Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers


best harness for labradors

There are numerous completely different harnesses in the marketplace right this moment, and selecting one in your Labrador may be fairly bewildering. Fortunately for you of us, I’ve, through the years, tried out many alternative manufacturers of harness. And I’ve additionally seen my purchasers utilizing every kind of harnesses. My high three are the Freedom harness, Steadiness harness and Excellent Match harness. We’ll check out every of those intimately, and at a few of their fashionable rivals too. However first, let’s have a fast have a look at the significance of a elementary characteristic of canine harnesses – attachment factors.

Contents

Canine Harness Attachment Factors

Historically, harnesses solely had an attachment level on the canine’s backbone or again. There are some management points with this kind of harness, which I’ve talked about in a earlier article. And there are actually many harnesses with an attachment level on the entrance – in your canine’s chest, below the chin. You’ll additionally discover that there are harnesses with each back and front attachment factors. Each these kinds of harnesses present extra management than a collar does, in addition to being a extra humane possibility than a collar.

Harness Attachment Level Choices

Entrance-attachment and front-and-back attachment harnesses have exploded in reputation as individuals have realised their advantages. An increasing number of manufacturers have proliferated – all variations on the front-attachment theme. However again attachment factors are nonetheless helpful.

Lengthy traces are finest hooked up from the again

Should you intend on attaching a long-line to your harness at any level, it’s best to connect the long-line to a back-attachment level. This permits it to circulation off your canine’s again. Attaching the long-line to a front-attachment level, ends in the road working below your canine’s stomach. And sometimes getting snarled in her legs.

If in case you have a harness with each front-and-back choices, this provides you most flexibility with what you clip the place. It additionally saves you needing a totally separate harness for working off-leash.

Double ended leashes

Utilizing a harness with a back-attachment level provides you the choice of attaching a double-ended leash. Should you connect a single ended leash solely to a front-attachment level, when the leash goes tight harnesses are likely to gape on the facet. This occurs to completely different levels with completely different harnesses. However in case you connect to front-and-back, you all the time scale back the gaping. It is because the strain is ‘balanced’ out.

At first, it sounds a bit a lot, to clip a leash to 2 factors directly – however you quickly get used to it! Though I do advocate a harness with front-and-back attachment factors, there could also be some individuals who would like only one attachment level.

You may favor a single attachment level if:

  • You don’t ever need to use a long-line
  • Or you recognize you’ll by no means need to use a double-ended leash
  • You’re ready to place up with side-gaping in alternate for simplicity

So for these individuals, I’m going to assessment two front-fastening solely harnesses. However the remainder of my picks have front-and-back attachment factors.

Well-liked entrance fastening harnesses for Labradors

We’ll begin by evaluating two of the extra fashionable entrance fastening fashions in the marketplace proper now. I’ve first-hand expertise of ALL of those harnesses – a few of them, many instances over. And these are simply my ideas and never everybody goes to agree with all of the factors made. I’m not a giant fan of the SENSE-ation or Simple Stroll harness, however they’re broadly identified and so value taking a look at.

The SENSE-ation harness by Tender Ideas

This Tender Ideas SENSE-ation harness* comes with a front-attachment solely.

Execs of the SENSE-ation harness

If you’re combating the thought of a front-attaching harness over a collar, this is perhaps a superb first step for you. It’s the simplicity of the SENSE-ation harness that appeals probably the most.* There aren’t any ‘shifting components’ and just one snap-up buckle.

It’s front-attachment solely, so that you solely have to clip the leash on one place and might use a daily single-clipped leash with it. It’s the harness which is most like a collar, but rather more humane than one.

Cons of the SENSE-ation harness

The strap that runs throughout the canine’s chest in the SENSE-ation harness* has the potential to limit leg motion. This might result in short-term discomfort, but in addition longer-term bodily issues in case your Labrador is working and/or leaping with the harness on. Mendacity down pulls it tight throughout the canine’s chest and shoulders. A positive signal that vary of movement is affected. Which I can verify after I’ve trialled it by myself canine.

Nonetheless, the vary of movement wanted for on-leash strolling is far lower than for off-leash working. So in case you plan on utilizing this harness just for on-leash strolling, then this harness might give you the results you want. However you’ll have the additional problem of taking the harness off and placing it on. Which kinda undermines the simplicity – considered one of this harness’ predominant selling-points.

There may be additionally some small gaping from the front-attachment solely, however not an enormous deal. This harness has to go over the canine’s head, so is probably not a good selection in case your Labrador dislikes having issues positioned over her head.

SENSE-ation Harness Ranking 4/10

The Good

  • No martingale attachments
  • Simple on/off – just one snap-up buckle
  • Simplicity

The Unhealthy

  • Inhibits full vary of movement within the shoulders
  • Shouldn’t be left on the canine, for off-leash working/leaping
  • Small quantity of gaping
  • Pulling creates downwards stress throughout the highest of the canine’s shoulder blades
  • No risk of utilizing a long-line on a back-attachment level

SCORE OUT OF 10: 4/10

This harness additionally has a entrance attachment solely.


PetSafe are a giant model identify, and the Simple Stroll Harness* is wide-spread and accessible internationally. The SENSE-ation and the Simple Stroll are very related in design, however with a few important variations.

Execs of the Simple Stroll harness

Just like the SENSE-ation, this harness is front-attachment solely, so that you solely have to clip the leash on at one place. It’s additionally simply accessible and is available in a spread of sizes and colours.

Cons of the Simple Stroll harness

PetSafe, the corporate manufacturing this harness, can be a producer of merchandise like  electrical collars. Chances are you’ll not need to assist corporations that manufacture merchandise like these. The strap which runs throughout the canine’s chest within the Simple Stroll once more bars the chest, and has the potential to limit leg motion.

Every little thing I’ve written above, concerning this facet of the SENSE-ation, is equally relevant, to the Simple Stroll. Not like the SENSE-ation, the Simple Stroll Harness* has a martingale, on the front-attachment level. This closes when the canine pulls. Should you match it so it’s comparatively cosy when not tightened, when it tightens, it constricts the entrance of the canine’s chest even additional. Should you match it so it’s slack when not tightened, when it tightens the martingale simply provides you further size on the leash. Making it much less efficient for management and resulting in elevated gaping on the facet.

With regards to the side-gaping situation, the Simple Stroll is without doubt one of the worst.

Simple Stroll Harness Overview Ranking 2/10

The Good

  • Simplicity (though not so simple as the SENSE-ation)

The Unhealthy

  • Inhibits full vary of movement within the shoulders
  • Shouldn’t be left on the canine, for off-leash working/leaping
  • Great amount of gaping on the facet
  • Martingale attachment level constricts chest additional or results in much less efficient management
  • Pulling creates downwards stress on the again of the canine, throughout the highest of the canine’s shoulder blades
  • No risk of utilizing a long-line on a back-attachment level
  • Moral issues about PetSafe

SCORE OUT OF 10: 2/10

This harness has back and front attachment.

Execs of the Freedom Harness

The Freedom Harness* has each front-and-back attachment factors. This offers you flexibility. A front-attachment level for management and a back-attachment level for long-line use. The Freedom doesn’t intervene with the vary of movement within the canine’s entrance legs, so it’s protected to be left in your Labrador when working off-leash. The Freedom Harness* may be purchased by itself, or together with with an identical double-ended leash as a part of an inexpensive ‘coaching bundle’.

I might strongly suggest the leash as properly, since it will allow you to connect to each front-and-back attachment factors directly. The Freedom Harness has a particularly tender, velvety strap to go behind the canine’s entrance legs. This minimizes rubbing or irritation. Labradors are comparatively short-coated, so this can be a concern.

The harness is basically good high quality and the metalware is likewise. The Freedom is available in an enormous vary of colours*. If black doesn’t float your boat, this is perhaps one to take a look at.

Cons of the Freedom Harness

The Freedom has to go over the canine’s head. Not a superb possibility in case your Labrador dislikes this. When each attachment factors are in use, there’s slight gaping on the facet. This doesn’t trigger any purposeful issues. There’s a martingale on the back-attachment level. However we will get round this one.

I like to recommend sizing the girth strap in order that when the martingale is closed as tight as potential, it’s cosy and safe – however doesn’t constrict the canine’s physique. That will be mildly uncomfortable for the canine, however I don’t suppose it could operate as an efficient aversive to discourage pulling on the leash.

A Disappointing Situation

Depressingly, the Freedom web site tries to suggest simply this, stating that this tightening ‘discourages pulling habits’. Simply by way of firm ethics, this can be a disheartening assertion from a force-free perspective. Even when it’s incorrect, and even when we will bypass it by becoming the harness so it doesn’t constrict the canine’s physique.

The girth strap runs proper behind the canine’s entrance legs. It’s velvety, and I’ve by no means identified it to trigger discomfort, however I’d ideally just like the girth strap to be additional away from the again of the canine’s entrance legs.

Lastly, though the Freedom is safe for 99% of canine, I’ve identified one skilled harness escapologist in a position to again out of it. It is a Labrador, which had beforehand learnt, on one other harness, to place his head down and again up shortly.

Freedom Harness Overview Ranking 7/10

The Good

  • Two attachment factors imply better flexibility of use
  • Doesn’t have an effect on vary of movement in entrance legs; may be left on the canine when working off-leash
  • Matching double-ended leash accessible
  • Tender, velvet-like girth strap prevents chafing
  • Good high quality fittings
  • Wonderful shade vary

The Unhealthy

  • Slight quantity of gaping on the facet
  • Martingale back-attachment level has potential for discomfort if not fitted massive sufficient
  • Harness has to go over canine’s head; not sensible choice for canine afraid of this
  • Girth strap passes instantly behind canine’s entrance legs

SCORE OUT OF 10: 7/10

The Steadiness harness by Lori Stevens/Dolan’s Canine Doodads

This harness has a back and front attachment. Confusingly, there are two related harnesses accessible known as the ‘Steadiness’ harness, so ensure you comply with this hyperlink to achieve the suitable one for this assessment.

Execs of the Steadiness Harness

Not like the Freedom, the girth strap on the Steadiness sits properly away from the canine’s entrance legs, additional down the rib cage. There may be due to this fact no threat of the harness rubbing behind the legs. There aren’t any martingale attachments wherever on this harness, so there’s nothing to tighten wherever when the canine pulls. The Steadiness harness has each front-and-back attachment factors. Identical to all front-and-back attachment harnesses, this provides you nice flexibility.

The Steadiness is not going to intervene with the vary of movement within the canine’s entrance legs, so is protected to be left on the canine when working off-leash. The harness is basically good high quality and the metalware is likewise.

The Steadiness has a model with a snap-up buckle for the half that’s often positioned over the canine’s head. Which means canine that detest having one thing positioned over their heads, can have the Steadiness put round their neck in an analogous strategy to a snap-up collar. Any gaping actually could be very minimal when each attachment-points are used, even lower than on the Freedom. It might be actually exhausting for even a seasoned escapologist to get out of a Steadiness harness: Backing out doesn’t actually work…

Cons of the Steadiness Harness

The Steadiness has very restricted color-choice. It’s basically all the time a black harness, however the vertical strap on the again is available in completely different colours. If in case you have a number of canine, the coloured again strap is ample for telling you which ones harness belongs to which canine. However in case you are somebody who loves completely different coloured harnesses, the Steadiness might not swimsuit – take a look at the Freedom.

In keeping with the producer, you may connect simply to the front-attachment level. However the Steadiness works finest when used along side a double-fastening leash. Not like the Freedom, the Steadiness doesn’t come as a ‘coaching bundle’ with this leash. So you will have to buy one individually.

The Steadiness harness does are likely to rotate barely when in use. The neck and girth straps barely pull the coloured again strap off vertical. The producer’s web site says that is regular and on no account impacts efficiency, however is an aesthetic situation solely. If this troubles you, take a look at the Excellent Match (beneath).

Steadiness Harness Overview Ranking 8/10

The Good

  • Two attachment factors imply better flexibility of use
  • Doesn’t have an effect on vary of movement in entrance legs; may be left on the canine when working off-leash
  • Girth strap sits properly away from canine’s entrance legs, so no chafing
  • Good high quality fittings
  • Virtually no gaping on the facet
  • No martingale attachments with potential for discomfort
  • Model accessible with snap-up buckle on the neck, for canine disliking one thing going over the top
  • Safe even for seasoned escapologists

The Unhealthy

  • No ‘included’ double-ended leash accessible, have to be bought individually
  • Restricted shade selection
  • Rotates/twists very barely, however this doesn’t have an effect on efficiency

SCORE OUT OF 10: 8/10

The Excellent Match harness by Canine-Video games

Our ultimate back and front attachment harness is a good one.

Execs of the Excellent Match harness

The Excellent Match  is exclusive amongst the harnesses reviewed right here. It consists of three components which may be purchased individually and put collectively to create a ‘excellent match’ in your particular person Labrador. Undeniably, I discovered it the perfect match out of all of the harnesses I’ve reviewed.

With each attachment factors in use, this harness has the least ‘gape’ together with any harnesses I’ve reviewed. Equally, it could be actually exhausting for even a seasoned escapologist to again out of a Excellent Match harness. It is because there’s no ‘play’ or slack to permit this to occur. For a rising Labrador pet, it’s potential simply to buy and change one piece of the three wanted for a harness. Ought to the chewing-machine that’s your Labrador pet, achieve chewing by way of the entrance of the harness, once more, simply that half would must be changed.

The Excellent Match additionally has a 40mm thick possibility.

It is a very comfy and stylish-looking harness for big or sturdy Labradors. The Excellent Match harness has each front-and-back attachment factors, similar to the Freedom and Steadiness, giving the identical flexibility. Like all of the front-and-back harnesses reviewed right here, the Excellent Match is not going to intervene with the vary of movement within the canine’s entrance legs. It’s protected to be left on the canine when working off-leash.

The girth strap on the Excellent Match sits away from the canine’s entrance legs, additional down the rib cage. There may be due to this fact no threat of the harness rubbing behind the legs. The harness is webbing, backed by tender fleece. This makes for a very comfy and tender harness, in your Labrador.

There aren’t any martingale attachments wherever on this harness, so there’s nothing to tighten wherever when the canine pulls. It’s potential to snap up the buckle for the half which is often positioned over the canine’s head. Which means canine which dislike having one thing positioned over their heads, can have the Excellent Match put round their neck.

Cons of the Excellent Match harness

I’ve a 40mm Excellent Match on my Labrador in the mean time. The front-attachment is a big steel D-ring. When my Lab runs off-leash, this steel clunks down loudly on the plastic fastener beneath it – with every stride, there’s a loud clunk. My plan is to wrap the steel D-ring in duck tape, to silence it. However when a harness is as costly because the Excellent Match is, you don’t anticipate to be wrapping bits of it in duck tape.

And that’s the following level: The Excellent Match is by far the costliest harness out of all these I’ve reviewed. And the worth doesn’t embrace a double-ended leash. You will want to buy a type of individually. After only one mild wash at 20degrees – with no cloth conditioner – the fleece on the Excellent Match grew to become ‘bobbly’. I anticipate this getting worse with the following few washes. This doesn’t have an effect on the consolation or operate of the harness, clearly. But it surely does look much less ‘sensible’ and you’ll once more anticipate extra from a harness of this price.

Labs like to swim, and have been identified to roll in pungent issues! Out of the three components of the harness, just one half – the ‘high’ – is available in a superb vary of colours – not fairly as vast a selection because the Freedom. The opposite two components of the harness – the ‘entrance’ and the ‘girth’ solely are available black.

Ordering Points?

Lastly, I ought to say that I had heard in regards to the Excellent Match harness for a few 12 months earlier than I lastly purchased one to trial. The explanation I didn’t purchase one sooner, is that I repeatedly acquired to the web site to position an order and would then be overwhelmed by the choices accessible. Choosing three different-sized part components for a harness and selecting a width of strap is a way more concerned course of than selecting one dimension.

The Canine-Video games web site has change into rather a lot simpler now, with breed suggestions, however some patrons may nonetheless discover it complicated. They’ll, freed from cost, swap bits of harnesses if you wish to alternate them, however you continue to need to publish again and wait…

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

Excellent Match Canine Video games Harness Overview Ranking 9/10

The Good

  • Two attachment factors imply better flexibility of use
  • Doesn’t have an effect on vary of movement; may be left on the canine when working off-leash
  • Girth strap sits properly away from canine’s entrance legs, so no chafing
  • Snug and tender fleece-backed webbing
  • No gaping on the facet
  • No martingale attachments with potential for discomfort
  • Snap-up buckle on the neck, for canine disliking one thing going over the top
  • Safe even for seasoned escapologists
  • 40mm straps are an excellent selection for very massive or very sturdy canine
  • Purchased in three separate sections; every may be bought/changed individually

The Unhealthy

  • Steel front-attachment ‘clunks’ on the plastic beneath, at each certain of my canine
  • Fleece grew to become ‘bobbly’ after only one wash
  • Very costly
  • No ‘included’ double-ended leash accessible, have to be bought individually
  • Restricted shade selection of ‘entrance’ and ‘girth’ components
  • Issue sizing and becoming three completely different components and choosing the proper width

SCORE OUT OF 10: 9/10

Prime Three Lab Harnesses

I like to recommend a back and front fastening harness over a entrance solely or again solely harness. And my high three picks of front-and-back fastening harnesses for Labrador Retrievers are:
Freedom Harness*
Steadiness harness
Excellent Match harness

Joyful strolling!

Affiliate hyperlink disclosure: Hyperlinks on this article marked with an * are affiliate hyperlinks, and we might obtain a small fee if you buy these merchandise. Nonetheless, we chosen them for inclusion independently, and the entire views expressed on this article are our personal.

The Labrador Website Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the perfect promoting writer of The Joyful Pet Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Selecting The Excellent Pet, and Complete Recall.

She can be the founding father of the Gundog Belief and the Dogsnet On-line Coaching Program 

Pippa’s on-line coaching programs have been launched in 2019 and you could find the most recent course dates on the Dogsnet web site

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