Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Product Review: Freedom No-Pull Harness

The Freedom No-Pull Harness, by 2 Hounds Design (formerly Wiggles, Wags and Whiskers)  is a unique piece of equipment that doesn't really fit into any of the categories by which I usually classify dog harnesses. It's shaped more like a step-in than anything else, but goes on like a Roman harness, with the neck loop around the neck, center strap passed between the front legs, and the belly strap clipped around the dog's middle. The Freedom Harness comes in twenty different color combinations and two strap widths to fit dogs with chests 14-44" around.
Photo by Erin Koski

This harness has a martingale loop on the top that serves to tighten the chest strap around the dog's girth. The tightening strap discourages pulling without choking or hitting sensitive pressure points. While most no-pull products use some sort of pain or discomfort to discourage pulling, this one does not appear to bother extra-sensitive Brisbane.

One of the things I like best about the Freedom harness is the velvet lining on the straps under the armpits. This makes it very popular for off-track greyhounds and other dogs with sensitive skin. Brisbane's armpits are pretty much naked, so I am very careful with harnesses that have straps anywhere near that area. I'm pretty sure the original Wiggles Wags and Whiskers harness was designed specifically for greyhounds.
Photo by Erin Koski

Another unique feature of the Freedom harness is a front leash ring. This attachment point does not tighten the harness when leash pressure is applied, unlike the ever-popular EasyWalk harness.

Ideally, the leash should be clipped either to the back ring only, or to both the front and back rings at the same time. This can be accomplished with a double-ended leash, a regular leash with a carabiner snapped to the handle, or or even two leashes. This allows the handler to primarily use the back attachment point to discourage pulling, and the front ring just for turning the dog around.
Photo by Erin Koski
The Freedom harness has been awesome for Ulysses. He doesn't really pull on the leash, but he does fixate on things like other dogs in the distance. The front ring allows me to turn him around and walk him away in a manner that does not trigger him to react. This is the harness that I recommend now for people who have issues with pulling or reactivity.

Pros: No-pull feature does not make my uber-sensitive Brisbane act uncomfortable, meaning it is not a hugely negative pulling deterrent like a prong collar or string harness. Really does deter pulling, though I have not tried it on a strong dog yet. Does not require picking up the dog's feet to put it on, and the neck loop is big enough to go on without touching sensitive ears. Does not hang loosely, can be worn without a leash attached. Soft velvet on straps behind the legs help prevent chafing, and the harness does not sit too close to the elbows.

Cons: The front strap sits pretty low, probably low enough to interfere with shoulder movement. Brisbane recently developed some hip arthritis, and suddenly became visibly unhappy when wearing any harness that touches his shoulders. Our harness is a size large, I tried going down to a medium in hopes of having the strap sit higher, but the back loop section is actually the same length on both sizes. I'm also not in love with the sizing, with the large harness we have almost every strap adjusted as short as possible, with the medium they were all as long as possible. I wish there was more overlap. This harness is also sort of complicated for the uninitiated to put on the dog, though it gets easier with practice.

Bottom Line: This is my new favorite band-aid for pulling, and for managing reactive dogs. It has been wonderful for Ulysses and I plan to use it for future fosters as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment