There’s no training collar that works best for every dog, and that’s what I’m getting at with this post.
Heck, there’s not even a collar that works best for one dog in all situations!
Walking my dog downtown while carrying a coffee and shopping bags is way different than walking him in a quiet nature preserve, for example.
So in this post, I’m explaining what I like and don’t like about the three tools I’ve used while walking my weimaraner, Remy:
Gentle Leader vs prong collar vs Easy Walk harness
Which one is best?
In case you haven’t figured it out, no tool is perfect.
Truth is, my puppy pulls no matter what and it’s a work in progress, always.
It’s about TRAINING, not finding a “magical” tool. I use a training tool to help me while I continue to work on training.
Limiting a dog’s pulling takes time. It’s really about patience, training, consistency and finding whatever tool helps you MANGAGE your dog while keeping everyone safe.
I can only tell you which collars are best for my particular dogs.
So which collar is best for Remy?
I actually like the Gentle Leader best for the largest variety of dogs (I’m a dog walker and rescue volunteer).
That being said, the Gentle Leader is the worst of the three tools for Remy. For him, it’s a tie between the prong collar and the Easy Walk harness. I haven’t decided which is best so I rotate between them depending on what we’re doing. See below.
The Gentle Leader
I love the Gentle Leader but it does not work well for my dog Remy.
The Gentle Leader fits over the dog’s muzzle (similar to a horse). When the dog pulls, the collar is designed to gently pull the dog’s muzzle and head to the side.
The Gentle Leader works so well for a lot of dogs and it’s my top recommendation. I’ve used it on probably 100 dogs by now.
However, it’s not so good for Remy.
Remy closes his mouth (avoids panting), puts his head low and to the side and pulls HARD against it the entire walk. This causes the fabric to rub under his eyes, making the skin raw and his eyes bug out. It hurts him. And after a half-hour he’s nearly having a heat stroke from not panting.
When we pass people, he paws at his muzzle frantically and stands on his hind legs causing people to stop and other dogs to react.
It frustrates and embarrasses me, and Remy is also frustrated.
So, not a good fit.
I keep trying it hoping it will get better, but it’s usually pretty frustrating.
The prong collar
A prong collar is a chain collar with flat “prongs” around it that put gentle pressure on the dog’s neck when he pulls. The prong collar is limited in how far it can tighten. (It’s a martingale collar.)
People really tend to panic when I even mention the word prong collar, leaving my blog in a huff. (So, please don’t do that.)
So I have to ask, do people think prong collars are “spiked” or sharp on the ends? Because they’re FLAT.
I switched Remy to the prong collar when he was 5 months old, so we’ve been using it on and off for about 8 months.
It’s like night and day.
He’s so much happier with it and he no longer “bucks” or paws at his face. I have the most control over him than any other tool, and it’s important to have control over a boisterous, adolescent weimaraner. He’s only going to get larger and stronger.
But the prong collar is not perfect.
Remy still pulls while wearing it, and I don’t like that there’s almost constant pressure on his neck.
So that’s why I tried the Easy Walk harness …
Easy Walk no-pull harness
The Easy Walk harness is a nylon harness that limits the effects of a dog’s pulling because the leash clips to the chest and tightens the harness around the dog’s chest and shoulders when he pulls. It gently pulls him to the side and makes pulling uncomfortable.
I bought a large, so Remy’s was still a little loose on him in these pictures, but not for long!
The Easy Walk harness seems to work pretty well for Remy. I like that it takes all the pressure off his neck. (Although, it does rub his skin raw under his arms. Sigh.)
He still pulls while wearing it (of course), but it does make our walks more enjoyable and he seems happier too. The Easy Walk harness is more effective with Remy than I expected. There’s a reason you see so many people using them. They work!
My main problem with the harness is it still allows Remy the freedom to jump on people. He’s able to really LAUNCH HIMSELF at people while wearing it. Like, it seems to help him get AIR! Have you ever seen anything like it? Ha!
The prong collar works better for controlling him when he tries to jump.
Because of this, I tend to use the prong collar when I’m walking both my dogs together by myself because it gives me more control. On my longer strolls and hikes with Remy by himself, I tend to use the harness.
Let’s face it, the harness also give me a chance to sort of “check out” from training while still keeping my dog fairly controlled as long as no people are around. This is something we all need at times, adding to the popularity of this harness.
Here’s my detailed article on no pull harnesses you may find helpful.
So what’s the verdict?
Well, I used the Gentle Leader for my Lab mix Ace. It worked the best for him.
For Remy, I rotate between the prong collar and the Easy Walk harness AND the Gentle Leader. They all work … sort of.
There is no tool that works best for every dog in every situation!
I use three tools every day between my two dogs.
For quick potty breaks, the prong collar works best for Remy because I can keep him under control around off-leash dogs that walk by frequently on our street. I can stop him from jumping and wiggling around.
For longer walks around the neighborhood or hiking, the Easy Walk harness is best because if Remy’s going to be pulling it takes the pressure of his neck.
And for the walks where I take both dogs by myself, I prefer to have Remy and my new pup Rip both on Easy Walk harnesses. It helps me manage them but I can checkout from formal heel training.
It is challenging to wrangle two large dogs, pick up poop, carry the poop bags and maneuver around other residents.
It’s the worst when I’m obviously picking up poop and someone barges over with her dogs. “CAN WE SAY HI!”
Um … hi? No?
But still, I need to be able to control my dogs even if other people are being idiots. So, that’s where all these tools come in.
No collar is perfect. No dog is perfect. I’m certainly not perfect!
What tool do you currently use the most for walking your dog?
Do you have any comments to add about any of these collars?
Let me know in the comments!