Taking your dog on a nice long walk around the neighborhood is one of the simplest things you can do to assure better mental and physical health for your pup.
But if your dog pulls while on leash, that walk can quickly turn mentally and physically draining for you.
While it is possible to train dogs to walk nicely on leash, the process takes a long time. For those that don’t have the time or those that still want to enjoy their walks during the training period, a no-pull harness can make a huge difference.
But with so many harnesses claiming to help stop pulling, finding the right one dog can be a challenge.
To help you sort through this crowded market and find the best no-pull harness for your pup, we’ve picked and reviewed the most effective products available. We’ll also walk you through how these ingenious harnesses work and what else they do and don’t accomplish.
Most harnesses are similar to the ones worn by Husky sled dogs. Two straps go over the shoulders and connect at the center of the chest. This allows dogs to bear down and pull without discomfort. These kinds of products do not make for fun or easy walks when your pup likes to pull!
Best No-Pull Harness
While just about every dog harness that is sold these days carries a “no-pull” claim, most actually do very little to keep your dog from yanking on the leash.
In fact, the design of a traditional harness–which most products emulate–usually helps dogs pull easier. Just as with sled dog harnesses, these products hug the shoulders and chest and clip onto the back to help distribute resistance across the strongest part of the dog’s body.
This is not what you want if your dog can already drag you around by their collar.
Luckily, there are a handful of truly effective, appropriately advertised, no-pull harnesses on the market. Here are five of the best of them.
PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness, No Pull Dog Harness
- Chest-connect martingale loop
- Restricts shoulder movement only during pulling
- Comes in a variety of colors
This product from PetSafe has a similar look to a traditional harness, but with a few key features that make it great at keeping your pup from yanking on the leash.
The three-point system keeps your pup secure while the front strap sits low over their shoulders. At the front of the shoulder strap is a martingale loop with a D-ring where the leash attaches.
This key feature enables the product to tighten around your dog’s shoulders as they pull. This inhibits the movement of their front legs while pulling them back and to the side to reduce momentum.
When the dog is not straining against the leash, the martingale loop loosens, allowing full mobility.
Best of all, this product works without putting any strain on your dog’s throat and without causing any pain.
>>>Find out why these products are better than traditional punishment training.
In order to work properly, the harness does need to be fitted correctly.
The two body straps should form a straight line from your pup’s underside, up over their shoulders. Meanwhile, the front strap must sit low across their chest, not above the midpoint like more traditional products.
The no-pull Easy Walk comes in multiple colors and sizes, allowing you to customize the product to get exactly what you and your pooch need.
This product works extremely well for light to medium pullers and for both big and small dogs.
Dog Harness – No pull and No choke humane Design, Non Pulling Pet Harness with Mesh vest
- No-tangle back clip
- Cinches over ribcage to discourage pulling
- Highly adjustable for the perfect fit
While front-clip products are the most effective in halting pullers, they are not always convenient.
Many dogs, especially those with short legs, are more likely to step over their leash and get tangled up when using a front-clip harness.
If this is a common issue for your pup, then this no-pull product from Sporn is a great option for you.
This product utilizes a back-clip ring, but with a unique design that still makes it very effective for curbing leash pulling.
The four-point design fits similar to many other traditional products, but instead of latching in place, the strap that fits over the ribcage runs through a ring before attaching to the leash.
This moveable action allows the product to tighten against the ribs whenever the dog yanks on the leash. This uncomfortable, but harmless sensation, encourages the dog to walk more appropriately.
A small safety clip secures above the guide ring to assure the strap never becomes too loose.
This no-pull product is an especially great option for pups who tend to back out of or otherwise escape harnesses. The same tightening action that reduces pulling also prevents escape.
The Sporn mesh-vest harness is easy to put on, simple to use, and is available in multiple sizes to stop all light to medium pullers in their tracks.
Bolux Dog Harness, No-Pull Reflective Breathable Adjustable Pet Vest with Handle for Outdoor Walking
- Low front strap discourages pulling
- No-choke design
- Available in many colors and patterns
This two-strap vest from Bolux combines comfort and function to help reduce pulling and allow you and your dog to have a more comfortable walk.
The sturdy design and wide straps are created for your pet’s comfort while the low-ride front strap works to impede forward motion.
Like the Easy Walk, this harness sits low across the chest. When the dog pulls, the entire vest strains against this area, inhibiting the full motion of the front legs.
Your dog reacts to this odd sensation by slowing down and walking at a more appropriate pace.
In addition to helping to curb the momentum of light to medium pullers, this product is easy to put on, looks stylish, and fits a wide range of body types. We recommend this product first to enthusiastic sighthound breeds as the back strap more easily fits their deep rib cages.
Because the angles of this vest are already set, getting the right fit to prevent leash yanking is simple.
The front strap uses strong, thick velcro that you only need to adjust once while the adjustable buckle behind the front legs allows for quick and easy on and off.
This no-pull option comes in over a dozen different colors and patterns and is available in six sizes.
Weiss-Walkie Dog Training Leash
- Straight forward design
- Leash and harness in one
- Can be used as a traditional leash
There is no shortage of different products you can buy for your dog. If the idea of having to juggle both a harness and a leash just to get your dog some exercise seems exhausting, then this non-traditional take on a no-pull product is just what you need.
The Weiss-Walkie leash is a simple, rope-style lead with one additional feature that makes it perfect for the owner of a puller who doesn’t want to buy any more products than they absolutely need.
This leash attaches to the collar, similar to a normal lead, runs behind the dog’s front legs, through a large ring near the clasp, and back to the owner’s hand.
By looping the leash under your pup’s armpits, an uncomfortable squeezing sensation occurs each time they pull, similar to the Sporn vest.
While you could achieve a similar setup with a traditional leash, there are two key differences that make the Weiss Walkie easier to use and more effective.
The large slip ring allows the leash to tighten and loosen quickly to react to the dog pulling and walking nicely. And, this leash is longer than your typical variety, which means you can run it under your pup without losing that valuable length.
Best of all, this no-pull product quickly converts from a no-pull tool to a normal leash. This makes it perfect for those pups that only tend to pull in certain situations such as during the beginning of the walk or when other dogs are present.
The Weiss Walkie comes in multiple colors and two sizes and is perfect for light to medium pullers.
Halti Headcollar and Training Lead Combination Pack
- Perfect for strong pullers
- Extra collar clip for safety
- Gives the owner complete control
If you have been paying attention, you’ve likely noticed that we’ve rated all of the above products as being effective for light to medium pullers. This is because harnesses of any kind will still allow determined pullers some ability to yank on the leash.
If you have an extreme puller or just a very large dog that you struggle to control on leash, the Halti Headcollar is for you.
Dog’s have the incredible ability to brace against things with their chests. It is easy for them to push their momentum forward with this point of their body. While all of the products above work against this process, they can’t entirely reverse this fact.
The Halti works differently.
Like a halter meant to give absolute control over a 1,500-pound horse, the Halti sits over your dog’s face and muzzle. This bypasses the powerful “pulling-zone” of the chest and gives you total control over your dog’s forward momentum.
Unlike other halter-type products, the Halti is made with additional padding in the nose-loop, multiple stabilizing straps, and a safety clip that attaches to the collar to prevent escape.
This product also comes with a special training lead that attaches to both the Halti and collar so you only have to put pressure on the head when needed.
The Halti takes a lot of getting used to on the dog’s part and some training will be needed to get them walking happily in it. However, if your dog is a major puller or if you struggle to control them due to their strength, this is the only no-pull product worth purchasing.
How Do No-Pull Harnesses Work?
No-pull products work in various ways, but they all have one thing in common: they inhibit a dog’s ability to force their momentum forward.
Most products do this by restricting how far forward a dog’s front legs can move when they brace against the vest.
While pulling against their collar is not overly comfortable, most dogs have no problem choking themselves if it means getting to where they want to go faster. No-pull products not only relieve pulling, but they also protect your dog’s trachea.
Others use discomfort, usually against the ribcage, to encourage your dog to keep pressure off the leash. This is different from cruel training products like prong collars that use pain to keep your dog from exhibiting certain behaviors.
Some products, like the Halti, give you control over your dog’s head, effectively keeping them from being able to push their momentum forward against the leash.
Do No-Pull Harnesses Teach Dogs Not to Pull?
Despite the claims on many products, no-pull harnesses do not teach your dog not to pull. They simply make it more difficult for them to pull.
Dogs will respond to most products by pulling less, but this behavior will only last as long as the harness is on. Once they are back on a normal collar and leash they will likely return to old habits.
If you would like your dog to walk nicely on a leash without having to use a special product like those listed above, you will have to take the time to train the behavior.
Here are some resources for teaching your pup to walk nicely on leash:
- Train Your Dog to Heel without a Leash
- How to Stop a Dog from Pulling
- 10 Common Behavior Problems and How to End Them
Learn how to train your pup not to pull from expert dog trainer Victoria Stilwell in the above video.
Even if you are committed to training your dog to walk nicely on a leash, you still may want to invest in a no-pull product.
In order to master the loose leash walk, dogs must be reinforced for doing it (and properly corrected for pulling) 100% of the time they are walking on a leash.
This can be problematic since it takes so long to teach good leash behavior. There will be times when you need to get your dog out for exercise but don’t have time to train.
The key to maintaining consistency with your leash training is to train your dog that they must always walk nicely when the leash is attached to their collar. Any pulling that happens when the leash is clipped to the collar is corrected via the training methods outlined in the resources above.
But because this can’t be done on every single walk, having a no-pull harness to fall back on for normal exercise walks is a simple way to avoid setting back your training.
When you don’t have time to train, put the vest or halter on your dog and let that keep them from pulling you over.
>>>Find out what it takes to train a stubborn dog.
Your dog will soon learn that pulling on the leash when it is attached to their collar is never acceptable. But pulling on the harness (though ineffective) is okay.
Once you have finished training, you will have a dog that can walk perfectly on a leash and you will no longer need the no-pull product as a backup.
It takes patience and absolute consistency to train your dog to walk well on leash. Using the “alternative walking mode” method, allows you to cheat without setting your training back.
The Last Word on No-Pull Harnesses
No-pull harnesses are a great tool to help make your walks more enjoyable again. While they don’t train the dog not to pull, they do restrict pulling behavior.
For the average puller, we recommend the SafePet EasyWalk. It is simple to use, comes in multiple colors, and is effective at curbing pulling in most dogs thanks to an ingenious martingale loop and front clip connection.
For the toughest pullers and very strong dogs, you won’t find anything more effective than the Halti. This powerful halter-lead gives you unparalleled control over your pup’s movements and comes with extra features for added comfort and safety.
With any of the above products, you are sure to notice a dramatic decrease in pulling behavior. Once you strap one of these great harnesses on, you’ll wonder how you ever walked your pup without one!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.