Saturday, May 20, 2017

To The Woman Who Hates Dog Harnesses

This morning I got a pretty hateful comment on one of my old reviews for some leashes. The comment was in regards to my dogs wearing harnesses:

"oh god... harnesses.. great way to teach your dogs to pull are you too stupid to actually train your dogs to walk CORRECTLY on a collar?!?!?!?"

Usually I don't feed the trolls but today I decided I wanted to talk about this, since there's a huge misconception about harnesses.

Harnesses DO NOT teach dogs to pull on leash. Humans teach their dogs to pull on leash by not teaching them what they would like them to do instead of pulling. It can also be an impulse control issue as well. A "back clipping" harness **can** give a dog more leverage to pull if they have not been trained and the dog can be more easily reinforced for pulling because the owners might have less control. This is a training issue. It's NOT about what sort of gear you choose. Dogs can pull in any sort of gear at any time, even aversive equipment.

Now let's address the "too stupid" part. It is actually much more challenging to train a dog to walk nicely on a harness than it is a collar and if I can train a dog to walk politely in a back clipping harness, surely I can teach a dog to walk nicely with the leash attached to collar. My dogs can and do walk nicely in their collars all the time and I spend several nights a week helping other owners to achieve this as well, you know... at the dog training facility, where I work...

I **choose** to use harnesses on my dogs because I feel they are safer and more comfortable for the dog to wear. If a squirrel were to run across our path and they do lunge for it, their necks and tracheas are protected. Even the most well trained dogs might go for a squirrel or something and I'd rather the dogs not hurt their necks. I think a harness can be a great piece of equipment to use on a dog, especially for hiking and other outdoor adventures and we will continue to use ours.

We are product testers and I am fully aware the harness on Phoenix does not fit her very well. I didn't feel like bringing her home, putting a different one on her and re-filming.

For further reading about harnesses you can check out my friend Emily's post here:

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. 


  1. I know Hailey is a much better walker on a harness. Some people don't think before they type!

  2. Any old idiot can call themselves a dog trainer... Unfortunately that's why we are DIY folks! No idiot touches my babies. You just can't fix the stupid in this world!

    I prefer collars over harnesses because I feel like I have more control of that important pointy end. Especially with a new dog. I don't know how they will react to a off leash fluffy charging us. If they eat then, we are liable. Stupid world! We hadn't to idiot proof against everything.

    Leash pulling is one of my major pet peeves!! All three of my dogs have the skills to be walked by a pinky finger or a toddler. 😂

    Interesting theory on harnesses and less perceived control. My shy spooky girl, hates a harness. Will not walk in one consistently. (or actually potty! She went on potty strike for an hour walk I
    order to make her point. I switched to a collar and she walked 2 steps and squatted. Message received you little monster!) I think it's because she feels more independent in one. That's a terrifying thing for a shy dog. She likes her mommy to be in control so she doesn't have to worry in her little peanut brain.

    My senior 13 yr old wears a harness for stability assistance, but still walks better in a collar. So that's where I clip the leash. At 13, she gets to do whatever she wants!

    Another pet peeve.... Harnesses that are not centered! Your video made me twitch! LOL I may have extensive issues myself....

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment.

      The harness on Phoenix definitely wasn't centered and it's too loose. We are in the process of testing that harness and because of Phee's unique body style, it doesn't stay where it should like it does on Zoe. I didn't feel like bringing her home and putting a different one on her to film that over.

      Harnesses work for some people and not for others. I personally think they are great. :)

  3. I prefer harnesses over regular collars. My dogs actually walk better on harnesses than collars. So sorry that you received hate when you are the expert and really do know what you are doing much more so than the commenter. I am glad you responded. You have a ton of support from your fans. :-)

  4. I like your response to the hate mail. Some people should get educated on the subject before they response. Your blog is great i get a lot of great information fromy you please keep up the good work

  5. I doubt that someone like that commenter will ever check back but I love your response. If anyone knows how to use positive reinforcement to teach their dogs not to pull, it's you. We all know it, and that person is obviously ignorant. I like the harnesses with the front attachment because my dogs can't pull me as hard if they both decide to go for a squirrel (they outweigh me so they'll win). And, I like harnesses on Shyla in busy environments because she can't "back out" of them, like she possibly can with a collar if she gets scared. I'm with you, Lauren!

  6. Wow. You are WAY nicer than Ma. I don't understand people that feel they need to rudely comment on EVERYTHING under the sun! It sounds like she has lots of issues she needs to work through, and is trying to pull you into her drama. That's why I say, DFTT (Don't Feed The Trolls). I LOVE HARNESSES! you can kiss my........if you gots a problem with that! (just in case she reads this....☺)
    Ruby ♥

  7. If that woman ever had a beagle or other dog who pulled to the point where they were coughing and hacking no matter what you did or tried, she might feel differently about harnesses. No one should judge what choices people make for their dogs, as long as they are not harmful.
    We use harnesses and I agree with what you said 100%.


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