As someone who appreciates fashion for both the two-legged and four-legged kind, we have several different collars, leashes and harnesses for Sophie. But, what if you could have a good-looking harness and leash in one, that would take your dog from puppy through it’s life, gently reduce pulling and be escape proof? That was intriguing. Lisa Flynn, creator of the Harness Lead, explained and demonstrated the product for me at a Made in the USA retail expo in NYC recently, and was kind enough to give us a pretty pink one to try out on Sophie (I know…sometimes, it’s just gotta be pink!). She generally doesn’t like harnesses, because many of them are just plain uncomfortable, and either ride up her arm pits or, as in the case of one step in harness, gets so loose that she stepped right out of it! Lisa assured me that this is an escape proof dog harness, and could be a great solution for Sophie. We set out to test one.
Before I get into the review, I want to share the story of how Lisa came to invent the Harness Lead. It’s a cool story that involves a shelter dog.
Lisa apparently has many years of experience as a dog walker in animal shelters. You encounter all kinds of pups in that environment and one, in particular, turned out to be the inspiration for her creativity.
Because walkers in shelters have to be able to get a collar or harness and lead on a dog quickly and they come in all shapes and sizes, Lisa noticed that many of the walkers would resort to the use of a slip lead, which is just slipping the leash through the handle to create a “collar.” It might’ve been a quick solution, but it wasn’t a good one. The dog’s trachea was stressed with the pressure, it often would cough or choke on walks and there was no control.
Lisa became very fond of one of the dogs there, a pitbull named Buddha. Because Buddha was a highly energetic dog and didn’t get enough exercise, being cooped up in a cage most of the day, opening his kennel door was, as Lisa put it, “akin to a volcano erupting.” It was all they could do to wrangle a slip lead around his neck, not to mention the total lack of control Lisa had trying to walk this very powerful dog. She said she had the urge to wrap the slip lead around his body to get the pressure off of his neck, but there was nowhere to feed the lead through and nothing to keep it from continuing to tighten around his neck area.
She decided to create a slip lead harness for Buddha, to solve this problem. Isn’t it so true that many of the greatest inventions or companies built originated with trying to find a solution to a problem? Lisa began testing each configuration on her own dogs, until the Harness Lead was born. So, while this harness and leash in one is great for a shelter environment, it’s also great for our dogs, especially ones that like to pull. The Harness Lead covers a broad range of dog sizes, weights and shapes. The information sheet says it accommodates dogs 14-200 lbs! Sophie, at almost 12 lbs, is on the little squirt end of that spectrum. 🙂 Luckily, the Harness Lead comes in two sizes: the Sm-Med is 3/8 in diameter, for dogs 14-40 lbs; the Med-Lrge is 7/16 in diameter, for dogs 40-200 lbs.
The first thing I noticed about the Harness Lead was how soft it was. It’s made from this very pliable, rolled weave that has a bit of a sheen to it, so it looks really nice. 🙂 The design is definitely minimalist, which worked well for Sophie as it didn’t chafe her and she was able to move freely in it, something I can’t say for some other harnesses we’ve tried.
It’s very easy to put on, once you follow the instructions through once. I’ve included a video below to assist you, should you want to purchase a Harness Lead. Once the size is set for your dog, you can just slip it over their head, tighten up the chest and go. And the rubber stop guard in the design, doesn’t allow the harness to loosen, so it truly is escape proof.
Lisa said that the tightening around the barrel of the chest seems to have a calming effect on may of its users. Having tried it on shelter dogs, who are notoriously very stressed, she must know what she’s talking about. But, that wasn’t an issue we dealt with. While Sophie may not be the perfect candidate for the Harness Lead as she’s not a terrible puller and she’s a bit of a light weight, I loved how soft and easy to use this harness was and I can see how great a product this would be for an escape artist, a bigger dog and dogs that pull.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
- collar, harness and lead, all in one, so it’s economical
- gently keeps the dog from pulling by using its own pressure against the leash to remind them to slow down
- is escape proof
- is lightweight with a minimalist design for ease of use
- is made from a very soft, strong material, so it’s comfortable and durable
- comes in great colors, so it looks nice too!
Where to buy: Five Barking Dogs
If you liked this story, you might also like my story on Heavenly Beasts harnesses.
Do you have a dog that’s an escape artist or a puller? Tell me what you do in the Comments below.