Why Are Easy Walk Harnesses Bad For Dogs? (Solved & Explained!)

If your dog has a habit of pulling hard on his leash every time you go for a walk, you may have looked into devices such as the Easy Walk Harness. These harnesses can redirect your dog’s attention and reduce the leverage that he has to pull on the leash. Although there are cons to the Easy Walk Harness, overall, these devices are not dangerous for your dog.

The rest of this article will detail what an Easy Walk Harness is and how it functions, some of the pros and cons of these devices, and why they can actually be much safer than a traditional collar for a dog who pulls on the leash.

What is an Easy Walk Harness?

An Easy Walk Harness, or a “no pull” harness, is a harness which fits behind your dog’s front legs and around his chest. The leash clip on these harnesses is found at the front of the harness, at your dog’s chest.

How does an Easy Walk Harness stop my dog from pulling?

Due to the forward position of the leash clip on the Easy Walk Harness, the leverage that your dog has to pull on the leash is severely reduced. When he attempts to pull on the leash, he will simply turn himself around.

Can an Easy Walk Harness be dangerous?

No, an Easy Walk Harness is not inherently dangerous. However, there have been some professional debates about whether Easy Walk Harnesses are detrimental to a dog’s gait. Some studies have shown that Easy Walk Harnesses cause dogs to reduce the weight put on their front legs when walking, leading to a strange, back-heavy gait.

What are some cons of the Easy Walk Harness?

In addition to the potential effects on your dog’s gait, Easy Walk Harnesses may rub against the skin behind your dog’s front legs, causing chafing. Additionally, if your dog is a severe leash puller who also jumps and lunges at other dogs or people when walking, the Easy Walk Harness may not be a sufficient solution to stop your dog from doing these things.

Is an Easy Walk Harness safer than a collar?

For a dog who pulls hard on the leash, an Easy Walk Harness is undoubtedly safer than a standard collar. Even given the potential cons such as gait changes or chafing, there is no comparison when it comes to the removal of pressure on your dog’s neck.

A dog who pulls on the leash is at risk of severe injury to his neck and airway when wearing a standard collar. The Easy Walk Harness removes the risk of choking entirely.

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What if my dog still pulls on the leash?

Although Easy Walk Harnesses are excellent tools for reducing how much your dog pulls on the leash, it is possible that they will not work to stop your dog from pulling altogether.

In this case, you should pair the use of the Easy Walk Harness with training to get at the root of the behavior itself. This way, even if you don’t have the Easy Walk Harness on hand, you can still teach your dog proper leash etiquette.

How can I train my dog not to pull on the leash?

In order to train your dog not to pull on the leash, you will need to reward him every time he does not pull. Start by using a treat to lure your dog to your side. When there is slack in the leash, reward him with the treat. Next, work on moving a few steps at a time while maintaining the slack in the leash.

Every time your dog successfully manages a few steps without pulling, reward him with a treat. If you are using clicker training for your dog, make sure to click every time you reward with a treat.

Eventually, your dog should begin to catch on to the fact that not pulling earns him treat rewards. The goal of training is to teach your dog that behaving on the leash is more rewarding than dragging you around!

You can also “non-reward” misbehavior by making sure that every time your dog pulls, he is not getting what he wants. Stop walking and stand with your arms at your sides, or even turn around and walk away from the dog park if your dog will not stop pulling. You want to teach him that pulling on the leash will not earn him the reward he wants—behaving will.

Will another type of harness work the same as the Easy Walk Harness?

If you do not want to buy a brand name Easy Walk Harness, any harness with a front-positioned leash clip will function in the same way. The important thing is that the clip is located in the front, so the pulling leverage is removed for your dog.

There are also other options which function similarly to the Easy Walk Harness, such as the Gentle Leader.

What is the Gentle Leader?

The Gentle Leader is a head collar. Instead of a harness, this device fits over your dog’s head, behind his ears and across his nose. It functions in the same way as the Easy Walk Harness in that it removes the leverage that your dog can use to pull on the leash, giving you more control over your dog.

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Should I use an Easy Walk Harness?

Whether you should use any training device, whether it be the Easy Walk Harness, the Gentle Leader, or anything else, depends upon your specific dog and the issues that you deal with. If your dog consistently pulls on the leash, and you are having trouble training him to kick the habit, then he is probably a great candidate for an Easy Walk Harness.

If you have a brachycephalic breed—a dog with a short face—then an Easy Walk harness is a better choice for your dog than a Gentle Leader, since the head collar will not be as effective on a dog with a short nose.