Do Harnesses Make Dogs Pull More?

Do Harnesses Make Dogs Pull More?

Are you struggling with your pooch turning every walk into a pull fest? As an experienced custom expert from Guangzhou QQPETS, I’ve seen many pet parents face this dilemma, wondering if their dog’s harness is part of the problem. Let’s explore whether harnesses contribute to this tugging trouble and how you can enjoy a tug-free walk with your furry friend.

Yes, especially those harnesses that secure the leash to the back (similar to a sled harness) may inadvertently encourage the dog to pull more. The rear clip design allows the dog to pull on the harness with its entire body, which may reinforce the dog’s pulling behaviour if not properly trained.

Let’s walk through why this happens and how you can effectively train your dog to stop pulling on the harness.

Why Do Dogs Pull on Harnesses?

Understanding why your dog pulls is the first step in addressing the behavior:

  • Instinctual Response: Dogs have a natural instinct to explore and may pull towards smells, sights, or sounds that capture their interest.
  • Harness Design: Back-clip harnesses can encourage pulling because they trigger the dog’s opposition reflex, while front-clip harnesses can discourage it by redirecting the pulling force sideways.
  • Lack of Training: Without proper leash training, dogs may not understand how to walk without pulling.

Choosing the Right Harness

Selecting the appropriate harness is crucial:

  • Front-clip harnesses are generally better for training as they offer more control and discourage pulling by redirecting your dog towards you.
  • Back-clip harnesses may be suitable for dogs that already know not to pull or for those who require less guidance.

Training Your Dog Not to Pull: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Basic Command Training

Before hitting the road, make sure your dog understands basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.”

  • Indoor Training: Start in a distraction-free area to teach these commands.
  • Consistency: Practice regularly to reinforce these behaviors.

Step 2: Introduce the Harness

Gradually acclimate your dog to the harness:

  • Fitting the Harness: Ensure the harness fits snugly but isn’t too tight. Adjust it so you can slip two fingers under any strap.
  • Positive Association: Let your dog wear the harness around the house while offering treats and affection to associate it with positive experiences.

Step 3: Implement the ‘No Pull’ Training Technique

Once your dog is comfortable with the harness, start leash training:

  • Redirection: When your dog begins to pull, change direction and use a command like “this way” to refocus their attention towards you.
  • Reward: Immediately reward your dog when they turn towards you and stop pulling, either with treats or verbal praise.
  • Consistency: Repeat this process consistently to teach that pulling will not lead to moving forward.

Step 4: Practice and Gradual Exposure

Increase the complexity of walking environments gradually:

  • Short Walks: Start with short walks in quiet areas to practice the new skills.
  • Increase Challenges: Gradually introduce more distractions like other people, dogs, or busy areas to reinforce training under various conditions.

Step 5: Ongoing Reinforcement

Regularly practice these techniques and reinforce the training:

  • Daily Walks: Use daily walks as opportunities to reinforce good habits.
  • Consistent Commands: Use consistent commands and rewards to maintain training focus.


By understanding the reasons behind leash pulling and applying the right training techniques, you can enjoy more peaceful and enjoyable walks with your dog. It’s about patience, consistency, and the right harness.

Transform your walks into enjoyable experiences with the right approach to training and equipment!

QQPETS is the leading wholesale dog harness manufacturer of adjustable harnesses for dogs and other items that people may use when walking their dogs. Our goal is to make dog walking easy for pet owners by providing valuable accessories. We offer a variety of customization services including custom logos, custom graphics, custom products and more. If you want to start your dog products business, check out our website and contact us today.

FAQ about how to stop your dog from pulling

  1. Why does a harness make my dog pull more instead of less?
    • A harness can encourage pulling because it’s more comfortable than a collar and doesn’t cause discomfort when the dog pulls, giving them little reason to stop.
  2. What type of harness is best to prevent my dog from pulling?
    • A front-clip harness is ideal as it redirects your dog’s forward momentum towards you whenever they start to pull, making it awkward for them to continue pulling.
  3. How can I train my dog to stop pulling while using a harness?
    • Implement the “stop-and-go” technique: halt every time your dog pulls, and only continue walking when the leash is slack.
  4. Can the fit of the harness affect how much my dog pulls?
    • Yes, an improperly fitted harness can be uncomfortable or allow too much freedom, both of which can increase pulling. Ensure the harness fits snugly but doesn’t restrict your dog’s movement.
  5. What should I do if my dog starts pulling in the middle of a walk?
    • Immediately stop walking, call your dog back to your side, ask them to sit, and only resume walking once they have calmed down.
  6. Is there a way to use treats effectively to reduce pulling?
    • Yes, use treats to reward your dog when they walk beside you with a loose leash; this reinforces the behavior you want to encourage.
  7. What common mistakes should I avoid when trying to stop my dog from pulling?
    • Avoid continuously pulling back on the leash, which can trigger your dog’s opposition reflex and make them pull harder.
  8. How long will it take to train my dog not to pull on a harness?
    • Depending on the consistency of training and your dog’s temperament, it may take several weeks to a few months of consistent reinforcement.
  9. Should I use a different type of walking gear if the harness doesn’t help?
    • If a harness isn’t effective, you might consider trying a head collar, which provides more control over your dog’s head and can discourage pulling.
  10. How can I tell if my dog is more comfortable with a harness or a collar?
    • Observe your dog’s behavior and body language. If they seem less stressed and more responsive to commands with a harness, it’s likely more comfortable for them.

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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