Best Leashes & Harnesses: An Extensive Guide

In the life of every dog owner, the best leashes and harnesses are not just accessories, they’re essentials. From the basic aspects of control and safety to more subtle benefits like training and health, the right leash and harness can make a world of difference.

The Importance of the Right Leash & Harness

Benefits to the Dog

The right leash and harness can offer immense benefits to your dog. They can provide comfort and security, reducing the risk of injury compared to traditional collars. This is particularly crucial for dogs prone to pulling or have health issues like tracheal collapse or neck injuries. Furthermore, specific harnesses can even help manage certain behavioral issues!

Benefits for the Owner

For us, the pet parents, the benefits are equally compelling. A reliable leash gives you control, especially in potentially risky situations. A comfortable harness makes walks more enjoyable, encouraging a more active lifestyle. For the avid trainer, specific leashes and harnesses can be an indispensable tool in your training arsenal.
As a dog owner, selecting the right leash and harness brings a multitude of benefits:

Enhanced Control: Leashes and harnesses, particularly those with front-clip mechanisms, grant you greater control over your dog’s movements. This becomes essential in circumstances where you need to quickly reign in your dog, whether it’s to keep them away from potential dangers or to stop them from jumping on strangers.

Improved Training: Specific types of leashes and harnesses, like the front-clip harness, can be valuable training tools. They allow you to guide your dog better and discourage undesirable behaviors such as pulling. In a way, they act as a communication channel between you and your furry friend, enabling more effective training sessions.

Health and Safety: The right leash and harness can also help protect your health. If your dog is a strong puller, a sudden jolt on a walk could result in arm or shoulder strain for you. Harnesses distribute the pressure across the dog’s body, making walks more manageable and less risky for you.
Increased Activity Levels: A well-fitted, comfortable harness is more likely to make walks, runs, or hikes enjoyable for your dog, encouraging them to exercise more. This, in turn, means more active time for you as well, helping you achieve your own fitness goals.

Bonding Time: Walks aren’t just about exercise – they’re a fantastic opportunity to bond with your pet. A reliable leash and a comfortable harness make these outings a positive experience, paving the way for a deeper, stronger connection between you and your dog.

Peace of Mind: Last but not least, knowing that your dog is safe and comfortable grants you peace of mind. It takes away the worry of potential injuries caused by collars or ill-fitting equipment. It’s a reassurance that while they’re enjoying their walk or training, they’re also secure and protected.

Types of Dog Leashes & Harnesses

Standard Leashes

These are the most common types, typically made of nylon or leather. They’re a reliable choice for daily walks and basic training.

Retractable Leashes

Retractable leashes offer a range of freedom to your dog but can sometimes compromise control. They’re best suited for open areas where your dog can explore safely.

Adjustable Leashes

Adjustable leashes are a versatile option for dog owners, offering flexibility and functionality. These leashes can be lengthened or shortened depending on the circumstances, making them a handy tool in different environments. Here’s more on why adjustable leashes can be a great choice:

Versatility: The main advantage of adjustable leashes is their versatility. They can be shortened for instances when you need more control over your dog, like in crowded areas or during training sessions. When in safe, open areas, they can be lengthened to give your dog more freedom to explore.

Training Purposes: Adjustable leashes can also be very beneficial for training purposes. You can adjust the length based on the training exercises, allowing your dog enough freedom to learn and follow commands, while still maintaining control.

Multiple Dogs: If you have more than one dog, an adjustable leash can be handy. Some adjustable leashes come with coupler attachments, allowing you to walk two dogs at once, adjusting the length as needed for each dog’s walking style and pace.

Safety: Adjustable leashes can be shortened when walking near busy roads or any potential hazards. This ensures your dog stays close to you, reducing the risk of accidents.

Comfortable Walks: Adjustable leashes allow your dog to walk at different paces, sniff around, and explore their surroundings, making their walks more enjoyable.

Convenience: Some adjustable leashes come with added features like waste bag holders or built-in flashlights, making your walks more convenient.
While adjustable leashes offer many advantages, they’re not suitable for every situation. For instance, they may not be ideal for dogs that pull heavily or for puppies still learning leash manners. As always, your individual dog’s needs and behavior should guide your choice of leash.


Harnesses, unlike traditional collars, distribute pressure over a larger area of your dog’s body, reducing strain on their neck and back. They come in various styles, each catering to different needs and circumstances. Let’s explore these types in more detail:

Back-Clip Harnesses

These harnesses have a leash attachment point on the back, between the dog’s shoulder blades. They are exceptionally comfortable for dogs and are the easiest to put on. Here
are a few reasons why back-clip harnesses are popular:

Comfort: They don’t put any pressure on the throat, making them perfect for small breeds or breeds susceptible to tracheal collapse.

Ease of Use: They are straightforward to put on your dog. Just slip it over their head and snap it closed around their body.

Perfect for Calm Dogs: These harnesses are ideal for calm dogs who don’t pull much. Since the attachment is at the back, a dog that pulls a lot could end up dragging you along!

Front-Clip Harnesses

Front-clip harnesses, as the name suggests, have the leash attachment point at the chest. They offer more control over your dog’s direction and are effective training tools.
Better Control: Since the leash attaches to the front, it allows you to steer your dog, offering better control.

Discourage Pulling: When a dog wearing a front-clip harness pulls, they end up turned towards you. This helps discourage the pulling behavior.
Training Tool: Due to the control they offer, they are useful tools for training dogs who have behavior issues on walks.

Dual-Clip Harnesses

These are the most versatile of harnesses, providing both front and back attachment options. They cater to a variety of needs and can adapt to different situations.

Versatility: With dual-clip harnesses, you can choose where to attach the leash based on your needs at any given time. For calm walks in familiar areas, the back clip may suffice. If you’re in a crowded or unfamiliar location where more control is required, you can use the front clip.

Training and Transition: If you’re training your dog not to pull, you can use the front attachment for training sessions and the back attachment for regular walks. As your dog progresses, you can gradually transition from front to back, making the harness a great training tool.

Comfort and Safety: Like all harnesses, dual-clip ones also distribute pressure evenly, ensuring your dog’s comfort and safety.

When choosing a harness, always consider your dog’s specific needs, your training goals, and your regular walking environment. No single harness type fits all, and what works best will depend on you and your dog’s individual circumstances.

Drawbacks to Consider

While leashes and harnesses provide benefits, they also come with potential drawbacks. Retractable leashes can encourage pulling and may lead to injuries if not handled correctly. Some harnesses can chafe if they’re not a good fit or if the dog has sensitive skin. Hence, always ensure a proper fit and check for any signs of discomfort regularly.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Leash or Harness

Keep in mind your dog’s size, breed, behavior, and your walking environment when selecting the right leash or harness. For example, a strong, energetic breed might do well with a front-clip harness and a sturdy standard leash, while a small, calm breed might be fine with a back-clip harness and a lightweight, retractable leash.


Choosing the right leash and harness isn’t just about looks or style—it’s about your dog’s comfort, safety, and your peace of mind. By considering your dog’s specific needs and your lifestyle, you can make walks an enjoyable experience for both of you!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What type of leash is best for a dog that pulls?
    • A standard leash paired with a front-clip harness is usually the best choice for dogs that pull.
  2. Are retractable leashes bad for dogs?
    • Retractable leashes can be safe if used correctly but can encourage pulling and may lead to injuries if misused.
  3. How do I choose the right size harness?
    • Always refer to the manufacturer’s size guide. Measure your dog’s neck and chest circumference to get the right fit.
  4. Can a harness hurt my dog?
    • A well-fitted harness should not hurt your dog. If it’s causing discomfort, it may not be the right size or style for your dog.
  5. How long should my dog’s leash be?
    • A leash between 4 to 6 feet is generally recommended for most situations to provide a good balance between control and freedom.
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