What is the best no-pull harness for dogs?
April 5, 2016 1:49 PM   Subscribe

What is the best no-pull harness for dogs? Details inside...

What is the best no-pull harness for dogs? By "no pull," I mean a harness for walking that discourages the dog from pulling forward by applying pressure/tugging in specific ways.

Things I've tried:
* Pinch collar (plastic, not a metal prong collar). My dog just keeps pulling harder.
* Front-clip harness. Despite being fitted correctly, the harness just migrates laterally and the dog again just keeps pulling harder.
* Halti harness. Same problem as front-clip.

I seem to recall a harness style that looped under the dog's "armpits" and attached to the bottom of the neck collar, meaning that when the dog pulled, it pulled his head down instead of backward. But I can't find these any longer.

Please do not suggest training methods. I'm fully cognizant of means, methods, reasons. I'm looking for hardware.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
We have a "gentle leader" that has so far been pretty good at reducing the my dogs pulling. Mostly because doing so forces his head in the opposite direction.

It is not a pulling magic bullet though.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 1:54 PM on April 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Not a harness, but Gentle Leader perhaps? It kind of looks like a muzzle, but our pooch has full range of jaw motion when he's in it. Solved tugging and all sorts of bad walking behavior within the first ten minutes of use.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:55 PM on April 5, 2016

The only thing that works for my sled dog mutt is a Gentle Leader. He's not a huge fan but gets over it on the rare occasion we take a leashed walk with help from tiny bits of chopped string cheese.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:56 PM on April 5, 2016

I had good luck with an Easy Walk harness. It's a front-clip harness. No idea why the front-clip harness you were using before "migrated" that way. Are you sure it was properly fitted? With the Easy Walk there was nowhere for the harness to "migrate" to.

My dog literally could not pull using this harness.
posted by Sara C. at 2:01 PM on April 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

While it's not billed as a no-pull harness, the Ruffwear Webmaster has cut down on both of my dogs' pulling. My second dog just stopped right away with no training and I was expecting to put her in an EasyWalk for a year like dog #1. They'll get to the end of the leash but don't keep pulling. I think it's because the extra strap around the abdomen gives feedback that they can't go further forward.

I used an EasyWalk on our first dog for about a year, but she has short fur and it ended up chafing in her armpits even after wrapping it in fleece. The EasyWalk helped cut down on pulling, but I walk with dog-out-front not dog-heeling so it wasn't used as designed. She's a Houdini dog and the Webmaster is the only harness she's never gotten out of with a strategic duck and twist.
posted by bookdragoness at 2:04 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Gentle Leader. My sisters dog does really well with it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:15 PM on April 5, 2016

I had mixed results with the gentle leader (swore by it until we got our current pup, who does not acknowledge its existence). I have had decent luck controlling her pulling with a sporn. It looks similar to the halti, though, so it might not be what you're looking for.
posted by pepper bird at 2:17 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

We've been using a Wonder Walker harness for the last, I dunno, six or so years? It's a harness (under armpit, over chest, over back). It has front and rear clips. We rotate between using the two. It definitely migrates when the fit loosens, so I'm just in the habit of refitting her in it every week or so.

Our dog didn't give two shits about a gentle lead--she pushed against it so hard she semi-permanently rubbed away some of the hair follicles on her snout (it took more than a year for what little hair grows there now to start growing again). She really, really didn't like the thing.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2016

Nthing Gentle Leader. My boyfriend used it with success with his pull-y beagle, and he was super concerned with getting something that didn't hurt his dog.
posted by jabes at 2:36 PM on April 5, 2016

Chiming in with a second recommendation for the Wonder Walker. We show and breed dogs and recommend this product to people who buy our puppies and who are having trouble with their dogs pulling. We had great results with one of our girls who used to like to pull like a freight train when she was younger.
posted by kindall at 2:36 PM on April 5, 2016

The halti head harness has a little more padding than the gentle leader. It's what we're using with our more... enthusiastic dog, who previously was using an Easy Walk until she rubbed her damn armpits raw and bleeding due to her ability to get it to move enough that she could pull sideways.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:40 PM on April 5, 2016

Another vote for the Gentle Leader. Nothing else worked for our dog (from waving large pieces of salmon and cheese under her nose in an attempt to train to the Easy Walk harness). When I was pregnant the Gentle Leader was the only thing that made me feel safe enough to walk our very, very strong hound that tends to bolt after squirrels and rabbits.

She'll still sometimes pull a bit with a Gentle Leader, but as long as we keep walking and don't pause too long she mostly forgets about it. It took about 2-3 weeks for her to get used to it enough to stop pawing at her face.
posted by iminurmefi at 2:40 PM on April 5, 2016

Friends use a Gentle Leader with their corgi and it works for them.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:12 PM on April 5, 2016

I use this head halter on my very excitable dog. It works very well but you do need to commit to the training that goes with it (most importantly not pulling on it to lead the dog, which means for us that we spend a lot of time letting our dog sniff everything, but she's not pulling).

What I did before I found the head halter was using our existing leash in a half-hitch configuration (quick video here) which was actually super effective, just inconvenient.
posted by komlord at 4:02 PM on April 5, 2016

We've tried everything and the Easy Walk was the best for us. Gentle Leaders worked really really well to stop pulling, but our dogs hated them. Every time we took them off they would both scratch their noses and cry pathetically.
posted by town of cats at 4:40 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm also a fan of the Gentle Leader. You have to actually use it correctly and be mindful, but it works quite well.

We tried the Easy Walk but for some reason my dog slipped right out of it.
posted by radioamy at 5:03 PM on April 5, 2016

I can (relatively) easily walk my two 80 lb idiots together when they're wearing these harnesses - I think it's what you're talking about - the clip is on the back (it doesn't involve the collar at all) and my pulling back on the leash pulls their shoulders back and slows them down.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:10 PM on April 5, 2016

I'm not a big fan of Easy Walks because in addition to the chafing that others have mentioned, even a correctly-adjusted Easy Walk changes a dog's gait. I'm a huge fan of Brilliant K9 harnesses; I have one for each of my dogs. The dogs move naturally with unimpeded gait and we've never had a problem with chafing. Also, the leash fastens to the back of the dog, so the dog isn't constantly stepping over the leash.

I have thrown out all the assorted Easy Walks and headcollars and every-damn-other thing I've tried before. Brilliant harnesses aren't cheap but they are worth every penny.
posted by workerant at 6:15 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I used a metal pinch collar for my beloved dog. It looks horrible, but it worked. And she certainly didn't hate or fear it, I couldn't so much as touch it without her being thrilled that it was walk time.
posted by Hatashran at 6:15 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I recently got a Freedom No Pull Harness and it's made a huge difference. It wasn't cheap but totally worth it because now we walk a lot more with a lot less fuss. I think it has even sort of passively trained my 60lb pitt to pull less which is great because I just wasn't getting it done. You can get them online, but I got it at a great local place with excellent staff who helped me fit my dog and showed me how to use it and put it on. I think that made a big differeence in our success. There are some YT videos about it. I use both the front and top lead. I thought that might be a burden managing 2 leads but it wasn't.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:33 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

You may find this comparison of no-pull training aids useful. They are categorized based on where the pressure is placed when pulling occurs.
posted by xyzzy at 7:02 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

We had mixed success with Easy Walk because it would loosen during the walk which negated the no-tug effect. We've switched to a Walk Your Dog With Love harness and really like it.
posted by kitkatcathy at 6:45 PM on April 6, 2016

The Sense-ible harness is easy to put on over your dog's head and it fastens under the armpit. The leash attaches to both the collar and a ring on the chest of the harness. The harness stays put. My dog doesn't pull. Works great. It has made walking my dog a pleasure.
posted by shw at 3:22 AM on April 8, 2016

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