There are hundreds of types of training equipment on the market to help you with walking your dog.

When you have a large dog that pulls or lunges when you are leash walking, this can result in a serious issue. Whether it is the kids who walk the dog or someone with physical limitations, the situation is prone to accidents, such as the person falling or even the dog’s leash getting dropped and the dog getting away. Or perhaps the dog could knock over another person, or get involved with another dog inappropriately. Sometimes traditional walking tools aren’t the answer.

Over the past few years another technique has become available. It is called Two Points of Contact. The concept is simple but the training equipment needed for this is unique. There are a few forms that are available. The most popular are harnesses.

One is made by a company called Two Hounds and is called the Freedom harness. It looks like a traditional strappy harness, but has two leash connector points. One is on the front chest and is stationary while the other is on the back, and the leash connects to a ring on a martingale loop which corrects the dog when pulling.

Why? It gives the handler control of both the front pulling/leading edge of the dog as well as the back when he digs in to lower his center of gravity to pull.

The leash has two snap hooks, each of which connects to the different rings. It is very difficult for the dog to pull when you control both of their body parts.

Another similar product is made by Petsafe and is called a three-in-one harness; it also requires a double connector leash. The most effective of these harnesses has one ring that connects to a corrective loop – not the kind of vest-style harnesses which have no corrective ability even if they have multiple rings.

In other cases, the best alternative is actually both a corrective collar such as a martingale as well as a front control harness. I prefer the PetSafe Deluxe Easy Walk harness. This gives the handler control of both the dogs’ neck without choking them and the front leading edge of the dog.

As a trainer, I avail myself of these or other products to help with uncontrolled pulling before we start the leash-walking process. In most cases it can give the handler more control and therefore more confidence.  A double control leash is still required. Even the leash style will be important to the handler’s comfort and control. I prefer either a padded handle or a rope-style leash.

The equipment training should be followed by a walking lesson so that the dog and owner learn proper skills, including paying attention in distracting situations. Contact me for the equipment assessment and lessons. If you need this alternative, we can teach you all to enjoy your walks.

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.