The best dog harnesses are in here! These days, there are a variety of dog harnesses you can buy. However, some are great for reducing pulling while others actually encourage pulling. A good (or bad) harness can really change the way you walk your dog. In this article, I highlight my professional opinion for what dog harnesses you should try. I have witnessed firsthand how these dog walking tools instantly switch annoying walks to truly enjoyable ones in minutes!
If you have a dog that pulls on leash and you feel like you are being dragged down the street, check out the dog walking tools that are available. One minute you are having a difficult time walking and the next, you are enjoying a leisurely walk with your dog. Check out the best dog harnesses so you can choose what will work best for you and your dog.
Easy Walk Harness
The easy walk harness is my go-to harness. Dogs who tend to pull are eager to get ahead. They need to sniff, pee, and explore! They don’t quite understand that their handlers are controlling their leash to keep them safe. Rather, they see it as a deterrent and pull with more intensity to get to that next fire hydrant.
An easy walk harness clips around a dog’s midsection. Therefore, it differs from the older, more traditional harnesses where the leash clips to the dog’s back. This design prevents a dog from using their body weight and strength from pulling. Rather, if they pull, the leash turns them to the side and distracts them from pulling. In most dogs, this redirection reduces the pulling and keeps them walking at a more leisurely pace. As a result, your dog will walk much better just by positioning the leash at the front of their body versus at the back of their body.
A Gentle Leader is the best dog harness you can buy, in my opinion. A gentle leader is also known as a halti. This harness goes around the snout of a dog and, therefore, leads your dog by their nose. The main purpose of a dog halti is to provide better control. It is similar to how horses are led on leash. If a relatively small harness can lead a horse, think about how great this dog walking tool can work for your dog.
Basically, the harness slips over your dog’s snout and clips together behind their ears. The leash then attaches below their mouth. This design allows for control at your dog’s nose. The idea is that it will reduce excessive leash pulling and other unwanted behavior like jumping, lunging, and even barking. With tight control at their nose, there is little slack which doesn’t allow your dog to get out of control. It is much easier to keep your dog under control using this harness than it is with just a collar and leash. The gentle leader, as described gently redirects your dog’s head which then directs their body. Moving their nose instead of moving their entire body is much easier to do which is why I am an advocate for this dog walking harness.
Downside Of The Halti
As much as I love these harnesses, they are not for every dog. As mentioned, the design leads your dog by his nose. Many dogs are not keen on the fact that the harness goes around their snout. In fact, some hate it! And that hatred fuels their determination to get the harness off of their face. They will stop at nothing to get it off which can lead them to claw at the harness and scratch their nose so violently that they would rather hurt themselves and bleed than leave the thin harness alone.
Additionally, if your dog doesn’t leave the gentle leader alone long enough to get walking, they might start bucking like a bronco during the walk to try to get the harness off their nose! That bucking motion can be worse than the pulling they would be doing without the gentle leader on! Therefore, if your dog absolutely refuses to wear a gentle leader willingly, sadly, this is not a great tool to continue using. However, don’t give up so easily. Give the gentle leader a few tries. Providing high value treats when putting the harness on will aid in the appeal. Keeping the trials short and sweet will also help in your quest to get your dog to accept the gentle leader. But if all else fails, let the gentle leader go and look into an easy walk harness or sporn harness.
There are many dog harnesses out there. Some have been around for a long time and some are relatively new. There are many generic versions of the long-term harnesses as well. The most popular dog walking harnesses that professionals recommend are the easy walk harness and gentle leaders both made by PetSafe.
There are some notable and less popular dog walking harnesses you should consider for helping to reduce pulling. They are:
The Sporn Harness is a no-pull dog harness. At first glance, it appears somewhat similar to a back harness because the leash attaches at your dog’s back, however, the design is actually different.
As the product description states, “It’s designed to humanely control any size dog without choking, and the one-piece harness is easy to put on and take off. The padded restraint sleeves offer extra comfort under the front legs. The way it works is that, if your dog pulls, the harness puts pressure on the chests. That pressure deters your dog from pulling excessively. And unlike a collar that puts pressure on your dog’s neck, this does not cause a choking reaction since it connects to a leash on their back.
There are different variations of the Sporn harness. If you are going to give this harness a try, make sure you buy the one that is well padded at their underarms. The harness rubs under their legs at their underarm area and the constant friction can leave them chafed, if they aren’t well padded. A chafed dog is not a happy dog. The best dog harnesses will stop pulling and lead to a happy dog and owner after all.
A Freedom Harness is designed to minimize pulling, eliminate neck strain, and reduce the risk of escape. Further, it is designed such that it is somewhat like a combination of an Easy Walk and Sporn Harness, but rather than 2 straps under each leg, it has webbing that acts as one larger strap under your dog’s chest. Thus, the risk of chaffing is reduced.
Additionally, you can attach the leash to either the front, at the chest just as an Easy Walk Harness allows or you can attach the leash at the back as a Sporn Harness. However, with the Freedom Harness, you have the ability to attach the double ended leash which comes with the harness to both the front and the back side of your dog. Therefore, there are 3 different ways you can use this dog walking tool to test out which way works best for you and your dog. And the versatility makes this one of the best dog harnesses to choose from.
More Dog Walking Training
The best dog harnesses can help discourage pulling. However, you might consider using different leashes as well and some tips on how to train your dog to walk well on a leash.
If you need additional help with your dog, you should check out the following articles:
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