Jun 01, 2023
The 4 Best No
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more Teaching your dog to walk on a leash without pulling can be a frustrating experience. But you can use one of the
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Teaching your dog to walk on a leash without pulling can be a frustrating experience. But you can use one of the best no-pull dog harnesses to train your pup to have good leash manners.
As a professional dog trainer, I typically recommend a front-clip no-pull harness to minimize a dog's ability to pull. Walking your dog with a collar can put dangerous pressure on their neck, so we always recommend using a harness to keep exercise safe for your dog.
For this guide, I partnered with five shelter workers and volunteers at Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco to test nine popular anti-pull harnesses. We walked over two dozen medium and large untrained rescue dogs to determine which harnesses worked best. I also interviewed professional dog walkers, trainers, and veterinarians who shared their preferences.
Our guide to the best dog harnesses can help you find options for dogs who don't pull. We also have a guide to the best dog collars to hang your pet's ID tags, but remember that we don't recommend attaching leashes to collars.
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Best overall: Blue-9 Balance Harness - See at Amazon The Balance Harness significantly reduces pulling without impeding a dog's movement, sagging, or twisting.
Best versatile: 2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Harness - See at Chewy With front and back clips and a double-connection leash, the Freedom No-Pull Harness is a versatile option for any dog that pulls.
Best budget: Petsafe 3-in-1 No-Pull Dog Harness - See at ChewyThe 3-in-1 No-Pull Dog Harness is a durable, no-pull harness with a price that won't break the bank.
Best for extended wear: Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness - See at AmazonThe Front Range is a comfortable harness for active dogs that will hold up to years of use.
Available sizes: 5 sizes for chests from 13.5 to 43.5 inches
Pros: Deters pulling better than other harnesses, six points of adjustment for appropriate fit, good for dogs that dislike putting their head through a harness, machine washable, 90-day chew replacement policy
Cons: More expensive than most other harnesses, no padding, can be confusing to put on at first
Among the best no-pull dog harnesses, Blue-9 Balance Harness is a favorite among dog trainers and dog walkers. We were impressed by how much easier it was to walk our untrained shelter dogs when they were wearing this harness. The dogs pulled less and were easier to control when we used the harness with a leash attached to the front D-ring.
Unlike the popular Easy Walk Harness, the Balance Harness's Y-neck design doesn't cross the dog's shoulders or pinch under the armpits. "It is great for daily performance, and it doesn't interfere with the dog's shoulder movement," says Robyn Socarro, a professional dog trainer. Like the other harnesses in this guide, you can also attach the leash to the back of the harness for dogs that don't pull.
If you've had trouble finding a harness that fits, this is an excellent option. The harness has six places to adjust for wide necks, barrel chests, chunky bellies, and straps that clip around the torso and neck. While the neck strap is ideal for dogs that resist putting their head through a harness, this design can make it confusing to put the harness on. The colored top strap on the back helps you keep straight what goes where.
The soft nylon has a 3,500-pound test strength. I toss mine into the washer and let it air-dry, and it's still in great shape.
Read our full review of Blue-9 Balance Harness.
Pros: Works well for serious pullers, straps do not loosen or sag, velvet-lined straps prevent chafing, machine washable, available in 7 sizes and 14 colors and designs, double-connection leash included
Cons: Can be confusing to put on, straps are difficult to adjust
The 2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Harness has something of a cult following among dog trainers. With both a front and back D-ring, it's comfortable for walking dogs who are pullers and those who are not.
Users are frequently amazed at how quickly the Freedom harness reduces tension on the leash for dogs that pull, especially when paired with the included double-connection leash. With a leash connected to the D-rings at the chest and back, the harness evenly distributes pressure, preventing a dog from feeling discomfort at a single point on their body and providing more control. The martingale strap at the back tightens in response to pulling to help prevent a dog from squirming out of the harness and escaping.
Diane Livoti Perlman, a certified professional dog trainer and owner of Metro Dog, recommends this harness to all her clients who ask about the best no-pull dog harnesses. Although several of our testers found it tricky to put the harness on the first few times, it became easier once it was properly adjusted. There is a buckle at the neck, so you don't need to pull the harness over a dog's head, and the velvet lining on the strap behind the legs is a nice touch for dogs with sensitive skin.
The Freedom Harness works well for dogs of all sizes and shapes. It's the only one in this guide with straps available in two widths: 5/8 inch and 1 inch. It can be machine-washed on a delicate cycle and air-dried. I accidentally put it in the dryer, though, and it came out fine.
Pros: Five points of adjustment for a good fit, reflective stitching, some padding
Cons: Limited color options, heavy plastic buckles may be uncomfortable
With the Petsafe 3-in-1 No-Pull Dog Harness, you can attach the leash to the front of the harness to reduce pulling or secure it to the back ring for casual walks or running with your dog. At around $30, it's also a good starting point if you have a smaller budget.
Shelter volunteer Beth DiMeccio tested this harness on shelter dogs at Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco and was impressed with how well it worked for serious pullers. "There's little chance a dog can wriggle out of this harness, which is a big concern with shelter dogs," she says.
The Y-shaped nylon 3-in-1 does not restrict a dog's movement. It has five different adjustment points to allow for a comfortable and snug fit, and with a buckle at the neck, you don't need to pull it over a dog's head. The light neoprene padding and reflective stitching are a nice touch.
With 1-inch wide straps, this harness is heavier than similar styles, creating too much bulk for smaller dogs. The wider straps help prevent chafing, but the plastic clasps do not have any padding, which may cause discomfort with all-day wear. Petsafe recommends hand-washing the 3-in-1, so it may be difficult to remove odors.
Once you get the hang of it, the harness is easy to put on. It also has a built-in adjustable strap for attaching to a seat belt if you'd like to limit your dog's movement in the car. However, the harness has not been crash-tested and may not protect your dog in a crash.
Pros: Padded, wide straps that won't chafe, can be worn all day, comes in 13 different colors and 5 sizes, easy to put on and take off, durable
Cons: Chest piece twists and gaps with serious pullers, not quick-drying
Designed for outdoor adventures, the Ruffwear Front Range Harness can take a lot of punishment while keeping your dog comfortable. The foam padding on the chest and belly prevents rubbing and chafing, and the built-in clasps are covered with fabric so they don't touch any part of a dog's body.
"The padding is nice because it doesn't rub on my thin-coated dog," says Scarlett Cermak, a dog trainer and owner of Embark Today. "I also really like that there is a back-clip option because there are times, believe it or not, when I want my dogs to pull, like in sports like canicross or joring."
The harness is easy to put on and remove, with two clasps and two adjustment buckles. There are two leash attachments: an aluminum V-ring on the back and a reinforced webbing attachment on the chest plate.
The Front Range doesn't reduce pulling as well as the other best no-pull dog harnesses we recommend. Although it is normal for a front-clip harness to move when your dog pulls, this harness twists more than our other top picks, causing it to shift to the side with consistent pulling. If you have a barrel-chested dog, the Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Harness has a similar design that may be effective. However, the straps require frequent tightening as they loosen too easily.
The harness has reflective stitching for nighttime visibility, and the polyester shell fabric is highly durable. After seven years, the Front Range is the only intact harness my dog still wears from his younger days. Although the brand recommends hand-washing the harness, I've had to put my dog's harness in the washer and dryer many times. It's still in good condition, but the edges are slightly curled.
The following considerations will help you find the best harness to prevent your dog from pulling on leash.
We considered the most popular no-pull dog harnesses and collected opinions from professional dog walkers and trainers already using them. We also consulted veterinarians and canine behaviorists, including Dr. Lillian Baker, veterinarian and owner of Baker's Mobile Veterinary Services in Texas; Anne Carter, an expert in canine behavior and welfare and a senior lecturer at the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University; Dr. Carlo Siracusa, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and associate professor of clinical behavior medicine at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Chris Zink, a veterinarian specializing in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation.
For eight weeks, three shelter staff and two volunteer shelter walkers tested the harnesses on walks with more than two dozen rescue dogs at Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco. The dogs were all medium and large-size (over 50 pounds) and chosen because they were difficult to walk due to over-excitability, lack of training, or reactivity. Dogs were walked with the tester harnesses for 30 to 60 minutes on city streets and in local parks.
Unmanageable leash pulling is typically a problem for dog owners with larger dogs, so we did not test these harnesses on dogs under 25 pounds. Many small dogs strain while on leash, but owners do not struggle with being pulled off their feet.
We also did not test head halters, as most dogs initially find them uncomfortable and will resist wearing them. The no-pull harnesses in this guide are a better choice for anyone looking for the least intrusive, minimally aversive (LIMA) approach to dog training and behavior modification. If you'd like to learn more about head halters, read about them in our guide to the best dog harnesses.
We rated the best no-pull dog harnesses according to the following criteria:
We recommend a front-clip no-pull harness when training a dog to walk on a leash without pulling. It removes dangerous pressure from a dog's neck while reducing its ability to pull.
Yes. The best no-pull dog harnesses are well-designed and reduce pressure on a dog's joints and neck when they pull.
Traditional neck collars should not 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," says veterinarian Baker. She explains that tracheal collapse is another potential consequence. A 2020 study 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 body harness is a much safer and more effective way of walking a dog that pulls.
Front-clip no-pull dog harnesses 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 total freedom of movement. "Any product that forms a Y shape around the dog's neck and under the chest is non-restrictive," says Zink.
"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," says Baker. No dog is born innately understanding how to walk on a leash. They pull because they naturally walk faster than we do and want to get to the park, 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.
Finding the best 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 is 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 for measuring your dog. When buying online, measure carefully and check the return policy before ordering.
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 with some of the best dog training treats. If your dog is a veteran puller, no humane piece of equipment 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, but you are also reinforcing pulling.
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.
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," says Siracusa. "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."
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 explains. Head halters may not be appropriate for every dog. Siracusa says that using a head halter can result in whiplash or neck or spine pain if your pup is easily over-aroused or highly reactive on leash.
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. A determined dog or teething puppy can destroy a brand-new harness in less than 30 seconds, so take the harness off them when unsupervised. Be sure to remove a harness to prevent injury when dogs roughhouse, as teeth and limbs can get entangled.
Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected].Our top picks for the best no-pull dog harnessesBest overall:Best versatile: Best budget:Best for extended wear:Available sizes: Available colors:Warranty:Pros: Cons: Read our full review of Blue-9 Balance HarnessAvailable sizes: Available colors: Warranty: Pros: Cons: Available sizes: Available colors: Warranty: Pros: Cons: Available sizes: Available colors: Warranty: Pros: Cons: Design: Ease of use:Padding: Machine washable: Warranty: Prevents pulling:Does not impede or restrict movement:Does not chafe or rubDog cannot slip or back out of the harnessEasy to put on and take off/ease of adjustingDurability and washability:Initial cost and replacement costWhat is the best harness to stop pulling?Are no-pull harnesses good for dogs?Is a harness or collar better to stop pulling?How does a no-pull harness stop a dog from pulling?Why do dogs pull on leash?How do I fit a no-pull harness to my dog?Will a no-pull harness teach my dog to stop pulling?What's the best leash for a dog who pulls?Why don't we recommend prong, choke, and e-collars?Is there a humane alternative to no-pull harnesses?Is there such a thing as a "chew-proof" harness?