Uncategorised - K9 Bridle

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The world's first dog bridle
CALL 08005 053 093 from the UK
International number 0044 1205 460 090

Why do dogs pull on the lead?

At K9 Bridle, we are dedicated to helping you to stop your dog pulling on the lead. Although our bridles are a way of managing the pulling and not a training solution in themselves, in the long term they can help to stop a dog pulling by breaking the habit. The reasons behind this will become clearer if we can understand why dogs pull on the lead.

Dogs pull on the lead

There are two main reasons why dogs pull on the lead:

1. We have inadvertently trained them to pull.

The main reason why dogs pull is because pulling on the lead is self-rewarding.

In your dog’s head, as soon as she leave the house, they want to get in front of you to sniff everything, so they pull to get there quicker – AND THEY GET THERE!! When you are walking up the drive towards the gate, they want to be out of the gate as soon as possible so they pull forwards – AND THEY GET THERE! Once you are out walking, they want to get to the field where you let them off as soon as possible, so they pull – AND THEY GET THERE! And even better, they get let off the lead for a good run. Do you see the pattern? As soon as they see another dog, they want to go and say hello, so they pull towards the dog – AND THEY GET THERE. We inadvertently train our dogs to pull without even realising it. We reward their pulling by taking them to where they want to go.

Dogs usually get into this habit when they are young puppies without much strength, when pulling is not a problem. After just a few weeks of walks, they have trained themselves to pull, and they are so convinced that this is the only way to do things that they don’t even mind that it hurts their neck or almost chokes them. It gets them to where they want to go, so it’s worth it!

2. The Oppositional Reflex

Dogs also pull due to a subconscious reflex called the “oppositional reflex”. When part of the dog’s body is pulled in one direction, the body will lean or even strain in the opposite direction to maintain balance. When the dog pulls, we pull back, and the cycle is maintained…

So, being able to understand why your dog pulls on the lead is important because it enable us to see how we can break the habit. To find out more about different training methods for training your dog to walk on the lead, please see have a look at our ebook “How to stop a dog from pulling on the lead.” 

K9 Bridle Reviews – Stop your spaniel pulling on the lead

In a recent survey that we carried out asking all our recent customers how successful the k9 bridle has been at stopping their dogs pulling on the lead. The results showed that k9 bridles are a resounding success, with 96% of respondents stating that they found the bridle successful at stopping their spaniel from pulling on the lead.

We also asked what breeds of dog the k9 bridles were bought for. Spaniel and spaniel crosses were the second biggest group of k9 bridle customers. In order to promote the suitability of the k9 bridle for spaniel breeds, we’ve collected together some of the comments and testimonials sent in from our spaniel-owning customers.

Spaniel pulling on the lead

Spaniel Owner Reviews

“What a difference this has made immediately with my Working Cocker Spaniel! I can actually walk her now! Thank you”
Spaniel review K9 Bridle
Caroline Passey and Peppa, a working cocker spaniel
Spaniel review - K9 bridle
stop spaniel pulling on the lead
“ Jeté is a 2.5 yr old Spaniel mix (the DNA says Cocker/Boston/Beagle). Despite having basic obedience skills and even winning her first Rally Obedience show, she is very easily distracted when walking outside - watch out squirrels!!! The K9 Bridle has been a godsend after trying harnesses, and two other brands of head halters. Jeté is much calmer with the bridle, and I appreciate that from a physical standpoint, there is no uneven pressure on the neck. When wearing the K9 Bridle she doesn't lurch at squirrels and is a lovely walking companion.”
k9 bridle spaniel review
Raychel Leong-Sullins and Jete, Cocker x Boston x Beagle
“Please find attached a photo of my very excitable 7 month Field Spaniel happily wearing a k9 bridle. We have now been for 3 walks wearing the bridle and he happily wears the bridle, as can be seen in the photo, whilst also walking to heel. This is a 100% improvement. Like most springers the puppy 'liked' to pull which I felt put unnecessary strain on his neck now he walks calmly without pulling. I took time to introduce him to the bridle as advised and he sits patiently whilst I put it on. Taking him for a walk is now a pleasure!!!”
spaniel pulling on lead
Paula Wyatt and her Field Spaniel
spaniel pulling on lead
spaniel pulling on the lead
“My children and I find it much easier to walk our dog with the K9 bridle than without. She is inclined to pull without it and, although she is undoubtedly happy when we take it off, she is also more than happy to sit still to have it put on before a walk.”
Nicola Wright
Met you at All About Dogs in Norwich this afternoon and all we can say is “Wow!” Our lungy and over excited large Cocker Spaniel has accepted the bridle, so much so that we have already had a little walk using it and it was an absolute pleasure to take her. Thank you. We are looking forward to being able to take her out in public with confidence and enjoyment. Oh, and you were correct about the small size being right for her, even though she is huge for her breed.
Marie Hearney and Poppet

How Do I Train My Spaniel To Walk On A Lead?

In a customer survey, spaniel and spaniel cross owners were the second best k9 bridle customers.

Most spaniel breeds were bred to flush game out of the undergrowth so their noses are always down, searching for anything that moves, and they are always on the move. They are athletic dogs with loads of energy and find walking at the speed of their owners on a lead almost impossible, especially when they are young. Despite some spaniel breeds being relatively small, they are incredibly strong. 

We wanted to find out how spaniel owners cope with dogs that pull on the lead.  

We asked over 100 spaniel owners how they trained their dog to walk on a lead or managed the pulling.

“When my cocker was just a baby, other cocker owners said to me "I hope you don't think you'll ever get him to walk to heel". And I never did. Even now at almost 14 he sets off pulling but soon settles down to a slow, sniffing progress! Previous goldens walked to heel so I did know all the ways to train but not this one. I still love him though!”

Owner Quote

Just over half of the owners that we asked successfully trained their spaniels using one of three methods that are outlined below.  Nearly a third use either a headcollar or harness to manage the pulling and 9% have not found a solution and put up with the pulling.

Spaniels and Lead Training

Just over half of all spaniel owners successfully training their spaniel to walk on a lead. The loose lead training and heel position training seem to be equally popular with spaniel owners with just over half of all respondents training their dogs in one of these ways.

You can read more detail about the different training methods in our ebook:
How to stop a dog from pulling on the lead

Training spaniels to stay in the heel position

Training a dog to heel involves teaching the dog the heel position and insisting that he stays at heel while walking on the lead. Trainers recommend using food or a toy to reward the dog for being in the correct position. The dog learns that the best rewards come when he is in the correct position.

Loose lead training spaniels

Loose lead training involves never allowing the dog to go forward while he is pulling. As soon as the lead goes slack, he can move forward but as soon as the lead tightens, the owner will either stop, turn around and walk the other way, do a figure of eight turn or make the dog sit. The only way the dog is allowed to move forward is when he is walking nicely on a loose lead. The dog is rewarded by going where he wants to go.

Slip lead training spaniels

A further 9% trained their dogs using the slip lead method. This is a traditional gundog training method. When the dog pulls, the slip lead is used to correct the dog with a quick tighten and release. The unpleasant tightness on the dog’s neck acts as a deterrent and stops the dog pulling and tightening the lead.
You can read more about these methods of training in our ebook: How do I stop my dog from pulling on the lead?

Headcollars and harnesses

Almost a third of the spaniel owners we asked use a headcollar or harness, with headcollars the more popular of the two.  9% have never managed to stop their spaniel pulling on the lead!

Headcollars

People have mixed feelings about both headcollars. We firmly believe, having worked with many different owners and breeds in all sorts of circumstances and backgrounds, that our k9 bridle is 100% safe and much better for dog and owner than a traditional flat collar and lead.

It can take some dogs a while to get used to the feeling of a headcollar on their face and a very small minority (under 4%) of dogs may never get used to them. However, introduced correctly, the k9 bridle headcollar can be a great way of getting control of strong dogs, making daily walks much more enjoyable for both dogs and owners.

The k9 bridle can also be used on the smaller spaniel breeds to ensure that the neck is protected from injury when the dog pulls.

Unfortunately, other headcollar brands will:

  • Rub on the dog’s nose, irritating the dog
  • Pull across the dog’s eyes
  • Restrict the dog’s mouth
  • Fasten under the chin, meaning that the dog’s head is turned sideways when it pulls, putting strain on the neck and spine
  • Stay tight all the time, not loosening off when the dog is in the right place

K9 Bridle

The k9 bridle, however, was developed because the designer saw the above issues in most headcollars and wanted to design something safer and more comfortable that would give the dogs signals it can understand.

The k9 bridle is different because:

  • It will never pull over the dog’s eyes
  • The back of the head control point ensures that the neck and spine are kept in line.
  • The bridle loosens as soon as the dog stops pulling, so is very effective as an aid in training the dog to walk on a loose lead.
  • Our bridles are made from a soft, tubular webbing with no hard edges
  • We have 5 different sizes that are all fully adjustable. This means that not only is the material lighter and softer than other headcollars, getting a perfect fit ensures that there is no rubbing or irritation to the dog.
  • K9 bridles are also extremely effective in controlling aggression or reactivity in dogs by dipping the nose when the dog pulls, averting eye contact from other dogs and reducing the chances of an incident.

They are ideal for all spaniel breeds so long as they have a 1cm stop on their nose. They may not be suitable for King Charles spaniels but are ideal for Cavaliers.

Harnesses

Only 11% of spaniel owners that we surveyed use a harness. There are three types of harness available:

1. Back-fastening harnesses

It’s now generally acknowledged that back-fastening harnesses don’t stop spaniels from pulling. An “oppositional reflex” comes into play, meaning that as soon as your dog pulls on this harness and you, by holding the lead, pull back, he will just pull harder. This is a reflex that the dog is not able to control, it’s inbuilt into all dogs, helping them to maintain balance when their balance is compromised. Also, the dog’s attention is directed away from you, facing forwards. This is why sled dog back-fastening harnesses are so effective.

2. Front-fastening harnesses.

These are somewhat successful in stopping spaniels from pulling. When the dog pulls against the harness, the force of his pulling against you swings 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.

cocker spaniel to walk on a lead

3. Front- and back-fitting harnesses.

These are operated using a double ended lead and give the handler more control over the dog’s body as well as his front.

Headcollars and harnesses used together

Harnesses and headcollars together can be a successful combination, usually used with a double-ended lead. This gives people the choice about the type of control restraint they use.

As mentioned above, using both headcollar and harness can help control an aggressive dog.

Conclusion

If you need help with stopping spaniel pulling on the lead, then these are all the methods that spaniel owners in 2019 are using to stop their dogs from pulling. It’s a simple choice: you can either train your dog using one of the training methods listed above, or you can manage the pulling using a k9 bridle or a harness.

The training methods will work but they can take time and you will need to be patient and consistent. We always recommend that people train their dogs, but use a bridle or harness to help manage the pulling while they are training their dogs.

If you’re not able to train your dog, then the k9 bridle will serve you well in controlling the pulling behaviour, giving you back control and making walks a much happier and safer occasion for you and your spaniel.

How To Stop A Dog From Pulling On The Lead - New Ebook

We’ve written a new ebook: “How to stop a dog from pulling on the lead”.  It’s full of fascinating information about why dogs pull, the damage this can cause and different training methods for stopping them from pulling.  The ebook also looks at the effectiveness of headcollars and harnesses and how each should be used.

Have you ever thought about why your dog pulls on the lead, even when it must be so uncomfortable?  Or wondered about the dangers of pulling, both in terms of the dog’s health and the risk of accidents to dog and owner?  Are you aware, for example of the risk of damage to the neck, particularly the thyroid gland, when the dog pulls on a flat collar and lead.  The consequences of this damage, hyperthyroidism, can cause weight gain, a lack of energy, hair loss and skin problems. The excessive damage to a dog’s neck when it pulls can also cause ear and eye issues, damage to the nerves in the neck that go down to the paws and can even cause seizures.

Did you know that you have a choice of five different methods of training your dog not to pull? And if you just don’t have the time or the ability to train your dog not to pull, then there are a range of different headcollars and harnesses that will manage the pulling.  This means that, whatever your circumstances, there is no need for you to struggle with a dog that pulls on the lead. 

Although we always advise owners to train their dogs to walk nicely on the lead if possible, we asked a lot of dog owners how they manage their dogs that pull.  Over a third of owners don’t train their dogs using a specific training method.  They simply manage the pulling by using a headcollar or a harness.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  If it means that both owner and dog are happy and getting the exercise that they need without any of the unpleasantness and trauma of pulling on the lead, that is all that matters.

Pulling on the lead

The Best Dog Headcollar or Harness For Stopping Dogs Pulling

What’s the best dog headcollar or harness for stopping dogs from pulling on the lead?

In this blog post, we’ll attempt to answer that question. There is a lot of lively debate about which works best – headcollars or harnesses. We’re going to look at some of the research and recommendations about both and show why we believe that the K9 Bridle is the best dog headcollar for stopping dogs pulling on the lead.

Headcollars

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 dog 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:

Best dog headcollar to stop pulling
  • They tend to pull into or near the dog’s eyes (as in the photo above).
  • They often cover part of the mouth, interfering with the dog’s breathing or annoying him when he’s playing with a toy.
  • The point of control is under the chin, meaning that when the dog pulls, its head is turned sideways. This can lead to neck and spinal injuries, particularly if the dog runs to the end of the lead repeatedly, and is yanked back.
  • They are not always easy to get a perfect fit so they rub the dog’s skin.
  • There is no way for the headcollar to loosen – it stays the same all the time whether the dog pulls or not. The dog is therefore not learning anything.
  • The dog can still pull – they just set their head and neck sideways and pull forwards.

The K9 Bridle - the best dog headcollar

Best dog headcollar

The k9 bridle was designed because we 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. Our aim was to find something different.

There are 5 good reasons why the k9 bridle is the best dog headcollar for helping owners to control their dogs:

  1. The point of control is at the back of the head. The dog’s neck is protected from injury and the spine is kept in line. There is no danger of the dog running to the end of the lead then having its neck whipped back causing serious injury, which can happen with other headcollars that attach under the neck or at the side of the head.
  2. The k9 bridle is not tight all the time. It releases as soon as the dog stops pulling, giving the dog signals it can understand. This makes it ideal for assisting owners to train their dogs.
  3. It is made from very soft, lightweight tubular material with no hard edges that may rub on the dog’s skin and cause sore places.
  4. It comes in 5 different sizes and each size is fully adjustable to help you get a perfect fit. This is important because with a good fit, the dog will find it more comfortable and it is much less likely to rub and cause sore places.
  5. The bridle can help to control aggression because the bridle dips the nose slightly when a command is given. This has the effect of breaking eye contact between two dogs that are eyeing each other prior to aggressive behaviour, giving the owner the chance to move the dog away easily and without incident..

Professional opinion about headcollars

Dog trainers are divided about the use of headcollars in dogs. Many dislike the fact that some dogs don’t like the sensation of having something over their nose and will fight to get the headcollar off. It must feel strange to the dog that is unfamiliar with anything going over his head, but most headcollars do not hurt. It is just an unfamiliar sensation. This can be avoided with gentle training where the dog is introduced to the headcollar gradually at the same time as playing with the owner, being rewarded with treats or praise or just having the headcollar on before being fed. In this way, the dog associates the headcollar with nice things, is not scared by it and is much less likely to show any other signs of irritation or distress.

As with all dog restraints, if headcollars are not fitted correctly, or if the dog is a very strong puller, occasionally the collars can rub on the dog’s face causing sore places if unmonitored. 

This very occasionally happens with the k9 bridle.  If it does, we will provide the dog with a bespoke bridle with a softer, wider noseband.

“I have had 4 labs all had puppy training and good on collar and leads until 6 months then they go through a teenage phase and pull despite treats and short lead so on to a headcollar until they settle down.”

Owner Tip

Harnesses

Best dog headcollar

As with headcollars, dog trainers’ and vets’ opinions also tend to be divided about harnesses.

There are three types of harness available:

Back-Fastening Harness

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.

Front-fastening Harness

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.

As with all no-pull management or training devices, there can be issues with the front-attaching harness:

  • When the dog pulls, the harness twists to the side which must be annoying and uncomfortable for the dog
  • There have been some studies that shows that a dog’s gait or movement is affected by harnesses, particularly those with straps across the chest at the top of the dog’s legs. Studies have shown that the dog’s shoulder extension is restricted by 2-4% and that dogs bore less weight on their front legs than is normal. For this reason they are not recommended for canine athletes or working dogs. 

 

"No-pull harnesses are detrimental to a dog’s structure and gait – and are especially inappropriate for canine athletes. I do not believe that there is a harness on the market that is non-restrictive and that also helps the dog not to pull. There are some very nice, well-constructed, non-restrictive harnesses on the market. However, those should not be considered as a method to teach a dog not to pull. In my opinion the real way to get a dog to stop pulling is to train it.”

Dr Christine Zink, DVM, PhD, DACVP, DACVSMR
  • If the dog is reactive and has aggression issues, then a headcollar may also be required to properly get the dog under control and prevent aggression-related incidents.
  • If the lead is too slack, it can get tangled up in the dog’s legs unlike back-fitting harnesses.
    These harnesses are for dogs that are walking only, if you take your dog running, the back-attaching harnesses are much more suitable and will not swing the dog round mid-flight, risking injury.
  • A few lab owners have reported that their dogs can get out of their harness, whether front-fitting or not. It’s vital to get the harness fitted properly and ensure that the dog doesn’t get into the habit of trying to escape.
  • Some front-fitting harnesses claim to “lift” the dog, taking the power away from the shoulders and helping the handler to control the pulling. However, dogs frequently get in the habit of going up on their hind legs and lunging forwards when wearing this type of harness. Not ideal for the owner and not good for the dog!
  • They can cause sore places on the dog if not fitted correctly – it is essential to keep checking the dog to ensure that sore areas aren’t developing.

Front- And Back-Fitting Harnesses

 These are operated using a double ended lead and help to ensure that the harness doesn’t slip round the dog when it pulls forwards. They also give the handler more control over the dog’s body as well as his front. With these harnesses, the handler has the choice of controlling the dog’s front end and swinging him round to stop him pulling, or just pull gently on his back to give him a warning to slow down but allow him to keep going forwards.

Headcollars And Harnesses Used Together

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.

Conclusion

Hopefully this post has helped you to decide which is right for your dog, a headcollar or a harness. It should also have helped you to decide which headcollar or harness you will select.

If you have any further questions or would like to know any more, please get in touch on 01205 460090. We offer a money back guarantee, so if your dog is one of the 4% that doesn’t get on well with the bridle, we will give you a full refund!

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?”

Jane and Teddy

"The large bridle was for my moms rescue Labrador who is 3 years old. He is a very large drake head Labrador and he is super strong. My mom is a very fit 76 year old but was really struggling to control him on his lead, often having to loose the lead if he pulled excessively which was obviously very dangerous. We have tried a number of different harnesses and nothing worked and after extensive research I stumbled across the k9 bridle and thought it worth trying. It’s amazing....it only took a couple of walks to get him used to having it slipped on and off and it has made 150% improvement in his walking, it’s really quite miraculous. I can’t thank you enough, I was dreading the winter months as the icy pavements season starts - worrying that Teddy the Labrador would pull my mom over and I would receive a call to say she’s broken her hip!! Now I can relax!! The other bridle was purchased for my smaller Labrador cross - again another rescue. He is so excited to go on a walk that he pulls my shoulder out of its socket all the way to the park. I have seen the same improvement in his walking but we are having to take longer to get him used to it - he seems to feel trapped and tries to turn his head to chew himself free of his lead!! I will get there with him though. I have been so impressed that I am considering getting another one for my miniature labradoodle - he only has a very small face so I think I’d probably need an extra small for him but I’m not sure. Anyway thanks again for bringing such an amazing product to the market - i really have tried all sorts of products before this and nothing else has worked as effectively. I am delighted, best purchase I have made this year!!"

Jane Walsh
K9 Bridle Testimonial Labrador

Richard, Lynn and Coal

K9 Bridle Labrador review

“Just wanted to say thank you for your amazing bridle, we had tried all sorts of collars and harnesses on our 7 month old labrador but could not stop him pulling. Now he walks lovely and seems more calm. The bridle was recommended by another dog owner and we will recommend it to others.”

Richard , Lynn and Coal

Doug and Owner

"Doug is a 3 year old Chocolate lab who used to be a nightmare to walk, pulling terribly we used to dread walk times. Then we were recommend the K9-bridle by our Dog Walker, Kirstie’s Dog Walking Service and our lives changed from the moment we put this simple bridle on Doug was like a different dog no more pulling. He now walks by our side, no rubbing or hurting his nose as it is so soft. This is the best thing we have bought Happy Doug Happy Mum & Dad and Happy Walks."

Customer of Kirstie's Dog Walking Service

Kimberly and Sam

K9 Bridle review labrador

"I recommended the k9 bridle to one of my clients after my first walk with their dog on a slip lead and although I recommended the bridle due to his pulling, I have noticed a massive difference when it comes to his reactivity to other dogs. He's much more relaxed on our walks and doesn't pull nearly half as much as he used to. All in all, the k9 bridle has been an absolute game changer for me, I don't know where I'll be without one."

Kimberly Porter & Sam

Vyx and Vinnie

"I'm a dog walker and use to use another type of head collar but found Vinnie would walk sideways and it would ride up his face so switched to the bridle (as I use them on my own dogs) and he was much happier and even walked better. Couldn't live without my bridles."

Vyx Tillson-Pierce & Vinnie

Darren and Mac

K9 bridle review labrador

"This is Mac wearing his bridle. Before using the k9bridle, walking his 30kg+ frame was a real struggle for me & my family. Now walking him, even enroute to the park when he's more excited, is so much easier & safer. It has been the best purchase I've made for a long time."

Darren TM & Mac

How can I stop my labrador pulling on the lead?

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.

Why do Labradors pull?

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.

The dangers of pulling

Injuries to the dog

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.

  1. Neck Injuries
  2. Damage to the thyroid gland
  3. Ear and eye issues
  4. Damage to the nerves in the neck that go down to the paws
  5. Epilepsy or seizures

Other dangers of pulling

  • Injuries to the owner or others
  • Embarrassment
  • The dog is walked less frequently or doesn’t get walked at all

Results of our survey

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:

  • 76 (42%) taught their dogs the heel position 68
  • (37%) used the loose lead method 
  • 27 (15%) used a slip lead. 5 people never managed to control their dog
  • 8 (4%) used the stick & treat method (explained in ebook
Labrador pulling

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.”

Controlling The Dog Without Formal Lead Training

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.

stop labrador from pulling

Training and Tips

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

Lead training methods successfully used by Lab owners in 2019

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.

Labrador pulling

1. Teach the dog the heel position

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.

2. The Loose Lead Method

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.  

3. The Slip Lead Method

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.

4. The Stick Method

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.

5. The Tube of Cheese Spread Method

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.

Other methods suggested by Lab owners:

“Give up and accept she is going where she wants.”·        

“Cheese!”

Managing the pulling

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

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:

  • They tend to pull into the dog’s eyes or mouth and can interfere with the dog’s eating and drinking or, in the specific case of Labradors, hinder them from carrying their prize possession.
  • The point of control is under the chin, meaning that when the dog pulls, its head is turned sideways.  This can lead to neck and spinal injuries, particularly if the dog runs to the end of the lead repeatedly, and is yanked back.
  • They are not always easy to get a perfect fit so they rub the dog’s skin
  • There is no way for the headcollar to loosen – it stays the same all the time whether the dog pulls or not.  The dog is therefore not learning anything. The dog can still pull – they just set their head and neck sideways and pull forwards.

The K9 Bridle

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:

  1. The point of control is at the back of the head (the strap under the chin is the safety strap that is attached to the dog’s collar).  The dog’s neck is protected from injury and the spine is kept in line.  There is no danger of the dog running to the end of the lead then having its neck whipped back causing serious injury, which can happen with other headcollars that attach under the chin or at the side of the head.
  2. The k9 bridle is not tight all the time.  It releases as soon as the dog stops pulling, giving the dog signals it can understand.  This makes it ideal for assisting owners to train their dogs. 
  3. It is made from very soft, lightweight tubular material with no hard edges that may rub on the dog’s skin and cause sore places. 
  4. It comes in 5 different sizes and each size is fully adjustable to help you get a perfect fit.  This is important because with a good fit, the dog will find it more comfortable and it is much less likely to rub and cause sore places.
  5. The bridle can help to control aggression because the bridle dips the nose slightly when a command is given.  This has the effect of breaking eye contact between two dogs that are eyeing each other prior to aggressive behaviour, giving the owner the chance to move the dog away easily and without incident

Harnesses

Best dog headcollar

As with headcollars, dog trainers’ and vets’ opinions also tend to be divided about harnesses. There are three types of harness available:

Back-fastening harnesses

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.

Front-fastening harnesses

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:

  • When the dog pulls, the harness twists to the side which must be annoying and uncomfortable for the dog
  • There have been some studies that shows that a dog’s gait or movement is affected by harnesses, particularly those with straps across the chest at the top of the dog’s legs. 
  • If the dog is reactive and has aggression issues, then a headcollar may also be required to properly get the dog under control and prevent aggression-related incidents.
  • If the lead is too slack, it can get tangled up in the dog’s legs unlike back-fitting harnesses.
    These harnesses are for dogs that are walking only, if you take your dog running, the backattaching harnesses are much more suitable and will not swing the dog round mid-flight, risking injury.
  • A few lab owners have reported that their dogs can get out of their harness, whether front-fitting or not. 
  • Some front-fitting harnesses claim to “lift” the dog, taking the power away from the shoulders and helping the handler to control the pulling.  However, dogs frequently get in the habit of going up on their hind legs and lunging forwards when wearing this type of harness.  Not ideal for the owner and not good for the dog!
  • They can cause sore places on the dog if not fitted correctly – it is essential to keep checking the dog to ensure that sore areas aren’t developing.

Front and back-fastening harnesses

Using a double-ended lead, these can be a good compromise that are becoming increasingly popular.

Headcollars and harnesses used together

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.

Conclusions

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!

How can I stop my Labrador from pulling on the lead?

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:

“How do Labrador owners cope with their dogs pulling on the lead in 2019?”

This unique 20-page ebook features:

 

  • The dangers of pulling to both dog and owner
  • Our survey results: how do Labrador owners in 2019 train or control dogs that pull?
  • Training methods and tips that work
  • Pros and cons of training aids
  • Useful owners tips and tricks

Please open and download the ebook to find out more…

96% Would Recommend The K9 Bridle Dog Training Head Collar

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?

Q1. How successful was the K9 Bridle Dog Training Head Collar?

K9 Bridle - 94% success rate

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!

Q2. What breed of dog was the K9 Bridle for?

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.

Dog Training Head Collar

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.

Q3. How likely would you be to recommend the K9 bridle to a friend?

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.

Dog Training Head Collar

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.

The Best Dog Collar For Stopping Dogs Pulling On The Lead

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.

Why is the K9 Bridle the best dog collar for stopping dogs pulling?

The k9 bridle attaches to the lead at the back of the dog’s head.

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.

Best dog collar for stopping dogs pulling on the lead

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. 

the best dog collar for stopping dogs pulling on the lead

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.

When the dog stops pulling, the K9 Bridle instantly releases

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 best dog collar for stopping dogs pulling on the lead

The material is soft, strong and tubular

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.

The k9 bridle comes in 5 sizes and is fully adjustable

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.

It is handmade in the UK

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.

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