Do Dog Trainers Like Harnesses?

What is the Best Material for Making a Dog Harness?

Do Dog Trainers Like Harnesses?

Strolling down the street with your furry friend, you might wonder, “What do the pros think about using harnesses?” It’s a juicy question that bounces around the minds of dog owners everywhere. Harnesses are a hot topic in the dog training world, but do the experts give them a wagging tail up or a cautious paw down?

Yes, many dog trainers advocate the use of harnesses over collars, especially for training and managing dogs that pull, due to the safety and control they offer.

Let’s fetch some insights and chew over why harnesses might just be a dog trainer’s best friend.

What’s the Deal with Harnesses Anyway?

Harnesses are more than just trendy dog gear; they are a fundamental shift in how we handle our dogs. Unlike collars, which can put pressure on a dog’s throat and neck, harnesses distribute pressure more evenly around the body. This design reduces the risk of injury and is seen as a safer, more humane option for controlling dogs, particularly those that might pull or lunge.

Why Do Trainers Prefer Harnesses?

The preference comes down to control and safety. Here’s why trainers are often in the pro-harness camp:

  • Health and Comfort: Harnesses prevent the strain on a dog’s neck, which can lead to choking and long-term health issues.
  • Effective Training: They make training sessions more effective. With a harness, a dog is less likely to pull, making it easier to teach good leash behavior.
  • Improved Control: Especially important for managing large or strong dogs, harnesses provide better leverage and control, which helps in preventing accidents and injuries.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

While harnesses come highly recommended, they’re not without their quirks. Trainers acknowledge that harnesses might not be the perfect solution for every dog or situation.

  • Potential for Incorrect Use: A poorly fitted harness can lead to discomfort and even escape. Trainers stress the importance of choosing the right size and adjusting it properly.
  • Training Adjustment: Some dogs may take time to adjust to wearing a harness, especially if they’re used to a collar. Trainers must often work with dogs to acclimate them to the new gear.

When is a Collar Preferred?

In certain scenarios, trainers might still lean towards a collar:

  • ID and Tags: Collars are useful for holding identification and registration tags, which is essential in many places.
  • Low-Risk Dogs: For dogs that are calm, well-mannered, and do not pull, a simple collar may be sufficient for walks.
  • Precision Training: In certain types of obedience training, especially where precise control of the dog’s head and attention is necessary, trainers might opt for a collar.

Harness Training Tips from Trainers

To get the most out of using a harness, follow these pro tips:

  • Gradual Introduction: Allow your dog to get used to the harness gradually. Start by letting them wear it for short periods around the house.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use treats and praises to create positive associations with wearing the harness.
  • Consistent Adjustment Checks: Ensure the harness is adjusted correctly before each walk to avoid any slippage or discomfort.

How to use dog harness to train dog?

Training your dog using a harness can enhance both safety and effectiveness, especially if your dog tends to pull or needs careful handling. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a dog harness effectively for training purposes:

1. Choose the Right Harness

Select a harness that suits your training needs. For dogs that pull, a no-pull harness with a front clip can be particularly effective. Ensure the harness fits well, providing a snug yet comfortable fit without restricting movement.

2. Proper Fitting

Before starting training, make sure the harness fits your dog properly:

  • Adjust the straps to ensure the harness is snug but not tight; you should be able to fit two fingers under any strap.
  • The harness should not chafe or rub against your dog’s skin or fur.
  • Ensure that it allows full range of motion in your dog’s shoulders and legs.

3. Acclimatization

Allow your dog to become comfortable with the harness:

  • Let them sniff it and explore it before putting it on.
  • Gradually introduce wearing the harness indoors, giving treats and praise to create positive associations.

4. Basic Leash Training

Begin leash training in a familiar, low-distraction environment:

  • Attach the leash to the front clip of the no-pull harness, which can help discourage pulling by redirecting your dog towards you when they try to pull.
  • Start with basic commands like “come,” “sit,” and “stay” to get your dog’s attention while they are wearing the harness.

5. Training Not to Pull

If pulling is an issue, integrate specific training techniques:

  • The Stop-and-Go Method: When your dog pulls, stop walking. Only proceed when the leash is slack. This teaches your dog that pulling gets them nowhere.
  • The Direction Change: Change your walking direction frequently to keep your dog’s attention on you rather than their surroundings. This helps reinforce that they must follow your lead.

6. Reinforce Good Behavior

Always use positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors:

  • Reward your dog with treats, praise, or toys when they walk nicely beside you or follow commands with the harness on.
  • Keep training sessions positive and upbeat, which enhances learning and strengthens your bond.

7. Gradual Increase in Difficulty

As your dog gets more comfortable and responsive:

  • Gradually introduce more distractions during walks.
  • Practice in different environments to ensure your dog can behave well on a leash anywhere.

8. Consistent Practice

Consistency is key in any form of training:

  • Regular, short training sessions are more effective than less frequent, longer ones.
  • Consistently practicing the behaviors you want to reinforce ensures better learning and retention.

9. Monitor and Adjust

Keep an eye on how the harness is working for your dog:

  • Regularly check the fit of the harness, especially if your dog grows or gains/loses weight.
  • Adjust the training techniques based on your dog’s progress and any challenges you observe.

Using a harness for dog training not only improves safety but also enhances the effectiveness of the training by providing better control, reducing undesirable behaviors like pulling, and increasing comfort, making the training process more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

What Types of Harnesses Do Trainers Recommend?

Trainers often recommend harnesses that offer both front and back leash attachments. These provide options for different training scenarios:

  • Front-clip: Great for training as it offers more control over the direction the dog is moving.
  • Back-clip: Good for casual walks with well-trained dogs, providing comfortable leash attachment.


Trainers generally favor harnesses over collars due to the myriad of benefits they provide in terms of safety, control, and training effectiveness. While not every dog might need a harness, for those that do, it’s an invaluable tool that can enhance both safety and quality of life.

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FAQ about dog

Do Dog Trainers Recommend Harnesses?

Many dog trainers do recommend harnesses, especially for puppies, dogs that pull, or those with neck or tracheal issues. Harnesses can provide better control over the dog without the risk of injury associated with collars, which can constrict the neck during correction or if the dog pulls forcefully.

Is It Better to Train a Dog with a Collar or Harness?


  • Pros: Offers better control without putting pressure on the neck. It’s particularly useful for dogs prone to pulling or those with respiratory issues. Harnesses can also discourage pulling by redirecting the dog’s motion sideways or back towards the handler.
  • Cons: May not provide as much immediate control over the head as a collar, which can be a drawback in precise obedience training.


  • Pros: Gives direct control over the dog’s head and is useful in focused training sessions where subtle cues and corrections are needed. It’s also less bulky and simpler to use for some dogs.
  • Cons: Risk of neck injuries if used improperly or with dogs that pull excessively. It’s not suitable for dogs with respiratory problems or neck sensitivity.

The choice between a harness and a collar depends largely on the training needs and the dog’s health. For general control and safety, especially in dogs that pull or have neck issues, harnesses are often recommended.

Do Dogs Behave Better with a Harness?

Harnesses can lead to better behavior in dogs that tend to pull because they distribute pressure more evenly around the chest and shoulders rather than concentrating it on the neck. This can make walks more pleasant and less confrontational, reducing the likelihood of pulling behaviors. However, behavior improvements depend on consistent training and the individual dog.

What Are the Negatives of Dog Harnesses?

While harnesses offer many benefits, there are some potential downsides:

  1. Less Control Over Head Movement: Harnesses may not provide as much control over the dog’s direction as collars, which can be an issue in training situations that require precise control.
  2. Possibility of Chafing: If not fitted properly, harnesses can cause chafing, especially around the chest and under the arms.
  3. Escaping: Some dogs, particularly those with narrow bodies or slick coats, might be able to wriggle out of a harness if it isn’t properly adjusted.
  4. Overheating: For some dogs, particularly those with thick fur, wearing a large or heavily padded harness might lead to overheating in warm weather.
  5. Training Dependency: If used as a crutch rather than a training tool, dogs might only behave well while wearing the harness and continue pulling when it’s removed.

Article by

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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