Why Are Front Clip Harnesses Bad? (Solved & Explained!)

Choosing the right harness to take your dog for a walk can be difficult. However, it’s best to avoid a front clip harness, as there is evidence these can be dangerous and ineffective for your dog. 

While different experts will have different opinions, there are plenty of other options for dog harnesses than front clip models that will allow you to walk your dog safely without risking them escaping their harness. 

Why Are Front Clip Harnesses Bad?

It is inevitable that your dog is going to pull on their harness. With a front clip harness, it can put a lot of pressure on your dog’s throat as they pull. Thus, it creates a choking hazard, along with the potential to damage their neck or throat. 

Are Front Clip Harnesses Uncomfortable For Dogs?

A front clip harness, because of how it’s designed, can make it difficult for your dog to move their shoulders as they walk. This could end up affecting their posture, which in turn, can put them at risk for injury or pain later in life. 

How Can Front Clip Harnesses Affect A Dog’s Posture?

There have actually been studies conducted to see how dogs who wear front clip harnesses regularly are affected by them. It was witnessed that many of them would not distribute as much weight to the front part of their body, specifically their legs. 

This is because a front clip harness puts undue pressure on the front legs, which is not conducive to a dog walking properly. 

Why Do People Still Use Front Clip Harnesses If They Are Bad?

Front clip harnesses are sometimes marketed as harnesses that will help control your dog’s ability to pull on their leash. This seems to be ideal for dog owners who have a hard time reigning in their dog, especially if they are strong. 

The last thing a dog owner wants is for their dog to be able to pull their leash out of their hands so the dog can run away freely. The more effective method for deterring your dog from pulling on their leash or harness is to take time to train them how to properly walk around with a leash and harness on. 

Consider having them walk with you to areas around your home, and give them a treat when they don’t pull. When they are pulling, gently tell them no and do not reward them. 

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Why Do Some Dog Trainers Still Recommend Front Clip Harnesses?

Unfortunately, pet experts don’t always agree on what is safe and not safe for your dog. This makes it difficult to know who to trust. Your best bet is to compare potential risk to possible reward. 

Dog trainers who recommend front clip harnesses, or no pull harnesses, do so because they believe they are safe for the owner. The safety for the owner is based on how front clip harnesses can allow owners to keep control of a difficult-to-train pup while taking them on walks. 

Dog trainers also believe that using a front clip harness while training a dog who constantly pulls is the safest way for the dog to learn that pulling is not allowed. 

Are There Alternatives To Front Clip Harnesses That Will Stop My Dog From Pulling?

Unfortunately, there aren’t other options available right now that will deter your dog from pulling on their leash. Dogs are going to want to explore the area they are walking in, and they also get excited easily, so it’s inevitable that your dog might pull from time to time. 

Your best bet is to adequately train them to stop pulling on their leash. This can take some time and a lot of patience, but it’s a better option than potentially hurting your dog. 

How Do I Know A Harness Fits My Dog Correctly?

Most quality dog harnesses will come with adjusters to help you customize the fit to your dog’s unique body structure. You will want to slip two fingers in around the neck, chest, shoulder, and waist area to make sure that the fit is snug but breathable. 

You also want to see if the harness moves around at all as your dog walks. If you notice the harness shifting around their body, you will need to tighten it a little bit. 

You also want to check around the neck, under the armpits, and around their midsection once you take off the harness to see if it has left any marks that could be a sign of future skin irritation. 

Can’t I Just Attach The Leash To My Dog’s Collar?

It’s not recommended to attach a leash to a dog’s collar anymore, regardless of how the collar is structured. Any friction or pulling your dog does, even if it’s unintentional or gentle, can cause the collar to dig into your dog’s neck. 

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Your dog’s neck and throat are tender, and there are a lot of very important parts of the neck and throat that can be severely impacted by too much pressure in that area. It’s best to opt for a harness that goes around their chest and midsection, as this area can withstand a little bit more pressure. 

When Should Harnesses Be Removed?

You might let your dog wear their harness around the house when it’s new just to give them time to get used to it. This is fine, so long as you monitor their activity to ensure it doesn’t bother them, and reward them with a treat for successfully wearing it. 

However, once your dog is acclimated to their harness, it’s best to only have them wear it when you are taking them for a walk or transporting them to and from a car, for example. It could unnecessarily constrict them otherwise, such as when they are sleeping. 

A wet harness should also be removed as soon as you and your dog are safely indoors, as the dampness can matte their fur, cause their fur to get pulled because of knots, or can irritate their skin.