Gentle Leader vs Harness: Which is the Best Harness for Dogs

If you are torn between a gentle leader vs harness for your dog, you’re not alone. With these two prominent options, many dog owners are confused as to which one would suit them and their best friend the most.

If you’ve been using just a regular old collar and leash, you’re probably no stranger to uncomfortable dog walks where your dog ends up walking you instead of the other way around. They’re pulling, lunging, and turning at the slightest chance to sniff or chase something new, all the while pulling you along. This can lead to you tripping or losing grip of your dog’s leash where you will then have to chase your dog around to get hold of the leash again. This can leave any dog owner feeling very frustrated.

We understand the mayhem that this can cause and that’s why we know you want to address this as quickly as possible using either a gentle leader harness or an easy walk harness.

Still, which one is right for you? Which one will give you control of the situation and still keep your dog comfortable, safe, and able to enjoy their walk?

In today’s article, we will compare two of the most popular training harnesses: the gentle leader and the easy walk harness. We will help to determine which is the best harness for dogs.

As usual, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We have weighed their pros and cons and considered their features and differences to help you find out which will serve you and your companion the best.

Gentle Leader vs Harness: Operating Principles

Now before we dive into the comparison properly, let’s take a look at how these two harnesses operate.

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Gentle Leader Harness

The gentle leader is a must-have head halting training tool that gives you control over your dog’s head.

This harness makes it easier for you to work with a bouncy and active dog and reduces lunging and jumping which are two of the most unwanted behaviors that can ruin a walk with your dog before it even starts.

Head halters are designed with two loops: one goes around your dog’s neck and the other goes around the snout or nose.

This gives you control of how effective a lung or a jump will be. The dog cannot simply lunge as easily as it would if you were usinga flat collar

If your dog tries to lunge, jump, or pull itself forward, it will be met with forceful restriction around the neck and snout, allowing it to correct itself.

Due to the pressure of head halters, some dogs find it uncomfortable and will struggle to get it off on their first try. It will take some training but eventually, your dog will get used to it. Try not to excessively drag a dog around with a head halter to avoid gagging, choking, or undue pressure on the trachea.

Head halters are training harnesses. So, the control you get does not mean your dog has changed its behavior. It just gives you more control of the direction of your dog’s head for walking a rowdy dog.

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Easy walk harnesses are designed to fit around your dog’s chest and its upper belly, giving them a tight and comfortable fit. They are called no-pull harnesses.

With a no-pull harness, your dog simply cannot pull forward as its movement will be corrected sideward due to the tension created by the design.

With this harness, you can easily redirect your dog’s attempt to pull and regain its attention and your dog’s focus can always be on you regardless of whatever new scent it picks up.

No-pull harnesses are easier on the dog as the tension created when the dog tries to pull will not in any way cause choking, gagging, or damage to their trachea. The harness is attached to the chest so you are always in control of the power center of a dog.

Gentle Leader vs Harness: Features

Now that you are familiar with the basic operation of each type of harness, we can talk about their features.

A gentle leader harness gives you complete control of the direction of your dog’s head, allowing you to always put your dog’s focus on you.


Contrary to popular belief, it is also safe and humane to use this type of harness. It is not a muzzle and does not restrict your dog’s ability to pant, open its mouth, or eat.

Some of its most beloved features are the control it gives you over jumping, barking, lunging, and any other attacking behavior when you are walking.

Additionally, it also prevents pulling and allows you to keep your dogs focused on you.

If you want to effectively control an aggressive or playful dog that is very energetic on walks without resorting to aprong collar or choke collar, the gentle leader is ideal.

It is comfortable, safe to use, and will remove the pain of using a more forceful harness.

In comparison, the easy walk harness is specifically designed to prevent your dog from pulling on walks. It makes it easier for you to control your dog and easily change directions without applying pressure to the neck or trachea.

Apart from the fact that an easy walk harness will snugly fit any dog, it will also work well for a dog with short snouts.

The harness is mostly recommended for dogs that get easily distracted by foreign scents or surprised by new objects.

If stopping pulling on short walks is your only problem with your best friend the easy walk harness is a great choice. It will quickly stop pulling and keep you in control. Plus, it’s very easy for dogs to get used to it, even on the first try.

Try to remember that the harness you choose to use is not a final solution to correcting your dog’s behavior. Yes, it will stop pulling, but only because your dog cannot pull without being knocked off course.

These are both training harnesses and should be used patiently to correct your dog’s behavior using treats and active commands.

Is a Gentle Leader Better Than a Harness?

Both the gentle leader and the harness have their benefits and and disadvantages. Still, they are both useful in different circumstances.

Where to Use the Gentle leader

As a head collar, the gentle leader is recommended for use when your dog is constantly lunging and jumping at objects or people.

This behavior can make walking your dog or two dogs a nightmare if left unchecked. The gentle leader will give you control over where your dog lunges its head and what your dog focuses on.

You can also use the gentle leader to teach your dog loose leash walking. This will help you control the movement of your dog and its turns and keep your dog close to you.

Where to Use the Harness

The harness is a no-pulling harness so it is more suited in situations where you want to stop your dog from pulling.

It is also suited to use for dogs with shorter noses (brachycephalic breed) and specifically recommended if you want something easy to use for both you and your dog.

Many dogs will resist walking with the gentle leader on the first try so the harness is recommended when you want something your dog will quickly work with.

Verdict: Which is a Better Choice For Your Dog

If you want a solution to all the problems you’re having when walking your dog, then the gentle leader is the better choice. It is effective in stopping lunging, jumping, and pulling when your dog is properly trained with it

However, if you prefer something more simple and only effective against curbing pulling, then the harness or an easy walk harness will suit your needs.

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Points to Consider When Choosing Between Gentle Leader vs Harness

Pick A Comfortable Harness

The Easy Walk Harness comes in different sizes and shapes so pick one that fits your dog beforehand. What we often notice when your pick the wrong size is that it could be too tight for your dog.

This can bring additional discomfort to a training session and will distract your dog. They will keep trying to remove the harness and it will take longer for them to adapt.

Pick a Harness According to Your Particular Need

A gentle leader harness is mostly used on big dogs or dogs you mostly can’t control on walks. As a head collar, it gives you more control at the cost of comfort in some cases.

On the other hand, an easy walk harness is appropriate to use for smaller breeds and dogs whose only issue is pulling.

So, pick according based on the needs of you and your dog. By doing this you will maximize your chances of picking a harness that is safe, comfortable, and well sized.


By now you should know which choice between gentle leader vs harness will fit you, your dog, and your lifestyles the best.

While the gentle leader offers more solutions to unwanted dog behavior when compared to the normal collar, you also can’t go wrong with the easy walk harness for curbing pulling.

We recommend picking a collar that is comfortable for your dog to use, fits your dog perfectly, and serves the core purpose you are trying to solve when walking your dog.

Related: Best Harness For a Beagle

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