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Can You Use a Retractable Leash With a Harness?

Can You Use a Retractable Leash With a Harness?

There’s a lot of controversy around retractable dog leashes, with some people claiming that retractable leashes are dangerous for dogs, but one of the most popular questions people ask about them is: “Can I use a retractable dog leash with a harness”?

The short answer to this question is, “Yes”, and the long answer is “Yes, but it also depends on what type of harness you’re using.”

This article will explain how to properly use a retractable leash with a dog harness, informing you about the pros and cons of using them together so that you can make up your own mind about whether or not this is a good idea for you and your dog.

Why Consider Using a Retractable Leash With a Harness?

The reason people want to use a retractable leash with a harness is the same reason that they want to use a retractable leash with a collar; retractable dog leashes are better than traditional leashes!

What makes them so much better than standard leash? The fact that a retractable dog leash makes walking simpler, easier, more convenient and more fun for both the dog and their owner!

There are many benefits to using a retractable leash, and if you want to look at those specifically, then be sure to view our post on the pros and cons of retractable dog leashes.

But when it comes to using a retractable leash with a dog harness, we need to look at one additional variable to determine whether or not a retractable will be best for you and your dog.

To decide if you should be using a retractable leash with a harness, the first question you should ask yourself is: what type of harness are you using?

Which Harnesses are Good for Retractable Leashes?

The “standard” dog harness, which has a clip ON TOP of the dog’s shoulder area, is the one you’ll want to use with a retractable leash.

This is because those harnesses don’t exert any real pressure on dogs, even when they’ll pulling, as it doesn’t make things too uncomfortable for them, but simply gives you better leverage over them than a traditional collar would, since your control point is closer to their sense of gravity.

These harnesses are also much less likely to hurt your dog than a collar, especially on a dog who pulls, because it doesn’t have the potential to pinch your dog’s threat, injuring their trachea or cutting off their airflow.

If you use a standard, traditional dog harness, which loops around their legs and then has it’s leash attachment on top of their back, near the shoulders, then you can use a retractable leash with it and you don’t have to worry about any major dangers.

Which Harnesses are Bad for Retractable Leashes?

Not all harnesses are good to use with retractable leashes.

In fact, if your harness has its leash attachment point IN FRONT of your dog (under their head and in front of their neck) then you will NOT want to use it with a retractable leash!

Why? Because these types of harnesses were created to make walking uncomfortable for a dog who pulls on their leash!

When a dog pulls on this type of harness, the harness pinches the dog’s shoulders together to give them an uncomfortable walking sensation.

This uncomfortable sensation teaches the dog to stop pulling, as giving up tension on the leash means the harness relaxes, and that uncomfortable sensation disappears, allowing the dog to walk free and easy, without any negative sensations.

Hooking up a retractable leash to this type of harness means that you’ll be putting constant tension on the front of harness, since the leash line for a retractable never goes slack.

So if you hook up a retractable leash to a harness meant to stop pulling, you’re basically forcing the dog to experience the negative sensation associated with pulling, even when they aren’t doing it!

Therefore, using a harness that has a front attachment point with a retractable leash is likely to give your dog an uncomfortable walk, which may make them even more likely to exhibit bad walking behavior.

I Have the Right Type of Harness – Which Retractable Leash Should I Use?

Assuming you have the standard-style harness with an attachment point on top, we definitely do recommend using a retractable dog leash, as there are so many benefits to them compared to traditional leashes.

Some people argue that retractable leashes are bad for dogs, but we disagree completely with than sentiment, as all of the potential “dangers” of retractable leashes can easily be minimized simply by paying attention to your dog during your walk, and using the leash properly.

However, one thing we do want to suggest is that you pick the RIGHT retractable leash, as getting a poorly made one COULD lead to dangerous walking conditions.

How to Pick the Right Retractable Leash

Here’s some pointers on how to pick the right retractable dog leash for your needs:

  1. Get a leash that’s rated properly for your dog’s weight. If you’re walking a 20 pound dog, then get a leash rated to 25-35 pounds (it’s always good to give yourself some wiggle room). If you’re walking a 125 pound dog, then get one rated from 135-150 pounds or so.
  2. Pick a leash made with durable parts, and a rugged, but comfortable handle. Look at what the handle is made of, consider it’s angle, and think about ergonomics. How do you prefer to hold your dog leash? Find one that looks like you’d ENJOY holding it during your walks.
  3. Get a leash that’s only as long as you really need. If you don’t plan on giving your dog more than 15 feet of walking distance, then don’t buy a 30+ foot length leash! If you’re only going to offer them 10 feet, get one in the 10-15 foot range.

For additional details, including a full breakdown on all of the elements you should consider when purchasing your next retractable, be sure to look at our Guide to the Best Retractable Dog Leashes.

Get Your Best Reatractable Dog Leash from Pet&Cuddle!

A high-quality dog leash is an essential accessory you'll definitely need for various daily activities with your fido. Pair it with a great harness, and you have a winning combination for successful walking, sports, and training. 

Now that you know how to choose the right leash for your dog, feel free to check out the latest Pet&Cuddle's collection of harnesses and retractable dog leashes. Each accessory is expertly designed with safety, security, comfort, and style in mind. From high-intensity agility training with an active adolescent to daily strolls with an aging adult dog, our harnesses and leashes are simply the must for any activity.

Moreover, Pet&Cuddle’s pet accessories are packed with features you’d normally only find on luxury dog accessories, like reflective straps, sturdy leash clips, and more. That means you don’t have to break the bank or sacrifice on quality and safety of your fido. 

Ready to treat your dog (and yourself) to the best leash or harness you’ll ever own? Check out our new pet accessory collection today! 


Questions about Retractable Dog Leashes and Harnesses

Still have a few questions about choosing the best dog leash or its usage? We’ve got you covered. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about retractable leashes we get from pet owners. 

Is it important to use a retractable leash for a dog?

A retractable dog leash is the most functional yet comfortable style for pet parents and their dogs. With an adjustable length and easy lock/release button, you can easily find the ideal length that perfectly fits any activity and is comfortable for both you and your fido. And, the ergonomic design of a leash handle is also much more comfortable for durable use. Tried once, this accessory turns out to be a must-have for any dog parent. 

At what age can you leash train a puppy?

It's recommended to start leash training when a puppy reaches 8 to 10 months. By then, the puppy's body will be strong enough to support properly fitted wearable pet accessories (like a training harness and leashes) without any harm to its health. To make the training process easier, train your puppy in other ways until then: teaching simple commands like "sit," "lie down," and "stay" will get your dog ready for more challenging tasks.

How to keep a dog from tangling its leash?

Talking about the process of getting your dog used to its leash, nothing works best as the proper leash training. The more accustomed he is to being leashed, the easier each walk will go and the less likely he will get tangled up. High-quality retractable dog leashes are one of the most effective tools to keep leashes from tangling.

How to get the right harness and leash size?

Our recommendation for dog sizing is to first use a tape measure and get your dog’s neck, chest, and length measurements. Then, check the size charts for harnesses and leashes offered by the brand, and if your dog is between two sizes, go up. And don't forget to check the fit after you adjust the harness by slipping two fingers under the straps to ensure its comfortable & secure use: it should be neither too loose nor to tight for your fido!

What are the main criteria of a good harness?

When you’re looking for the best harness for your dog, comfort and safety are key criteria you should focus on. So, before purchasing one, prefer soft and breathable materials, high-quality front and back clip models and ensure the harness provides adjustable feature to fit best your dog's body and ensure its security.

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