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The 8 Best No-Pull Dog Harnesses, According to Pet Experts

Updated: Aug. 03, 2023

Choosing the best no-pull dog harness for your pup is one of the smartest and safest decisions a pet owner can make. Here are our top picks.

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The 8 Best No Pull Dog Harnesses, According To Pet ExpertsRD.COM, VIA MERCHANT (3)

My German Shepherd, Magic, had so much strength at nine months that he could pull me all over our 13 acres. As an award-winning pet journalist who has authored over 35 books, I knew the solution to pulling was a combination of positive reinforcement training and the best no-pull dog harness. Magic quickly learned better leash manners.

Professional dog trainers agree that the best no-pull dog harness only supplements training. But not every dog owner has access to a professional for help. It’s tempting to rely on a typical dog harness that makes your freshly groomed pup look cute, but the right option goes beyond looks. Choosing the right one means more safety for you and your furry best friend.

Blue 9 Harness Mary Henn/Rd.com

Best overall

Blue-9 Balance Harness

Many of my colleagues listed this Blue-9 Balance Harness as their first choice for the best no-pull dog harness. Trish Ryan, the owner and trainer at For Paw Drive, especially likes this harness for deep-chested large dogs. “It sits further back on the body, allowing for ease of front legs and shoulder movement and no chafing under the arm,” she says. Six adjustment points and a neck buckle make it comfortable for nearly all dog body types, even when they’re wearing a winter coat.

Our shopping editor Mary Henn has used the Blue-9 harness since her German Shepherd’s puppy days. “We frequently go on long walks and hikes, and the Balance Harness is the only collar/harness device I will use,” she says. It prevents straining and pulling, but “on days when he does pull a bit more, I hook his leash to the front chest loop on the harness, and the pulling is corrected.”

“My favorite thing about the Balance Harness is that it adjusts at every point, so it expands as your dog grows,” she adds. “Henry has worn the same harness since he was 4 to 6 months old, and now, a year later, he is fully grown, and the harness still fits! I think that also speaks to the quality of the harness. After all this time (and a quick cycle in the washing machine), the harness looks as good as new.” 

Pros

  • Ergonomic design and six adjustment points
  • Five sizes and nine colors available
  • Neck buckle for dogs that hate over-the-head styles
  • No chafing under armpits

Cons

  • Harder to adjust the fit properly
  • Won’t fit giant dogs

Rabbitgoo Dog Harness No Pull Pet Harness via merchant

Best value

Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Harness

This Rabitgoo harness combines a budget price with many of the features the pros want. The Y-design padded vest features four adjustment points with both front and back leash clips. The large size has a convenient handle on the back for additional control. It’s not designed for all-day wear and comfort, so use primarily for training and outings. Once you adjust the straps, the over-the-head design makes getting it on and off a breeze.

Pros

  • Won’t break the bank
  • Has padding with breathable material
  • Four adjustment points and 14 colors
  • Comes with illustrations and instructions on how to fit

Cons

  • Not made for all-day wear

Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness via merchant

Best padded

Ruffwear Front Range Harness

After her Australian Shepherd suffered shoulder problems from a poorly designed no-pull harness, dog trainer Nancy Brunswick switched to the Ruffwear Front Range Harness. Certified Trick Dog Instructor and pet author Sassafras Lowrey says the Front Range is her top choice. “It’s easy for readers to find, but it also isn’t restrictive for dogs to wear,” she explains. “It doesn’t pull straight across their shoulders like some other brands or models do.”

A reflective trim is helpful for nighttime walks. For a more comfortable fit, the cushioned harness features two attachment points and four adjustment points. If your pup gets loose, there’s an easy access ID pocket to store their tags or a GPS tracker.

Pros

  • Padded straps to comfortably “hug” the dog
  • Ergonomic design and no chafing under armpits
  • Four adjustment points and two leash attachments
  • Five sizes and 10 bright color options available

Cons

  • Harder to adjust the fit properly
  • Straps on the stiffer side

Petsafe 3 In 1 Dog Harness via merchant

Best for puppies

PetSafe 3-in-1 Harness

Maryland-based dog trainer, Julie Davidson, recommends the 3-in-1 by PetSafe. It’s tighter in the armpits than some others, but works well for new pups. “It has a front and back ring connection on small martingale loops to prevent dogs from backing out,” she says. “That prevents the harness from sliding when the pup gets to the end of the leash. It’s also got a good shape, and doesn’t hinder shoulder movement or change the dog’s gait.” It’s convenient for clients to find the right no-pull harness for teaching proper outdoor potty behavior and avoiding the need to break out pet stain removers.

Pros

  • Comfortable for puppies or smaller breeds
  • Comes in four sizes with five adjustment points
  • Ergonomic design with front and back leash rings
  • Has a back handle strap

Cons

  • Reviewers noted chafing after long use
  • Fasteners aren’t the most durable

Halti No Pull Harness And Training Lead Combination via merchant

Best easy-on

Halti No-Pull Harness

Diana Stearns, of Capital Training and Behavior, says her go-to for larger or giant breeds is the Halti dog harness. “I’ve tried lots of other options, even custom-fitted ones, with my own 7-month-old super-puller,” Stearns says. “But I’ve found these to be the most widely available, and the easiest for most people to fit and handle. I’m not as stable walking as I used to be, with arthritis in my hands, so whatever is easiest on and off, is a plus.”

Instead of a full body harness that’s difficult to put on, the Halti harness loops through the front legs. The chest panel prevents sliding, while the padded straps add comfort. There are three points of adjustment, but a slider adjusts to any tension to prevent pulling. For more doggy manners, here are dog park etiquette rules you should know.

Pros

  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Leash included
  • Has padding for comfort
  • Three points of adjustment

Cons

  • Only available in medium and large sizes
  • Only available in one color

2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness via merchant

Best for heavy pullers

2 Hounds Design Freedom Dog Harness and Leash

Several trainers listed the Freedom harness as a top pick. Dog trainer and expert Greta Kaplan of Fuzzy Logic Dog Training, explains that for heavy pullers who need more control, the Freedom harness can help. It’s just not as ergonomic as other top choices. “The Freedom does have straps across the shoulder joint, which makes me cringe,” Kaplan says, noting it’s not as terrible as the worst offenders that usually sit higher on the dog. “The velvet girth is a little easier on armpits for thin-coated types.”

Dog trainer Beth Hrnciar, agrees. “I love them because of their ease of use, huge selection of colors and prints and the ability to use both front and rear connections individually or simultaneously,” she says. She notes that these harnesses are a game-changer and give owners immediate relief. It offers solid construction with several points of contact to adjust fit for even the most oddly shaped bodies.

Pros

  • Has two leash attachment points and included leash
  • Comes in 19 colors and patterns
  • Made with velvet padding
  • Has four adjustment points
  • Made in USA

Cons

  • Straps go across the shoulders
  • Some reviews noted fraying of the material

Mumupet Service Dog Harness No Pull via merchant

Best for service dogs

Mumupet Service Dog Harness

Charity Marie Starrett, a dog trainer and handler of service dogs, uses this Mumupet service dog harness with her golden retriever mix, Max. “He managed to get out of every single harness I’ve ever bought him except this one. He has yet to outsmart it,” she says, noting it doesn’t bother him or chafe in any way. Her second service dog, Rory, chewed up other harnesses, but Rory also accepts this one.

Starrett likes the Mumupet for the easy way it goes on and off in 10 seconds or less. “Our dogs will put their head through voluntarily, because they recognize it is work time and they like doing work. Then, clip one strap around them behind the front legs,” she explains. Also, it’s easy to clean and lasts for years. “For less than $20, I highly recommend this product. I bought it in 2020 and still use it any time I take our dogs anywhere,” she says.

Don’t have a service dog? Though the photo shows the service dog label, you don’t have to use the velcro tags that come with the harness.

Pros

  • Has a removable Velcro patch that says “service dog”
  • Affordable price point
  • Comes in six sizes and multiple colors and patterns
  • Takes 10 seconds to go on or off
  • Buckles are padded

Cons

  • Front strap rides across shoulders
  • Velcro fasteners can stick to fur

True Love Adjustable Harness via merchant

Best for large dogs

True Love Adjustable No-Pull Dog Harness

Jane Hadfield, trainer at Bigpaw training, specializes in big and giant breed dogs of 120 pounds or more. Owners of these dogs have limited options finding appropriate equipment that fits. “We recently successfully switched a client’s 175-pound Dane to a front-attach harness,” she says. “For particularly strong pullers under 40 inches at the girth, we prefer a Y-design front-attach, such as the True Love.” The Y-front can help prevent the harness from slipping around on a particularly strong puller, and the back attachment clipped onto a long line for recall training.

Pros

  • Fits dogs with up to a 40-inch chest
  • Has a padded chest and belly area
  • Available in 11 colors and five sizes
  • Includes a handle on the back

Cons

  • Reviewers note that clips are stiff

What to consider when buying a no-pull dog harness

The best no-pull dog harnesses should have:

  • An ergonomically designed Y-shape: This harness shape leaves the shoulders unconstricted, allowing for a full range of movement.
  • Multiple adjustment points:  The best no-pull dog harness needs to have a customized fit. The harness should have detailed measuring instructions, the same way you’d pay attention to sizing dog boots.
  • Well-padded straps: This will prevent your dog’s skin from chafing.
  • Two leash attachment points: You can use the back leash connection to secure dogs with a seat belt in the car, or clip in both the front and back with a double leash for additional control during walks and training.

There are some things to avoid while you shop. “Any harness with straps across the shoulder joint is out,” says Kaplan. The earliest popular no-pull harnesses still use this H-type design in which a strap crosses the front of the dog’s breast. When the harness tightens, this strap restricts normal shoulder action, changes normal gait and, in the worst cases, injures a tugging dog.

Harnesses that tightly hug in the armpits or chafe the dog’s front legs are also out. Besides being uncomfortable, the tightness can increase a dog’s anxiety. Also, steer clear of harnesses made from harsh, inflexible material that can chafe dogs with short or thin fur. Those with thick fur have a bit more padding, but also benefit from padded straps and softer, more flexible material that offers comfort for the dog.

How we found the best no-pull dog harnesses

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

FAQ

Why do dogs pull?

You might think dogs pull against the leash to get their way. Or maybe the lure of sniffing and exploring keeps them from thinking straight. Pet lovers often mistakenly think their dogs want to be in charge. The reality comes down to nature. Pulling (or pushing) against an opposing force is a hard-wired reflex. That’s why when you want to brush your dog’s teeth (yes, you should!), your pooch leans away. Dogs have trouble controlling this natural inclination—and so do people.

The opposition reflex prompts dogs to counter pressure with an opposite action. When a dog feels pressure against their throat from the collar, they reflexively move against it. The added pressure from the leash increases opposition reflex so much that dogs willingly injure themselves. Dangerous pressure against the fragile structures of the neck affects dogs’ muscles, breathing, nerves and blood supply when they pull hard against a leash. It’s especially dangerous for tiny breeds susceptible to a collapsed trachea.

Are harnesses better than collars?

Attaching the leash to a harness instead of a collar reduces the potential for neck injury in dogs who pull, but it won’t make the opposition reflex go away. And harnesses that aren’t well-designed can actually make pulling worse (think of sled dogs), which means more danger for you, the dog walker. Unfortunately, poorly designed and ill-fitting no-pull dog harnesses can injure your dog.

About the experts

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