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Sense-ible Harness Review

About a month ago, Steven and I bought Shelby a collar in the hopes that it would help train her to be more tolerable on lead. Having grown up with a harness, Shelby learned to pull, because she could. We've tried several harnesses on her: the traditional adjustable harness, the step-in harness, and the Holt no-tug harness. The first two, were not meant to prevent pulling, and of course, Shelby pulled. So I bought the no-tug harness, but Shelby still pulled. So then we tried the big big collar, but Shelby still pulled.

And so my last options were to either live with the embarassment of having my dog walk me, or try the Sense-ible harness.

I ordered a small Sense-ible harness from www.softouchconcepts.com. The harness is unusual in that it attaches to the lead from the front.

Fit is very important for this harness. It has to be snug but not so tight that it rubs. I spent about 10 minutes as Shelby patiently waited for me to adjust the harness, before I realized I had put it on her upside down (Ugh) and had to start over. Again, Shelby waited while I adjusted the straps. (This time, successfully.)

We've only gone on a few walks with the harness, but thus far, I am pleased with the result. Shelby's pulling has dropped dramatically, starting with the first use. This is because if she pulls very hard, the harness forces her to turn, which doesn't get her to where she wants. And it's extremely easy to pull Shelby forward if she is lagging behind, usually to smell something stinky. I must admit that it is sometimes a bit awkward having the lead attach to the front of harness. When Shelby steps over the lead, we have to stop to fix it before continuing our walk. For this reason, I prefer using it with a reatractable lead. (No slack means Shelby doesn't step over the lead.) The upside is that I don't have to exert much force to get Shelby to behave or to steer her on lead. I figure that it's a worthwhile trade off. And since there's little stress on Shelby's collar, I don't need to be as concerned about her injuring herself. She's still not very good on lead, but she's getting better, and at least I won't accidentally hurt her while she's learning to walk on a leash. I  short, more control with less exertion.

I took a little video of me walking Shelby with the new harness. It shows her being “reasonable” on lead, as well as what it looks like when I pull her away from something. View the video.

Some notes about the harness. It costs about $22.00 after taxes, shipping and handling. It's not meant for anything except for walking and training. Not running, not for tie-outs, not for restraining in the car. It can be used for training. Fit is very important, so measure carefully. Shelby was a small, bordering on medium. To minimize the possibility of chafing in her armpits, I'll probably sew a little piece of fleece to the bottom strap.

March 21, 2005 | Permalink


Darn me and my work computer...I cant see the video... I know my home computer wont show it either... Darn dial up....

Posted by: alfredsmom | Mar 21, 2005 1:33:14 PM

The Sense-ible Harness sounds like it provides relief to a weary pug owner,
especially since the more a pug pulls,
the harness gently forces the pug to turn?
Hope the walks with Shelby continue to be
pleasant, safe, and fun! Sorry to hear your Roomba machine blew a tire/wheel.
With pugs shedding year around (?) it must be difficult to keep floors and items pug-hair free without constant vacuuming.
I guess love for your pug outweighs the
hardship of cleaning and eternal vigilance.
You are a wonderful (human) Pug Mommy!!!

Posted by: Jade | Mar 21, 2005 6:18:25 PM

In response to what Jade wrote: I had no idea pugs shed year round. They have almost no fur at all! Why all the shedding?

Posted by: Rachel | Mar 22, 2005 1:15:38 PM

I'm glad the new harness is working out well for Shelby. I got Mushu a regular harness this weekend and it's taking him some time to get used to it. He pooped on the kitchen floor a couple days ago to let me know his thoughts on the matter.

Posted by: J.D. Stearns | Mar 22, 2005 6:08:09 PM

They are STRONG little buggers, aren't they! Both my pugs pull me to where they wanna go (sniff) next. I think it's all part of their adorable stubborn personalities!!

(And pugs have tons of hair! And they shed half their coat every single day, yet it magically grows back in overnight...and the cycle continues...)

Posted by: Delaina | Mar 25, 2005 5:20:35 AM

Did the Gentle Leader stop Shelby's pulling on the leash? Do you still use it?

Posted by: faye | Nov 26, 2005 5:00:09 AM

The Gentle Leader won't fit on Shelby because she's got no snout. but the Sensible Harness is working out really well and we use it frequently.

Posted by: Winnie | Nov 26, 2005 3:55:56 PM

Hi there! I just discovered your web site last night & I think your pug is just adorable! She reminds me & my wife of our pug Daisy when she was a pup. We have a harness for her too and she used to tug on it as well. The way I taught Daisy to stop doing this is when she would tug, I would just stop walking. Then when she stopped tugging, I would start walking and say "Heel Daisy". I kept doing this until now I can walk with her without a leash. Thanks for sharing Shelby with us! :)

Posted by: Bob | Jan 28, 2006 9:43:56 AM

My family watched Cesear (the dog whisperer) he taught us how to walk the dog on a leash. The dog always stays on the same side as the road and you must keep the lease up over their neck and very short. Our dog learned to walk on his leash very quickly after these tips.

Posted by: Devon | Jun 30, 2006 11:30:06 PM

My husband and I were using a martingale collar on our pug puppy diego for a while, and started his training on that, until some people from our local pug rescue scared me about collapsing tracheas. So we came across your review of the sensible harness, and bought him one. It's been great for front pulling. When he's walking now, he walks on a loose leash, but now our new problem is his stubborness to walk. He just loves to stop, and we basically have to beg him to keep walking. Very frustrating. Any suggestions for this?

Posted by: Nicole | Apr 9, 2008 12:24:40 PM

I bought the same harness for my puggy. She has had a lot of chafing in her armpits. Did you end up sewing the fleece on yours? Did it help?

Posted by: Camilla | Mar 26, 2009 9:35:24 AM

I have tried several harnesses, but mine escape out of all of them. They just pull their shoulders in and out they go. A harness or collar is merely a suggestion, so when they pull and don't get their way, they get out. Would this harness prevent this?

Posted by: Michelle | Jan 3, 2013 5:16:23 PM

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