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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Product Review: The Balance Harness

The Balance Harness is a Roman-style harness designed for maximum adjustability on any dog. It is unique because every strap is adjustable, including the one on the back that goes between the dog's shoulder blades. The Balance Harness features a normal back attachment ring, and also a front attachment ring for use as a no-pull harness. There are two buckles at the girth section so the dog does not have to step through any part of the harness, and an optional neck buckle can be added for dogs that don't like having things pulled over their heads. The Balance Harness comes in black with 19 different color choices for the back strap. There are seven different sizes to fit dogs with chests 12.5-43.5" around. The Balance Harness is available from CleanRun.com and ClickerTraining.com during the current change in manufacturers.
Photo by Erin Koski

This is basically the harness to end all harnesses. It has been carefully designed to solve every problem anyone has ever had. Hard to fit dog? No problem. Sensitive skin prone to friction sores? No problem. Dog hates to be handled? No problem.

The thing that makes the Balance Harness absolutely unique is the adjustable back strap. I have never seen or heard of another harness with this feature. Most of the time I am just stuck with whatever length the manufacturer decided to make that strap, and if I'm lucky everything else will adjust to the right size. This makes sizing difficult, my dog Brisbane usually needs a longer back strap.
Photo by Erin Koski

I do think the front ring is somewhat superfluous, as a simple O-ring would be sufficient for leash attachment. Some people need a specific "leash goes here" invitation though. The Balance Harness makes a very nice non-restrictive no-pull harness with the leash attached in the front. When properly adjusted it gives the shoulders total freedom of movement. This makes it ideal for canine athletes.

The Balance Harness has two buckles at the girth strap, allowing it to be buckled around the dog without having to lift a leg through an opening. The Premier Sure-Fit and Red Dingo harnesses both have this feature as well. These options are all awesome for dogs that don't like having their feet handled, or have limited balance and flexibility.

What about dogs that don't like having things pulled over their heads?
Photo by Erin Koski


A properly-fitted harness should sit pretty close to the dog's neck. You want it far enough down to hit the breastbone and not the windpipe, but not far enough down to interfere with the shoulders. On Briz I often have to make the choice between high enough but too tight to slip on and off, and too low but easy to get on and off. He hates having harnesses pulled over his head, and I hate having to adjust them once they're on.

The Balance Harness neatly solves this issue by offering an optional buckle in the neck strap. The only other harness with a neck buckle that I am aware of is the Alcott Adventure harness, which does not have adjustable back or center straps.

Pros: Unparelleled adjustability for weird-shaped dogs. No-pull front ring. Lightweight and comfortable. Three different buckles mean I can put it on a terrified, frozen, or comatose dog without any cooperation required. Tons and tons of color options including three different shades of pink. Contrasting back strap makes it easy to figure out which part goes where. Endorsed by Dr. Christine Zink.

Cons: Color options only apply to the back strap, the rest of the harness only comes in black unless you custom order it in a different color. The buckle neck harness only comes in six colors.

Bottom Line: Best. Harness. Ever.

8 comments:

  1. Purchase this harness but am having hard time to get proper fit. Center strap on back keeps twisting when I use the front lead at chest. Is this natural. Have been using the walk your dog with love harness but changed because of the remarks that it interferes with dogs gait.

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    1. I believe the back strap moving is normal when using the front leash attachment point. This shouldn't be a problem as it should not interfere with the dog's gait at all. I have yet to see a front attachment harness that doesn't move around at least a bit when leash pressure is applied.

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    2. I am having same problem when using this harness. I have had the walk your dog with love harness for 2 years but changed after reading how this interferes with his gait so purchased the balance. First day he saw a cat and dragged me 10 feet, thank goodness for the tree that I hung onto. That never happened with my other harness. Watched all videos and still having problems. Need help on this before I give up

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    3. Well, like any front attachment harness, the idea is to spin your dog around when they hit the end of the leash. The Balance doesn't squeeze their shoulders or block their movement like the harnesses that run across the front on their chest, so it gives you a bit less of a strength advantage. I'd recommend using a double-edged leash and attaching one end to the back ring and one to the front ring for more control.

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  2. Over the last 7 years I've bought many harnesses for my small 23lb golden doodle such as Urban Trail, Ruffwear, Sensation but none of them fit properly. The biggest hurdle is that all of them fit right underneath the armpits which is what I'm trying to avoid. Which Balance harness would be best: over the head or the neck buckle?

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  3. Whatever is easier on your dog. I purchased over the head as my guy is used to it because of his seat belt harness. I have had the walkyourdogwithlove.com harness but after Chauncy was diagnosed with arthritis in his spine I changed to the balance harness and use the clip over his spine. This harness does not interfere with his gait when he walks. I have more control on the walk your dog with love harness but it does interfere with his gait. The balance harness has that adjustable strap on his back which helps (he is long and 63 pounds). Plus the balance harness has excellent customer service as I called them several times and they gave me some excellent advice. You can go on you tube as I did checking on videos of this harness. Hope this helps

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    1. Thanks a pawful for your information. Always good to hear other people's experiences. Funny you mentioned 'walk your dog with love' harness. I bought one but it was not a good fit and he (my dog) didn't like it. So I will go for the Balance buckle harness and hopefully this harness will fit him comfortably so he can enjoy our long walks. Enjoy Chaucy and keep him walking in spite of his arthritis.

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  4. I am having trouble walking my dog. He is a VERY strong 50lb border terrier/1.5 years old. Which could would be a good fit for this breed? He is stronger and pulls more than most dogs that I've walked that are way bigger!

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