H is for Harness

Harness your dog’s energy and she’ll walk nicely beside you.

Isis models her pink harness. October 2008
Isis’s pink harness, pictured on her in October 2009, has been handed down to Mia.

Leo wears a green front-clasp harness designed to improve the walking skills of pullers, even though he’s always walked pretty well on leash. I’ve read that these harnesses are tools to be used until the dog learns how to walk properly, and then you’re supposed to switch to a flat collar. Well, Leo continues to walk best on the front-clasp harness, so we’re sticking with it.

Mia wears a pink back-clasp harness that first belonged to Isis. Rob prefers walking her on this one, although we also have a raspberry-colored front-clasp harness, and she does well on just the flat collar too.

Doggies in tandem
When I walk both dogs solo, I use a tandem leash, or coupler, connected to Leo’s harness and Mia’s collar. Mia gets tangled in the front-clasp harness and the bungee stretchiness of the tandem leash encourages her to pull just a little when she’s wearing her pink harness.

Next time I’m in the market for a new harness, I plan to buy a Freedom Harness. I saw one in action at the SoCal Pet Expo and I like how you can clip to the front or the back or both.

Harnesses are my favorite tool for walking dogs.

If your dog is an exceptionally enthusiastic puller, you might need to pair a head collar like a Halti with a harness.

Harness power
In this pic from New Year’s Day 2013, Leo’s wearing a back-clasp harness paired with a Halti, connected by a leash with clasps on each end. This was prescribed for his leash-reactivity, but we’ve moved on since then. Mia is wearing her hand-me-down pink harness.


For the A to Z Challenge, I’m using all positive language in my posts. Find out how I discovered the benefits of positive reinforcement training in my book, Bark and Lunge!

Heart Like a Dog
Keep the blog-hopping fun going with the Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop, hosted by 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog.

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Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

15 thoughts on “H is for Harness

  1. I’m totally sold on harnesses. My Jack Russell was a dreadful puller, gasping for breath after only a relatively few yards walking. We bought him a harness that distributes the pull over his entire chest area and immediately it made him easier to control without feeling we were inflicting pain on him. It wasn’t long after we got it that he practically stopped pulling of his own accord. Suddenly, walking him became the pleasurable experience it was always meant to be – for him and for us.

  2. I’ve been meaning to do a similar post that highlights Ruby’s and Boca’s daily gear. I think you already know that I’m a HUGE fan of the Freedom harness and both girls have one, although I prefer to walk Ruby with the Sensation front-clip. Boca is not a puller so I use the back-clip on the Freedom. Now that I’m accustomed to harnesses I just can’t go back to leashes clipped to collars on a regular basis, but I will sometime walk Boca in a martingale collar because it’s so easy to slip on. Again – something I wouldn’t use on a dog who pulls. I love that Isis’s harness was passed to Mia.

  3. I was using the wrong kind of harness for a long time before the Freedom No Pull was recommended to me. It’s been a lifesaver. It really is amazing what it did for my dog Laika whose a notorious puller. So lovely to see the harness being passed down.

  4. Great advice for those dogs that pull. It can make all the difference between a pleasant walk and one where you’re so frustrated you don’t even want to go again the next day.

  5. Hi Y’all!

    I’m usually not a puller, but that’s interesting info about the harness.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  6. The pink harness is pretty 🙂 I was advised that dogs can learn different behaviours with different leashes based on their interaction with the human when wearing these different harnesses and collars 🙂 And that made sense to me 🙂

  7. Sampson has the Freedom Harness and I love it. We got it after his ACL surgery because of his tendency to pull. Granted he was still recovering from surgery but the harness helped enough that my six year old grandson could walk him (with me right there of course!) I can highly recommend one and assure you it’s in the budget for Delilah. 🙂

    Thanks for joining the hop!

  8. All of our dogs are in the market for new harnesses, but I’m going to wait until summer to go shopping for them. I’m going to switch them all to front latch harnesses. I’m curious if walking multiple dogs with these will work.

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