“Who is walking whom?”
This question pops into my mind whenever I see owners being dragged down the street by their dogs. Leash pulling usually becomes a complaint only after a large dog has finally succeeding in pulling its owners off their feet, with resultant injury or embarrassment.
Most cases of leash pulling involve dogs that have become accommodated to the discomfort of a choke chain, pinch collar or even a leather collar. Some of them cease pulling only long enough to cough, some even regurgitate or take a few deep breaths, then continue struggling forward.
Most dog owners have no idea that their frustrated leash-pulling dog might actually suffer physical injury during their daily tug-of-war. However, in a Swedish study by the noted behaviorist Anders Hallgren, of 400 dog owners who agreed to have their dog’s spines X-rayed, 63% were found to have spinal injuries. Of the injured dogs with neck (cervical) injuries, 91% had experience harsh jerks on the leash or were serious leash strainers! Among aggressive or overactive dogs, 78% had spinal injuries.
Head harnesses are very effective in controlling even the most straining of dogs and should be seriously considered.