It is pretty common to see me using a harness to work with my, or my client dogs. Harnesses are frowned upon in some dog-training circles but in my experience harnesses, like any other training tool, is just a means to achieve an end: a dog that walks nicely on leash. And harnesses happen to be a comfortable cool-looking alternative to a flat collar that receives neck tension and does not wear or pull on a dog’s neck and airway. Plus harnesses have oodles of options: handles, backpacks, multiple options for where to connect a leash, and extra support for times when dogs need a little lift.
I use harnesses…
- For brachecepahlic breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih tzus, or just any breed that has airway constriction issues.
- For small or delicate breeds that can’t support a rough leash yank.
- For long-term or active wear like hiking, biking, or jogging.
- For dogs that resist neck tension.
- For activities that encourage pulling like tracking, canicross, or toy training.
But mainly I love harnesses because I can use them to calm, focus, and control strong dogs that pull, lunge, or spin on leash. This goes especially for reactive dogs and doubly so for dogs that are so reactive or worked-up that they can’t take treats. These dogs are not in a mindset to learn and I know that no progress will be made until I can get them in a better place mentally and emotionally.
But how do I do that you ask?
I use Ttouch balance talking with a double-ended leash. This is my go-to tool for dogs that bark or lunge when outside.
Balance walking has a bit of a learning curve but it is well worth it, especially for someone like me who has to work with strong reactive dogs on a daily basis. When we need to pull things together right quick, this is my tool of choice.
If you are debating using a harness vs a collar vs some other piece of equipment I would encourage you to…
- Download my free equipment guide using the link below to see all of your options and the pros and cons of each.
- Keep in mind that no piece of training equipment is a magic fix. In the end it is the training that gets things done, the tools are just here to help accomplish that.
- Try a harness out on your dog. There are many different options and styles to choose from (like literally thousands). You might find that you’re more comfortable or have better success with one tool over another. If you don’t like it, keep the receipt and return it (or worst-case be out 20 bucks).
Thanks and Happy Training!