how do i choose between a front clip and back clip dog harness
how do i choose between a front clip and back clip dog harness

When faced with the decision of choosing between a front clip and back clip dog harness, it can be overwhelming to determine which option is best for your furry friend. With multiple factors to consider, such as safety, comfort, and control, it’s essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each type. In this article, we will explore the differences between front clip and back clip dog harnesses, providing you with valuable insights and guidance to make an informed decision that will ensure the utmost enjoyment for both you and your loyal companion on your walks together.

Size and Fit

Finding the right size and fit for your dog’s harness is crucial for their comfort and safety. When choosing a harness, it’s important to consider the size and shape of your dog’s body. A harness that is too small can be uncomfortable and restrict your dog’s movements, while a harness that is too large may not provide adequate support or control.

To determine the right size, measure your dog’s chest girth just behind their front legs. This measurement will help you select the appropriate size harness. It’s also important to consider the adjustability of the harness. Look for a harness that has multiple points of adjustment to ensure a proper fit.

Control and Steering

One of the main factors to consider when choosing between a front clip and back clip dog harness is the level of control and steering you desire. A front clip harness has the attachment point at the front of the dog’s chest, which can provide more control and steering. This is especially beneficial for dogs who tend to pull or have a strong prey drive.

On the other hand, a back clip harness has the attachment point on the dog’s back. This type of harness may provide less control, but it allows for a more natural walking experience for the dog. It can be suitable for well-behaved dogs who don’t pull excessively or have behavioral issues.

Training Needs

The type of harness you choose can also depend on your dog’s training needs. If your dog is still in the process of learning proper leash manners or tends to pull on walks, a front clip harness may be more beneficial. The front attachment point redirects their pulling motion, discouraging them from pulling forward.

For dogs who are already well-trained and have good leash manners, a back clip harness can be sufficient. It allows them to walk naturally without any additional guidance or correction. However, it’s important to note that even well-trained dogs can benefit from the added control of a front clip harness in certain situations.

Pulling Behavior

If your dog tends to pull excessively or has a strong instinct to chase after things, a front clip harness may be the better option. The front attachment point helps to redirect their pulling motion and discourages them from lunging or chasing. This can make walks more enjoyable for both you and your dog, as it reduces the strain on your arm and promotes safer walking habits.

A back clip harness may not effectively address pulling behavior and may even allow your dog to continue pulling without any consequences. If pulling is a significant concern, opting for a front clip harness can be a helpful training tool to discourage this behavior.

Walking Style

Consider your dog’s walking style when choosing between a front clip and back clip harness. Some dogs naturally walk close to their owners and do not have a tendency to pull. These dogs may be well-suited for a back clip harness as it allows for a more comfortable and unrestricted walking experience.

However, if your dog tends to lead the way, pull, or get easily distracted during walks, a front clip harness can help you regain control and steer them in the right direction. The front attachment point helps to redirect their attention back to you and promotes better leash manners.

Leash Attachment

Another aspect to consider is the location of the leash attachment point. A front clip harness typically features a ring or loop at the center of the dog’s chest, while a back clip harness has the attachment point on their back. Each option has its advantages and considerations.

The front attachment point on a harness allows for better control and steering because it gives you more leverage. It also helps to discourage pulling by redirecting your dog’s forward motion. However, it’s important to note that the leash can sometimes tangle around the dog’s legs with a front clip harness.

A back clip harness provides a more natural walking experience and allows for unrestricted movement. It’s also easier to put on and take off compared to a front clip harness. However, the back attachment point may not offer as much control and can be challenging for dogs prone to pulling.

Comfort and Safety

Ensuring your dog’s comfort and safety is essential when selecting a harness. Look for a harness that is made from high-quality materials and has padding to prevent chafing or rubbing. Adjustable straps are also important to achieve a proper fit and ensure your dog’s comfort.

A well-fitting harness should distribute the pressure evenly across your dog’s body, avoiding any strain on their neck or throat. It’s also important to consider any potential safety concerns, such as escape-proof features and reflective elements for better visibility during nighttime walks.

Ease of Use

Consider the ease of use when choosing between a front clip and back clip harness. A front clip harness often requires some practice to properly attach and adjust, as the attachment point is located on the dog’s chest. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it, but once you’re familiar with the process, it becomes easier.

On the other hand, a back clip harness is generally easier to put on and take off. The attachment point is easily accessible on the dog’s back, and there are usually fewer straps to adjust. This can be beneficial for those who need a quick and hassle-free harness option.

Durability and Quality

Investing in a durable and high-quality harness is important to ensure its long-term functionality and safety. Look for harnesses made from strong and durable materials that can withstand daily use and regular washing. Reinforced stitching and sturdy hardware are also key indicators of a well-made harness.

Check customer reviews and ratings to gauge the durability and quality of different harness options. It’s always beneficial to hear feedback from other dog owners who have tested the product’s longevity and performance.


Lastly, consider the cost of the harness. Prices can vary significantly depending on the brand, materials used, and additional features. While it’s essential to stay within your budget, remember that investing in a high-quality harness can provide long-term value and ensure your dog’s safety and comfort.

Compare prices across different brands and consider any additional features or benefits that may justify a higher price point. Keep in mind that cheapest may not always mean the best quality, so finding a balance between cost and quality is key.

In conclusion, when choosing between a front clip and back clip dog harness, consider factors such as size and fit, control and steering, training needs, pulling behavior, walking style, leash attachment, comfort and safety, ease of use, durability and quality, and cost. Each type of harness has its advantages and considerations, so it’s important to assess your dog’s specific needs and behaviors to make the best decision. Ultimately, choosing a harness that promotes comfort, safety, and control will enhance your dog’s walking experience and strengthen your bond.

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Dylan Mills
Hello there, I'm Dylan Mills, a seasoned veterinarian, committed dog enthusiast, and your go-to entity for all things dog-related. As an expert in the field and an award-winning advising member of several canine organizations, I bring unparalleled dog knowledge. Having dedicated my life to understanding these incredible creatures better, I've been honored with prestigious awards, recognitions, and a commendable reputation in the industry. As a published author, my books have turned into trusted manuals for dog owners across the globe. Raised in a family of dog lovers, my love for these beautiful animals runs much deeper than just my professional credentials. I've keenly observed, nurtured, and trained different breeds, gaining firsthand experience that feeds my expertise. I co-founded MyDogTrainingCollar with a singular mission - to make the rewarding dog training journey accessible, straightforward, and meaningful for you. As you browse the site, you will find a curation of up-to-date, evidence-based tips and advice on training collars, all designed with your furry friend's best interest in mind. Remember, every dog deserves to be understood, loved, and properly trained, and every dog owner should be equipped with the right know-how. That's exactly what I promise here at MyDogTrainingCollar - reliable solutions and expert guidance one click away. Brace yourself for a fascinating journey into the canine world. Let's decode your dog together.