When walking your pooch, there are countless temptations that may cause your dog to want to pull on the leash. Maybe you’re passing a tree, and they see a squirrel climbing up it, or maybe while out and about, you see another dog, and they want to get friendly. No matter the reason, pulling on the leash can be considered bad leash manners, and your pup ought to be trained to avoid doing so.
But how do you help your dog in curbing that instinct to pull on the leash? There are a number of things you can do, but your first option should be a no-pull harness. They’re easy to find and offer the simplest solution in putting a stop to leash pulling!
What is a No-Pull Harness?
No-pull harnesses are a common alternative to the traditional dog collar when it comes to walking accessories for your pup. They are designed to be strapped around your dog’s abdomen, rather than just their neck, and offer a more secure way of leashing your furry friend. These harnesses are designed with rowdy dogs in mind, the kind that likes to pull on the leash and take you for a walk, rather than you taking them for a walk.
But How Do They Work?
A no-pull harness's main intent is to stop your pup from pulling. This is achieved by placing the leash clip on the front of the harness rather than on the back, making pulling uncomfortable. When the pooch pulls, pressure is applied to their chest, making it uncomfortable for them to keep the action up. This helps curb the pulling behavior that they’re used to carrying out.
In addition to creating pressure on the dog’s chest, if that isn’t enough, the design of a no-pull harness also sweeps the dog in whatever direction the leash is facing. If your dog gets past the uncomfortable tightness on their chest, and they continue to pull harder, they’ll be forced to walk to the right or the left, depending on the orientation of the leash. This isn’t the direction they want to go, of course, so the behavior is quickly stopped since it provides no gain to them.
How Do I Fit a No-Pull Harness?
As with any dog accessory, no-pull harnesses need to be fit properly. This means measuring your dog’s body parts depending on the harness and making sure that the harness is neither too snug nor too loose. Like most harnesses and collars on the market, no-pull harnesses come with a lot of room for adjustments and can be fitted to your dog’s needs within reason.
The rule of thumb when fitting a harness is that the harness should allow for two stacked fingers to be placed between it and the pup. This ensures proper fit, snug enough to keep them held tight but loose enough to avoid chafing.
Two Types of No-Pull Harnesses
There are two main types of true no-pull harnesses. These are the front-clip and the multi-clip harnesses. They can come with different features, like a Martingale loop, but fundamentally are the same. Let’s take a look at some of the differences.
Just as the name implies, the front-clip harness has a leash attachment point at the front of the harness, typically below the dog’s neck and on the chest. This is the traditional no-pull harness, and it creates chest tension and redirection when your pup pulls on the leash.
Front-clip harnesses are very popular in small dogs and dogs that have short snouts or flat faces. They don’t need to be too heavy-duty, as a small dog can typically be handled with just a simple front-clip. If your dog is bigger, though, you may be interested in the multi-clip harness.
The multi-clip harness allows for two leash attachment points on the harness, typically on the chest and the back. The front clip still helps to curb pulling behaviors in pups by creating that uncomfortable pressure on the chest, but the back-clip allows for more control.
These are especially good for larger dogs, as they can often take their owners for a walk rather than be taken for a walk by their owners. The pressure created helps curb the bad behavior, while the second attachment point helps to guide the dog and hold them in place better if need be.
Adding a Martingale Loop
Some no-pull harnesses, both front-clip, and multi-clip allow for the addition of a Martingale loop. The Martingale loop is an extra loop of fabric on the harness that will tighten when the leash is pulled, adding an additional restraint point. The loop is normally fitted around the neck of the harness, but some more advanced harnesses incorporate them to tighten and restrain the rear legs of your pup if they are an especially strong and rowdy leash puller.
Reasons To Choose a Harness Over a Collar
The benefits of harnesses typically outweigh collars heavily. Think about it like this; a harness is good for almost every dog, especially when it’s of the no-pull variety. After the benefits of the no-pull harness have taken effect, a collar can easily be incorporated into your dog’s lifestyle. Check out all of these pros for no-pull harnesses:
- These harnesses are a great tool for leash training.
- No-pull harnesses fit the dog better than most collars do and discourage escape artists.
- Harnesses help to prevent injury that some dogs can self-inflict when pulling on the leash hard.
- If you have a larger dog, multi-clip harnesses not only teach good leash manners but also provide better control for strong pulling.
- If you have an older dog or an arthritic dog, a harness can be used as a tool to assist in standing back up after taking a break during a walk.
The Disadvantages of No-Pull Harnesses
While no-pull harnesses may seem like the holy grail of dog restraint, there are downsides to everything, and the no-pull harness is no exception. Here are a few reasons to think hard on your decision to buy a no-pull harness:
- Due to the nature of their design, no-pull harnesses require a lot of adjustments and double-checking as they can loosen or tighten over time.
- Unlike a collar, they can’t be kept on your dog a majority of the time and should be removed after walks.
- If your pup is a persistent puller, the no-pull harness can actually create enough discomfort to alter the way they walk, which could lead to further health problems. These are extreme cases and not the norm.
- Even though no-pull harnesses deter your dog from pulling, they aren’t the cure-all. Good habits have to be trained behaviorally, not just with a harness that alters the pup’s pulling tendencies.
Other Applications for the No-Pull Harness
No-pull harnesses are called no-pull because they prevent the dog from pulling on the leash by creating discomfort. Consider this, though; you’ve adopted a rescue who is hesitant about being taken anywhere on leash. They’re a little uncomfortable with being outside and just aren’t sure of things. The no-pull harness can come in handy here.
If your pup needs some guidance, maybe a lead sometimes, the front-clip or multi-clip no-pull harness can be a life-saver. If properly fitted, it will allow for minimal guidance that won’t cause irritation on the dog’s neck and shoulders.
Not All Harnesses Are Created Equal
So you’ve decided that a no-pull harness is the best option for you and your pup. When buying your dog’s new harness, be on the lookout for the following:
- Durable hardware - Because these are designed for pullers, the hardware needs to be strong and not break when pulled on.
- Strong straps - Just like with the hardware, the straps need to stand up to hard pulling overtime.
- Padding - Good harnesses will have comfy padding for your pup to help prevent any unintended discomfort.
There are a number of collars and harnesses available on the market that are suitable for your pup, but the best of them has to be the no-pull harness. Available in a few standard options, they help to curb poor leash manners and teach better behavior, with reinforcement, of course. They’re a safer option for dogs that may be prone to self-inflicted injuries that come with standard collars.
For all dogs, big and small, consider a no-pull harness before a standard collar. The benefits outweigh the downfalls, and you and your pup will be a whole lot happier on your walks, especially if they’re a puller!
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How Do No Pull Harnesses Work? Plus 4 Downsides To Watch Out For | Pet Lover Guy
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