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You want to take a relaxing walk with your dog, but every time you put him on the leash, it’s like he’s suddenly a frontrunner in the Iditarod. Yep, you have a puller on your hands. 

And the old “Who’s walking who,” comment that you get from passersby doesn’t make it any more amusing. Because having a dog that pulls is no joke. Not only is it exhausting for you, but it can actually be dangerous for your best friend. 

When your pet pulls hard on his leash, it puts a lot of pressure on his throat and neck. And that can be damaging over time. In extreme cases, it could even cause the trachea to collapse. 

Smaller breeds are especially vulnerable to these types of injuries. And if you have a flat-nosed breed like a pug or bull terrier, you need to be especially careful as they’re prone to respiratory problems to begin with.

So what’s the deal with these pups in a rush and is there a solution to being dragged along? Read on, dog lovers. 

What Causes Dogs to Pull in the First Place?

Group of Weenie Dogs going on a walk

Many pet owners think their dogs pull on the leash because they’re alphas and have to be in the lead. As it turns out, that’s a canine myth. 

The truth is actually a lot more simple. Dogs usually pull on the leash because they’re excited about walking and want to go faster than you do. Mystery solved!

So how do you cure your pup’s “off to the races” attitude when you’re out for an amble?

With the proper training, most dogs can be trained to walk at your side with a leash and collar. 

But if you don’t have the time or patience to invest in a training program, a no-pull harness could help put an end to your frustration and give your arms a rest. 


How a No-Pull Harness Works

A no-pull harness is a safe and painless way to stop your dog from walking you. So how does it work?

Well, on a traditional harness there’s an attachment for the leash on the dog’s back. The drawback is that it can trigger a dog’s opposition reflex. When the leash exerts pressure on the harness, your dog automatically wants to pull back. 

In other words, traditional harnesses (just like collars) may actually encourage pulling rather than stopping it.

On the other hand, a no-pull harness has an attachment for the leash in front at the dog's chest level. So if your dog pulls with too much force, he actually flips around and faces you. 

And that puts a stop to all his forward progress, which does not fall in line with his doggy MO. 

And while most dogs do need a little time to adjust, they generally figure out that pulling will literally get them nowhere and stop doing it. 

What to Look For in a No-Pull Harnesses

Person standing next to their white faced golden retreiver

The first thing you’ll have to consider is whether you want a vest-style harness or web-style harness. Vest-style harnesses are just what they sound like (a vest) and are often easier to put on. The downside is that they can be bulky for certain body types if the fit isn’t just right.

Web-style harnesses have no breastplate but are a series of straps that you secure around your dog’s body. While they are usually lightweight and offer a good range of motion for your pet, they can sometimes be tricky to put on your dog. (In other words, YOU might need some training).

Whichever style you choose, you’ll also want to consider the following features:

Front Leash Attachment

As already mentioned above, a front leash attachment will prevent your dog from pulling by turning him back towards you when he exerts too much pressure. And while most dogs need some time to adjust, most will quickly get the hang of it and slow down.

Fit

A good fit is vital when it comes to any dog harness. If it’s too loose, it could ride up or your dog could slip out of it. If it’s too tight, your pet will be uncomfortable and his range of motion could be restricted. What you’re looking for is a nice, snug fit without being overly tight. 

Look for an adjustable harness and always be sure to measure your dog to get the right size. Remember that the sizes from different manufacturers will vary. 

Comfort

Foam padding is a nice plus in a harness as it will avoid painful chafing for your pet. Many web-style harnesses don’t come with padding. In that case, make sure that the straps are made from a soft but durable material that won’t hurt your dog. 

Sturdy Hardware and Reinforced Leash Attachments

Leash attachments take a lot of wear and tear over time so look for a harness that’s reinforced in these areas. You’ll also want to be sure that the other buckles and hardware are sturdy enough to stand up to your pet. 

Those are just a few of the features to keep in mind when buying a harness for your pet. When you start sniffing around, you’ll find there are a myriad of choices out there. From bulldogs to Great Danes, there's a perfect heavy-duty anti-pull harness out there that will make you and your dog happy.

To simplify your search, we’ve put together the 7 best no-pull dog harnesses. 

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1. Blue-9 Pet Products Buckle-Neck Balance Harness - Good for Most Body Types

Blue-9 Pet Products Buckle-Neck Balance Harness

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

A good harness should fit snugly without being overly tight. Because the balance harness comes in five different sizes and has 6 points of adjustment, must owners can find a good fit for their dog’s body type.

It also has a sturdy D-ring where the leash clips on at the chest and another D-ring on the back (if you like to use a double-ended leash when walking your dog).

The balance also has sturdy hardware, gives your dog good freedom of movement and comes in eight different colors. 

Drawbacks: 

Although the Balance harness has a different colored strap to indicate which part goes over the spine, some owners find it a bit confusing to put on at first. 

This harness is also not padded and may ride up on small dogs. 

Related: The 9 Best Grain-Free Dog Foods

2. Blueberry Reflective Mesh Padded No Pull Dog Harness Vest - Good For Small Dogs

Blueberry Reflective Mesh Padded No Pull Dog Harness Vest

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

If you have a tiny puller on your hands, you’ll want to check out this harness for the petite set. It’s made of breathable mesh, and it’s also padded for your pup’s comfort.

Most importantly, this harness has a sturdy front clip to prevent pulling (and one on the back as well). The Blueberry comes in lots of fun colors and is also made with reflective thread for better visibility at night. Fashionable and functional!

Drawback: Not for large dogs.

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3. Ruffwear Front Range Harness - Good Long-Wear Harness

Ruffwear Front Range Harness

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

If you have an active pooch on your hands and need a harness that’s comfortable enough for day-long adventures, you’ll be barking up the right tree with the Front Range.

This soft but durable vest-style harness comes with plenty of padding so it won’t chafe your dog’s skin while she’s out exploring the world. And because it comes in five sizes and has four points of adjustment, it fits snugly on most dogs. 

Of course, it has a sturdy front ring to prevent pulling (there’s also an aluminum leash attachment on the back).

Other pluses are its reflective trim for better visibility in low light and a little back pocket for storing your pet’s ID (or maybe a small treat). 

Drawbacks:

While this well-made vest can stand up to a lot of adventures, it can only be washed by hand. And if you have an especially small dog, it may be hard to get a snug fit. 

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4. Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness - Good Budget Harness

Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

The option from Rabbitgoo is hard to beat for the money. With plenty of padding, this vest-style harness will keep your dog comfortable and allow for good freedom of motion.

It has a sturdy front clip to prevent pulling and a back clip in case you want to use a double-ended leash (or for when your puller finally learns to walk at your side).

This well-made harness comes in six colors, has reflective trim and is also water-resistant. Another advantage is that it has a nylon loop at the back if you need to give your pup a hand up.

Like we said, hard to beat for the money!

Drawback: 

This vest is not machine washable and comes in only four sizes.

Related: The 15 Best Dog Puzzle Toys [Idle Dogs Are Like Idle Hands]

5. PetSafe 3-in-1 Harness - Good for Car Rides

PetSafe 3-in-1 Harness

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

This well-priced and versatile web-style harness is a good option if you like to drive your pet to the park or hiking trails. Just put your seatbelt through its extra loop and you and your doggie are ready to roll.

The 3-in-1 allows for good range of motion and also has attachments for the leash at the front and back for better control. 

Available in four sizes, it also has five adjustment points to help you find the right fit. 

Other pluses are its neoprene padding and reflective stitching.

Drawbacks:

Like many web harnesses, all those straps can make it a bit confusing to put on your pet, but they are adjustable straps. It only comes in three colors. And while it does have neoprene padding that makes it more comfortable than some web harnesses, it’s probably not fit for extended wear.

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6. 2 Hounds Design Freedom Harness - Good for Large, High-Energy Dogs

2 Hounds Design Freedom Harness

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

This versatile harness can fit dogs up to 250 pounds and is especially great for strong pullers. Why? Like many no-pull harnesses, it has an attachment for the leash at the back and the front. 

The difference is that the front attachment on this harness is centered lower on the dog’s chest and there’s a stabilizing strap between the front legs. So when your dog gets up to something naughty, it’s much easier to flip him around and get his attention. 

This harness is extra durable with strong straps, but also comes with velvet strips under the armpits and belly for extra comfort. 

More good news: it comes in a variety of colors and sizes and is backed by a lifetime warranty for chewing (for a small fee).

Drawback: 

Though it’s made for dogs from 14 to 250 pounds, the heavy buckles and thick webbing make it bulky for smaller dogs. This is definitely the harness you want to grab for larger dogs.


7. Softouch SENSE-ation No-Pull Dog Harness - Good for Ease of Use

Softouch SENSE-ation No-Pull Dog Harness

What You’ll Like About This Harness:

This no-pull harness is extremely easy to use. Just slide it over your dog’s body and fasten the buckle and girth strap.

Despite its simple design, this harness is both effective and durable. It has a nickel-plated, stainless steel front leash attachment and tough straps. 

This harness is available in seven different sizes and comes in five different colors.

Drawbacks: This harness has no attachment for the leash on the back and is not padded for extra comfort. 

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Whoa There Little Doggies

A no-pull dog harness can be a convenient solution to stop your dog from taking YOU for a walk. But remember that they’re not an instant fix. Be patient and allow your pet time to adjust to the harness.

How long it will take to train your dog to use a harness will depend on their personality and how often you walk together. On average you can expect about a three-week period of adjustment. But some dogs learn more quickly while others may need more time than that to get accustomed.

Whether you opt for a dog leash attachment, chest strap or front-clip harness, make sure it is the perfect fit for your pooch! It's the dog owners’ responsibility to make sure it fits before any dog walking begins!

Be sure to give your dog lots of love and positive reinforcement (aka treats) while training. Though it may require time and patience, the reward will be worth it. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to walking with your dog instead of dreading it. 

And that’s healthy for both of you!

You might also be interested in: 10 of the Top Life Jackets For Dogs

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Posted 
Sep 30, 2020
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