When looking for the best dog harness for pulling, it”s important to consider a range of factors. As a dog owner of any breed, be it an adult or a puppy, you may find yourself in a situation where walking your dog can become a struggle.
You may be walking along the pavement with your pooch on a leash and suddenly feel the familiar tug or lunge as they’re pulling to get ahead of you. You could be in a park and there’s a sudden dart from your dog as they spot another pup or a nearby squirrel.
Pulling behaviour in dogs can be frustrating for both the person walking the dog and the dog themselves. If you’re walking your dog on a collar and leash, this can not only prove unpleasant but can cause both parties unintended injury.
For the dog walker, a sharply tugged leash can cause lacerations, friction burns, fractures and ligament injuries to the hands. For the dog themselves, this can lead to throat injury or damage to the neck as they’re halted suddenly by their collar and lead.
In this article, we will look at the role of the no-pull harness (or anti-pull harness) in controlling pulling behaviour as well as cover our nine recommendations for the best dog harnesses to stop pulling.
Best Harness for Dogs that Pull – Our Top 9
1. 🏆 Ruffwear All Day Adventure Dog Harness
|RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harness, Reflective Padded No Pull Harness, Huckleberry Blue, Medium||Buy on Amazon|
Designed to be both comfortable and practical this is a great harness for reducing pulling behaviours in your dog.
The harness has two lead attachment points.
The first is a strong aluminium V-ring at the top centre (back) of the harness.
This will attach to any lead for normal walking. The second is located at the chest (front) in the form of a webbing loop.
This is used with a double-ended training leash such as a HALTI. Both ends of the lead can then be attached to the harness for better control of your dog and to aid with training them for proper walking and reduced pulling behaviour.
The adjustment points straps around the belly and chest of the harness are padded for comfort and to avoid any chafing and pinching.
You put the harness on over the head, then clip the straps below the chest. There is a reflective trim around the outer layers of the Ruffwear for better visibility in dark conditions.
This is a very good dog harness, highly recommended in the reviews and one we have had fantastic results from.
It may take some time for your dog to respond the way you would like them too, but this is one of the most comfortable ways to do it.
2. 2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness
|2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness with Leash, Large, 1-Inch Wide, Black||Buy on Amazon|
The harness is made from a soft Swiss velvet lining on the strap. This goes behind the legs to help prevent rubbing, chaffing and sores.
The Freedom No-Pull Harness has a martingale loop on the back that tightens gently around your dog’s chest to discourage pulling. There is also a front loop for additional control when using a double-ended dog leash.
There is a selection of nineteen different colours and comes in various sizes. The front attachment is a metal ring and there are training instructions with the harness to teach you how best to use it.
3. Julius-K9 162P2 K9 PowerHarness
The Julius-K9 has a metal ring on top for lead attachments.
There’s a large, adjustable handle at the top for increased control and holding your dog in place.
In addition to grip, the handle can also be used for lifting your dog or assisting them if they have mobility issues.
There is a heavy-duty plastic buckle at the belly area and the chest strap has an adjustable hook and loop fastener.
A sturdy, strong and unique type of harness, loved by many.
4. Mekuti Balance Harness
This UK based harness maker is a popular choice among dog trainers. At first glance, it may not be much to look at compared to a lot of harnesses out there, but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in the design.
Mekuti Balance Harness, when used with a double-ended dog leag, is a brilliant way to reduce pulling behaviour. With a leash attachment at the back and the front side of the harness, we’ve found this worked best for our large breed Great Dane after familiarity with harnesses in general.
You need to buy them directly from their UK site, though a few stores do stock them. Dog owners in the US may need to wait longer for shipping.
5. TrueLove No-Pull Dog Harness
|TrueLove Dog Harness TLH5651 No-pull Reflective Stitching Ensure Night Visibility, Outdoor Adventure...||Buy on Amazon|
They’re not dissimilar in style to the Ruffwear and fit snuggly on most dogs.
The harness has both a front and back clip for both general walking and assistance with pulling.
There is soft and breathable padding on the chest and belly for comfort and strong tensile strength, double stitching and load capacity buckles for even the strongest of pullers.
This no-pull dog vest harness comes in seven different sizes and in a range of colours. We like this harness a lot, and it certainly helped our Cavalier. Worth checking out more.
6. Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness
|rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness Medium, Front Clip Pet Vest Harness with Handle Adjustable Dog Padded...||Buy on Amazon|
The overall design quality of Rabbitgoo is great. It not only looks good but it is made from quality material. Mesh lining with soft padding underneath is used on this dog harness for comfort and the material is breathable nylon.
There are two adjustable on the neck and chest area. There’s also a quick release buckle to put the harness on.
7. Embark Pets Adventure Dog Harness
|Embark Pets Adventure Dog Harness, No Pull Dog Harness with 2 Leash Clips, Dog Harness Medium Anti...||Buy on Amazon|
Similar to the RuffWear and TrueLove, this is a good harness with several pros and few cons.
8. Rabbitgoo Escape-Proof Dog Harness
|rabbitgoo Escape-Proof Dog Harness Medium with Large Handle, Anti-Pull Reflective Working Service...||Buy on Amazon|
An extension of the previous Rabbitgoo, this is much more of a Houdini harness for those dogs who are experts are wriggling and tugging their way to freedom. A great idea if you want a dog harness that prevents pulling as well as one even the craftiest of pups won’t escape from.
9. Halti Front Control Harness
|HALTI Front Control Harness, Size Medium, Professional Dog Harness to Stop Pulling on the Lead, Easy...||Buy on Amazon|
This is a very different type of training harness for dogs that pull and one that generally has mixed results.
Types of Dog Harness
When browsing for a harness you will find several options, including those wholly unsuited to the reduction of pulling, good training and even most breeds. You can find a breakdown of dog harness types here but here’s a quick summary.
Vest Harness: Although basic and often lacking features – vest harnesses are generally inexpensive. Best suited to a well behaved dog who doesn’t pull – they can be a great alternative to a collar. They generally do not offer much for dog trainers and owners of pulling dogs, but you can easily slip them on – attach your leash and away you go. Recommended for non-pullers, puppies and dogs not used to harnesses, dogs who don’t respond well to collars and older dogs who may have mobility issues making collars unsuitable.
Front or Back Clip No-Pull Harness: These are the most common type of dog harnesses to stop pulling out there. Often designed for shock absorption when your dog tugs, comfort and to train and control your dogs pulling tendencies.
A front-clip harness will have two lead attachment points. The first located at the back (top) is a standard lead attachment and used as a walking harness. The second clip is often located at the front. This requires a double-ended dog lead such as a HALTI or Mekuti training lead.
The leash separates into two ends, one attached to the top clip, the other to the front clip. This enables the walker to control the dog similar to a way horse reigns work.
This not only offers better control of the direction the dog will turn but also restricts the ability for the dog to pull. Other non-pull dog harnesses tend to have a back clip (in the case of the Ruffwear Webmaster – two clips at the back).
There may also be handles, like with a Julius-K9 to keep hold of the dog should the need some restraint from tugging.
Tightening or Control Harness: These are not recommended for general dog owners and should only be used by experienced dog handlers and trainers (if at all). These harnesses are designed to reduce or stop pulling by adding to pressure to the dog’s frame when they pull. This can often result in two issues, pinching the dogs skin and causing discomfort as well as increasing the pulling behaviour as they attempt to escape the unpleasant feeling. We recommend avoiding these types of harness.
Head Collars: We have covered the pros and cons of head collars (or halters) on this site as well as recommended some of our top choices. These are not harnesses but can be used either on their own or with walking harnesses. They go over your dogs head and are used to control the direction of your dog as well as to stopping pulling, jumping or tugging when out walking. You may also find our article on dog leads that reduce pulling handy if considering a halter.
Leather Dog Harness: The Marmite of the harness world, people tend to love or hate them. Not all leather dog harnesses are style over substance however with several incorporating the no-pull design. If you’re looking for a leather harness, check for padding on the inside to avoid chafing and distribution of weight if your dog pulls whilst wearing it.
Support and Rehabilitation Harness: We won’t cover too much about these in this article, but dogs with mobility issues including arthritis, hip dysplasia, injury, disability or natural old age can often benefit from these harness types. Support harnesses take pressure from key parts of the dog’s body and often come with handles to let owners aid in lifting and movement.
What to Look for in a No Pull Harness
Before looking at the functions of different harnesses that stop pulling it’s worth discussing that not all dogs are the same.
The type of breed can be one important factor. The frame of a Great Dane, for example, differs greatly from a French Bulldog, not only in size but in the length of the chest, the shape of the neck and the size of the dog’s head. In addition, certain breeds can suffer from respiration issues or mobility issues – so different harnesses may be better suited.
You want a harness that will work well for your dog. One of our dogs, for example, hates collars and actively protests if we ever try to attach one. The same may be the case for different types of harness and you may have to go through a few until you find one they will happily wear.
Patience is also important. Simply putting a harness on will not fix your dog’s pulling habits. A combination of training, exposure and a lot of patience from the owner will deliver the best results.
Make sure the harness fits well and is well made. Poorly designed harnesses can not only fall apart but may lack the strength for your breed. Check the reviews, feedback and measurements.
How to Stop a Dog from Pulling on their Leash
Buying a dog harness for your dog is not a quick fix to prevent pulling behaviour.
An old myth is that harnesses encourage pullers. In reality, it’s better to use a harness than a collar when teaching your dog to walk on the leash.
There are many different ways to teach a dog to walk well, but the first important tip: practice makes perfect. If you’re struggling with a pulling dog, don’t take your dog out on a lead unless you plan on training.
Note that for socialising, it’s not the walking or the length of exposure to new experiences. Instead, it’s the quality and positivity of the experience that makes all the difference. Be sure to still take your puppy out, don’t let them practise bad behaviours.
You can start the training off-leash in the house, or the garden if you have one, by teaching your dog that it is good and fun to be around you.
Prepare lots of treats, and let your dog do whatever they want. When they place themselves next to your leg, click and treat. Clickers come in handy here, as they make it much more obvious to dogs as to which behaviour you want them to perform.
Take a step away, then when your dog is near you again, click and reward. Repeat this many times, and when you can see it has turned into a learned behaviour, you can add a cue for it.
Take it slow though, don’t expect to do everything in one session or even in one day.
To avoid overexcitement before going for a walk, you should pick up the leash at random times during this stage, and then leave it and do something else.
This will teach your dog that picking up the leash doesn’t equate to going for a walk. An excited dog will have a hard time keeping calm and paying attention to you.
Once you’re at a cue stage, you can attach the leash. Start with a loose leash and when your dog is next to you, click and treat.
Take one step forward, and if your dog follows, click and treat. Increase the number of steps gradually, and reward each time if your dog is doing well.
Should you encounter difficulties, take a couple of steps back in the process or even go right back to the start.
It might seem like a chore, but it will be quicker this time, while also giving you a chance to figure out where it went wrong.
If your dog is doing well, and duration between steps and treating has improved a lot, you are ready to train your dog out of the house.
Instead of a long walk, do lots of short trips up and down the street (or somewhere where you have little distractions). Follow the same steps you did in the garden with the leash.
Once you see progress, don’t go straight for a long walk in a busy environment, or you might not get the desired result.
Dogs struggle to generalize training, so increase training walks slowly, gradually adding distractions.
Sometimes a street can become busy, but you can always remove yourself and your dog from that. Try again later when you feel more confident.
Keep training fun, see it as a game for both you and your dog. Make sure the treats you’re offering are of high value. Switch them up often to keep the training interesting.
As well as training, tools are important. You should never rely only on tools to help you with a pulling dog, but, some really do make the walks and training much easier than without them.
The best option is a Y shaped harness with front and back attachments, and a double-ended or a police lead. The lead should attach to both front and back attachments.
This offers better control, greater safety, and also a good solution should your dog start pulling suddenly. The front attachment guides your dog’s body sideways and then backwards if they pull, making them more likely to focus on you, and relax again.
If you find you need to rely on the front attachment too often, revisit the training steps and go back to training walks with fewer distractions.
How to Measure your Dog for a Harness
It is important not only to find the right type of harness for your dog but also the proper size. One of the perils of pulling is that a poorly fitting harness can be wriggled out of and escaped. For a complete guide to fitting and measuring your dog for a harness check out our complete guide.
The following is a summary of the measurement guidelines. This can then be compared to the manufacturers sizing charts. If you find your dog measures on the border between sizes (e.g. a small and medium) it’s recommended to go for the larger size and use the adjustable straps for a perfect fit.
- Measure the chest: Using a tape measure, measure the width of the dog’s chest. This will be a few inches, or four fingers, from the front legs in most cases. Wrap the tape measure all the way around the chest and make a note of the number.
- Add two inches: Add a couple of inches to the chest measurements. This will leave a small amount of space for the dog’s movement, will stop the harness being too tight and will allow any growth or weight gain.
- Measure the circumference of the dog’s neck: This may not be relevant for all dog harnesses, however for those which are put on over the head, this is worth having.
- Weigh your dog: It’s unlikely you will need this, but if seeking expert advice it could be useful to help establish the strength and pulling power of your dog.
We hope this guide has helped you find the best no pull dog harness for your breed. Whether a puppy, adult or older dog – pulling can be frustrating for both the dog and the person walking them. Patience and good training are essential, and accessories such as an anti-pull dog harness are useful in training them in a way that won’t cause injury.
Make sure the harness fits your dog well and caters for any health or mobility issues they may have. Also, check out our similar guides on no-pull leashes and head halters.