When it comes to walking your dog, do your use a harness or leash and collar. If you’re like me, I’m always on the quest to find the perfect harness for each individual dog that I walk.

If you use a harness, the type that you choose is important to your ease and safety when it comes to walking your dog. As a dog walker and dog owner, I have tried out a variety of harnesses over the years. Some of them, such as the types the dog steps into are like a puzzle to me. Primarily these have been used on small dogs. I remember one harness that a Yorkie owner had. Just trying to keep his legs in the harness when I was putting it on was fun to watch. One leg in, one leg out!

Our Labradoodle was a puller so we tried a harness on her. Top connection harnesses provided no control. She also did not like the Easy Walk which I have used on several dogs. Easy walks can be compared to the leads you see ponies being led around on if you visit a children’s zoo. We finally settled on the Sens-ible Harness by Softtouch Concepts. This is a front connection harness, which while similar to others, offered two points of connection. Walking our Labradoodle became a pleasure. I walk a Yorkie and a Sheltie using this harness.

A step-in harness that a mini Sheltie I walk is different than any other I have encountered. One loosens a toggle and the dog steps in the two sidepieces. The toggle is then tightened and walks can begin. While this harness is the owner’s choice, it’s not mine. I always check to make sure the harness is not too tight around her legs as I am concerned that chafing might occur.

Two smaller dogs that I recently cared for were known for their escape artistry. I was determined that no problems would occur while they were in my care and I found the perfect harness for them at the local Pet Valu store in Cherry Hill. Made by Jump, these air mesh harnesses had a soft fit and were easy to get on and off. The dogs were very comfortable and secure in their new harnesses and our time together was a success!

Continuing on my search for a harness for the two new large dogs in my care I was introduced to the Harness Lead. Harness Lead bills itself as being escape proof and I can see why. The harness wraps around the dog’s chest and the lead is threaded through an opening behind the dog’s head. Not only do I feel secure walking a dog with this harness, there is no issue with possible chafing. It is relatively lightweight and very comfortable. While there was some pulling that has occurred with both large dogs I use this for, it has made a distinct difference. I also use this harness on my Shih Tzu and a client’s bulldog.

The newest harness that I tested was developed by Victoria Stilwell. I had attended a two day conference with her and was interested in seeing her design. I purchased two, one for a client and one for to test on my Lab. It is a double connect training leash (can be used singly) and can be connected in the front, behind the dog’s head, or in both places. Connecting it in both locations for training is awkward as the leash is only four feet long. Connecting it as a front lead, it’s like an Easy Walk. I also found as did my client that the harness is difficult to fit and feels heavier than similar products on the market. Both dogs that tried it also seemed to notice the heavier weight.

I have also used conventional top connection harnesses. These seem to provide no control when walking and a dog that pulls can cause the walker to experience problems in handling. Dogs can still lunge and any attempt to discourage pulling is for naught.

So what kind of harness do you use? Listed above are my findings. As for me, I’ll continue to use the harness lead.

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