Why do harnesses make dogs pull?

Why do harnesses make dogs pull?

You must have had a similar personal experience that sometimes dogs pull more easily when wearing certain styles of dog harnesses. What’s going on here? Let’s break down why harnesses make dogs pull and how to fix the problem.

Harnesses themselves don’t inherently make dogs pull, but they can enable pulling by distributing pressure over the dog’s chest rather than concentrating it on the neck, which reduces discomfort. Without proper training, dogs may pull more freely.

Why Dogs Pull?

Dogs are curious creatures who love exploring the sights and smells around them. They naturally pull toward things that pique their interest, especially when the harness allows them to do so without pain. Essentially, they’re just really enthusiastic about investigating that lamppost and don’t realize they’re dragging you along!

Are Some Harnesses More Likely to Encourage Pulling?

Absolutely! Here’s how different types of harnesses affect pulling behavior:

1. Back-Clip Harnesses: Popular for their ease of use, back-clip harnesses feature a leash attachment point on the dog’s back. This setup encourages pulling because it gives your dog full forward momentum.

Tactical Dog Harness

2. Front-Clip Harnesses: Front-clip harnesses attach at the chest. They redirect a dog toward you when they pull, reducing pulling over time with consistent training.

3.Step-In Harnesses: Convenient and comfortable, step-in harnesses distribute pressure evenly across the chest and are ideal for dogs that are already trained not to pull. Otherwise, they may enable a dog to pull more easily.

Reflective Dog Leash

Do Dogs Pull More on Harnesses Than Collars?

In many cases, yes. Here’s why:

  • Pressure Distribution: Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly across the chest and shoulders, which makes pulling less painful for the dog than on a collar.
  • Perceived Restraint: Dogs often perceive harnesses as less restrictive, giving them a sense of freedom to explore. As a result, they may pull with greater enthusiasm.
  • Natural Instincts: Working breeds like Huskies have a genetic predisposition to pull, while terriers or scent hounds tend to follow their noses. Harnesses support these instincts by providing more control over their movements.

What Can You Do About Pulling?

  1. Training, Training, Training: Teach your dog that pulling doesn’t get them what they want. If they pull, stop walking and wait until they come back to your side before resuming.
  2. Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog when they walk nicely beside you with treats and praise.
  3. Choose the Right Harness: Consider a front-clip or no-pull harness that redirects your dog toward you rather than allowing them to forge ahead.
  4. Be Patient: Some dogs are naturally pullers and will require consistent training and reinforcement. Don’t expect instant results.


Harnesses are tools, not miracle workers, and each has its quirks. While they may enable some pulling due to their comfortable design, training and choosing the right harness can help you regain control. Now go forth with confidence and reclaim those peaceful strolls!

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FAQ about no-pull dog harness

1.Are no-pull harnesses any good?

Yes, no-pull harnesses can be very effective for training dogs not to pull on the leash during walks. They are designed to provide control over the dog without causing discomfort or harm, making them a popular choice for both new and experienced dog owners. These harnesses typically feature front leash attachments that help redirect the dog’s attention towards the owner when they start to pull, which discourages the pulling behavior.

2.Why are people against dog harnesses?

Some people might be against dog harnesses for several reasons:

  • Reduced Control: Some believe that harnesses, especially those without front attachments, offer less control over a dog than collars, particularly in training situations.
  • Encouraging Pulling: Back-clip harnesses can sometimes encourage pulling because they don’t provide the corrective feedback that a front-clip harness or a collar might.
  • Fit and Comfort Issues: If not properly fitted, harnesses can cause chafing or restrict a dog’s movement, leading to discomfort or even injury.
  • Preference for Traditional Methods: Some dog owners or trainers prefer traditional training methods using collars, especially if they involve specific training techniques where a collar might provide more direct communication with the dog.

3.Why do dog trainers not like harnesses?

While not all trainers dislike harnesses, those who do often cite reasons such as:

  • Less Effective Communication: Harnesses can sometimes make it difficult to provide quick and precise corrections or cues during training.
  • Misuse: Improper use of a harness can lead to bad habits, such as pulling, if the dog learns that they can move freely without direct consequences.
  • Dependence: Overreliance on a harness for control can prevent a dog from learning proper leash behavior when a harness is not used.

4.What are the benefits of a no-pull harness?

No-pull harnesses offer several benefits:

  • Discourages Pulling: By redirecting the dog’s movement towards the owner when they pull, these harnesses make pulling less rewarding.
  • Safety and Comfort: They distribute the pressure across the dog’s chest rather than the neck, reducing the risk of choking or injury.
  • Improved Control: Helps owners manage strong or large dogs more effectively during walks.

5.Are no-pull harnesses safe?

Yes, no-pull harnesses are safe when used correctly. They are designed to apply gentle pressure or redirection without causing pain or significant discomfort. It’s crucial to ensure the harness fits properly and that the dog is gradually acclimated to wearing it.

6.Why people don’t use no-pull front clip harness?

Some people might avoid no-pull front clip harnesses due to:

  • Complexity in Use: They can be more complex to fit and adjust correctly compared to simpler harnesses.
  • Ineffectiveness Without Proper Training: Without concurrent training techniques, simply using a no-pull harness might not solve a pulling problem.
  • Preference for Other Methods: Some may prefer using traditional collars or different training approaches that they find more effective or suitable for their dog’s temperament.

7.How do no-pull dog harnesses work?

No-pull dog harnesses typically have a leash attachment point at the front of the dog’s chest. When the dog pulls, the harness design causes the dog to be turned sideways and redirected toward the owner rather than allowing them to continue forward. This mechanism discourages pulling by making it difficult and unrewarding for the dog to pull on the leash.


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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