Lv 7
Sombra asked in PetsDogs · 2 months ago

Any tips on how to transition a dog from a no-pull (front clip) harness to walking nicely on a simple collar and lead?

This dog (new to me, and I am still learning this dog) has been allowed to get away with too much for too long (long story).

The front-clip harness does work in that it prevents her from lunging and pulling (it turns her sideways if she tries) -- but I don't like the look of it or the feeling that I'm reacting to or correcting bad behavior. It corrects an unwanted behavior but I don't think she learns much by being flipped over sideways if she misbehaves.

This is not a pup. She's 7 years old, she's a pit bull, her head is plenty large but her neck is bigger and she can back out of a collar if she wants to. And she is strong enough to do that.

I'd rather not use a prong collar if there's another way. I will if I have to.

We want our dog to walk happily and confidently alongside us wherever we go, and not feel that she is constantly being admonished or corrected.

I know, the older a dog is, the harder it is to break habits or change behaviors.

Thanks for any help, I do appreciate it.

7 Answers

  • 2 months ago
    Best Answer

    You add a Half-choke martingale collar and use two leashes as you transition.

    Some dogs always need the harness on, even if it’s not being used.

    However, the bigger issue is that the dog isn’t walking nicely on a leash. Yes, add the martingale, but plan on using the no-pull harness concurrently and for a long time until she can be better trusted.

    The half-choke martingale lets the dog hear and feel the chain go though the d rings before the collar snaps.

    • Simpson G.
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      I’m glad! I hope you continued success. And don’t worry about Les. He’s a know it all smug bully to folks on here and his dogs.

  • 1 month ago

    • "Any tips on how to transition a dog from a no-pull (front clip) harness to walking nicely on a simple collar and lead?"


    A "simple collar" is useless on any adult dog that hasn't been EXTREMELY well trained.

    I use ONLY a straight-links slip-chain (nicknamed a "choke chain" because idiots DO use it to choke their misbehaving dog, and people who put it on the wrong way around CAN unintentionally choke their dog) and flat leash with a loop at my end. Each link is wide enough for the clip to go through it so that, if I have to tether the pup while I go into a shop, I can "lock" the chain so it can neither be shaken off nor tighten.

    I start my litter's retention on a lightweight straight-links slip-chain on the first dry day after pup - vaccinated at 8 weeks old - is 10 weeks old. It can take almost an hour to walk past the first 5 houses - but then Pup realises that as long as it investigates in much the same direction as I am walking, it can zig & zag to it's heart's content.

    But you are SUPPOSED to ''react to AND correct bad behavior"! If you don't, you are NOT a responsible dog owner.

    The problem is that idiots - especially idiots who were raised by violent parents - translate "correct" into "beat the shít out of".

    I disapprove of the various "gadgets" used by people who are too lazy or stupid to JOIN A TRAINING CLASS and get COACHED on how to train their pooch.

    If it has a strap that goes across the muzzle just in front of the dog's eyes, it is a cruel instrument of torture. If it is "gadgeted" to put the pressure at the top of the neck or to suddenly TWIST the dog's neck (as your "front-clip leash" does), it is a potentially LETHAL instrument of torture. Back in about 1969 I knew a GSD owner who broke his newly imported bítch's neck by yanking so violently to "train" her at home.

    • "This dog (new to me"

    By now you SHOULD have told us the AGE, BREED (or mix of breeds), SEX and whether fertile or neutered, of your pet. And in this case have stated HOW LONG you've had it. You've been in Y!A for 9 YEARS, have answered 14,478 questions and been awarded BA on 40% of them. so you should KNOW how to start a question & its essential INFORMATION.

    In case you don't know how to add an update, please click the [Edit] under your question, then click the [Add Update] that pops up, then type the missing information into the clean area that appears.

    • "This is not a pup. She's 7 years old, she's a pit bull"

    So why are you asking this in the DOGS section?

    If a pit bull exists it would be a male bovine (= bull) that works in a mine (= pit), just as a pit pony does.

    If you have an APBT (American Pit Bull Terrier - learn the abbreviation and that EVERY WORD in a breed-name starts with a capital letter), it is accepted by NO kennel club in the world apart from the UKC.

    • "her head is plenty large but her neck is bigger and she can back out of a collar if she wants to."

    NOT while you are pulling the leash from BEHIND her she can't. Just ONE of the MANY things you need to be COACHED on, improving your awareness, body language, consistency of commands, control of the leash, your timing, your use of the leash + praise & rewards + voice-tones.

    If the "long story" you didn't bother summarising for us includes that she is aggressive to animals or people, you will also need a "basket muzzle" that's designed for APBTs so that they can bash the basket against people but can't bite, can't shake it off.

    • "I'd rather not use a prong collar if there's another way. I will if I have to."

    Properly FITTED (a tricky business!) a prong collar is merely a slip-chain that spreads its pressure across a larger area. (Idiots will, of course sharpen the prongs so that they pierce the skin and cause bleeding and possibly infection in the neck.) There are a few professional trainers who love them, but most training clubs ban them to keep temptation away from the idiots.

    • "We want our dog to walk happily and confidently alongside us wherever we go, and not feel that she is constantly being admonished or corrected."

    As I am not one who competes in "heelwork", I have my dogs walk out in front of me, except when I call them to Heel because someone nearby is obviously scared of dogs. From out in front the dog gets a better view of what's happening in the area.

    • "I know, the older a dog is, the harder it is to break habits or change behaviors."

    Therefore the older the dog is, the more ESSENTIAL that it was VERY well trained !

    So WHY did you choose THIS one?

    🙈🙉 Update to [Sombra]: 🙉🙈🙉

    I think you had better read my signature line, then my activity page, and possibly find my Lorelei kennel site.

    Being a very literate teacher, with one of my 4 majors being English, I understood what you WROTE.

    If that wasn't what you MEANT, then the problem lies with YOU not CHECKING your typing before posting it.


    "She is the dog people commonly call a pit bull."

    Comment is one of many "only in the USA" things. Good luck finding a "Pit Bull"- or even your illiterate "pit bull" in: which is the world authority on actual dog BREEDS. But guess what - it won't accept the UKC to represent USA dog breeds, and the AKC refuses to join the federation.

    I can believe that "common people" in the USA commonly use "pit bull" as if it were a breed-name. LOTS of "common people" in the USA have been rejecting education for centuries.

    You have NOT added an Update to tell EVERYONE that you have had her for 2 years. Something you've had for 2 years is DEFINITLY NOT "new"! ¿Hablas español mejor que inglés? Yo no.

    But obviously you have NOT yet been to a club or a pro to get COACHED on how to train her (it sounds as though your daughter hasn't either). Most people need a YEAR of coaching with their first dog, less for other dogs provided there is no gap between dogs. Each dog IS an individual.

    Based on your ramble, your roadside area is NOT safe to walk her on - you need to DRIVE her to an area where neither vehicles nor bikers nor skate-boarders a risk. A training club HAS such an area, but usually on only one Saturday or Sunday a week.

    If you were "successful" with the various gadgets you claim to have used "successfully", you would NOT need to ask in Y!A. Whereas, as I stated, I have NEVER needed anything other than a slip-chain & 6ft/2metre flat leash. And I HAVE been an instructor in a city dog-training club in the late '60s, early 1970s, before I moved to an area where my wife & I did NOT approve of their interpretation of the Koehler Method - especially for 4-5 months old pups, so we dropped out.

    🙈🙉🙈 SECOND Update to [Sombra]: 🙉🙈🙈

    You have STILL not adde any Updates to your question.

    Not even the one stating the TIME during which YOU've had her.

    As for second lot of claims - you obviously haven't worked out WHY I thought you should not walk her in your syteey - it seems you cant even remember what you wrote in your multiple Comments'ti impel me to make theat recommendation.

    Thank goodness you were never in any of the classes I taught!

    King Les The Lofty - first pup in 1950, GSD breeder & trainer since 1968

    • Sombra
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Your latest retort makes little sense. Are you drunk, or what? I'm done arguing. I'm not adding to or editing my question. Most who read and answered the question are not in need of such fine parsing or semantic gymnastics.

  • TK
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I would go through a course of obedience training using a training collar. I prefer the martingale prong because it is not damaging to the dog's trachea. The goal is to have the dog properly trained so you can transition to a buckle collar, but you will need to practice daily for a few months.

  • 2 months ago

    If the no pull head harness is working why switch? It doesn't matter that you don't like it, what matters is that it is working. If she no longer pulls on the lead you can try just a collar & a lead. I would put on both the head harness & a neck collar so if she starts pulling with just the leash & collar, you can switch her back to the head harness. You cannot baby these dogs, they need a FIRM hand & strong corrections. They are hard headed & stubborn.

    If she still pulls keep using the head harness it hasn't taught her anything yet. If she no long pulls try the regular collar & leash.

    • Sombra
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      ... episode is that stairs are scary. I have no problem with correcting a dog when necessary, but don't want to do so in a way that makes her fearful of benign situations because of the way the harness delivers the correction.

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  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Training.... you know all these places which offer obedience pet training and any good trainer will teach you how to train the dog to walk on a lead without any pulling....and no need for gadgets which inflict pain, cause injury or unbalance the unablanced dog has an unbalance mind.......... most of this can be trained and practiced inside your own home daily using a soft collar and training lead attached, then attached to you around your waste, no touching the lead, the dog, no speaking and no looking, you have both hands free so can get on and do anything, all the dog has to do is follow you and if you see the dog out the corner of your eye or it charges in front of you, you just turn and walk the other way ( and it will be hard work the first couple of times used) hour a day each and every day and within a couple of weeks the dog will get the idea all it has to do is follow close by... 20 mintues before you go out for a walk you do this, which reduces its energy/stops the excitement of 'going out for a walk' and you just go walking in the same manner and continue the same training, ie see the dog walking forward/in front you turn and walk the other way as you are in balance, the dog remains in balance...where as holding the lead you are automatically pulled off balance and the dog knows it can pull you along.....I call owners being pulled along "water skiing"

    If your dog is also lunging at people/dogs then it needs serious socialisation in a safe and controlled area along with balance/well behaved dogs as it is a pit that maybe more than other owners want to risk with their balanced dogs

    • Sombra
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      The dog is not *unbalanced*, and no she does not lunge at people or other dogs. She's been walked exclusively in a front-clip chest harness for more than 2 years, and that has taught her a method of correction I would like her to UNLEARN in favor of the conventional lead and collar.

  • 2 months ago

    You can choose to use a head halter, if the dog will tolerate one. Control of the head, is the most effective way to control a dog. But it may give the appearance of a muzzle.

    That is also why prong or pinch or collars can control and help prevent lunging or pulling. Unlike what most people think - they DO NOT put the prongs INTO the skin. They simply sort of "spin" shut, and do so ALL the way around the collar -at once. the collar will also close - ONLY SO FAR, no choking is involved.

    Unlike a metal CHOKE collar (used in many obedience classes & AKC obedience trials) you cannot "string the dog up" or choke it to death, or do trachea damage to the dog, with said prong collar. Vet studies have been done on dogs, who had extensive use of just one or the other, of these two collar options. Huge difference in damage to the tracheas with the use of the "more accepted" CHOKE COLLARS.

    To use the Prong CORRECTLY and most effectively, it is meant to be "sized" by REMOVAL of any extra links, to SIT @ the TOP OF THE NECK - right behind the ears. The dog has less muscling there & you need to give FAR LESS correction, to the dog.

    I would not discount it for helping train or curb the dog in certain situations - due to her breed. Say you went to the vet or to a crowded flea market area - you'd want more control. (She might be a nice dog, but her breed, INSTILLS A LOT of fear & concern).

    I NEVER run or hike with a dog on anything BUT a flat buckle collar. Mine have my name address, & phone # mounted ONTO the collar from Dogs Unlimited - catalog.

    If your dog can back OUT OF a collar you may need what they use on greyhounds. Even at age 7, she can & should GO THRU an obedience class. It will help you transition from pinch to flat buckle or head halter or greyhound collar, AND with bonding & will help teach her and you - how to work more effectively TOGETHER, not to mention improving your communications skills.

    PLEASE try to find an AKC- affiliated dog group (kennel club or dog training club) or even a humane society, shelter, or YMCA offering classes, RATHER than go to a BIG BOX PET SUPPLY store. (They are more interested in your MONEY and getting you to buy more STUFF) than teaching you anything, effectively.

  • 2 months ago

    Head collar. If her head shape will allow. I was recommended to the Canny Collar, for my Whippet who was inclined to spook. She was great on it and now doesn't need it - she has a Whippet width martingale.

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