When you take your dog out for a walk, does he pull and strain on the leash? If so, this can be more than simply inconvenient for you and other pedestrians.
Failing to keep your dog under control with the leash puts him at a greater risk for injury, especially when walking in a busy urban environment.
The problem may be in the leash and collar. Many leashes and collar combinations aren’t effective at helping you control dog behavior.
Others work but aren’t humane for the dog.
We went on a quest to find options that will help to control your dog while keeping him comfortable so that you can enjoy your walks and help him learn to stop straining and pulling at the leash.
Even better, we tested them on our dog to see what he thought.
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall: PetSafe Easy Walk No Pull Dog Harness||We found this one easiest to use. It has two options for slipping it on. It’s lightweight and stopped sideways tugging pretty much immediately. Our dog is happy in it too.||Check Price|
|Best for Total Control: 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness||The leash attaches to both the front and back of the harness for total control. The Martingale loop is on the back. Our dog responded well.||Check Price|
|Best for Dual Duty Control: Country Brook Petz Martingale Collar||This collar is a slip-on with an adjustable fit and a Martingale loop. We didn’t use it for a long walk, but it was great for leashing up to go out because he didn’t pull even though he wasn’t in his full-blown harness.||Check Price|
|Best for Dogs Who Jump: PetSafe Gentle Leader Collar||This one is a simple, easy-to-use head collar. We like that it was quite comfortable for our dog while giving us more control. He was less enthusiastic about having it on his face but did get used to it.||Check Price|
|Best for Comfort and Safety: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness||This is a super comfortable harness with front and back loops. We like the option to get bright colors and they also have reflective strips for safety.||Check Price|
|Best for Large Dogs: BABYLTRL Big Dog Harness||Another large, comfortable full harness with an easy buckle and reflective strips. Our dog found this one to be comfortable, and we think it’s easy to use.||Check Price|
How We Chose Collars and Leashes for Testing
We wanted to find a humane system for stopping the dog from pulling on the leash.
We didn’t want to test an abusive collar on our dog, and we certainly don’t want to recommend one.
Before we walk you through a cross-section of the best collars and harnesses we tested, we’ll explain what we looked for when deciding what to buy and test.
First, we prefer a harness, not a collar, for exercise. We feel that collars are for identification tags, not for walking.
However, we included two collars that can do double-duty when needed.
There are 3 types of harnesses to choose from:
- A back attachment harness has a ring for the leash between the dog’s shoulder blades to avoid choking the dog when he pulls. However, our dog pulls more on a harness because there’s no discomfort to discourage the behavior.
- A front attachment harness, by contrast, will be highly effective if your dog tends to wander off when you’re out walking. This type of harness worked great when we were walking our dog, but it got in the way when we tried to run with him.
- Finally, you could use a head collar, although these will require some dog training. We couldn’t get the best hang of using it, though we know people who have.
Next, look for durable, weather-resistant materials. We like to find bright colors, reflective strips, and other safety measures that will help our dog be visible if we do lose hold of the leash and he runs off.
We also look for good stitching so it won’t fall apart.
Finally, get the right size. Measure your dog’s neck size and chest size and consult the sizing charts provided by the manufacturers.
Choose the most suitable collar based on this data and user reviews so you can maximize your chances of getting the right collar the first time.
Whether you head out to find your own leash and collar combination or choose one of our favorites, use our buying tips to help narrow down your options.
It can take a little trial and error to find the right setup that works for both you and your dog.
READ MORE: The Best Cuban Link Dog Collars. We reviewed these stylish collars that are great for dogs of all sizes!
The Martingale Collar
The latest in dog control collars involves a system called the Martingale. This is a humane alternative to the traditional choke collar.
It looks like a regular flat collar, but it has an additional nylon loop or chain with a D-ring.
The leash is attached to the D-ring, and when the dog pulls, the small extra loop can constrict, reducing the dog’s movement without ever choking the dog.
It creates a humane level of pressure feedback that encourages good walking behavior.
Many of the harnesses we tested had some sort of Martingale loop on them to discourage light to moderate tugging.
In this case, the Martingale loop is placed at the point where the D-ring is attached to the leash, on the front or back of the harness.
The Martingale loop is closed when the dog pulls, creating a gentle constriction that encourages the dog to relax and stop pulling.
Dog Collars for Pulling Reviewed
We gave all the collars we bought thorough testing and ended up with 6 in our top-picks list and 3 runners up.
There are a dizzying array of collars on the market, but these represent the best ones that we found of each basic style.
These are the best all-around collars that we found for our ease of use, ability to control our dog’s tugging, and affordability. Our dog found them to be comfortable, as well.
Our dog didn’t like the head collars much, but we included the best 2 that we found in this list. Headcollars are the best for dogs who lunge and jump.
See our related article, Should I Leave My Dog’s Collar On at Night? Depending on your dog, leaving its collar on could end up being the right thing to do or a mistake.
1. Best Overall: PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
Sizes: Petite through XL | Closure Type: 2 buckles | Brand: PetSafe | Style: Harness | Features: Martingale front clip | Dogs: Small to large breeds
What We Liked
• Martingale loop discourages pulling and helped us to steer our dog better
• Quick and easy to fit
• Very affordable
• Lightweight and simple
• Recommended by vets and dog trainers
What We Didn’t Like
• Lacks padding on the legs
• Straps are thin
First in line, our favorite of the best dog collars for pulling comes from the highly reputable PetSafe company.
This company specializes in accessories for your pets that deliver quality and performance without breaking the bank.
This harness was created by a veterinary behaviorist specializing in dog behavioral control.
We believe it because this simple harness worked great for our notorious puller. Vets and trainers recommend it, so it’s no surprise that our opinion lines up with others.
PetSafe offers this harness in different sizes for dogs with chests from 6 to 23.5 inches and overall girths from 12 through 50 inches.
This makes it a great recommendation for all breeds.
You’ll be able to easily control light to moderate pulling using this harness, and you won’t cause your dog to choke or cough while you’re doing so.
There’s a martingale loop on the chest with a D-ring to connect the leash. This setup provides relaxed control with no twisting.
One thing we didn’t like about this harness is that there’s no leg padding on the harness. If you walk your dog often, some sort of padding may be needed to stop friction.
Secondly, we wish there was a D-ring on the back of the harness as an alternative hook-up point for the leash.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
2. Best for Total Control: 2 Hounds Freedom Harness
Sizes: XS through XL | Closure Type: 2 buckles | Brand: 2 Hounds | Style: Harness | Features: Martingale rear loop and double clips | Dogs: Small to large breeds
What We Liked
• Front connection for directional control
• Martingale loop behind to stop pulling
• Highly adjustable fit with two adjustable clasps
What We Didn’t Like
• A little on the pricey side
• Dog can chew it up, but the company offers a replacement guarantee with a fee
• Rubs the chest on some dogs
Next up comes a gem from 2 Hounds that’s well worth a place on your shortlist. You can start by choosing from a broad array of vibrant colors depending on your preference.
The front loop delivers power steering so you can better guide your dog when you’re walking.
The rear loop has a martingale loop with a restricted tightening action. This serves to evenly distribute pressure without triggering pain points.
When our dog was walking nicely, we liked that there was no Martingale loop pressure, only the steering action from the front loop.
The second Martingale loop kicked in when he decided to pull, discouraging his undesirable behavior.
You can buy the harness with or without the 2-point leash included.
The harness is offered in enough sizes to suit dogs with chests from 15 to 44 inches and weight from 15 to over 125 pounds.
Concerned that your dog might chew his way through this collar?
You needn’t be, as the manufacturer offers a chewing replacement guarantee. That was a big selling point for us.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON SEE PRICE ON CHEWY
3. Best for Dual Duty Control: Country Brook Petz Martingale Collar
Sizes: Micro through XL | Closure Type: Continuous loop | Brand: Country Brook Petz | Style: Collar | Features: Martingale loop | Dogs: Tiny to large breeds
What We Liked
• Martingale loop collar tightens when pulled
• Adjustable for a snug fit
• Added strength at the pressure points
What We Didn’t Like
• We felt it was a bit much for our dog when walking
• Some dogs may slip off this type of collar
With over 20 colors to choose from, you’re bound to find one that you and your dog agree on. We always choose safety colors, and our dog approves.
The collar comes in sizes that suit dogs with necks as small as 5-inches and as large as 31-inches.
The durable nylon build is highly adjustable, allowing for a close fit.
When you’re shopping for dog collars and harnesses, you should take plenty of time measuring your dog up and then an equal amount of time studying the sizing charts.
With no buckle and a martingale loop, the collar slips over the dog’s neck and is tightened to a perfect fit with a smooth adjustable buckle.
We like this because it keeps us from accidentally pinching skin or fur in a buckle.
We put this collar on our dog, and as soon as he started to pull, this collar gently tightened and stopped his tugging right away.
We decided that this is a good everyday collar because it’s perfect for a quick leash-up without putting on a collar.
This fully adjustable collar is reinforced at the pressure points and delivers outstanding overall value and a no-slip harness ideal for all dogs.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
4. Best for Dogs Who Jump: PetSafe Gentle Leader Collar
Sizes: Petite through XL | Closure Type: Buckle | Brand: PetSafe | Style: Headcollar | Features: Head loop collar | Dogs: Tiny to large breeds
What We Liked
• Created by a pet behaviorist
• Padded neoprene head loop for comfort
• Allows for the full range of motion
• For dogs from under 5 to over 130 pounds
• 1-year chew damage replacement
• No-pull design
What We Didn’t Like
• We aren’t sure how the stitching in the neoprene will hold up over time
• Neoprene can cause contact dermatitis
• Head loop designs don’t work for every dog
PetSafe has a dominant presence in the dog accessory space with just cause. This gentle leader collar continues that tradition in fine style.
This is a headcollar with a loop that goes up and over the muzzle without restricting movement.
The dog can still open his mouth, drink, eat, and bark. The loop helps combat excessive barking and is great for dogs who tend to jump.
Designed by a dog trainer and backed by vets the world over, this humane and effective collar has a snap enclosure that fits in seconds.
The nose loop is made from padded neoprene. We liked that because it helped control our dog while keeping him comfortable.
PetSafe offers this collar in sizes designed for dogs weighing less than 5 pounds to over 130 pounds.
If you buy the wrong size or have any other issues with this collar, PetSafe’s customer service department can help you out with returns or refunds.
One of the main advantages of this harness is the way it allows you to control your dog’s pulling while still permitting him to go through a full range of motion.
After all, you wouldn’t want to impede his enjoyment while you’re out walking, would you?
For a versatile and cost-effective solution to dogs that pull on the leash, PetSafe hits another home run.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON SEE PRICE ON CHEWY
5. Best for Comfort and Safety: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
Sizes: Small through XL | Closure Type: Buckles | Brand: Rabbitgoo | Style: Harness | Features: Front and back loops | Dogs: Small to large breeds
What We Liked
• Quick-release buckles on the overhead harness
• Padded, breathable, and comfortable
• No-pull, no-choke design
• Safety colors available
• Front and back clips for maximum versatility
What We Didn’t Like
• No Martingale loop
• May not suit all giant breeds
• Some dogs could possibly figure out how to loosen the straps or wiggle out of the harness
Rabbitgoo’s line of dog harnesses is designed to help you control your dog if he starts pulling when you’re out walking.
Rabbitgoo offers this harness in sizes for dogs with chest sizes from 13 inches through 38 inches.
This collar’s no-pull, no-choke design has front and back D-rings to give you a secure hold on your dog even if he starts getting feisty on the leash.
However, there is no Martingale loop to discourage unwanted behavior from pullers and jumpers.
If you frequently take your dog’s harness on and off, you’ll appreciate the easy-to-use back-buckle design.
Our dog got really good at stepping in and out of this harness, found it comfortable, and the mesh front kept him nice and cool.
Adjustability is first-class, with 4 straps that you can fine-tune for a snug fit.
You get a pair of straps around your pup’s neck and another pair around the chest. This allows you to custom-fit the harness so your dog won’t feel sore or restricted.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
6. Best for Large Dogs: BABYLTRL Big Dog Harness
Sizes: Small through XL | Closure Type: Buckles | Brand: BABYLTRL | Style: Harness | Features: Front and back loops and safety grip | Dogs: Small to large breeds
What We Liked
• Rugged D-ring leash attachment on both front and back
• Extra control grip on the back of the harness for safety
• Reflective strip for safety at night
• Easy to fit and remove
• Worked especially well for large dogs
What We Didn’t Like
• Clip seems a little flimsy
• Plastic buckles are prone to breaking
• Smaller dogs may slip out, so double-check the sizing
Do you have a large dog prone to pulling on his leash? If so, BABYLTRL has a superb and highly effective solution in the form of this big dog harness.
This XL version of the harness is suitable for really big dogs with necks from 23- inches to 35-inches.
When it comes to chest size, this model is designed for anything from 32-inches to 42-inches.
When your dog inevitably starts pulling, this harness helps to distribute pressure evenly.
This means your dog won’t be made to choke or cough, even though his pulling will be arrested.
Our dog is on the smaller end of the range for this harness, and we found it was super easy to slip on and off.
We can easily see how this would be a winning harness for large dogs. We loved the back safety grip and wished more harnesses had one.
If you often take your pup out for nighttime walks as we do, you’ll appreciate the bright reflective strip that will keep him safe and visible to other road users and pedestrians.
The only thing we’d like to see improved on this collar is the fairly flimsy clip.
As long as you handle this with care, though, you should get years of service from one of the best dog collars for pulling designed for large breeds.SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
|Products||Best Overall||Best for Total Control||Best for Dual Duty Control||Best for Dogs Who Jump||Best for Comfort and Safety||Best for Large Dogs|
Our all-around favorite was the PetSafe Easy Walk No Pull Dog Harness. It was affordable, simple, durable, and effective.
It didn’t have the bells and whistles of other brands, but we love the simplicity and functionality. Our dog loved the lightweight feel and responded well.
READ MORE: The Best Wide Dog Collars. If you have a large or extra-large breed, wide collars are better not only for control but also for style and durability!
How to Choose a Dog Collar or Harness
We considered a few factors before choosing collars and harnesses to test. First, we looked at materials.
We nixed anything made from leather because that’s a chewing temptation for our dog.
We also nixed anything that looked like it would poke or choke our dog. We don’t want to recommend anything that may cause pain to anyone else’s dog, either.
If you’re wondering about chain collars, read our chain and slip collars review here.
Next, we decided to test a variety of styles:
- Collars are best for everyday use. We liked the idea of having a collar that would double for walking. Our dog pulled too much on the collars for walking, so we ended up only using them for leashing up to get in and out of the car, but for that, they were great.
- Harnesses are best for walking and running. Front-loop harnesses are best for walking because they keep the dog in line. Back-loop harnesses are best for running, but you get less control over where the dog goes. Double-loop harnesses are a good mix.
- Head loop collars have a small strap that goes up and over the muzzle. Though some people may think you’re using one, this shouldn’t be confused with a dog muzzle. A head collar doesn’t keep the dog’s mouth shut. It’s super-effective for stopping dogs who lunge and jump.
Finally, we looked for comfort. We searched for collars and harnesses that will offer control without causing pain or rubbing and are not too heavy.
We weren’t considering specific training collars, but you can read all about them in our training collars review.
We love how the Martingale loop upgrades the collars and harnesses we chose for our list. It’s effective, gentle, and safe for the dog.
This style of behavioral control may not be enough to control very large, unruly dogs.
We are not huge fans of neoprene because some dogs may get contact dermatitis from it. However, it’s soft, stretchy, and humane.
Our dog found the neoprene comfortable, but we moved it lower down our list due to possibilities of allergies.
Some breeds are very susceptible to skin allergies. If your dog gets itchy, red skin after using a neoprene harness, then switch to a nylon harness style.
They aren’t as soft, but they don’t cause contact dermatitis.
READ MORE: The 5 Most Popular Dog Collars. Discover the most popular types of collars and their various uses!
The following 3 best dog collars for pulling are also really nice, with little to complain about.
However, when we compared them to others of our favorites, we found that these were not the ones we ultimately reached for when it was time to take a walk.
Before you go, be sure to stop by our quick guide on How to Walk Your Dog With a Toddler. Learn which measures to take to keep your family safe.
This large version of the collar is intended for dogs with 18 to 26-inch necks, so make sure this is a good fit before committing to purchase.
There’s also a smaller and larger iteration of this collar available.
Suggested breeds for this collar include Pitbulls, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. You can, of course, try the collar with other breeds of similar size.
Honestly, we picked up this collar to see if we could get a stylish Martingale collar for everyday use.
This nice everyday collar will help you control your dog while getting in and out of the car and doing other activities.
We prefer harnesses like the 2 Hounds Freedom Harness for walking because they are more comfortable and effective for our dog.
However, many dog owners use these collars for walking with good results.
An interesting halter we tried is from the Sporn Store. These products use the patented “Sporn Effect” to humanely stop your dog from pulling without causing any discomfort.
Two padded loops connect from the front of the dog’s collar and pass under each front leg to the back, where they are clipped together in a harness design.
These straps put backward pressure under each leg when the dog pulls, discouraging pulling.
When the pulling loops are removed, it works like a regular collar. The design is robust, and the padding ensures that the design will cause minimal rubbing under the legs.
Our dog seemed annoyed by the feeling of having these straps between his legs, but they did control him well.
We just felt that it wasn’t his favorite, so we recommended the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness instead.
This collar is designed for dogs with necks from 12 to 17 inches weighing 20 to 50 pounds.
You can explore the range for other sizes if this doesn’t make the right fit for your dog. The manufacturer places a lifetime guarantee on this harness.
This headcollar from Dogs My Love is designed to stop your dog from pulling and jumping.
It works quite well and is reinforced with some padding to help avoid discomfort.
The loop and the strap are fully adjustable. Dogs My Love offers this collar in sizes from XS to XXL.
Our dog is not a fan of the idea of having it over his head, and this one felt pretty bulky, so we ultimately chose to recommend the PetSafe Gentle Leader instead.
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