Why Do Dogs Pull More on a Harness?

Why Do Dogs Pull More on a Harness?

Ever find yourself playing tug-of-war with your dog during walks, despite that fancy new harness?t Today, we’re going to tackle why some dogs might actually pull more when using a harness. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher, isn’t it?

Dogs might pull more on a harness, which seems counterintuitive since harnesses are often recommended to manage pulling. This can happen due to several reasons: some harness designs, like back-clip ones, allow dogs to use their full body weight to pull, which can reinforce pulling behavior. Dogs also have a natural instinct to pull against pressure, which a harness might trigger. Furthermore, harnesses alone do not train dogs not to pull; without proper leash training, a dog may continue pulling. Additionally, a harness can increase a dog’s sense of freedom and comfort, potentially leading to more enthusiastic pulling, especially in stimulating environments. Lastly, a poorly fitted harness can either be too loose, offering little restraint, or too tight, causing discomfort that encourages pulling.

Now, don’t throw away that harness just yet! Let’s dig deeper into this phenomenon and figure out how to get your pooch to chill out on those walks.

How do you get your dog to stop pulling?

To mitigate pulling, it’s essential to:

  • Choose the Right Type of Harness: Opt for a front-clip harness, which has the leash attachment in the front, reducing the dog’s leverage and making pulling less rewarding.
  • Train Consistently: Use training methods such as the stop-and-go technique and direction changes to teach your dog leash manners.
  • Ensure Proper Fit: Make sure the harness fits snugly without being tight. It should not restrict the dog’s movement but should stay in place without shifting.
  • Reinforce Positive Behavior: Use treats and praise to reinforce calm walking and attentiveness to commands.

Does the Type of Harness Matter?

Absolutely! Not all harnesses are created equal when it comes to managing pulling. For instance, back-clip harnesses, where the leash attaches at the back, can actually encourage pulling. It’s akin to a sled dog setup, after all. On the flip side, front-clip harnesses, which have the leash attachment on the chest, can help reduce pulling by redirecting your dog towards you when they try to pull ahead.

Choosing the right harness can make a big difference in your walking dynamics. Click here to check how to choose dog harness.

How Can Training Help?

Training is key. A harness alone won’t teach your dog not to pull; it’s just a tool in your training arsenal. Incorporating training sessions focused on loose-leash walking can help your dog learn to walk calmly without pulling, regardless of the harness type.

A simple technique to start with is the stop-and-go method: when your dog starts to pull, you stop walking. Once the leash relaxes, you start walking again. It teaches your dog that pulling gets them nowhere fast.

How do I adjust my dog’s harness to ensure a good fit?

Once you have chosen the right harness, it is critical that you adjust it correctly. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to easily insert two fingers between your dog’s harness and his body. This ensures that the harness is neither so tight that it restricts your dog’s breathing or movement, nor so loose that it slips off when pulled.

Could There Be Behavioral Reasons?

Sometimes, pulling can be rooted in behavioral issues. If your dog pulls more in a harness, it could be a sign of overexcitement, anxiety, or even a lack of awareness about what’s expected during walks. Addressing these underlying issues through behavioral training and possibly consultation with a professional can reduce pulling.

Understanding your dog’s behavior and how they interact with their environment can provide insights into why they might pull more when harnessed.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Continues to Pull?

If your dog continues to pull despite trying different harnesses and training methods, it might be time to consult with a professional dog trainer or a behaviorist. They can offer personalized advice and training strategies tailored to your dog’s specific needs.


While harnesses can sometimes encourage pulling due to comfort and design, choosing the right type of harness and combining it with consistent training can make your walks much more enjoyable.

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 stopping dog from pulling

  1. Why do dogs pull on their harnesses?
    • Dogs may pull due to excitement, excess energy, or lack of proper leash training.
  2. What type of harness is best for a dog that pulls?
    • A front-clip harness is often recommended because it allows for better control by redirecting the dog’s movement towards you when they pull.
  3. Can all dogs be trained not to pull on a harness?
    • Yes, with consistent training and the right techniques, most dogs can learn to walk calmly on a leash without pulling.
  4. How do I fit a harness properly to prevent pulling?
    • Ensure the harness fits snugly but not too tightly, allowing you to fit two fingers under the straps at any point.
  5. What is the first step in training my dog not to pull on the harness?
    • Begin with basic obedience training to establish commands like “stop,” “slow,” and “heel” to control your dog’s movement.
  6. How can positive reinforcement help in training my dog not to pull?
    • Rewarding your dog for walking nicely without pulling reinforces the desired behavior and encourages them to repeat it.
  7. Are there any specific exercises to reduce harness pulling?
    • Practice the “stop-and-go” and “direction change” techniques during walks to teach your dog that pulling will not get them what they want.
  8. How long does it typically take to train a dog not to pull on a harness?
    • The training duration can vary but typically takes several weeks of consistent practice.
  9. What should I do if my dog continues to pull despite training?
    • Consider consulting a professional dog trainer for personalized advice and possibly advanced training techniques.
  10. Can a harness cause discomfort and lead to pulling?
    • Yes, if a harness is not fitted properly or is unsuitable for a dog’s body type, it can cause discomfort that may result in pulling. Always choose a harness that is appropriate for your dog’s size and body shape.

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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