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No-pull Harnesses: How do They Work?

No pull Harnesses How do They Work

Collars for dogs that pull on the leash can cause damage, while regular harnesses can encourage pulling. But how do no-pull harnesses work to stop dogs yanking?

No-pull harnesses are excellent for dogs that love to tag on the leads via their chests. Traditional back-clip harnesses may encourage pulling because the leash is attached to the back, much like a dog pulling a sled. Consequently, the dog can run ahead of the owner, drawing on the harness with their chest. 

On the other hand, no-pull harnesses have the D ring attached to the front of the dog’s chest. The leash control is always towards the front giving a sturdier hold on the dog. Due to the leash control placement, no-pull harnesses are also called front-clip harnesses. Here we cover no-pull harnesses extensively, including their benefits, disadvantages, and how they work. 

How Do No-Pull Harnesses Work

No-pull harnesses work by taking advantage of the leash control placement to curb dog pulling during walks. The clip where you attach the leash is in front of the harness. Therefore, the owner is ahead of the dog at all times. If a dog begins to pull, the lead attached to the front will cause them to pivot round. This means they are now facing you, and this takes the reward out of pulling you.

The no-pull harness has straps that you fasten over the shoulders, chest center, and behind the front leg armpits. This contrasts significantly with the traditional collars that wrap around only the neck of the dog. Collars can cause neck or back injuries when your dog yanks on the collar end too hard.

You have greater control over your pup’s movement when walking your dog with a no-pull harness. No-pull harnesses create an uncomfortable sensation for your dog of losing balance. The leash control also moves to the side every time your dog tries to pull, not straight back like a regular harness. 

The PawSafe front clip harness is an excellent option if you’re looking to purchase a quality no-pull harness. This product trains your dog to heel, all while ensuring the safety and comfort of your pup. The harness is specially designed with adjustable straps, allowing it to perfectly fit and secure your dog. 

No-pull harnesses work much like the other harness types in the market because they distribute pressure over the chest. However, they have the added advantage of extra grip during walks because they discourage dogs from tagging on the leash, especially for ill-trained dogs or puppies. 

Benefits of No-Pull Harnesses 

They are comfortable and unlikely to cause injuries

Harnesses, in general, are a much better pick than dog collars. Harnesses have straps that rest on the chest area and shoulders. The chest is a much wider surface area than that collars lie on, which is the neck. Collars can injure or even choke your dog if they pull on it too hard. Small dogs are particularly at risk of neck injury due to excessive yanking on the collar. 

The distributed pressure means that harnesses are more comfortable for your dog than traditional collars. The key to a comfortable harness is ensuring it’s close-fitting. A snug fit means that the harness is neither too small, leaving indentations on the skin, nor too big for the dog to slip out. 

Harnesses may be tougher to put on your dog than a collar. If your dog is new to them, this is a step-by-step guide on how to put on a dog harness so that the process runs smoother next time. Remember to use positive reinforcement like their favorite treats as your pup gets accustomed to walking in a harness.  

Help discourage pulling

Regular harnesses may promote pulling in rambunctious dogs because they’ll use their chests to pull instead of their necks. Because the chest is more muscular than the neck, regular harnesses can cause your dog to drag you forward even more than they would have with a collar.  

No-pull harnesses function by steering your dog towards you whenever they start tugging on the leash. Despite no-pull harnesses being more comfortable than collars, they don’t give freedom for pulling as regular leashes do. They limit the range of motion just enough to keep the dogs moving forward as you walk. 

The major benefit is that no-pull harnesses make you a passive part of teaching a dog not to pull. Instead of using punishments like yanking, yelling, prong collars, or e-collars, you are allowing your dog’s own pulling to naturally discourage them. This helps your relationship with your dog, as it takes the frustration out of walks. 

It means you don’t strain your bond with your dog by constantly dishing out punishment, becoming irritated, or just being ignored by a dog that is yanking along. Instead, if your dog pulls, they yank themselves in the opposite direction they want to go. This is a natural and easy way to discourage pulling on the leash.

Well-trained dogs can easily use regular or traditional leashes. Newly trained pups do best with front clip harnesses because the level of discomfort is enough to minimize pulling but insufficient to hurt them. Your dog will quickly learn to walk beside you, not ahead of you, to avoid unnecessary bumping on the owner. 

Although they offer sturdier control, no-pull harnesses don’t completely interrupt your dog’s range of motion. Dogs can still move around easily, especially if you have mastered the skill of loose leash walking. A dog jerking on the leash makes it taut, and your arms, back, or shoulders may pay the price for the constant pulling. Therefore, you ought to train dogs to walk on a loose leash. 

Best for dogs suffering from tracheal collapse or back injuries

Some dogs have medical issues that necessitate using harnesses during walks for the dog’s safety. Tracheal collapse is characterized by a weakening of cartilaginous tracheal rings causing difficulty in breathing. Collars may be too harsh on the throats of dogs with medical conditions making no-pull harnesses the best option. Even large dogs who pull too much on their collars during walks tend to get long-term damage to their throats.

Long-bodied breeds such as dachshunds are susceptible to Intervertebral disk disease or slipped discs. Such dogs will benefit tremendously from no-pull harnesses, which exert less pressure on the back. We recommend no-pull harnesses for dogs with glaucoma, orthopedic issues, and spinal malformations. 

Disadvantages of No-Pull Harnesses

In spite of the numerous benefits of no-pull harnesses, they have a few drawbacks. However, the positives far outweigh the negatives, but it’s still worthwhile to be aware of the cons of these harnesses. Knowing the disadvantages enables you to find solutions for maximum enjoyment of the benefits.

Harder to install and bulky

You can’t just slip on a harness and be on your way. You need to take your sweet time to ensure every strap is in place and the harness fits well. This is pretty inconvenient, especially if all you want is to take your dog with you on a quick errand. Additionally, all the straps make no-pull harnesses quite bulky, so your pup needs some getting used to the extra weight. 

Limited for dogs over 100 pounds

Huge dogs need special attention concerning choosing a quality no-pull harness. You simply need to adjust the collar to the neck size, but no-pull harnesses are delicate because you risk buying small or large ones. Additionally, no-pull harnesses require more physical strength, which can be hectic with giant breeds. 

No-Pull Harness Vs. Regular Harnesses: Why No-Pull Harnesses Are the Best

Regular are traditional harnesses and no-pull harnesses vary in lead leash placement. While the D-ring of a no-pull harness lies on the dog’s chest, that of a regular or back clip harness lies on the back. The leash attachment placement is in front for no-pull harnesses and at the back for standard harnesses. 

Regular harnesses can encourage pulling tendencies in dogs. They make it seem like the pup is pulling a sled or a cart, causing them to yank even harder because of the back attachments. These harnesses are fantastic for well-trained dogs like those in the police service because they won’t pull regardless of the leash control positioning. 

No-pull harnesses outdo regular harnesses in curbing hauling tendencies, but they allow for a more natural range of motion. The dog can freely move without the unusual falling sensation.  We’ve covered the types of dog harnesses and their pros and cons to exhaust others, such as the dual clip harnesses. 

Opt for no-pull harnesses for dogs and puppies yet to receive adequate heel training (teaching to walk by your side). Advance to regular harnesses if you’re confident in your dog’s obedience and level of heel training. Both distribute pressure to the shoulders and chest, making them easy on the neck and back. 

Final Thoughts 

No-pull harnesses work by redirecting your dog towards you if they pull on the leash. You find the leash control in front in a no-pull harness. The result is that the owner always stays ahead of the dogs. No-pull harnesses discourage and minimize dog pulling because when they do, the dog bumps into the owner in front. 

No-pull harnesses are ideal for dogs with throat and back problems because they exert minimal pressure on these areas. It’s essential to ensure that no-pull harnesses fit your pup correctly for maximum effectiveness. A small harness presses on the skin, and a dog can slip out of a large one. No-pull harnesses are excellent for dogs and puppies lacking sufficient heel training. 


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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