and will not move about on his or her face. A lot of movement can be irritating, more likely to cause sore places and get in the eyes or over the mouth. The k9 bridle will NEVER go in the dogs eyes and should sit perfectly over their nose and neck.
All k9 bridles are handmade in Lincolnshire in the UK. This is why we are able to offer such a good service to our customers and, if required, make bespoke bridles for dogs that need minor adjustments. We’re happy to do this at no extra cost. When you buy a k9 bridle you can be sure that you are not contributing to a huge carbon footprint or supporting unethical working practises.