Harnesses….What’s up with that?

I got a call the other day from a woman who wanted to know if I sold "no pull harnesses". This got me thinking about what’s going on in the dog world with harnesses.

The harness manufacturers have done a great job of trying to promote their products and a more Humane way to attach your dog to you. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some pups (like little tiny dogs) that benefit from having a harness, but to tell you the truth these contraptions are more trouble for the average pet owner than teaching the dog to walk properly on a leash.

Most trainers only use harnesses when we WANT the dog to pull. We use them in tracking, carting, and a few other specific applications but I would never tell one of my clients to use one as a general purpose dog handling tool, and I’ll tell you why.

Dogs have this thing called opposition reflex that makes them Pull harder when they have pressure on their lower neck and chest. That’s exactly where a harness puts the MOST pressure on a dog. We use that reflex in tracking to get the dog to pull forward, but for general obedience work you never want the dog to pull you.

So, enough of my rant on the harness sales industry. Do yourself a favor if you dog is pulling you around. Don’t rush out to the local big box doggie store and get the latest no pull harness, call a trainer to come to your home and give you one lesson to fix the pulling. Your life will be easier and your right arm will thank you.

Steve Haynes
Austin Dog Trainer
Fidelio Dog Works