Best No Pull Harness -- Stop Your Dog From Pulling
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By City Pup Life
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IV. Kurgo Harness
Pulling can be a serious safety problem, and at best can make your walks less enjoyable. If a dog causes you to fall, it can injure you and also create a safety hazard for your dog since they might get free. Addressing this behavior early is best, and it can help to get assistance from a trainer if you need it.
If you need a harness to help with pulling, there are plenty to choose from. See below for our favorite harnesses. First, we break down the key features that make these harnesses gentle and effective. Then we discuss the styles of no pull harness that we like the best and what we think makes them great.
Considered an essential feature of a "no pull" harness, a front clip helps redirect your dog’s force or momentum to the side. This provides two key results. Pay attention to the fit of the harness too-if it's too loose and slips to the side, it's not nearly as effective.
Key Benefits Of Front Clip
It redirects your pup to the side when they pull, so it prevents them from leaning in and gaining leverage. The harder they pull forward, the more it redirects them to the side.
Stops the Opposition Reflex
Redirecting your dog provides another important benefit--It stops them from reflexively continuing to pull against resistance, often known as the “Opposition Reflex.” The opposition reflex is your dog automatic reaction to oppose a force. You’ve probably seen this in action: if you pull your dog forward, they may lean back and resist your effort; and if you try pushing your dog down (for example, into the sit position), they brace against your pressure. A harness with a back clip creates resistance against the front of your dog when they start pulling, which may just encourages them to continue to pull. By redirecting the dog to the side, a front clip removes this natural reflex.
Generally, more fabric on the front of the harness just gives your dog more material to push against and lean into. This translates into more leverage for your dog as they pull forward.
In our experience, harnesses with simple straps work better than those with solid fabric fronts. In addition to not providing the additional fabric for them to push against, the harnesses with straps tend to fit better since they have more options to adjust the fit.
# 1 Choice - 2 Hounds Freedom No Pull Harness
Very Adjustable To Fit Most Dogs Well
Adjustment "Locks" To Hold It In Place
2 Clips - Front and Back
Martingale Loop On Back Clip
Our all-around favorite option is the 2 Hounds Freedom No Pull Harness. If you need a harness to help with pulling, this will help most dogs. The harness is highly adjustable and works great for most dogs. The adjustable straps also “lock” into place well, so they are less likely to loosen over time and need to be constantly readjusted.
There are 2 attachment points for your leash--in both the front and on the back. You can use either of these clips, or you can use both together with a split leash (see the photo above). The clip on the back is a martingale loop, so it will tighten (but only a little) when your dog pulls, providing some feedback.
#2 Choice - PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
Adjustable Straps For Fit
Martingale Loop On Front
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness is probably the most popular style of the front-attachment harnesses, and it works great too. We don’t love that the martingale loop is on the front, but it’s designed to provide more feedback when the dog pulls. If fitted properly, we think this works great too, and many of our clients have had success with these. These only have the front attachment, although if you’re having trouble with pulling it’s the one you’re likely to use anyway.
#3 Choice - Kurgo Tru-Fit
Easy Fit and Use
Car Safety and Training Lead
Kurgo makes several great harnesses with front clips, and this Kurgo Harness is another one of our favorites. Kurgo's products often come in as our top choices, and although we like this one a lot, it's main downside in our view is the large fabric across the chest. The front clip discourages pulling, but this fabric front gives your dog a lot of leverage to pull if they get the right angle.
We love that it comes with a short lead, which can be used as both a car "seat belt clip" and a short training leash. Note that the "Tru-Fit" Harness is not crash tested, but Kurgo does crash test two of their other harnesses, so check those out too! As with all of Kurgo's products, it's designed and made well.
With any of these harnesses, there are a few tips that will make your walks more successful, especially early on.
Keep The Leash Short
Start by keeping the leash short and your dog next to you. This helps the harness to better redirect your dog if they start forward, and it keeps you in their line of sight.
You can even start inside where you are free of all the distractions of the city. Any time your dog pulls, have them sit and focus before moving forward. You can take this same strategy on your walks outside too. Stop to get your dog's attention as often and as many times as it takes!
If you have tried harnesses but find they aren't helping, you might want to consider a head halter. We talk more about those here, and we are preparing a more in depth look at those that will be published soon! You also should consider seeking help from an experienced walker or trainer.