Do Dog Harnesses Work?
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Do Dog Harnesses Work?

Dog Harnesses. Do They Work?

I have asked myself this question many times - “Do dog harnesses work and can they Stop Your Dog Pulling?”.

You can't beat a Check Chain, surely?

I have always been of the opinion that nothing works better on an unruly dog that a check/choke chain! Let's face it, logically, if the collar gets tighter the more the dog pulls, then it can't fail to work – can it? Or so I thought! However, I've recently had my mind changed for me.

Many dogs.

I've owned four dogs in total, although I've looked after many more. My first two were Collies and the second two Lurchers. The two Collies were fairly easy to handle on the lead. The first one because she was a middle aged dog when I got her and the second one because she was fairly small for a Collie. The 'runt of the litter' it could be said as all her siblings were normal sized Collies while she was well... petite! Both Collies were good when being walked and never gave be any problems in that department.

My first Lurcher on the other hand was are a nightmare! He was quite a big boy at a little over 27 kilos and strong and fast. Very fast in fact! Lurchers, in case you don't know the breed, are a cross of a Greyhound and some other breed. Often a Saluki or a sight-hound of some sort, although sometimes with other breeds, which makes for some quite interesting dogs.

The Lurcher dog.

The Lurcher is not a breed, as such, but more a type of dog. The Greyhound part gives them an impressive turn of speed which is why they are used for racing and hunting, whilst their other lineage provides other particular characteristics. But they are all still very fast though!

I walked this dog with a check type collar, not a full check chain, but one with a fabric strap around the neck and a loop of chain connecting to the lead. It still tightened up around the dog's neck when it pulled though. This seemed to work reasonably well even with an extending lead, although I have heard of instances where long-necked dogs have been seriously injured when running fast and having the extending lead suddenly becoming fully extended and stopping them abruptly! Some injuries have been fatal, I believe!

Meet Lucy the Lurcher.

My fourth dog, is a Brindle colored Lurcher bitch named Lucy. I found her at a local dog rescue center looking very under nourished and bony. She had been found abandoned near a traveler site and rescued just in the nick of time apparently.

She is now about 16 months old, weighs almost three times as much as she did when I got her and is proving to be a very good pet. Very friendly and playful. Loves everyone and every other dog she meets. Hates cats and foxes though and tends to chase after them at every opportunity. Not a very nice characteristic, but then as Lurchers are descended from an Egyptian hunting dog it is probably to be expected.


She was starting to walk nicely with a wide 'greyhound' type of leather collar until she had a mishap in the nearby woods and ripped her side open on a tree trunk! Ouch! Grounded for a month or so after surgery to recover and recuperate. Walking around the garden on the lead (vet's orders) meant she quickly forgot all that training and became a bad walker again! She seemed to have become a young puppy again, but with all the strength of an adult dog. A bad combination when walking along the streets and open areas and meeting other dogs etc. Even a check chain collar wouldn't hold her!


She would pull constantly, and being quite strong I soon found that walking her was not a pleasure anymore! Any cat encountered meant I was in danger of being pulled over and possibly dragged into the road if caught off-balance. She would rear-up on her hind legs, straining to get at the poor moggy and almost choking herself in the process! Not good for her and definitely not enjoyable for me. I would come back from our walks feeling tired, achy and angry with the her for giving me such a hard time.

Something had to be done!

I'd heard about Dog Harnesses before, and several fellow dog-walkers had even recommended them, but I was of the opinion that if it made it easier for the dog to pull it would do just that! The idea of a harness around the dog's chest seemed counter-intuitive. Surely a standard collar or check collar would be more effective. From a human point of view I don't think I'd pull against something tight around my neck whereas I could probably pull a car - well, a small one perhaps - with a rope around my chest. It didn't seem logical at all.

To buy a Dog Harness or not to buy a Dog Harness?

Anyway to cut a long story short I decided to buy one and try it. The one I bought, a 'Non Pull Dog Harness - Stop Your Dog Pulling ', claimed to... well.. 'Stop Your Dog Pulling!', “Oh yeah”, I thought! “We'll see”. Anyway it didn't cost much, so it won't be a great financial loss if it didn't live up to its promise to 'Stop Your Dog Pulling!'.

Delivery day.

The day of delivery duly arrived! I removed the harness from its package. “Hm! Doesn't look very substantial.” I thought. “The old leather lead and collar looked far more robust and heavy duty. This one is just nylon webbing and a chrome buckle, with a little bit of padding around two of the straps! Surely it would be no match for any large dog let alone a young, 26 kilo Lurcher keen to confront the nearest cat or fox!”

Fitting the Dog Harness.

The dog was rounded up. Now, being a sweet-natured, easy-going pooch (unless you happen to be a cat or fox, of course) she allowed me to fit the Dog Harness as per the brief instructions without any fuss. Well almost! A bit of adjusting and re-positioning soon had it correctly fitted on the dog though.

She immediately started spinning around as though one of those pesky cats had jumped on her back! I calmed her down and assured her that is was just her new harness and it wouldn't hurt her – or so I hoped!

We hit the road.

I attached the old leather lead, fearing the worst. But she quickly settled down and stood patiently waiting to go 'Walkies!'. We walked to the door. So far so good, but it was 'early days'.

I opened the door. Hey! No 'I'm first out of here!' rush as usual. Just a steady walk across my driveway towards the pavement. “This looks promising”, I thought, “But she'll probably bolt as soon as we step onto the footpath and drag me down the road to 'Cat Land'.

Guess what?

It didn't happen! After a couple of feeble attempts to pull me along just a little faster I looked down to see her trotting along, at heel, beside me! “It can't Last!”, I thought.

We walked further. Still no pulling! “She must be ill.”, I thought. We walked on. There! A cat! Wait for it. Any moment now she'll be off with me in tow! She spotted it. Stopped. Stared at it. Lunged at it!...And stopped mid-leap! She sat down again and observed the fleeing pussy dissapear behind a bush. We walked on!

Home without incident- for a change!

We got home with her none the worse for her new harness and me feeling very pleased and relieved that no money had been wasted and with no backache, arm ache, sore hands or any of my usual post dog walking ailments.

It wasn't a fluke either. After using the new Dog Harness on several more walks it still works. We (or at least I) are enjoying our walks again.

Now, with the cold winter weather making the paths icy and slippery I don't have to worry about losing my footing whenever a cat or fox dares to cross the road ahead of us, anymore. Magic!

Do Dog Harnesses Work?

Well if this one is anything to go by the answer is a definite “Yes!”. If you've got a big, strong dog, or even a smaller dog and you are maybe a little unsteady on your feet, I can only say “Get one!” It could save you a trip to Casualty with a twisted ankle or worse!

And it's recommended by Lucy the Lurcher!

Street Talk

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