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Dog Harnesses: The good, the bad and the ugly



Image from cleanrun.com

A “no-pull” harness may be an effective way to prevent your dog from pulling too much on the leash, however they can lead to some problems. These harnesses restrict proper shoulder movement, and by doing so limit the amount of pulling, but also negatively affect their normal gait patterns. These harnesses sit on top of some very important muscles, the biceps, brachiocephalicus and the supraspinatus, which help to extend the shoulder joint. This compression and lack of appropriate motion of the shoulder can lead to shoulder pain, arthritis, inflammation and bursitis.


Dogs carry 60% of their weight on their front limbs and 40% on their hind limbs. In dogs who wear harnesses, studies have shown that the begin to shift their weight to the hind end so that they do not have as much pressure on the front. This finding tells us that the discomfort they experience in a harness is enough for them to alter their gait and posture.


If your dog pulls a lot and your concern is injury to the neck, then a harness for training purposes may be the best option for your pet. It is important to fit the harness properly and ensure you’re your dog is able to move their shoulder through his/hers full range of motion. Although most “no-pull” harnesses are designed to restrict shoulder movement, there are some harnesses that have been designed to allow proper movement through the shoulder. At a local pet shop called “Wholesome Canine” they carry a brand of harness called the “Haqihana harness”. This harness is specifically designed to allow for full flexion and extension of the shoulder joint so that no movements are restricted.

Image from haqihana.com


When deciding what kind of leash or harness is right for your dog, please consider how they move in it and determine if they are restricted in any way. The best solution for excessive pulling is training. If you are unsure if your dog’s harness is fit properly, bring them in for an assessment with one of our animal chiropractors! We would be happy to help your pet move better and feel more comfortable.


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5 Comments


oqi107
Sep 13, 2023

Surprised me that I actually found something valuable about dogs on the internet haha, out of the hundreds of articles about dogs I've read this is one of the best. I am pretty young and I certainly do not have any kind of degree in anything dog related but I have seen quit a lot of horrible and awesome things and this is definitely one of the awesome ones, absolutely love that you're spreading this info kids and adults like me definitely need this without these kind of things on the internet I might as well become DogDaddy 2.0!

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rmscholl08
Aug 06, 2021

Is a step-in harness okay? My dog doesn’t pull, but I want something to give me more each of mind than a flat collar. I can’t find anything anywhere about them and if they are safe or bad.

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oqi107
Sep 13, 2023
Replying to

Depends on which brand, I know you're asking the maker of this article but just tryna give y

our info, most harnesses are pretty safe for dogs that don't pull as long as it isn't restricting the shoulders (one flat strap across the front), in the armpits, behind the ribcage, and you're dog seems to not have difficulty walking once it's used to the harness.

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Anne Beaudoin
Anne Beaudoin
Jan 29, 2021

Thank you for your informative article. Just adopted German Shepard /Husky puppy and have been researching pro and cons. I also feel proper training is the most important ....now I now what to look for as a fit in a harness..

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oqi107
Sep 13, 2023
Replying to

I wouldn't assume you're dog is still a puppy but if you're still looking for tips I recommend checking out Kikopup on YouTube😁

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