No Pull Dog Harnesses – Head Collar vs. Chest Harness
There are a myriad of devices that pet owners use to attach leashes to their dogs. And these devices generally fall into two categories, collars, and harnesses. There are lots of different collars and lots of different harnesses and lots of different reasons why you might use one over the other. But we’ll save that general debate for another day.
Right now we want to focus in on a specific problem that many of us, dare I say almost all of us, dog owners go through. And that is the perpetual puller. Our Runway Rovers, especially the younger ones, get so excited to get out on their walks that they would practically strangle themselves against the leash if we let them. So let’s talk about some of the best no pull dog harnesses that can help fix the problem.
Front Attachment Chest Harnesses
Front attachment harnesses are much lauded for the control they give to pet parents while, at the same time, maintaining comfort for the pets. Just like the name implies, your leash is clipped to the front of the harness which causes pressure to be applied along the chest and shoulders if your dog pulls. This turns your pup back towards you and basically helps him understand that pulling is pretty useless if he’s just going to end up facing you again. This simple concept makes the front attachment harness much better as a training tool than a back-clip harness.
Front- attachment harnesses are also much more comfortable for dogs that pull, than some other training aids such as choke or pinch colors. They are even more comfortable than attaching a leash to a regular collar because it stops doggo from strangling himself with his own excitement.
Front attachment harnesses are generally a great choice for any dog. They tend to be easy to put on and most dogs don’t mind them. However, it should be noted that they can cause chafing if improperly sized. Some harnesses are specifically made with extra padding to prevent this. Please be sure to monitor your pup’s skin and adjust if necessary.
Here are three of our favorite front-attachment no-pull dog harnesses
The Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness is our top pick for front-attachment harnesses. It is minimalistic in design with a buckle on each side which makes it easy to put on your dog. And the vertical chest strap makes it more difficult for a wayward dog to pull out of the harness.
This harness has a ring on the back as well as the front, which allows you to adjust your walking style according to the needs of your dog. Both attachment points help discourage excessive pulling by tightening around the dog’s chest, however, the front attachment point gives you the ability to turn your dog left to right without excessive exertion. You can use a double-sided leash to attach to both points for even more control.
We love that Freedom No-Pull harness is lined with velvet on the leg straps. This makes it comfortable and lowers that chance of chafing or sores developing in those sensitive parts of your dog’s body. We also love the number of color options!
This harness can be purchased from a variety of sellers on Amazon, and often comes with a double-sided-leash included.
The Halti harness is built even simpler than the Freedom harness. It is absurdly easy to put on your dog. A single strap loops around your dog’s chest and back and attaches on the side with one buckle. A second strap runs across the front of your dog’s chest. The Halti harness clips onto your dog’s regular collar as the second line of defense against accidental harness escapes.
Similar to the Freedom harness, the Halti harness is padded on the shoulders with neoprene for extra comfort. It also features attachments on the front, back, or both with a double-sided leash.
The big draw towards the Halti harness is that it’s significantly cheaper than the freedom harness however, a leash is not included.
Ruffwear is an excellent brand if you’re looking for durable, long-lasting performance gear. The Front-Range harness is a bit bulkier than the previous two harnesses. It is designed with two separate padded pieces through which the straps can slide through. This increases comfort and minimizes the potential for any painful rubbing on the dog’s skin.
Again, there are two leash attachment points. But the Front Range harness sets itself apart by its four points of adjustment for extra customization ability and reflective trim for extra safety in low light!
Ruffwear also has a large variety of alternate harnesses. Feel free to check the rest of them out as well!
Head halters are a type of harness that goes around the dog’s nose similar to a horse halter. In our experience, these are a bit less well-known to the average dog owner than other harnesses. But we have used them with some of our rovers with great success.
Head halters most often consist of a band that goes over the dog’s nose, as well as one that buckles on the back of the head behind the dog’s ears. The leash is attached under the chin and allows the human to turn the dog’s nose with minimal pressure. Where the nose goes, the dog follows. A head halter turned our rambunctious two-year-old golden retriever who was, to say the least, unpredictable on walks, into a dog that young children could walk safely without fear of being dragged.
However, head halters are not as universally accepted by the dog or dog-expert community. Some say that head halters allow dog-walkers little overall control, although this has not been our experience at all. The main drawback that we have found is that head halters are somewhat liable to slip off with sustained pulling which could make for a dangerous situation. But this can be mitigated by using a head halter that has a secondary clip to the dogs normal collar around his neck.
You should always ease your dog into any new training device through the encouragement of good behavior and treats. Try to get your dog to place his nose into the halter by himself and then reward him a lot! However, even with training, some dogs just cannot abide having some human-made thing sitting at the base of their nose. If this is the case, you may decide to forgo the head halter and use a traditional body harness instead.
Be aware that, like any collar or restraint there is the potential for injury through misuse. Please do not use sharp-jerk corrections with a head halter and take pains to avoid letting your dog hit the end of the leash at speed which would cause him to jerk his head and neck to the side. You should also be sure to size your pooch correctly to avoid any eye irritation or chafing.
Our top choice for a head collar is made by Halti. It worked extremely well for us. The nose-band is padded with neoprene which helps prevent rubbing. It also stops the band from slipping up the dogs face towards the eyes. Slip the Halti over your dog’s nose and attach the buckle behind his ears. Don’t forget to attach the safety loop to your dog’s collar as well.
We love the gentle control that we are able to achieve with this head collar. We don’t use it much anymore as most of our rovers have graduated to walking nicely on the leash of their own accord but we still bring it out when the young ones want to walk the dogs.
Our pups had no problem easily adjusting to the head collar but every dog is different so be sure to introduce it slowly and reward as you go. The Halti head collar comes with a training guide so and your dog can both learn how to use it.
Gentle Leader is another premier head collar brand. However, we don’t recommend it over the Halti because it does not have a safety loop that attaches to the collar. If your dog has a tendency to bite or nip at strangers or other dogs, you may want to avoid the gentle leader because it could create trouble if doggo slips out with no backup.
The Gentle leader is, as the name implies, gentle, and if you’re not worried about slipping, is an excelletn, lightweight, comfortable head collar for your dog.
It comes in many colors and sizes and can be adjusted to fit most every dog from small to large.
All of these no-pull devices are meant to aid you in your pursuit of calm, controlled enjoyable walks. But the keyword is “aid.” There is no substitute for good, frequent training sessions. But a great no-pull dog harness can help you get there quicker than you may be able to get on your own.
We hope that this article has helped answer your questions about no-pull harnesses and we hope you will take a look at our suggestions and find something that works well for you. If you want to ask a question or leave a testimonial about your personal favorite harness, please don’t hesitate to chime in below!