As a trainer, one of the most-requested problems to solve is how to get a dog to walk nicely on a leash. Some dogs just naturally want to stay close to the person who is walking them while others are completely oblivious to the fact that there is a person on the other end of the leash. That’s the case with my two foster hounds, Brooks and Zoë. They not only pull hard but they also don’t walk in a straight line. They zigzag to wherever their noses lead them. I needed to find some equipment to help me.

A flat collar or even a Martingale just will not cut it. The hounds will sputter and choke themselves in desperation to get to the next scent or to chase the squirrel that just crossed their paths. And of course, it goes without saying that I would never, EVER use a choke chain or prong collar. If you want to know why, please read my article on the reasons why:  http://www.chrisshaughness.com/why-not-prong-collars-and-choke-chains/

I have successfully used both the Easy Walk harness and the Gentle Leader on other dogs but the Easy Walk does not fit the Bassets’ physique. It slips right off of them. The nose-loop on the Gentle Leader may be dangerous for as hard as the Bassets pull. I’m afraid they may hurt their necks when they do one of their 90 degree zigzag routines.

I asked some of the other Basset owners for recommendations. From one woman, I learned of something new called The Canine Connector. It’s the invention of a woman who lives near Reading, PA and it has helped considerably. The Canine Connector is a thick, long rope that loops around the dog’s chest and under the front legs, then ties on the dog’s back. It takes the pressure from around the dog’s neck and uses the concept that when a dog pulls, something that goes around their chest stops the pulling.

I have found that The Canine Connector has made it easier for me to walk both dogs together and they are much easier to handle. But it’s not a panacea. When they see another animal, they still can pull very hard even with this apparatus. That’s where training enters the picture. I am working on counter conditioning them to look at me when they see another animal. Yes, it’s a challenge! Hounds think with their noses! But it’s possible.

I do recommend The Canine Connector but be warned, it takes a few minutes to put it on the dog and to take it off. If you are accustomed to just snapping a leash on your dog’s collar, you will need to add a little more time to your schedule. If your dog likes to dance around in anticipation of their walk, you will need lots of patience to put The Canine Connector on your dog. Taking it off also takes a little more time because you need to unknot the ends of the rope. With as hard as my hounds pull, the knot is really, really tight!

Check out The Canine Connector’s Facebook page and give it a try!

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