Choosing an easy-walk harness for your dog requires you to look at your dog’s current training needs, age, level of pulling and size as well as your budget. The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness is one of the most popular ranging in price from $20 to $30. It is available in most pet supply stores, brick and mortar and online, as well as the Petsafe website.
What is an Easy Walk Harness?
An Easy Walk Harness’ most prominent feature is that the dog’s leash is clipped to the front of him. The advertisement of being a “no-pull dog harness,” which an Easy Walk Harness is, is often the main reason a dog owner is drawn toward this style. Trainers, who use positive re-enforcement techniques, will often choose them over prong, shock or slip collars, because of the ability to easily and safely refocus and control the dog without the risk of harming the dog physically or mentally.
Although people tend to refer to any no-pull harness as an easy walk harness, they aren’t. Easy Walk Harness is a brand name, much like Kleenex is a brand name for tissue. The Petsafe Easy Walk Harness was developed by a veterinary behaviorist in 2004. It is a simple looking harness with a strap that fits around the girth of your dog’s chest behind his front legs and a second strap that loops from the original around the front of your dog’s chest in front of his front legs sitting near the top of his breastbone. The area to clip the leash is on this front strap and is secured to a loop that mirrors that found in a martingale collar. If the leash pulls, the loop pulls out bringing the two sides of the strap together making it tighter.
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness isn’t the only no-pull harness in the category with the martingale feature. Erin Mahoney, a dog trainer certified by the Animal Behavior College, identifies this as a safety feature that, when sized correctly, can keep your dog from getting out of the harness.
What size Easy Walk Harness should you use?
These harnesses are usually sized based on the girth or “chest width” of your dog. Using a tape measure, measure the biggest part of your dog’s chest, where the harness strap will fall. It will wrap around the rib cage from your dog’s shoulders down to approximately 1 inch behind his front legs. Some brands, like PetSafe, include a second strap measurement guide that goes over the breast bone from the two points it would connect with the first strap. Sizes range from petite or extra small to extra-large. Petsafe includes approximate weight in their sizes while other brands, like Kurgo, offer breed size comparisons. Refer to the harness brand’s website for specific measuring and sizing instructions.
Once you receive the harness, read instructions or watch videos that the brand has available to get the fit correct. It’s important that the front strap fit snuggly and doesn’t fall down. If that happens, the harness could be putting pressure on the wrong part of your dog’s body, which could injure your dog.
What is the Gentle Leader easy-walk style harness?
The Gentle Leader is another Petsmart product. It is a collar style easy-walk tool. It looks like a collar with an additional loop that goes around your dog’s nose. It sits high on the snout so that it does not act like a muzzle. Your dog has the ability to drink, pant, bark, play ball, etc. The headcollar style makes it very easy to redirect your dog’s focus when needed since you can control where his nose is pointing.
The head collar can outperform the harness in a couple of ways. Redirecting is easier and you have the ability to control a dog from lunging or jumping up. This style cannot be used for all breeds. Those with flat or short snouts won’t be able to get a fit that is effective. It also often requires additional training to get a dog used to and comfortable with the style.
There are other brands of head collars or head halters. Sizing is usually done by measuring your dog’s neck or by weight.
Who should use an easy-walk style harness or halter?
Erin uses the Easy Walk Harness when training puppies who are still developing physically, so that there is no concern with harming the trachea like there may be with a gangly and energetic puppy on a collar. She will also choose this type of harness when working with aggressive and strong pullers. Erin believes all dogs using these harnesses should understand focus/eye contact, leash pressure, “wait”/“sit” and “leave it” commands.
This style of harness will work for almost all dogs, although if fit or sized incorrectly, a dog could injure himself. These harnesses work by giving the owner control of the dog but are designed to do so with restricting as little movement as possible. In 2013 Dr. Christine Zink pointed out to Dogster’s sister publication, the Whole Dog Journal, that she, at the time, didn’t believe there are any no-pull harnesses that are non-restrictive. Since that article, there have been front clip harnesses whose design takes into account Christine’s concern.
Top easy-walk harness type brands
Shopping for an easy-walk harness because your dog pulls on the leash? Check out these 7 harnesses.
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
This is the original and brand name Easy Walk Harness. It is easily available at most pet stores in store and online. The cost is approximately $23. Petsafe offers other easy walk harnesses styles, which range from $26 to $38. The Petsafe Easy Walk Harness is the brand Erin is most likely to use in her training.
Blue-9 Balance Harness Buckle Neck
The Balance Harness Buckle Neck was one of the top front clasp harnesses when a comparison was done by Whole Dog Journal in 2017. One of its key features is how its design differs from other easy-walk harnessess. This harness has a strap that sits low around the dog’s neck, one strap around the dog’s ribcage sitting further back than other styles and a strap connecting them that runs down the dogs back and down his chest. Without a strap going across the chest, this style allows for complete freedom of movement of the dog’s shoulders, limiting the issue Dr. Zink has about these types of no-pull harnesses. All straps are adjustable making the harness easy to fit to any dog and they encourage a double lead that latches to both the top and front of the harness for the most control. The Balance Harness Buckle Neck is approximately $40 and can be purchased at Sitstay.com and Amazon.
Kurgo Walk About Harness
This brand looks more substantial compared to other strap styles. You can see that it includes additional padding on the straps focusing the extra cushion on the dog’s back and front chest. The model also has a handle on the back for extra control and the back d-ring leash hook option. The Walk About Harness is available on Kurgo’s website for approximately $34. It is also available online at Chewy.com and Amazon.
Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness.
Ruffwear is known for its active dog gear. Its front clasp harnesses are a full padded harness style and because of this they don’t have the martingale safety feature found in the strap style harnesses. It does have more padding which means more comfort, as well as both front and back leash connection options which can be useful for dogs in active situations like hiking. Along with an ID pocket to keep dog tags quite, the harness also has a light loop for a dog safety light like The Beacon. The cost of the harness is approximately $50 and is available on the Ruffwear website as well as online at REI.com and Amazon.
PetSafe Gentle Leader Headcollar
The Gentle Leader discussed earlier is nylon with a padded nose loop. It is approximately $20 and can be purchased on the PetSafe website, at most pet stores in person and online as well as Walmart.com and Amazon.
Sporn Head Halter
Like the Gentle Leader this halter is designed to control a dog by a strap over the nose. It has a slightly different design that looks like a collar with a strap around it that then loops over the nose. It makes it easy to turn the halter into a collar and makes it more difficult for the dog to escape from the restraint. The Sporn Head Halter is approximately $30 on the brand’s website as well as Chewy.com and Amazon.
A front clasping Easy-Walk Harness is an effective training tool that, when used properly, can help you and your dog enjoy stress-free walks.