People are always shocked when I tell them one of my least favorite breeds of dog to walk are Golden Retrievers. All the good parts that makes them one of the most popular breeds out there can also make them difficult to walk. They are both an intelligent and high energy breed. They also possess a strength that is simultaneously unsurprising and unexpected. The thing about Golden Retrievers is not that they pull on walks or that they want to chase every squirrel or that they sometimes turn around to give kisses and get pets. It is that they do all these things at the exact right moment. Other dogs might pull but they pull constantly whereas a Golden Retriever will wait for your foot to be raised and you to be slightly off balance for their big pull. They know and they learn.
This is the situation I found myself in this past weekend. I was walking a one year old Golden Retriever. Full of energy and intelligence. Pulling at the right moment to get closer to whatever squirrel, leaf, or bird had caught their attention.
It was in a conversation with my wife where I mentioned again the surprise breed I don’t like walking and why. She asked what type of equipment I had and I mentioned the Freedom Harness which is one of our favorites to use. She asked if I was using it as a rear hooking or front hooking harness and when I mentioned rear hooking she told me to try the front hook. I knew this was the way I should be using it but didn’t for whatever reason. You see when you rear hook a harness you give the dog more power and leverage to pull against you. The Freedom Harness is both a training device and a forever harness. The front hooking section is for the training before a dog fully knows how to walk on a leash.
The next visit I made this change and everything got so much easier. The dog that pulled me off balance and made walking her a struggle was suddenly a breeze to walk. The front hooking section redirects the dog’s energy when they try and pull. It makes them so much easier to walk and my earlier mistake goes to show that having good equipment isn’t enough. You have to use it properly or, in my case, remember the proper way to use it.