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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Ask An Expert > Answered Questions > I Have A Year Old American Pit Bull Terrier Who Constantly

I have a year old American Pit Bull Terrier who constantly tugs on his leash. I'...

asiabrew81

Question: 
I have a year old American Pit Bull Terrier who constantly tugs on his leash. I'm in the midst of training him for loose leash walking but his retractable leash has worn out and I want to get him a new one, I just don't know which is best. Should I get a pinch collar,a gentle leader or one of those harness that the leash attaches to the front so you can control their body? Keep in mind I live in Manhattan and he gets distracted by a lot of the daily outside noise.
Answer: 

What a great question. Let's start with the leash. You will want to train him on a fixed-length leash. For a strong puller I'd recommend a 6 foot leather leash, as leather is much easier on your hands. If you want to use a retractable, you should keep the brake on (which defeats the purpose). The reason for the fixed-length... first, he should only get to keep walking if the leash is loose (i.e. slack in the line) which doesn't happen with a retractable unless the brake is on. If there is always some tension on the leash he will never know what "loose" feels like. Secondly, with a retractable, if he sees something he wants he can pull towards it and get closer (unless the brake is set), so "pulling towards something" is rewarded by him getting closer to the desired object.
As for the collar/harness choice... the Gentle Leader will give you the most control, but you'll have to spend some time getting him acclimated to it. Most dogs dislike it initially and unless properly conditioned (i.e. good treats while it's on and a proper fit) he may never like it. However, having control of the head and front end of a strong dog in a crowded city cannot be underestimated. The front clip harness (usually an Easy Walk by Premier) works pretty well and is well tolerated by the dogs. Again, you are able to steer the front end of the dog which helps immensely. It's not as much control as a head halter, but it may be worth it because the dogs don't seem to mind the harness. You can successfully train without the use of a choke or pinch collar, so I'd stick to the Gentle Leader or Easy Walk if you need something more than a regular collar.