Walking your dog can be a chore but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips in choosing a harness.
1. Choose a harness that can be really easy to put on.
The easier it is the more likely you will walk your dog. Lets face it, if it isn’t easy we probably
won’t do it.
2. Choose a harness that is comfortable for your dog.
You want your dog to be comfortable. Some harnesses can put strain around the neck
causing choking or rubbing.
3. Choose a harness that can adjust for growth.
Make sure the harness can be easily adjustable that allows your dog to grow into it
or for that little extra winter weight they may put on.
Training your dog to walk on a leash:
A key element to walking your dog has to do with the harness and leash you choose. But
no harness or leash is a substitute for good training.
Proper training is going to overcome a lot of obstacles and allow you and your dog to
enjoy walking and playing together.
Front Harness Vs. Step in Back Harness
I have studied and reviewed a lot of different harnesses on the market. There are many
mixed reviews, comments, studies, and sales pitches out there.
On our own personal dog “Ace” we have tried different harnesses. He is a young strong
90lb lab that gets all excited to go on a walk. So he’s a perfect example of what it’s like
to walk a energetic and spry dog. Side note: When we got Ace he had never been trained
to go on walks. So he’s not used to it! He’s a great case study.
With a front harness I have found that I can pull him to a direction I want when he strays
off. I have noticed that it pulls fairly hard around his neck as well. So I had some control
but the comfort wasn’t there for my dog.
The front harness didn’t stop him from pulling nor did it deter him from pulling. I still had
the challenge of walking him while creating discomfort around his neck area.
I also found out that many dogs have been having trouble with health issues due to front
harnesses causing strain.
Dr. Zink explains that these harnesses sit on top of the biceps and supraspinatus tendons, two of the most commonly injured structures in dogs’ forelimbs, particularly in canine athletes. She asserts that, just by logic, one has to assume that the pressure this kind of harness exerts on the dog’s forelimbs in an activity where the dog is supposed to be extending her forelimbs (i.e., running, walking), is not a good idea. (Whole Dog Journal)
I tried a step in back clip harness as well. Ace would pull the same as he did with the front
harness. When I would tug back he didn’t turn around as easily but I wasn’t yanking on his
throat and neck area either or causing strain any where.
The harness seemed to evenly distribute any pressure comfortably for him. So instead of
pulling him back like I did with the front harness I would just stop and call Ace to come back
Ace would then circle back to me. Then we would begin our walk again. If he started pulling
again I would stop and have him circle back again.
A side note as well is I had a two handled dog leash which also gave comfort to my hands
when walking and if he did pull not only did it not put discomfort on Ace but me as well!
I prefer the step in dog harness with the back clip. Here are the reasons why.
1. When my dog Ace did pull it wasn’t pulling on his neck or throat area. He was comfortable.
2. The control was about the same with either the front or back harness.
3. The step in harness was super easy to put on with a snap of a clip.
4. The back clip was a double ring giving more strength unlike the front harness.
5. I can easily adjust the harness if his weight fluctuates or as he grows.
So, Ace and I both comfortable walking now! To be completely honest… he still pulls
some and I need to work with him more. No product on the market can substitute good
training and spending time with your four legged friend.
This is one reason I started Dyno Paws! I want you and your dog to get out into the outdoors
and enjoy walking again. This is why we custom designed our own step in dog harness and
soft padded dog leash.
Dr. Zink puts it best. “I do not believe that there is a harness on the market that is nonrestrictive and that also helps the dog not to pull,” says Dr. Zink.” There are however some very nice, well constructed, nonrestrictive harnesses on the market. However, those should not be considered as a method to teach a dog not to pull. In my opinion the real way to get a dog to stop pulling is to train it.” (Whole Dog Journal)