The Best Dog Harnesses for Pulling
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About Leash Pulling
It’s hard to be mad at your pup for pulling on their leash-it is a natural instinct after all! Although, leash pulling makes the dog walking experience less fun for everyone, including your pup. This natural reflex is called opposition reflex and is a viscous cycle of pulling. When your dog gets excited on a walk and pulls on their leash, you pull back, and the dog naturally will pull back again. Although all creatures have this instinct, it can be troublesome for dog owners to handle pulling pups. Along with giving your dog the proper amount of exercise, there is a combination of tactics you can use to reduce and eventually eliminate leash pulling. Ideally a mix of positive reinforcement and the right harness will do the trick!
There are so many leashes, collars, and harnesses on the market that it’s difficult to know which is best for you and your dog. You may go to the store to get a harness, thinking that it may solve your dog’s pulling problem, when in reality it may reinforce their behavior.
The Original Purpose of a Harness
Harnesses were originally designed to help Huskies pull a sled. Harnesses with the leash attachment on the back of the dog actually allow for easier pulling. The best harnesses for correcting a pulling problem are harnesses with the leash attachment in in the middle of the chest strap. This way, as you direct your dog, you are gently leading their torso in the right direction and making it more difficult for them to pull you forward. Like we mentioned before, it is important to combine a no-pull harness with positive reinforcement to train your pup not to pull on a leash. A new harness is not a replacement for proper training, but a tool to help with it!
Interestingly enough, many dog owners have seen improvement in their dogs from using any “normal” harness. The feeling of a harness on a dog’s body provides a sense of comfort for your pup and can often help calm them down during a walk. This may lead to less pulling, even though the harness isn’t designed to help a pulling problem. If you are looking for the best results possible, Kai still recommends a no pull harness for your doggie friend.
Kai’s Top 3 Harnesses to Correct Leash Pulling
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness is a very popular harness used to correct leash pulling. This harness comes in tons of different colors so you can choose the best one for your dog’s personality. The Easy Walk Harness has three straps; the shoulder strap, belly strap, and chest strap. The belly strap is a contrasting color so it’s easily recognizable, and makes it easier to put on your pup. The chest strap features a martingale loop, which is a control loop of fabric or chain that allows for comfortable movement while steering your dog in the right direction. It also prevents the harness from twisting and provides comfort for your dog.
On this harness, the chest strap is the point of leash attachment for the perfect amount of control. Just clip your leash to the metal D-ring in the middle of the chest strap once the harness is on your dog and you’re ready to roll!
How do I choose the right size for my pup?
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness comes in eight different sizes, ranging from Petite to X-Large. To find the correct size for your dog, you have to take two measurements, chest width, and girth. To measure your dog’s chest width, place the tape measure over the breastbone and measure across their chest, to about one inch behind both front legs. Next, you need to take your dog’s girth measurement. For this measurement, wrap your tape measure all the way around your dog, just behind their front legs. The tape measure should make a full loop around their chest and shoulders. Based on these two numbers, you can choose the harness that will best fit your dog.
How Do I Put It On?
The first step is to find the perfect fit for your pup. The Easy Walk Harness has adjustable straps that should be opened to their largest length to fit onto your dog. For the correct fit, make sure your dog is standing up while adjusting the straps. To keep your dog calm and still, give them a few treats while fitting the harness to keep them occupied. You may want to have a friend help with giving treats while your fit the harness. You want to first adjust the shoulder strap, then the belly strap, and lastly the chest strap.
Step 1: Unsnap the buckle on the contrasting colored strap, which is the belly strap, and place the shoulder strap over your dog’s head.
Step 2: position the two O-rings on either side of your dog, above and behind your dog’s legs. You can make the strap longer or shorter by using the metal adjusters on the harness for the perfect fit.
Step 3: Adjust the belly strap using the metal adjusters. Once the belly strap is adjusted you should only be able to fit one or two fingers under the strap of the harness. A snug fit will allow this harness to do its job, and will prevent your dog from escaping the harness.
Step 4: Adjust the chest strap using the two metal adjusters on either side of the D-ring. Adjust these evenly so that the martingale loops remains in the center of your dog’s chest. You want to adjust this strap so it lays horizontally across your pup’s chest, and doesn’t droop too much or ride up to your dog’s neck.
Step 5: Double check the fit of the harness and attach the leash to the D-ring on the chest strap. You’re ready to go!
Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Harness
The Freedom No Pull Harness is great for dog owners who’ve tried other options for leash pulling, with no success. This harness features two different leash attachment areas, and two leashes. The first leash attachment area is in the middle of the chest strap, and the second attachment is on the back of the shoulder strap. The back of the shoulder strap features a patented control loop, which makes it easy to discourage leash pulling, by gently tightening around the dog’s chest as they pull. The double leash on this harness may seem excessive to the average dog owner, but it has a reputation of showing quick results with even the most stubborn pups.
This harness is a great option for dog moms and dads who don’t want to use a prong collar, but want to correct pulling behavior. It allows you to steer your dog in the right direction and have total control over their pulling, and side-to-side movements. Other full-control harnesses may be uncomfortable or painful for your dog to wear in order to teach them to stop pulling. Thankfully the Freedom No Pull harness is gentle and pain free.
How Do I Put It On?
For correct fit of this harness, the chest strap should rest vertically on the dog’s sternum. Make sure to adjust the straps with the metal adjusters so that only one or two fingers will fit under the harness. The harness should not rotate when you gently move it from side to side along the dog’s back, but their fur should move with the straps for a secure fit.
Step 1: Unclip the belly strap and place the shoulder strap over the dog’s head.
Step 2: Guide the shoulder straps under the dog’s belly and up behind their legs. Clip the shoulder straps together on either side of the dog’s legs
How Do I Use It?
The double leash attachment of the Freedom No Pull Harness allows you to gently guide your dog in the direction you want them to go. If your dog is walking in the wrong direction as you begin your walk you should use the front attached leash as a steering wheel to guide your dog in the direction you want to go. When your dog pulls on the leash, you should stop walking. If they stop pulling you can continue with your walk. If your pup doesn’t stop pulling, use the front leash attachment to steer your dog in another direction, and continue to stop when they begin to pull again. It is important not to pull on both leashes at the same time or your pup may get confused!
PetSafe Gentle Leader Headcollar
The PetSafe Gentle Leader is a very popular leash for pups that pull. It is considered a headcollar because it only loops around your dog’s nose and neck. For maximum comfort, the nose loop should sit low on your dog’s nose and the collar should sit high on their neck. This way, there is no pressure on your dog’s throat. It’s less complicated than harnesses with three or more straps, and is simple to fit onto your dog. The Gentle Leader comes in 5 sizes and 9 colors, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your dog’s size and personality.
The Gentle Leader guides your dog’s head and body back to you when they begin to pull. It puts pressure on the back of the neck rather than the front of the throat, which is a very sensitive area. It is a very effective tool to stop pulling, lunging, and jumping.
PetSafe Gentle Leader Deluxe
The deluxe version of the Gentle Leader uses the same no-pull technology and includes fun bonus features. This version has extra cushy padding in the nose loop for added comfort. It comes with a 6 foot matching leash that matches the pattern on the nose loop.
How Do I Put It On?
The Gentle Leader is very simple to fit onto your pup. First, unclip the neck loop strap and place the nose loop over your dogs nose. Then, simply clip the neck loop strap around your dog’s neck. Make sure that the nose loop sits low on your dog’s nose and isn’t too loose or too tight. The neck loop should sit high on the neck just behind the ears. The straps should fit snugly, but your dog should still be able to fully open their mouth. If you need to adjust the nose loop you can use the nose loop clamp to make the strap tighter or looser.