The ideal
May 10, 2010 1:19 AM   Subscribe

Comfortable and safe doggie harness? Extra points for multifunction/simplicity/unique/coolness factors.

My dog is active and weighs 25lb. Can pull hard at times when something catches his interest.

-Tried Ruffrider classic(older version), a seatbelt/harness, but found it restrictive and not easy to slip into.
-Looked at Puppia Soft Dog Harness, but buckle and strap on the side and top is not padded/shielded.

Would like to avoid plastic buckles and nylon straps, unless well padded. Less bulky and simpler would be even better.

posted by hedonic.muse to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Darn, should have combined my question--
Would also love to hear about recommmendable walkers and sitters in the Boston/Cambridge area. Thanks!
posted by hedonic.muse at 1:27 AM on May 10, 2010

Best answer: These are the best (and they look a little badass too).
posted by Fifi Firefox at 4:49 AM on May 10, 2010

My friend uses the Easy Walk dog harness. It's a little confusing the first time you put it on, but then it's easy.

The disadvantage of most harnesses & collars is they allow the dog to pull against them as if they were towing something (i.e. you!) The Easy Walk attaches at the dog's breast, and the slack loop tugs their shoulders together when they try to pull away, which effectively stops/steers them.

My friend is a petite 110lbs, and her Great Dane is a petite 120lbs. Everything she tried before resulted in disaster (choke collars, muzzle leads, etc). This works perfectly.
posted by jpeacock at 5:04 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It would help to know what your goal is and have a better understanding of what your objects to were to the other models you tried/looked at. Because most harnesses involve plastic buckles and nylon straps, and "well-padded" seems to contradict "less bulky and simpler" in my universe.

For example, did the previous harness straps/buckles chafe because your dog is not well-controlled on the leash? In that case, you might focus on finding a no-pull harness that corrects the behavior, rather than looking for a well-padded harness that s/he can pull against with impunity.

E.g., I once had a 25-lb dog that used to pull on the leash, and I used a simple nylon figure-8 cord harness similar to this style. Yes, it did exert pressure under the dog's armpits, and had the dog continued to pull heavily in the harness for weeks, it surely would have led to chafing. Except that the dog learned to stop pulling almost immediately.
posted by drlith at 5:19 AM on May 10, 2010

you might focus on finding a no-pull harness that corrects the behavior, rather than looking for a well-padded harness that s/he can pull against with impunity.


Any momentary discomfort your dog feels will be far outweighed by his satisfaction in knowing exactly what you want him to be doing. Getting a Gentle Leader has helped me tremendously in keeping my puppy well behaved on walks. I've realized that the usual collar/leash combo just doesn't do a good job of conveying your expectations to a dog. The neck is a supremely insensitive and well-protected place on a dog's body. The snout, by contrast, is very aware of stimuli. Finding a way to channel your expectations there keeps you in a sort of constant intimacy, even in the face of distractions. If there's a better thing for doing that than a Gentle Leader, I haven't found it yet.
posted by felix betachat at 5:33 AM on May 10, 2010

We like the Puppia harnesses for our three 25 lb. pugs. Even though they're not padded, they are very soft and comfortable.

The Gentle Leader that felix betachat suggests is great... if your dog has a snout. They don't work for the flat-faced breeds.
posted by MorningPerson at 5:48 AM on May 10, 2010

I'd go for the Easy Walk over the Gentle Leader. I'm a dog walker and the Easy Walk harness is miraculous in both immediately curbing pulling and in training the dog not to do it long term. Bonus is it feels more humane than the Gentle Leader too. The Easy Walk uses a dogs pulling to train it not to, the Gentle Leader makes a dog uncomfortable.
posted by merocet at 6:09 AM on May 10, 2010

Another vote for the Easy Walk. I was skeptical, but dang. The difference is night and day.
posted by notyou at 8:00 AM on May 10, 2010

I use a Puppia harness as well.
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:23 AM on May 10, 2010

I like the Easy Walk. I've been using it with my dogs (Newfoundland and Akita) for maybe a year and a half. It's plastic/nylon and not padded, but I haven't found that that causes any problems whatsoever.
posted by madmethods at 9:23 AM on May 10, 2010

Best answer: This is the best harness, bar none, I've ever used. It is easy to put on, very comfortable for my dog , a 35-40 lb very energetic Australian Shepherd, gently eliminates the tendency to pull, and is cute too.
posted by bearwife at 11:09 AM on May 10, 2010

I guess I should explain that the harness restrains pulling via the chest, not the neck -- the leash actually attaches at your dog's shoulder blades. And the comfort is due to the nice padding where the harness goes under your dog's front legs. The cuteness is partly the mesh chest thingie, partly the little glow in the dark bones printed on the leash.
posted by bearwife at 11:15 AM on May 10, 2010

Another Easy Walk user here. My beagle/bassett would never tolerate a Gentle Leader and frankly, doesn't need it too much. She's about 34 pounds and absolutely addicted to chicken bones -- we find the Easy Walk works well, even against her worst tugging episodes.

Also, with regard to walker recommendations, check out The Pooped Pooch. Full disclosure: the owners are my girlfriend's friends.
posted by lassie at 12:58 PM on May 10, 2010

Man, Puppia's site is pretty awful to navigate. I meant to link to the Puppia soft Ritefit harness, which you can see here. I'm also a sucker for anything neon green.
posted by Bunglegirl at 3:31 PM on May 10, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone -- here's an update:

I'm still looking. Puppia harnesses, I don't feel quite safe that it will hold my dog when he decides to bolt suddenly, and it didn't seem ideal to use a harness that covers big areas during the summer months, so I'm still a bit reluctant. I may look into this if I run out of options.

Thanks to many recommendations here, I learned of figure 8 harnesses - easy to put on, and essentially pulls- if necc.- by the front legs, not by the fragile neck area(risking reverse-cough medical condition.)

We tried Rogz figure 8 recently, but found it rough at seams which make direct contact with my dog's skin - hardened by heat at the seams to prevent fraying it seems.

I've since learned that any metal parts on harnesses that is in contact with skin may become heated esp. during the summer months and risk buring. Rogz has 2 round metal rings that touch skin.

I like "Sporn Non-Pulling Mesh Control Harness" bearwife recommended, it seems to avoid the abrasive seams issue, but this too has a metal bit at top that might touch the skin.I'm hoping the metal part is where the leash pulled, that this will not be the case however. We're trying this next.
posted by hedonic.muse at 12:01 AM on June 12, 2010

No, the metal part sits between your dog's shoulder blades and never touches fur. It also doesn't heat up. I think you'll like the Sporn . . . let me know.
posted by bearwife at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2010

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