2 Hounds started in 2003 when Alisha wanted to design the perfect martingale collar for her two Greyhounds. Today they are a team of 50 dedicated people creating quality products from materials sourced in the US and selling them worldwide.
While there are many ways to teach a dog not to pull on leash, if you decide to go with a no-pull harness, it's important to find one that's safe and effective. This harness's well-thought-through design and smart details make it an excellent no-pull option among the others we have tested so far!
We have to keep in mind that any no-pull gear will only change the dog's leash manners if paired with training. The goal when using a tool is not to temporarily suppress a behavior but to teach a new one.
No-pull harnesses are not a bandage solution either that can be put on the dog and used on every outing for the rest of their life as a solution. Some sensitive dogs don't like the feeling of the harness and immediately stop pulling when used for the first time, but most dogs soon learn to pull the same way with a front clip as they did before if training is not involved. They need to be taught what leash pressure means and what is expected from them.
This design also needs to be snugly fitting and positioned in the dog's armpits to effectively turn the dog towards you. This also means it is not ideal for running, hiking, or other extended activities because it will rub/chafe the dog and restricts the shoulders. When this harness is paired with consistent training, you will be able to phase it out once the dog gets it instead of needing to use it in the long run.
The Freedom harness has two leash attachment points: one on the chest and one on the back. The back ring is attached to a small patented control loop that works like a martingale. If the dog pulls, it slightly tightens the strap around their chest. This gives the dog feedback and makes it much harder for them to slip from the harness if they try to back out.
This harness not only comes in 5 sizes, but ALL straps are adjustable to accommodate different body ratios and fit all dogs. All the hardware is stainless steel, so it will not rust or corrode. To avoid/minimize the rubbing and chafing in the armpits, the strap going under the chest is lined with Swiss velvet, while the other straps are made from light webbing without padding.
As we mentioned above, when we used the Freedom harness, it was always paired with constant interaction creating an active training event instead of using it as a solution by itself. As a result, Mia quickly picked up on the leash pressure on her chest, and I quickly had her focused attention while walking on busy city streets.
Using a no-pull harness is generally not my way to approach loose leash walking. Still, it was an exciting experience to compare this harness (that was explicitly designed for this) with the other front-ring harnesses that we tested before.
Many harnesses feature a no-pull ring on the front only because this buzzword is a clear selling point these days. Unfortunately, it usually feels that adding a ring was just an afterthought on most harnesses, which makes them ineffective and annoying to use. A no-pull harness doesn't just mean that it has a ring somewhere on the front; it's something that should be considered when designing every part of the harness to ensure it is not rotating around on the dog, not dragging their front legs to the side, and mainly that the dog will not slide out of it.
The photo below shows why this harness stays in place so well and why it effectively turns the dog: it sits in the armpits and snugly fits the dog. However, when we talked about finding a well-fitting harness, we discussed that this design restricts the shoulder movement and can cause different joint issues in the long run.
Why use this design for no-pull training then? Because pulling in any gear (that wasn't designed explicitly for pulling sports) will cause spine and/or joint issues. The problem here is the pulling behavior that needs to be addressed as soon and as effectively as possible. Wearing a harness designed like this for a few weeks or months will not cause any damage but using it for years for every outing will most definitely will - just like letting the dog pull any longer. So to reiterate one last time, what we keep highlighting here: this is a training tool and is excellent for training, but it's not a standalone long-term solution and should be phased out once the dog understands loose leash walking.
2 Hounds sells two different leash designs, both with a double carabiner. This lets you attach the leash to both the back and front ring at the same time to give different feedback to the dog in different situations. Or, if your dog gets scared easily and slides out from most harnesses, you can choose to attach one end of the leash to the collar for added safety.
The Euro leash (the top one in the photo) has a detachable handle that slides on the leash freely. It is a longer leash with multiple ways of attachment. It is 6’ long when both carabiners are attached to the harness and 8’ long when used as a single leash. You can also fold it in half and attach the carabiner to the other carabiner's stationary ring, which creates a 4’ leash. The floating ring can also be used to create a loop around your waist and use it as a hands-free leash. This is a truly versatile leash that was great to use when walking in the city, and I wanted to switch between training on a short leash and sniffing breaks on a longer leash in the parks.
The Training leash, on the other hand, has a simpler design. When connected to both rings, it is 3’ long, so you will not end up with a lot of slack when working on leash manners in heeling position. As a result, this leash is much easier to use for training, but on the other hand, it isn't long enough to give much freedom to the dog when taking a break.
I mainly see these leashes used while attached to both rings on the harness and the handler only holding the handle. This way, the handle freely slides on the leash, and when the dog pulls, there is pressure on both rings providing. This results in some tightening on the chest strap and some turning on the front at the same time.
The use of these leashes and the harness, in general, is very much dependent on the dog in front of you, and there is no one way to use it correctly. My experience after using this for Mia and many shelter dogs back in my volunteering days is that, in general, this setup is much less effective than focusing on one way of feedback at a time. When walking with Mia, I usually just hold onto the leash itself closer to the front and attach the other end loosely to her collar or the back of the harness as a backup. I was not particularly eager to use the handle because I felt I'm losing the ability to give small feedback to the dog since the pressure just distributes all around the harness. But again, this will be different for different dogs, different training goals, and mainly how the handler communicates with the dog. Still, I wanted to point out that there are many good ways to set this up, and it is worth trying out different options.
• No-pull correction: Perfect as we discussed above.
• Running/Biking (as an irregular hobby, buy specific equipment if you want to get into it seriously): Don't use it.
• Hiking: Not ideal. The design restricts the dog's stride, making it challenging to manage rocky or steep trails. If fitted correctly, it is not great for extended use in general.
• City walk: Works well, especially for structured walks.
• Easy to put on/adjust: It has two buckles on the chest strap, so you have to pull it over the head then clip both buckles. It's not the easiest but not too difficult either. Adjusting is easy, but it takes time to figure out the ideal setup on all straps. We had no issue with the sliders loosening up.
• Visibility: it comes in many different colors and patterns; there are visible ones - some even have reflective straps.
The Freedom harness is a well-designed no-pull harness that is a great tool to teach leash manners. There is a reason why most trainers and shelters are using and recommending this product. It stays in place and actually turns the dog towards you instead of rotating/sliding or dragging the dog's leg to the side. The leashes are great additions to utilize the full potential of this harness and try out what works best for you and your pup.
As we discussed repeatedly, this doesn't mean the Freedom harness should be on the dog every day for the rest of their lives. Instead, use it as a tool and phase it out once the dog understands what you want from them.
The Freedom harness comes in MANY colors and many different patterns. For reference, Mia had the 1” version of the Medium size.
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Many of you asked Mia's measurements to better understand the different products’ fit. Your best chance of finding a good fitting gear is always to measure (and remeasure) your dog. Even we grab the measuring tape before getting a new product - even though we tested a lot of them, and have a good feeling of her size by now.
I share her measurements below, but don't go ahead and order the same size just because your dog is similar to Mia ;)
• Shoulder height: 19.5 inches (50 cm)
• Weight: 37-44 pounds (17-20 kg)
• Widest chest circumference (where the most harness would have the chest strap): 25-26 inches (63-65 cm)
• Neck circumference for collars: 15-16 inches (38-40 cm)
• Back lengths: 22 inches (56 cm)