Do Harnesses Make Dogs Pull More? Pro Trainer Explains - 2024

This query comes up so frequently, and I actually need to take a second to debunk this.

Some individuals declare that having a flat collar round your canine’s neck may give higher management, others will declare that front-clip harnesses are the most effective answer, some even declare head collars are the answer – however reality be informed? The gear just isn’t accountable for your canine’s pulling, solely the individual connected to the opposite finish of the leash is.

The opinions {of professional} canine trainers tends to vary, nonetheless, that is partially as a result of there’s a number of points with the trade being unregulated.

Relaxation assured, that is based mostly on essentially the most fashionable science (constructive reinforcement) versus anecdotal proof.


Do Harnesses Make Canine Pull Extra?

Brief Reply: No.

non-aversive gear (aka, gear that doesn’t trigger ache or discomfort) is by no means the explanation that your canine does one thing, more often than not? It’s a human factor. Afterall, now we have greater brains, opposible thumbs, and we elect to deliver our canine into our lives – why wouldn’t it be anybody elses’ fault however ours?

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It is a canicross harness, so a harness designed to facilitate pulling. Are you able to see how they differ?
(because of Emily over at k9 trail time for these photographs!)

Why Do Canine Pull?

Your canine pulls for certainly one of three causes;

1 – as a result of they’re untrained and canine naturally stroll sooner than people

2 – due to one thing referred to as an opposition reflex – some canine are bred to drag, so when one thing resists for them (be it the canine’s collar, a harness or a choke chain, they are going to pull.)

3 – as a result of they’ve not been taught that they shouldn’t.

And as a substitute of blaming the gear, educate your canine utilizing constructive reinforcement based mostly coaching to attain an exquisite unfastened leash – since you don’t want any further coaching device, or choke collar, or prong collar. All canine (even canine bred to drag in a harness!) can study to stroll properly on their every day stroll.

And belief me after I say that each one canine, of all sizes, can study to stroll unfastened leash with out instruments.

Does The Measurement Of The Canine Matter?

No, when you have small canine or huge canine, it actually doesn’t matter. Sure, a bigger breed or a breed with extra bodily power, goes to have the ability to pull extra than a smaller canine (and consequently, a number of smaller canine pull greater than bigger canine as a result of it’s accepted {that a} human can overpower them). However in the end, it doesn’t matter, all canine can study to stroll unfastened leash simply sufficient – and in the event that they’re not? It’s probably that it’s human error.

Choose a very good harness for the dimensions of your canine after which follow unfastened leash strolling – oh – and in the event you want a course on that…

However Don’t Sled Canine Put on Harnesses? They Pull?

Sure, they do, nonetheless the construction of this type of harness is very completely different to that of the form of harnesses that canine house owners have a tendency to make use of on their every day walks. These can be describes as a canicross, mushing or pull harnesses. However the pull canine harnesses are designed in such a method that they are going to distribute the burden throughout your canine’s physique. And do you see the place the again leash attachment on the principle sorts of canine harnesses used for normal walks is? It strikes from behind the canine’s shoulders to principally at their tail joint – and that provides a canine essentially the most availability to drag with out an excessive amount of impression on their physique.

However my coach mentioned harnesses make them pull?

There actually aren’t many within the class of licensed canine coach who would say this, so in case your coach is saying this versus encouraging you and itemizing the cons of canine collars, then you might nicely want a brand new canine coach.

Why would I exploit a harness, over a collar?

The most important advantage of a canine harness, is the protection they arrive with. They defend your canine’s throat and don’t create the identical collar stress. They offer you a way more safe anchor in your canine. The benefit of use could also be less complicated with a collar, however whether or not it’s incidences whenever you’re strolling, or simply wanting to maintain them additional protected, or assist them over obstacles whilst you hike – a harness is a large profit.

(And belief me, whenever you see individuals making an attempt to draft their sink-y frenchie out of a canal by a collar? You gained’t argue…)

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That is the blue-9 stability harness, an “every single day” strolling harness. It’s girth is across the rib cage, and doesn’t go far past the shoulders. This harness just isn’t designed to encourage your canine to drag.

When Ought to I at all times use a Harness?

In case your canine pulls! As a result of pulling places the trachea in danger, and that is the one, finest technique to defend it. You must also use a harness in the event you’re utilizing an extended line or flexi-leash. Additionally, with older canine, particularly those who make have arthritis, or weak muscle mass, this might enable your older canine to loosen up, and really feel much less stress if them transfer awkwardly as they’ve aged.

So when ought to a canine put on a collar?

Actually, the one time my canine put on collar is once they’re within the yard with their ID tags on as a “simply in case”. Afterall, my hounds are flight dangers and Indie appears to be like sufficient like a wolf that I really feel if he did get out (which giving him freedom no method means he’s working off) somebody *may* shoot at him due to his wolf-y colouring.

This mentioned, you can even select to change to a collar when their unfastened leash coaching is full, or at household occasions and many others.

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one other pulling harness that goes actually far down the again, and spreads proper round the entire chest. That is what allows the pulling to work harmoniously, as a result of in canicross, the concept is the canine makes you run sooner by pulling you. It’s not for the faint of coronary heart.

Does The Kind Of Harness Matter?

Sure, the kind of harness is essential whenever you’re taking a look at this, as a result of, we actually need to elect for a y-shaped harness (so the strap comes over the shoulders, joins on the canine’s chest and goes between their entrance legs). All these harnesses are normally essentially the most helpful as a result of (when correctly fitted) they don’t inhibit your canine’s motion.

And, when you have a big canine, I’d encourage you to get a harness with again clips, behind the shoulders, and a clip on the chest, after which couple that with a double ended leash. This leash ought to then connect to the again of the harness and the entrance of the harness. That then removes a number of the power and offers you some management again.

You’ll be able to couple this with a neck collar (or flat collar), and I like to do that if I’m working with a reactive canine) in case of emergencies.

What Harnesses & leashes Do You Suggest?

Personally, I’ve two harnesses that I actually use with indie, one is a much bigger, heavier harness, and one is extra of our hacking harness. So, I swap between the RAM Nomad and the Excellent match.

Nevertheless, I like to recommend two harnesses (each entrance clip harnesses), in the principle, they work for the overwhelming majority of canine, however if you’d like different choices or a broader suggestions of harnesses, take a look at the most effective harnesses record! Personally, I’m an enormous fan of a harness with leash clips on the entrance of the chest and shoulders. Clearly we have to guarantee it’s a very good match, I like wider straps for greater canine (as a result of I’m an enormous canine mum!) , then we make certain the harness suits!

These are your most suitable option / finest merchandise to begin your unfastened leash journey, in case your canine is especially robust you might need to be sure that along with the again attachment, the entrance a part of the harness has a connection level too, that is typically known as a “two level” harness, a “no pull harness” (misleadingly), or a “Entrance attachment” harness.

Perfect Fit Harness


This harness has among the very best quality supplies in the marketplace, which is a extremely helpful factor whenever you’re coaching a robust canine. It may be a bit of broad on the chest for some canine, nevertheless it works for the overwhelming majority.

Ruffwear, Front Range Dog Harness


It is a very mild harness that is robust sufficient for the common canine. It fits barely narrower breeds, and may be very robust regardless of it is minuscule weight.

Halti Training Leash


O’ve used this leash for years with so many canine. They’re very adjustable which I really like for all kinds of environments. It additionally facilitates a lot coaching!

But when this isn’t sufficient data for you, head over to the most effective canine harnesses or harnesses on your escape artist! There’s completely one thing in there for you (although, the right match actually is the cream of the crop).

Observe: In case your one of many multitude with canine breeds categorized as massive, or robust, please make certain the structural connection ring is of premium high quality. Examine for metal or chrome steel ideally!

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even this extra escape proof harness with a tummy strap, is so structurally completely different than a pulling harness.

Issues To Examine On Your Harness

You need a harness with that’s at the least one of many back-clip harnesses, you need to ensure you take into account medical circumstances, whether or not your canine is comfy with it going over your canine’s head, whether or not it would chafe your canine’s pores and skin (normally padding mitigates this), and what’s going to be essentially the most comfy method so that you can obtain this. Then you definately’ll need someplace for ID tags, adjustable straps, possibly even some reflective piping!

However Why Would I Use A Harness over (insert gear sort right here)?

A prong collar, choke collars, a martingale collar, and head halters (additionally referred to as a delicate chief) are typically described as one of the best ways to cease a canine from pulling. However what they’re not telling you is that:

a) All of them trigger ache or discomfort (with exception of a correctly fitted martingale)

b) You don’t have to inflict ache or discomfort to your canine with a purpose to accomplish a unfastened leash stroll.

Most of those danger neck damage, they danger your canine throat, they primarily work by making a damaging affiliation. i.e. if I pull, it hurts. This, usually, ends in canine feeling trapped, and pressured right into a strict place, and eradicating a number of the potential enjoyment from their walks.

The underside line is that the correct alternative of comfy harness is not going to make your canine pull, however that it additionally allows the most effective likelihood of attaining a unfastened leash stroll. Whether or not you have got massive canine or tiny canine, the correct harness works wonders whenever you’ve obtained correct steerage.

So, let’s cease blaming the gear, and let’s be higher!

If you happen to need assistance to cease your canine pulling, go take a look at Loose Leash Walking Challenge!

Creator, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Optimistic Pet Knowledgeable, canine coach and is the founding father of Rebarkable. She is enthusiastic about serving to pet dad and mom get issues proper, proper from the beginning. To assist create a pet able to being a assured and adaptable member of the family and preserve puppies out of shelters.

Ali has gained a number of awards for her canine coaching, and has had her weblog (this weblog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ finest pet weblog!

Due to for the photographs!

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