No-pull dog harness FAQs
Why do dogs pull on leash?
“Dogs may pull on a leash due to hypersensitivity to all that is going on around them as well as a lack of proper leash training as a puppy,” explained Lillian Baker, veterinarian and owner of Baker’s Mobile Veterinary Services in Houston, Texas. No dog is born innately understanding how to walk on a leash. They pull because they naturally walk faster than we do and because they want to get to the park or greet another dog or sniff something interesting. Typically they continue to pull because they’ve discovered that, when they do, they get to move forward.
Can my dog hurt their neck pulling on the leash?
Traditional neck collars should never be used for restraining or controlling your dog because they can cause tension and stress on the dog’s neck. “Dogs that pull on leash are at an increased risk of choking,” said Baker. Tracheal collapse is another potential consequence of pressure around the neck, she explained. A 2020 study published in the journal “Vet Record” using canine neck models with pressure sensors confirmed the danger, concluding that all types of dog collars have the potential to cause harm to a dog’s neck. A flat neck collar’s only purpose is for attaching your dog’s ID tags or for decoration. A no-clip body harness is a much safer and more effective way of walking a dog that pulls.
How do front-clip no-pull harnesses work?
Front-clip harnesses are designed to discourage pulling by pivoting the dog toward you whenever the leash is taut. No-pull harnesses come in two basic designs: A Y-shaped chest strap or a strap that lays horizontally across the chest. Y-shaped harnesses better allow for full freedom of movement. “Any product that forms a Y shape around the dog’s neck and under the chest is non-restrictive,” said veterinarian Chris Zink, a canine sports medicine consultant and researcher at Johns Hopkins University.
How do I fit a no-pull harness to my dog?
Finding the right harness for your dog is like choosing the perfect running sneakers: Fit is crucial. There’s nothing scarier than your dog wriggling or backing out of a loose-fitting harness. An ill-fitting harness will also be uncomfortable, and if it’s too tight, it can cause chafing. Sagging harnesses can impede a dog’s full range of shoulder or leg movement.
A well-fitting harness should be snug but not too tight, with enough room to fit two to three fingers under all the straps. Check the sizing charts and read the instructions on how to measure your dog. When buying online, measure carefully and check the return policy before ordering.
Will a no-pull harness teach my dog to stop pulling?
Front-clip no-pull harnesses are not a magic bullet that will instantly stop your dog from pulling, but they are a management tool. The best way to stop your dog from pulling is to train loose leash walking using positive reinforcement. If your dog is a veteran puller, there is no humane piece of equipment that will teach them to stop pulling, but a good harness will help you manage and control your dog while teaching them leash manners. If you keep walking whenever your dog pulls, you are not only missing out on the chance to train loose leash walking, you are also reinforcing pulling.
What’s the best leash for a dog who pulls?
Baker prefers a standard 4-to-6-foot-long leather leash for dog walking. She recommends avoiding retractable leashes which present a variety of safety concerns for both dogs and their walkers.
Why don’t we recommend prong, choke, and e-collars?
We only considered no-pull equipment that does not cause pain or discomfort for a dog. Prong, choke, and shock collars are all designed to punish a dog by inflicting pain around the neck whenever they pull. Prong collars and choke chains can also cause damage to a dog’s neck. “As a general rule, I don’t like anything that puts too much pressure on the neck,” said veterinary behaviorist Carlo Siracusa, associate professor of clinical animal behavior and welfare at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “Definitely no prong or shock collars. Even a martingale-type collar, which I do like, will not prevent the dog from pulling [and] will apply pressure on the neck.”
In addition to being unsafe, punishment and pain create fear, stress, and anxiety in dogs. A study in the journal “PLOS One” shows that e-collars, also known as shock collars, produce behavioral and physiological signs of stress when used on pet dogs. As of October 2020, Petco, the second largest retail pet company in the United States, discontinued the sale of all shock collars online and in stores. Shock collars are banned and illegal in many countries, including England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. To train your dog more humanely, effectively, and successfully, use science-based positive reinforcement and rewards-based training and handling methods.
Is there a humane alternative to no-pull harnesses?
Head halters are a humane alternative to body harnesses. Baker recommends their use on dogs that pull. “If you lead the head, the body follows,” she explained. Head halters may not be appropriate for every dog. If your pup is easily overaroused or highly reactive on leash, Siracusa said that using a head halter can result in whiplash or neck or spine pain.
Is there such a thing as a “chew-proof” harness?
There is no such thing as a chew-proof harness. A chewed-up harness is not a manufacturer defect or the result of poor design or materials. It takes less than 30 seconds for a determined dog or teething puppy to destroy a brand-new harness, so take it the harness off them when unsupervised. Be sure to also remove harnesses to prevent injury when dogs roughhouse, as teeth and limbs can get entangled.