You'd think someone were shouting "MUSH!" in your dog's ear every time you go out for a walk, since you've almost lost a limb on several occasions. Your dog definitely doesn't want to rid you of your arm---that's where the best belly rubs come from---but he is
a natural athlete, and it's tough to match a human's snail pace with all the excitement in the world.
As a shelter volunteer, I once walked a four-legged bulldozer only to live in fear of road rash when he threatened to drag me along the street. Some dogs just don't realize YOU'RE supposed to be walking THEM. That's why I've collected a few awesome harnesses to help heel your sled-dog-at-heart. Check out 7 of my favorites below!
Best For Most Dog Parents:
CHAI'S CHOICE 3M REFLECTIVE HARNESS
Dogs pull because they hope it's going to get them somewhere, and they'll be successful if walked with an ordinary collar or harness. Chai's Choice brings all the right stuff to the table---two rings (one along the back and on the chest) to connect a leash, 3M reflective material for visibility, comfy padding, adjustable straps, and a seatbelt "handle" attachment for the ultimate road trips.
The best part is that with a leash connected in front, your dog ends up spinning right back around when they tug. Not gonna get to the best tree on the block that way, will he? Your pup will realize he's getting nowhere in a hurry, which puts control back in your hand. Luckily, it should still be attached to your body.
WHY WE LOVE IT:
- Super comfortable for your pup---adjustable straps!
- Front leash attachment keeps pulling at bay
- Comes in multiple reflective colors
LOVED BY: Hank the Staffy Mix
Best For Dog Parents On A Budget:
URPOWER DENIM HARNESS & LEASH SET
Everyone knows denim never goes out of style, but this bad boy doesn't sacrifice practicality for fashion. Two layers of that blue jean goodness with heavy-duty hardware means even canine bulldozers can't run this thing down. Just adjust for a custom fit, buckle up, and clip the included leash to both metal rings at the top of the harness.
The design and fit mean you won't hear the coughing or "choking" that sometimes occurs with a collar. Instead, most owners of this harness claim the snug-ness gave them more control over the pulling, though ultimately it falls on you (the human) to eliminate that behavior with proper training. Go forth and take walkies!
WHY WE LOVE IT:
- Durable denim and nylon stitching
- Snug fit with adjustable straps (begone, escape artists!)
- Super reasonable price
LOVED BY: Copper the Mutt
Best For Safety-Obsessed Dog Parents
KURGO TRU-FIT SMART HARNESS
The first thing you need to know is that this harness has been CRASH. TESTED. Kurgo is super focused on safety, especially for dogs and humans with an active lifestyle, so whether you're on a walk, a hike, or a road trip, your best friend is good to go. The steel "nesting buckle system" is inspired by rock-climbers' gear---ideal both for durability and strength.
Crash tests have proved that the chest pad and straps are capable of protecting your dog's life even in high impact collisions, and can certainly keep you in control on everyday walks. Kurgo also includes a 10-inch seatbelt tether and lifetime guarantee. Now that's confidence if I ever did see it.
WHY WE LOVE IT:
- Crash-tested, works with all seat belt systems
- 5 adjustment spots to ensure a perfect fit
- Includes seat belt safety tether
LOVED BY: Luna the Husky
Other Harnesses We Love:
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
No frills, no fuss. Your leash attaches to the front of this harness, redirecting your dog's attention each time he tries to walk you. None of the straps rest on or near the neck to prevent coughing; instead, they buckle over the back and under the belly, so there's no struggling to guide impatient feet through leg holes. Oh, and they come in a bunch of cool colors (IMO purple is wonderful no matter what).
Thunderleash No-Pull Dog Leash Harness
Admittedly, this is a leash that functions more like a harness when using the "no-pull" technique. Using your dog's existing collar, just attach the leash clip like you would normally. Then wrap the leash under and around your dog's chest, bring it back up to the leash clip, and thread it into the neat little hook there. When your dog pulls, the leash tightens around the chest and not the neck to discourage tugging.
Julius-K9 Power Harness
These multicolored beauties get my enthusiastic vote for the EASIEST harnesses to put on and take off---just slip it over your dog's head and connect the buckle under their belly. No need to mess with squirmy legs and multiple buckles, or try to figure out which way faces up or down. Both sides of the harness are adorned with velcro patches, which can be swapped out for different phrases or a personalized patch with your pup's name. Take one look and you know this harness stands up to any amount of pulling---many users commend it for not sliding around, and I can say from experience that when fitted properly it is a serious contender for Houdini dogs.
CosyMeadow Escape Proof Dog Harness
Besides yanking you to the ground, a pulling dog is at risk of slipping right out of his harness or collar. The adjustable padded neck and chest straps on this "escape-proof" harness make short work of finding a custom fit so there's no pulling loose. It comes in a variety of bright, reflective colors, snaps on without having to lift any legs, and protects the throat if your dog tugs or lunges.
Eliminating pulling behavior isn't likely to happen with a harness alone, though it can definitely be managed. Be sure to consult a trainer or behaviorist for best practices! Also, before purchasing any harness online don't forget to take your dog's measurements to be sure you find the best fit. For more information on how to stop your dog's pulling, check out these tips
from our friends at Scout.
Featured Image via @sambantharg/Instagram