If your dog has a tendency to drag you down the sidewalk during walks, you’re not alone! Leash-pulling is one of the most common complaints among dog owners.
The outside world is very exciting for your dog. Between the interesting sights and smells, the tendency to encounter other dogs, cats, and wildlife during walks, and the fact that they generally walk at a faster pace than their humans, it’s no surprise that dogs commonly pull when they reach the end of their lead.
While there is no substitute for a solid foundation of obedience training, using a harness designed to effectively (and painlessly) stop leash pulling is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make walks more pleasant for both you and your dog.
Like many pet supplies, there are dozens of brands, styles, and designs which may (or may not) be as effective at stopping leash-pulling as their packaging claims. In fact, choosing the wrong harness can make an otherwise uneventful walk feel like a practice run for the Iditarod! With that in mind, we put several to the test to bring you our top picks for the best no-pull harnesses for dogs.
Factors we considered in choosing the Best No-Pull Harnesses for Dogs:
Effectiveness: Naturally, one of the most important factors in selecting the best no-pull harnesses was how effectively they worked. We considered how quickly leash-pulling behavior was changed, whether their use made the task of walking a dog easier, and if the reduction in leash-pulling was a lasting change (or, if the dogs quickly learned how they worked and found a new way to pull).
Comfort: Because, like humans, no two dogs have the exact same body shape and size, our top picks for the best no-pull harnesses had to be available in a wide variety of sizes and adjustable for the perfect fit. They should also be made of soft, comfortable materials, offer some level of padding where necessary, and should never rub, pinch, or pull on the dog’s body leading to sores or injury.
Ease of Use: It shouldn’t require a masters in engineering to get your dog geared up for their daily walk. A no-pull harness also shouldn’t require an hours-long course in how to use it. While some level of instruction and a learning curve for putting a harness on and using it effectively is expected, the process should become second nature with just a couple of uses.
Durability: As with any dog product, especially one that’s used as a restraint, your harness should be durable enough to withstand regular daily use without coming apart at the seams, fraying, or putting your dog at risk of breaking loose.
Style: Although style held the least weight in our decision, it is important—especially for multi-pet households—to offer a variety of color or fabric options. Walking the dog isn’t necessarily a fashion show, but we do want our pups to look their best. Plus, picking out a fun, new harness is part of the fun of pet parenthood!
And the top picks are…
Pros: While there is no “magic harness” that will stop pulling immediately, the Freedom Harness makes it easy to train and communicate better with your dog. Many dogs “get it” and immediately stop pulling while others may take some practice and reinforcement. This harness sits below the dog’s trachea, but above the leg muscles, which means it prevents choking and gagging while giving your dog a full range of leg motion. A martingale loop on the back of the harness combined with a completely adjustable fit means the Freedom Harness fits comfortably while preventing escape artists from wriggling free. 2 Hounds Design also offers the widest variety of colors and patterns of any other harness we reviewed, making it easy to find the perfect harness for your unique dog. With sizes ranging from XS (French Bulldog, Italian Greyhound) to 2XL (Mastiff, Newfoundland) the Freedom Harness fit the broadest range of breeds. BONUS: 2 Hounds offers a replacement if your dog happens to chew up his new harness!
Cons: Like many harnesses, the first couple of times you use the Freedom Harness, it can be tricky to put on your dog. But, it’s easy enough to get the hang of and quickly becomes second nature. Additionally, some parents of small or toy breed dogs reported issues with attaining proper fit.
“I ordered this harness a couple of days ago after coming home from a horrendous walk in tears. He just… broke me. I thought I was finally going to resort a prong/choke collar, and the failure sank heavy in my chest. I’ve been working with my dog consistently for TWO YEARS to no avail. I’ve used every positive training trick I possibly could to get him to walk with me on a loose leash. I sought advice from my usual go-to gurus, following ZakGeorge tips, Kikopup tips, Reddit tips and more. I taught him a command to be at my side, used super high value treats, did the changing direction thing, and tried applying clicker training. We practiced on countless occasions in the living room, around the (fenced) back yard, and up and down the driveway. NOTHING WORKED… Do yourself a favor and consider this harness if you have a puller. My palms have been so raw and my back/shoulders so sore… I cannot believe I didn’t purchase this sooner. I won’t use the gentle leaders and my sister-in-law reported failure with her two no-pull type harnesses, so I thought I was out of options. But this was like walking a different dog. He actually stopped when he reached the end of the leash. He didn’t choke himself. He didn’t knock me off my feet. HE FREAKING STOPPED. You have no idea how huge that was!! He knew full well the concept of “only a loose leash will result in forward motion” from many other collars and harnesses, but this time he actually applied it!!! Like, for real for real. By the end he was truly walking as if he was the somewhat civilized canine that he otherwise is. ASTOUNDING!” -Spudly
Pros: The Deluxe Easy Walk Harness gently discourages your dog from pulling while on a leash when the front-chest leash attachment steers your dog to the side and redirects his attention toward you. This prevents leash-pulling, as the more your dog attempts to pull toward his target, the more it pulls him away from it. The front strap rests across your dog’s chest instead of putting pressure on the delicate throat, so there’s no choking or gagging. And, reflective accents make your dog easier to spot in low-light conditions and during nighttime walks.
Cons: With this harness in particular, finding the proper fit is essential to avoid rubbing or chafing at touch points. Additionally, without a center chest strap, the harness can be easier for escape artists to worm their way out. The Easy Walk Harness is effective for light to moderate pullers, but not the best choice for very heavy, strong pullers. However, when combined with loose-leash training, can provide a reliable level of control and communication with your dog.
“We have used the Easy Walk Harness for years now. We bought this for our Doberman puppy when she outgrew the smaller version in a matter of a few weeks. The “puppy” is now large enough and strong enough to pull your arm out of its socket if you walk her with the leash attached to her regular collar. For some reason, these harnesses fix that issue and she (and our previous Doberman) walk like solid citizens when the leash is attached to the harness. The Deluxe harness is also highly reflective and shows up very brightly at night so she can’t hide from us at night. Quality of the webbing and fasteners is excellent.” -Sam
Pros: The Balance Harness offers six-points of adjustment, making it able to comfortably and securely fit dogs of all sizes, shapes, and breeds. The Y-neck design fits your dog like a necklace and doesn’t rub over their shoulders, giving them full range of motion without restriction. An extra buckle at the neck of the harness allows the harness to be put on much like a collar, making it ideal for dogs with bigger noggins or those that don’t like having a harness pulled over their head. The unique design of the Balance Harness provides the most customizable fit of any harness we reviewed.
Cons: Although the harness’s design makes it the most customizable, an extra buckle at the neck can make it tricky to put on the first few times. But, for such a perfect fit, this is easily overlooked. And, after a few uses, gearing up your dog quickly becomes second nature. With so many adjustment points, it can be difficult to find the right fit, but once you do, it fits like a glove without any rubbing or chafing.
“Purchased this on a recommendation from a dog trainer for our lab that pulls unmercifully. He is so strong I can no longer walk him. My 100# German Shepherd is must gentler and easy to walk than my lab, despite all his training. I was very discouraged that I could not take him with us to parks, beaches, on hikes etc bc I couldn’t control him and he had broken many leahes, just snapped them in half. So she recommended this harness. I hemmed and hawed bc of the price but ultimately decided to try it. And I was shocked, the very first walk he was a different dog! He didn’t pull, walked right beside me, I actually had the leash by one finger and he was completely under control. No issues with distractions or his environment. He was the Houdini of harnesses – getting out of most all of them but not this one. It’s very adjustable to fit snugly, the two attachment options are a blessing. Well made. Definitely a great investment.” -Grace
Because there are as many varieties and styles of harnesses as there are dogs, no single harness will be perfect for every situation. With that in mind, we couldn’t ignore these notable no-pull solutions.
Best No-Pull Head Harness:
HALTI OptiFit by The Company of Animals
The HALTI OptiFit stops dogs from pulling by steering the head so the body has to follow. Invented by Dr Roger Mugford, the HALTI was designed to fit dogs with a variety of head shapes and sizes. Its unique design works by gently directing the dog’s head, in much the same way as a headcollar works on a horse. The adjustable chin strap maintains an optimum comfort fit to the contours of a dogs face, so whatever breed of dog wearing the HALTI Optifit, it will not rise up into the dog’s eyes or touch the dog’s lips.
Best No-Pull Solution for Dogs that Can’t Wear a Harness:
The ThunderLeash is a simpler “no-pull” solution for dogs that don’t tolerate or can’t wear a harness. Often recommended by positive-based trainers across the country, the patented design converts from a standard leash to a “no-pull” solution in seconds. The “no-pull” configuration provides a safe, gentle pressure on the dog’s torso, providing consistent feedback to stop pulling during your walks.
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