Have you ever tried to walk a dog that is constantly pulling at the leash? It often leaves your arms aching and your stress level at a high. But don’t worry, there are tools available to help you take back control during your daily walks. Today, I’m going to break my tips and tricks to find the best dog harness to stop pulling for YOUR dog.
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It is no secret that most dogs get overly excited at the idea of going on a walk.
You simply have to touch the basket that contains our dogs’ leashes and they both come running as fast as they can, voicing their opinion along the way.
Walks are a time to explore, check out the new smells and sounds in the area and bond with us, their loving owners.
Unfortunately, that bonding experience can take a quick turn if there’s a lack of leash manners!
No dog owner envisions the perfect walk with their dog complete with being dragged down the sidewalk.
But the problems associated with leash pulling don’t stop there…
This bad habit can cause some serious harm to your dog if it is allowed to get out of control.
Especially if your dog is wearing a standard dog collar.
As your dog is constantly tugging at their leash, they are putting pressure directly onto their neck, specifically onto the windpipe.
This is why many dogs will make a choking sound when they are pulling.
As if the sound of your dog literally choking yourself isn’t concerning enough, this pressure on your dog’s windpipe can have a long-term health impact.
A study published in Veterinary Record investigated the health risks of different collar types.
Researchers tested 8 different types of collars including leather collars, flat collars and padded collars, measuring the force on a dog’s neck when they are pulling.
The result? They found that even pulling lightly, your dog could be doing damage.
It’s not about the type of collar used, it’s the pull on the lead, and even at a light pull, dogs risk damage to their neck when walked on a collar and lead. Essentially, for a dog that pulls, there is no such thing as a good collar, and they should only be used as a means of displaying ID tags, not for restraint or control. Nothing can replace training a dog to walk on a loose lead but a non-restrictive harness keeps pressure off the neck area if they do pull.
Dr. Anne Carter
The study revealed something that many dog trainers have been saying for years – the best tool to teach your dog to walk safely is a properly fitting harness!
Before we go further, I do want to address one important point…
A no-pull harness is a tool to be used as part of a larger training plan. It is NOT a fix all solution that will magically transform your dog’s leash manners.
Far too often, I see people complaining that a harness didn’t work because their dog continued to pull after putting it on.
You need to put the effort into leash training your dog.
Like any tool, not all harnesses are created equally.
You wouldn’t walk into an electronics store and buy the first computer that you stumbled upon.
Instead, you need to do your research and consider the factors that differentiate one harness from another.
There are many, many different dog harnesses on the market.
Today, I’m going to break own the 5 main factors that I consider when selecting a harness for my dogs.
If you read ‘Best Dog Harness to Stop Pulling’ and thought I was going to sell you on a single harness, you’re about to be disappointed…
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.
Instead, there will be a ‘best harness’ for each individual dog, and they aren’t all the same.
In fact, we have two dogs, and we use two different harnesses.
The secret is to find the harness that works best for YOU and YOUR DOG.
This may involve some trial and error, taking note of which harness your dog is most comfortable with.
However, the following 5 points will give you a good starting point…
5 Key Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Dog Harness to Stop Pulling
#1 – Will This Harness Keep Your Dog Safe?
Your first priority should always be your dog’s safety.
This means finding a harness that will not scratch, choke or injure your dog in any way.
When you first purchase a new harness, try it on your dog at home.
Check over your dog, taking note of how the harness fits on your dog’s individual build. Remember: Every dog is different!
A harness that fits one dog beautifully may ride up or rub somewhere on another dog.
Inspect the clips on the harness to ensure that they are solid and secure.
If your dog is able to break free from the harness, this could put them in danger. You want to be sure that this harness is going to hold up.
For your first walk on a new harness, stick to something short and close to home.
This is going to give you the chance to see the harness in action, taking note of how it moves on your dog and whether there are any concerns.
If you notice that the harness is restricting your dog’s movement or altering their ability to walk normally, it’s time to consider another option.
Restricting your dog’s range of motion may cause unnecessary injuries.
#2 – Is the Quality of This Harness Going to Stand Up?
If you’re going to invest in a harness for your dog, you want to purchase something that is going to last.
This is especially true for larger dogs or those that are known for being destructive.
Look into the materials that are used in the construction of the harness(es) that you are considering.
Is it going to stand up to everyday wear and tear?
Take a look at the quality of construction to ensure that it is stitched and assembled securely.
Finally, trust your gut. You know your dog best.
If you feel like something isn’t going to stand up to your dog, keep searching.
Related: ‘7 Effective Leash Training Tips‘
#3 – Is Your Dog Comfortable Wearing This Harness?
This is a point that I’ve already mentioned in passing above, but it deserves to be mentioned directly.
You wouldn’t want to wear something that was uncomfortable and neither does your dog.
Points of concern could range from irritating to outright painful.
When you put the harness on your dog, pay attention to any areas that they are responding to specifically.
This may include itching or biting at the harness in one specific area.
#4 – Is the Price Point Both Fair AND Reasonable?
While this shouldn’t be the sole driving factor in selecting a harness for your dog, it is definitely a point to consider!
If it looks ‘too good to be true’, it often is. A cheap product may be made with poor quality materials or workmanship.
However, I understand that you work hard for your money.
For this reason, you also want to find something that is cost-effective and doesn’t break the bank.
#5 – Does This Harness Reflect Your Personality?
If a harness fits the first 4 criteria on this list, it’s time to factor your personal style into your decision.
After all, this is something that your dog is going to be wearing regularly out in public!
Do you have a favourite colour?
Is there a specific pattern that instantly caught your attention?
Are there any colours/patterns that you would prefer to avoid?
There are SO many different harnesses on the market today, which means there really is something for everyone.
It may take some time to dig through the options, but the effort is worth it.
Are you currently on the journey to find the best dog harness to stop pulling, or have you already found the ‘right’ harness for your dog?
I invite you to share your tips, advice or questions relating to dog harnesses in the comment section.