Are you frequently embarrassed on walks by your dog pulling on the leash?
Are you in danger of being tugged off your feet?
The answer to the problem could be a no-pull harness.
There are different types on the market but we decided to take a close look at a market leader with this in-depth Freedom No Pull Harness review.
The Problem of Pulling
Some dogs seem addicted to pulling on the leash.
It’s what they do.
It might have started out of eagerness to race to the park, but now it’s become their default way of getting from A to B.
Experts tell you that a dog pulling on the lead is self-rewarding.
What they mean is that the dog believes pulling gets them to the place they want to go…which when you think about it does happen.
OK, so the experts tell you to stop in your tracks and walk in the opposite direction (hence delaying the dog’s expectations.)
The trouble is…life is too short.
When you need to exercise the dog to stop them from destroying the house, which has the time to keep stopping and getting nowhere.
So other than send the dog away for training, which costs $$ – plus the house would be too empty without the pooch, what are the other options?
There are a whole variety of no pull accessories out there, from the inhumane to the ineffective.
These largely rely on inflicting pain on the dog when they pull and are a poor substitute for proper training.
However, there are good training aids out there which will give you the edge without being cruel to the dog.
One example is the Freedom No Pull harness which has a good reputation for being both effective and comfortable to wear.
This is why we decided to hone in on this harness to bring you the Freedom No Pull harness review that balances the plusses and minuses of this equipment.
This is a dog harness made from tough webbing, lined with velvet.
It has two leash attachment points: One over the shoulders and the other in front of the brisket.
You have the option to attach a lead at either one of these D-rings or even both at the same time for maximum control.
Each of those lead attachment points works in a slightly different manner.
The brisket attachment works by using the dog’s own weight, when they pull forward, to swing the dog around.
Quite simply, the dog pulls and turns themselves around to face you, hence rendering pulling as pointless.
The attachment over the shoulders is slightly different.
Here there is a sliding loop of fabric passing between two D-rings.
When the dog pulls, the loop tightens, which has the effect of making the girth of the harness smaller and tightening around the dog’s chest.
This has a twofold action.
- First, the tightening around the chest sends the dog a message to stop pulling.
- Second, the harness tightens over the shoulders at the base of the neck. This is the dog’s center of gravity and gives you maximum control of the dog. This is in contrast to some harnesses which spread the dog’s weight evenly and make it more difficult for you to control the animal.
The Freedom No Pull Harness is made in the USA and is a patented design.
Why Has No One Thought of this Before?
If the idea is that simple, how come no-one thought of it before?
The idea was actually the brainchild of Jessica MacDonald.
One day she was tasked with walking her friend’s Rottweiler, who proceeded to tow her down the street.
This set Jessica thinking about the mechanics of weight distribution and how dogs pull, along with the best way to prevent this.
She went home and made the first prototype no-pull harness, especially for that Rottweiler.
Their second walk together was a very different affair with the dog quickly learning to walk attentively to heel.
The harnesses use as a training tool quickly became obvious, and Jessica applied to the US Patent Office for protection of her unique design.
What is the Freedom Harness Made From?
Can you be sure the materials are tough (yet gentle) enough to stand up to a determined puller but without breaking or hurting the dog?
The answer is yes.
The webbing is high-grade industrial strength webbing, the sort used to secure cargo in transit for air flights.
But crucially, the chest strap is also lined with soft velvet, so that the part in contact with the dog’s skin and coat, is reassuringly soft.
The hardware is also high-quality stainless steel so that the whole construction is fit for purpose.
But even better than that, you can buy into a no-chew guarantee.
What this means is if a determined chewer gets hold of the harness and chews their way through it, the manufacturer will replace a maximum of two pieces of the harness.
This novel idea certainly makes the product value for money.
One Size Fits All?
Nope, which is why the harness comes in a wide range of sizes to fit a wide range of dogs?
From extra small to XXL, there is a Freedom No Pull harness for your four-legged.
Getting the correct fit is important because it’s the tightening of the harness that does the trick.
So a too small or too large harness is going to lose impact.
With this in mind, there’s no short cut to measuring the dog ahead of buying the harness to ensure you get the best fit.
Another bonus with the Freedom harness is that it comes in an attractive range of colors.
OK, we know what color training equipment is doesn’t make a difference in how effective it is, but when your dog looks good, it does get your day off to a good start.
With this in mind, it’s good to know, the Freedom harness is available in a rainbow of modern colors, to suit your taste and your dog’s coat color.
There’s also an option to purchase a double-ended training leash designed to work perfectly (and color co-ordinate) with the harness.
This special leash has clips at either end (to fix onto both fixing points on the harness) and a single handle for ease of operator control of the dog.
In the interests of balance, let’s also take a look at the downsides.
Amongst the Freedom No Pull Dog Harness reviews, relatively few people were unhappy with the product.
A few people had a problem with the way the leash lies when attached to the front D-ring.
Even when the dog walked on a slack leash, the angle the lead ran across the dog’s chest to the owner meant that the lead chaffed against the dog’s shoulder.
In one case this caused an actual abrasion to the dog’s skin.
In another, the lead showed signs of wear from the constant rubbing against the dog.
Indeed, chaffing was a recurring theme amongst those who were less than impressed with the harness.
Of course, the risk of chaffing is present with any harness, and likely to be worse for short-coated dogs that don’t have a full coat of hair to protect them.
It also seems that deep-chested dogs are more likely to have rubbing issues than those of more regular proportions.
This is something to bear in mind, depending on the breed of your dog.
Weighing Up to Pros and Cons
To summarize, the Freedom No Pull harness comes highly recommended and is the perfect solution for many people with dogs that pull.
However, there are downsides, such as poorer fit in deep-chested dogs and the risk of chaffing.
Let’s summarize our findings.
On the Plus Side:
The Freedom no-pull harness has the following advantages:
- It has two fixing points for the leash, for superior control
- For some dogs, it works like a miracle to stop pulling
- The materials are first class and the product is well constructed
- You can purchase a ‘No chew’ guarantee
- The harness comes in an attractive range of colors
On the Minus Side:
Whilst the general consensus of opinion is overwhelmingly positive, a few pet parents did have issues using this harness.
These problems included:
- Didn’t fit deep-chested breeds as well as it could
- The tendency for the leash to chafe where it pulls across the front of the chest
- May work best for moderate pullers, rather than seasoned full-on tuggers.
In our opinion, if you have a regular shaped dog, especially a hairy hound, then we’d definitely recommend the Freedom No Pull harness.
We’d still recommend it for deep-chested dogs or those breeds with short coats, but be aware these are the groups more likely to encounter problems (which could equally apply to other rival products).
Ultimately, the choice is up to you!
Happy dog walking.