Measuring for a Balance Harness
We size Balance Harnesses by the Girth Measurement of a dog.
Don't just try to guess by breed type - there's lots of variation in sizes of individual dogs, so a Girth Measurement will get the right size harness first time.
Check the picture below to see where the "Girth Measurement" should be taken.
Use a soft tape measure.
Place the tape measure around your dog's body, just behind the front legs.
Pull it to be a tight, snug fit and read off the measurement.
Now check the chart below, to select the correct size.
When dogs pull on leash they lean forward, using their weight and strength to pull against the leash - we often reinforce this by pulling back on the leash and inadvertently train the dog to pull even harder.
The Black Dog Balance Harness helps break this feed-back training and helps train your dog to balance on all fours when on the lead.
Using the Balance Harness
You will get best results if you use a Double Ended Lead, but you can also work with a normal lead. Some people find a Double Ended Lead too cumbersome, but it is easy once you get the hang of it, it is sort of like the reins on a horse.
Dogs can pull harder than we can so don't let yourself get into a "tug of war" game, you'll have better results if you use a pulsating action on the lead - pull, release, pull, release, etc.- rather than just trying to pull harder or keep steady presure to hold your dog back - this just makes things worse.
When we keep steady pressure on the Lead, it is easy for a dog to pull against it by leaning forward, so you'll need to practice "pulsating the lead" with the pull, release, pull, release action. This makes it uncomfortable for the dog to pull against the lead, it is likely to stop and look at you to work out what is going on - when it stops and looks at you, immediately stop pulsating the lead - for the dog the uncomfortable thing stops and so he/she has just been rewarded for not being on a tight lead.
The Balance Harness with a Double Ended Lead.
Attach the lead to the Front D Ring and the other end to the Back D Ring.
Think of the Back Connection as your Brake and the Front as Steering.
When your dog pulls, stop walking and at the same time start pulsating the lead to the back of the Balance Harness (the Brake). Do this with a slight upward lifting to get better results.
Continue pulasting until your dog stops pulling, when it does, immediately stop pulsating and loosen the lead - then change to lightly pulsate the Front lead until your dog turns back to you, or looks back to you.
Praise lavishly when he turns back to you.
This is called "Shaping" - you are training a series of actions - in this case a Stop and then a Turn. When it is done consistently your dog will learn to stop and turn whenever it feels pulsating pressure on the lead. By stopping and turning towards you your dog has re-balanced itself on all 4 feet and when it is balanced it is not pulling.
The Balance Harness with a Normal Lead.
Attach the lead to the Front D Ring on the Balance Harness.
When your dog pulls, stop walking and at the same time start to pulsate the lead to the front of the harness to get your dog to turn towards you.
Immediately loosen the lead as your dog stops pulling, and praise lavishly.
Be Consistent to Lock in your Training
Repeat these Training techniques whenever your dog pulls on lead.
The Balance Harness makes training easy, but you must be consistent.
Remember to praise your dog when it is walking well.
Check the fitting regularly - particularly during the first few days/weeks of wearing, adjust to keep a good snug fit.
The Balance Harness is designed as a Walking Trainer, and is not intended for other use - Do not use as a Car Harness.
Full Fitting and Use Instructions come packaged with each Balance Harness.
Here is an article on "Pulsating the Leash" to help stop your dog pulling on lead.
Dogs pull on lead for a range of reasons, but the most common is that we humans keep tight pressure on the lead.
Dogs have what is called an "Opposition Reflex" - they tend to lean against any pressure they feel on their body. With your dog on a collar, if you hold a lead tight (or the dog pulls against the lead) this makes the collar feel tight across the front of the dog's neck, the dog's opposition reflex kicks in and makes it lean forward, our human response is usually to pull back on the lead, this makes the dog pulls more, so we pull back more and gradually the dog learns to always pull on lead.
To break this cycle, we need to change the way we use the lead - we call it "Pulsating the Lead".
When a dog pulls against the lead, our immediate response should be to pull, release, pull, release, pull, release on the lead, making a pulsating action down the lead. The first few times you do this, the dog will usually respond by stopping, or turning to see what is going on - you immediately then stop the pulsating.
What you are doing is training your dog that when it pulls on the lead this pulsating will happen, making it uncomfortable, the moment it comes back off the end of the lead the pulsating stops and things become more comfortable. The dog has the choice between uncomfortable pulsating, or slack lead, in essence the dog rewards itself for not being against the end of the lead. If you like you can also add other rewards here when the dog stops and faces you, this will encourage a Stop and Turn response.
The Pulsating needs to happen quickly, not so hard as to pull your dog around, and it should continue until your dog responds. The dog needs to work out what to do, it is not up to you to pull the dog back off the end of the lead. It is about creating an annoyance any time your dog chooses to pull on the lead, then immediately removing the annoyance when the dog comes back off the end of the lead.
If you do this consistently, the dog will learn not to pull on the lead. If you are not consistent, and you pulsate sometimes and not others, the dog won't learn much at all, except that you can sometimes be really annoying on the other end of the lead.
Successful re-training often comes down to a mixture of Consistency and Persistence – if it is going to be successful you need to apply this consistently, and you need to be More Persistent than your dog (this is often where most humans slip up).
When we show people this technique, it usually takes the dog between 2 to 5 minutes to learn not to be on the end of the lead, but it is all about consistency from the human. It often takes humans longer to teach ourselves not to hold the lead tight, so we also need to teach ourselves to change the way we use the lead.
If you have been hanging on tight to your lead as your dog pulls you down the street, then your muscle memory will continue to default to that action, so you’ll need to retrain yourself as well.
The easiest way to do this is… any time you feel the lead go tight, count 1…2…3 with a pulsate action on each count. Keep in your mind 1 (pull), 2 (pull), 3(pull) and make sure you release between each pull. This will help retrain yourself to pulsate the lead.
But you also have to be very conscious of what you do with the lead when you are standing still – keep it lose and if the dog pulls, start pulsating. Make it the dog’s choice – either it can pull against the lead and have that crazy person pulsating on the lead, or it can stand a little closer and everything is cool.
Lead Pulsating can be done on a Flat Collar, a Training Collar, a Balance Harness, and on Head Halters, but you need to modify the technique to suit each type of equipment.
On a Head Halter the Pulsating would be much softer than on a Flat Collar, because a Head Halter is like Power Steering. You take your guide from the dog’s response – if your dog responds to light pulsating, then leave it at that, if it doesn’t respond at first, then pulsate a little harder. Once you reach the point where your dog is responding, continue at this level, then after a while try to reduce the strength of Lead Pulsating to see if your dog will respond to a softer lead action. What you are aiming for is light pulsating on the lead, but it might take a little while for the dog and human to learn to communicate at this softer level – particularly if the dog has been a strident puller.
Typically, people with pulling dogs have learnt to hold on tight - when they try this pulsating action they pull from the shoulder which gives a slow, harsh reaction down the lead - their action looks like pulling the starter cord on a lawn mower and is equivalent to yelling down the lead. It is best to change the movement to the wrist – this gives a quicker, softer, more refined reaction to the dog on lead. It is the difference between continually yelling down the lead, or speaking softly down the lead to communicate with your dog.
Balance Harness - Extra Large - Now Available in a Training Pack
25mm wide girth strap, 25mm wide front chest strap - adjustable for girth 92cm to 124cm.
Very few Dogs will require this extra large size, but it is here to cover the Giant and Mastiff breeds, or the individual dogs with a very deep chest.
The Balance Harness is a training tool and should be used as part of a training program to reduce your dog's tendency to pull on lead.
If you are looking for a more genaral purpose Harness, then look at our Dog Harness.
- Do not use this Balance Harness to tether your dog ! Check-out the Dog Harness
- Do not use this Balance Harness as a restraint in a Car! Check-out the Dog Harness
- Do Not use this Balance Harness with a lead longer than 2 metres! Check-out the Dog Harness
- The Balance Harness might break if you use it with any of the above, so that's why we suggest you Check-Out the Dog Harness.
Balance Harness - for training Walking Control with pulling dogs.
The Black Dog Balance Harness helps stop your dog pulling on lead - it helps you train your dog to balance correctly on all four feet and not rely on the lead - They learn to walk comfortably without the need to pull.
- Gently Stops Dogs Pulling and allows Effective Training
- Control from the Front and the Back, using a Double Ended Lead
- the Extra Large is not available as a Training Pack, but see "Balance Harness Training Packs" for other size Harness/Lead combos
- or Just Connect at the Front, with a normal lead.
- Easy to Fit and adjust - comfortable and strong.
- Restores Balance and allows Effective Lead Training.
A great Walking Harness, and an effective training alternative for dogs with neck issues, or if a head halter is not appropriate.
If your dog is an escape artist, you may also like to consider a Connector Strap as back-up security - they are easily attached as backup security on Balance Harnesses - connected between the Front D Ring (orBack D Ring) and clipped to the dog's collar.