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The 11 Best Escape-Proof Dog Harnesses

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Collars & Harnesses By Ben Team 20 min read November 15, 2021 27 Comments

Escape-Proof Harness

Few things are as frustrating (or frightening) as walking a dog who’s dead set on escaping from his harness.

Obvious safety issues aside, it’s actually pretty impressive how good some dogs are at slipping free of their gear. One minute your pup’s safely tethered, and the next minute he performs his pull-back-arm-tuck maneuver and slides right out.

Fortunately, there are a few harnesses that are extra secure, and less likely to be slipped during your next walk.

Below, we’ll identify 11 of our favorites, and point out some other options on the market (as well as one type of harness you should avoid for escape-prone puppers). We’ll also talk about the ways most dogs escape from harnesses and provide some tips for ensuring a great fit.

Best Escape Poof Dog Harnesses: Quick Picks

  • #1 Ruffwear Master Web Harness [Best Overall Escape-Proof Harness]: A premium-caliber harness featuring five straps for security and five adjustment points for a super-secure fit.
  • #2 ThinkPet No-Pull Harness [Most Affordable Escape-Proof Harness]: This harness is not only great for controlling pullers, it also provides a budget-friendly way to prevent escapes.
  • #3 Icefang Tactical Harness [Best Tactical-Style Escape-Proof Harness]: A high-quality escape-proof harness that’s loaded with nifty features, like multiple attachment points and Velcro strips.
Different Types of Escape-Proof Harnesses

While browsing the harnesses below, you’ll likely notice that most escape-proof harnesses fit into one of several categories.

None of these are inherently superior to the others, but it’s worth thinking about the differences when trying to pick the best one for your pupper.

  • Five-Strap Harnesses: Five-strap harnesses feature an extra set of straps to help provide a tighter, more secure fit and thwart escape attempts (technically, most of these really have three straps, but they function like five different straps). Our top pick — the Ruffwear Web Master Harness — is a great example of this category.
  • Tactical Harnesses: Another way harnesses approach the Houdini-hound problem is by adopting a military-like design, featuring heavy duty clips and a very tight fit. The ICEFANG Harness is our favorite tactical harness, but there are several worthy alternatives.
  • Other Designs: A small number of escape-proof harnesses are different than those in either of the previous categories. Some, for example, incorporate self-tightening design elements, while others fall somewhere between the five-strap and tactical designs.

The 11 Best Escape-Proof Dog Harnesses

There are a number of harnesses available that will help prevent your dog from escaping.

But it’s important to be a careful canine shopper. Manufacturers can characterize any harnesses as escape-proof, so you shouldn’t just pick one based on marketing hype. Additionally, some of the most secure harnesses available are not labeled as escape-proof.

You’ll just have to dig in, consider your dog’s needs, and try to make the best choice you can. But we’ve tried to give you a great starting point!

1. Ruffwear Web Master Harness

Best Overall Escape-Proof Harness

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RUFFWEAR, Web Master, Multi-Use Support Dog Harness, Hiking and Trail Running, Service and Working, Everyday Wear, Red Currant, Medium

Ruffwear Web Master Harness

A premium dog harness featuring an extra belly strap for maximum canine security.

About: Ruffwear makes a number of high-quality harnesses, but the Web Master Harness is one of the best choices for owners of escape-prone dogs. Made with three different straps that encircle your pup’s chest and another that goes between his front legs, this harness is very secure, while still being easy to put on or remove.

Features:

  • Extra belly strap, meaning you have 5 points of adjustment for a secure fit
  • Padded handle for additional control as needed
  • Reflective strips for added visibility in low-light conditions 
  • Available in 5 sizes (SS-Small to Large/X-Large) and 3 colors

Pros

  • Owners of escape-prone dogs report that it was quite secure
  • Like most Ruffwear harnesses, most owners were very happy with the quality
  • The built-in handle provides additional control

Cons

  • A small number of dogs were still able to escape from this harness, but such reports were very rare
  • We wish it also featured a front attachment point  

2. ThinkPet No Pull Harness

Most Affordable Escape-Proof Dog Harness

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ThinkPet No Pull Harness Breathable Sport Harness with Handle-Dog Harnesses Reflective Adjustable for Medium Large Dogs,Back/Front Clip for Easy Control L Dark Blue

ThinkPet No Pull Harness

A feature-packed, escape-proof harness that’s very affordably priced.

About: Exhibiting a kind of “tactical-light” design concept, ThinkPet’s No Pull Harness will keep your canine secure, while also preventing him from tugging on the leash during walks. A surprisingly well-equipped harness, it comes with padded straps, reflective stitching, and two leash clips, while still being very affordably priced.

Features:

  • Made of oxford fabric, nylon, and EVA 
  • Includes 2 metal leash connection points (back and chest)
  • Stretchable components absorb shock, preventing arm fatigue
  • Available in 5 sizes ranging from small to 2X-large and 8 colors

Pros

  • Made from thick, durable fabric
  • It’s the most affordable escape-proof harness we recommend
  • It will also help stop your dog’s pulling
  • Its a great lightweight alternative to tactical harnesses

Cons

  • Some owners had sizing problems
  • Though secure, it is unlikely to be as escape-proof as some other options

3. ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness

Best Tactical-Style Escape-Proof Harness

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ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness ,Large Size, 2X Metal Buckle,Working Dog MOLLE Vest with Handle,No Pulling Front Leash Clip,Hook and Loop Panel

ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness

A secure, heavy-duty tactical harness with a ton of bonus features.

About: Featuring a military-style design, the ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness is a great option for keeping your dog secure and ready for just about any adventure that comes your way. Made with heavy-duty components, this durable harness is designed to last for years and stand up to your dog’s abuse.

Features:

  • Half-body design provides more coverage than standard options
  • Comes with 5 adjustment points for a secure fit
  • Features both chest and back leash attachment points
  • Included Velcro sections for attaching patches or gear
  • Offered in medium and large sizes and 2 colors (Black and Khaki)

Pros

  • Most owners report that the harness provides a great fit
  • The Velcro patches are a neat addition
  • The handle provides great dog control
  • Front and back leash attachment points provide extra value for pullers

Cons

  • May present fit issues for stocky breeds
  • There aren’t any sizes available for small dogs
  • The buckles (and harness in general) are a bit heavy
K9 of Mine Staff Experiences

I actually use the ICEFANG Tactical Harness with my pupper.

To be fair, my doggo isn’t an escape artist, so that wasn’t my motivation for purchasing it. Instead, I just wanted a heavy-duty harness with a back handle and dual leash clips.

Nevertheless, it has exceeded most of my expectations.

For starters, this thing is built like an absolute tank and features thick fabrics, high-quality straps, and very heavy-duty metal buckles. The handle works great, and the dual leash clips are both strong and well built. It also fits my Rottie well, it’s easy to put on her, and the Velcro patches are kind of neat.

It does have a few downsides, though. The metal buckles create quite a racket when she’s walking around at night, the whole thing is kinda bulky, and I’m not crazy about the tactical aesthetics.

But overall, I give it a thumbs up, and it’s been part of our regular harness rotation for about 2 years now.

4. Scenereal Escape Proof Harness

Most Innovative Escape-Proof Harness

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Escape Proof Large Dog Harness - Outdoor Reflective Adjustable Vest with Durable Handle and Leash Ring for Medium Large Dogs Training Walking Hiking, Black M

Scenereal Escape Proof Harness

An escape-proof dog harness that comes with a few unique features.

About: The Scenereal Escape Proof Harness is somewhat similar to other five-strap harnesses, but it comes with a few nifty novelties. The first thing you’ll likely notice is the circular “hole” under the back handle, but it also comes with a built in “holster” (the manufacturer’s word), and it uses a different buckling arrangement too. It also includes neoprene padding in several places, for extra canine comfort.

Features:

  • Made of lightweight yet durable polyester
  • Comes with a built-in back handle
  • Padded belly and chest piece prevent discomfort
  • Includes extra loop for carrying items
  • Available in black in small, medium, and large sizes

Pros

  • Most owners found this harness completely eliminated escapes
  • Numerous adjustment points allow for a very customized fit
  • It’s affordably priced
  • We like the potential provided by the “holster” and some of the other design features

Cons

  • A few owners complained of durability problems
  • Some owners may prefer a more time-tested design
  • It doesn’t come with a front leash clip

5. Rabbitgoo Escape Proof Dog Harness

Best Dual-Handle Escape-Proof Harness

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rabbitgoo Escape Proof Dog Harness, Soft Padded Full Body Pet Harness, Reflective Adjustable No Pull Vest with Lift Handle and Lesh Clip for Large Dogs Walking Hiking Training, L, Black

Rabbitgoo Escape Proof Dog Harness

An escape-proof harness with two different back handles for maximum control.

About: Rabbitgoo’s Escape Proof Dog Harness features a pretty common escape-proof harness design, and it comes with two quick-release buckles and five adjustable points to achieve a snug fit. It also comes with two back control handles (which are oriented in parallel and perpendicular fashion), and it’s made with reinforced metal leash attachment points for your peace of mind.

Features:

  • Made of weatherproof nylon and breathable mesh
  • The 3-strap design helps to prevent escapes
  • Comes with 2 back handles for additional control
  • Offered in 3 sizes (medium, large, and X-Large) and 3 colors

Pros

  • Most owners of escape artists found this harnes prevented dogs from “backing-out”
  • The twin handles are a neat — and relatively rare — feature
  • It seems comfortable for canines and easy to put on

Cons

  • The belly strap can sit a bit low for male dogs
  • It’s not available in sizes for small doggos
  • It lacks a front leash attachment point

6. Mihachi Secure Dog Harness

Best Handle for an Escape-Proof Harness

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Mihachi Large Secure Dog Harness - Escape-Proof Reflective Dogs Vest with Lift Handle for Training Outdoor Adventures

Mihachi Secure Dog Harness

An escape-proof harness with a comfortable and easy-to-grip back handle.

About: Like a few other escape-proof harnesses, the Mihachi Harness helps to keep your dog from slipping out of his harness through it’s five-strap design. It also comes with padded sections to ensure the harness remains comfortable, and — most notably — features one of the most ergonomic and comfortable handles of any harness.

Features:

  • Comes with 3 padded straps (belly, chest, and rubs) to secure your escape artist
  • Provides 5 adjustment points for a more customized fit
  • Handle gives you additional control if needed
  • Offered in 2 sizes (medium and large) and 1 color pattern (black/gray)

Pros

  • Most owners reported that the harness was quite durable, well-made, and escape proof
  • The harness appears quite comfortable for dogs to wear
  • It features one of the best back handles on the market

Cons

  • A few owners felt this harness runs small
  • We’d prefer if the harness also featured a chest-mounted leash clip
  • Though the harness is well-rated, it’s made by a relatively unknown manufacturer

7. Rabbitgoo Tactical Dog Harness

Most Durable Escape Proof Harness

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rabbitgoo Tactical Dog Harness for Large Dogs, Military Dog Harness with Handle, No-Pull Service Dog Vest with Molle & Loop Panels, Adjustable Dog Vest Harness for Training Hunting Walking, Tan, L

Rabbitgoo Tactical Dog Harness

A heavy-duty, tactical-style escape proof harness that’s built to last.

About: Rabbitgoo’s Tactical Dog Harness is a durable harness that’s built to last. In fact, despite featuring plastic, rather than metal buckles, it is the heaviest escape-proof harness we recommend. It is also quite secure, as it comes with adjustable points on each of its five straps to provide a snug fit. And with a back handle for added control, wrangling your escape artist has never been easier.

Features:

  • Made of durable 1050D nylon
  • Included Velcro patches for stowing gear and goodies
  • Comes with 2 metal leash attachment points on the chest and back
  • Available in 3 sizes (medium, large, and X-Large) and 4 colors

Pros

  • Owners were very pleased with the fit of this harness
  • The price is great for such a well-made tactical harness  
  • Great overall construction, including reinforced stitching for strength

Cons

  • It’s not available in sizes for small dogs 
  • Some owners may prefer a model with metal buckles

8. Auroth Tactical Dog Harness

Best “Compact-Tactical” Escape-Proof Harness

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Auroth Tactical Dog Harness for Large Dogs No Pull Adjustable Pet Harness Reflective K9 Working Training Easy Control Pet Vest Military Service Dog Harnesses Black L

Auroth Tactical Dog Harness

A lightweight alternative to bulkier tactical harnesses with escape-proof features.

About: The Auroth Tactical Dog Harness is a working dog wonder, keeping your canine contained with thick straps featuring four points of adjustment. With two metal leash attachment points, a back handle, and Velcro for gear, it functions like a tactical harness, but it provides a much lighter, “sportier” fit that won’t weigh your dog down.

Features:

  • Made of 900D nylon
  • Strong back handle for extra control
  • Padded straps prevent discomfort
  • Offered in 4 sizes (small, medium, large, and X-Large) and 12 colors

Pros

  • A very durable harness that is one of the most secure options around
  • It’s a great alternative to other, bulkier tactical-style harnesses
  • Dual leash attachment points are provided
  • The Velcro strips make it easy to attach gear to the harness

Cons

  • The buckles are plastic, rather than metal
  • Some owners reported that the straps may loosen over time
K9 of Mine Staff Experiences

My pooch and I also use the AUROTH Tactical Dog Harness. In fact, we use it more often than the ICEFANG.

As mentioned earlier, I needed a harness that was well-built and came with a back handle and dual leash clips. Check, check, and check — the AUROTH satisfied all three criteria. It’s also proven pretty durable, my pooch doesn’t seem to mind wearing it, and (unlike the ICEFANG) it’s a pretty silent harness that doesn’t cause a lot of noise.

Additionally (and more importantly for most owners reading this article), this harness seems to be incredibly escape proof. Again, my doggo doesn’t try to escape, so I haven’t seen it in action. Nevertheless, I just can’t see any possible way for her to slip out of it, even if she wanted to.

Honestly, it’s pretty tricky to take off in general — my only serious complaint about it (except that the Velcro patches don’t necessarily match the color of the harness).

It may not be quite as rugged as some of the other tactical harnesses, but it has worked really well for us. Highly recommended.

9. OneTigris Tactical Harness Vest

Lightest Tactical-Style, Escape-Proof Harness

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OneTigress Dog Harness

OneTigris Tactical Harness Vest

An escape-proof, tactical harness that’s lighter than most similar models.

About: The OneTigris Tactical Harness Vest is a military-style accessory with built-in pouches, accessory loops, and ID panels. Providing full-body coverage, its structure keeps your four-footer safe and secure while looking great. Note that this harness has recently be redesigned; it now features better stitching and incorporates plastic buckles to reduce its weight. 

Features:

  • Made of 1000D nylon with padding for comfort
  • Secures with 4 heavy-duty buckles
  • Top handle for extra control when needed
  • Available in 4 sizes (small, medium, large, X-Large) and 5 colors

Pros

  • One of the few tactical harnesses available for small dogs
  • Lighter and easier for most dogs to wear than some others
  • Has been recently redesigned to reflect owner concerns
  • Each vest comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons

  • Some owners experienced sizing issues
  • Metal buckles may be preferable for some owners

10. The Harness Lead

Best Leash & Escape-Proof Harness Combo

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The Harness Lead

The Harness Lead

A simple yet effective harness-and-leash combo option.

About: The Harness Lead is an escape-resistant, all-in-one leash and harness system, which is designed to keep your dog securely attached to you during walks. Because it will grow tighter as your dog pulls on it, it is a secure harness that will prevent most escapes. As a bonus, it’ll also help reduce your dog’s tendency to pull too.

Features:

  • Wraps around your dog’s chest and shoulders, eliminating the risk of neck injury
  • 3,700-pound tensile strength 
  • Made in the USA with US-sourced materials
  • Comes in 2 sizes (small/medium and medium/large) and 8 colors

Pros

  • The harness helps to prevent pulling as well as escapes
  • It’s very affordably priced for an escape-proof option
  • Since this is a harness and lead in one, it eliminates the need to have an actual leash

Cons

  • Some owners found putting the harness on to be difficult at first
  • Since the harness is part of the leash itself, your dog’s size affects how long the lead is

11. Gooby Escape Free Sport Harness

Best Escape-Proof Harness for Small Dogs

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Gooby Escape Free Sport Harness - Lime, Medium - No Choke Step-in Patented Neoprene Small Dog Harness with Four-Point Adjustment - Perfect on The Go Dog Harness for Medium Dogs No Pull and Small Dogs

Gooby Escape Free Sport Harness

A comfy, high-quality escape-proof harness, specifically designed for small dogs.

About: Most of the harnesses discussed above are designed with medium and large dogs in mind, but the Gooby Escape Free Sport Harness is available in sizes appropriate for little doggos. Featuring a low-profile design that should prevent backing-out behavior, this harness will let your four-footer can strut his stuff safely, even if he decides to test out the technology for himself. 

Features:

  • Made with padded, waterproof neoprene straps
  • Features 4 points of adjustability for a proper fit
  • Machine washable for easy cleaning 
  • Available in 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) and 6 colors

Pros

  • It’s a really well-rated harness that seems to prevent most escapes
  • It’s light, making it comfier for canines
  • This design may also help stop pulling
  • Available in sizes suitable for small dogs

Cons

  • Some owners experienced fit issues that made escaping easier
  • A few owners reported long-term durability issues

One Harness to Avoid for Escape Artist Dogs

As you can see, there’s no shortage of escape-proof dog harnesses on the market. We think that most owners should be able to find a winner among the 11 options discussed above, but feel free to continue shopping until you stumble upon the perfect choice for your canine.

However, we would like to point out one particularly popular dog harness that isn’t a great choice for escape-prone dogs: The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness.

Don’t misunderstand — we love the Easy Walk Harness for a variety of applications (especially for owners seeking one of the best no-pull harnesses on the market).

But it isn’t a good choice for escape artists.

Dogs who back out of harnesses tend to wiggle out of this one, and others manage to get their front legs out of the loop, leading to further Houndini headaches. The design doesn’t give you much control either, and no handle is present for emergencies. 

So, while the Easy Walk is great for pooches who aren’t flight risks, it isn’t a good choice for escape artists.

Another Viable Alternative: The Martingale Collar

Martingale collars are somewhat similar to slip leads or chain collars, as they become tighter when tension is applied to the leash.

This means that when your dog faces you and starts trying to back out of his leash, the collar will tighten, thereby preventing him from escaping. And this means that martingale collars are a good harness-alternative for escape-prone doggos.

If this sounds like the type of approach you’d like to take, check out the PetSafe Martingale Collar. It is affordable, effective and durable, and most owners found that it worked well for their pup.

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Pet Safe Martingale Collar

PetSafe Martingale Collar

A good alternative to escape-proof harnesses, this collar safely and gently tightens when you apply tension to it.

Types of Dogs At High-Risk for Escape

Although all dogs probably have some harness-slipping skills, some seem to be more likely to escape than others. So, while you should always be sure to get a harness that will keep your dog safely contained, it is clearly an especially important consideration for some dogs.

Some of the dogs who necessitate escape-proof harnesses include:

Nervous Dogs

Nervous or flighty dogs are often among those who are most likely to try to slip free or chew their way out of their harness. Shelter dogs, for example, are often especially nervous and will try to escape from their harness – especially if they’re not accustomed to having harnesses on.

Leash-Averse Dogs

Some dogs become agitated when attached to a leash. They immediately begin pulling and twisting in an effort to escape the ties that bind. Their efforts are often successful, which results in an unbound pet running around the neighborhood.

 Destructive Chewers

Some dogs will chew on anything they can get their mouth on, including their harness. It is important to fit these types of dogs with a harness that is difficult for them to reach and constructed of durable materials.

 Prior Offenders

Any dog that has escaped in the past is at high risk of doing so again in the future, so be extra careful with dogs who’ve already demonstrated the ability to slip a harness.

 Dogs with Lanky Builds or Small Heads

Dogs come in a variety of shapes, but most harnesses are designed to fit a sort of generic dog body. This means that dogs of some shapes and sizes are more likely to slip free than others are. In practice, dogs with exceptionally flexible front limbs, lanky builds and small heads are often more likely to escape than short-limbed, blocky-headed dogs are.

In a nutshell, it means your skinny lab or border collie should be treated as a flight risk, but your English bulldog or basset hound probably isn’t going anywhere.

How Do Dogs Escape from a Traditional Harness?

Dogs can escape from traditional harnesses in a few different ways, but two methods seem to be the most common:

Slipping their shoulders free. Dogs are pretty flexible creatures, and they can often impart enough leverage to “back out” of a traditional harness. This typically involves pulling backwards against the leash, while trying to slip their elbows through the straps.

Chewing through the straps. Some dogs don’t feel the need to contort their bodies or dislocate their shoulders Martin-Riggs-style. Instead, they use their teeth and jaws to secure their freedom. The best way to prevent this from happening is by using a harness that is difficult for them to reach or made of chew-resistant materials.

secure dog harness

Things to Look for in An Escape Proof Dog Harness

Anytime you buy a harness – especially one geared towards Houdini dogs, you’ll want to look for a few key features to ensure you get a high-quality product. Among other things, this includes:

 High-Quality Materials

Obviously, you don’t want to purchase an escape-proof harness made from cheap, flimsy materials. Cheaper harnesses will be easier for your dog to chew apart and eventually bust out of. Instead, look for a harness made from leather, high-quality faux leather, nylon webbing, or some other strong, pliable, and durable material.

 Secure Connectors

Manufacturers use a variety of different connector types in their designs, and it is important to select a harness that has connectors that are durable and secure.

You may sacrifice a little convenience by doing so, as some connectors make harnesses more difficult to put on or take off, but escape-prone dogs require a bit of extra security.

 High-Visibility Features

You always want to ensure that your dog is as visible to motorists as possible, particularly when it is dark outside. This is really true for any harness – not just escape-proof ones!

Fortunately, many (if not most) leashes on the market feature things like reflective material in the stitching or patches, which help improve your dog’s visibility.

On the off chance that you select a harness that does not feature these types of visibility enhancements, be sure to pick up a clip-on LED light to keep your pooch safe. Their cheap and easy to use, and they may save your dog’s life.

 Multiple-Attachment Points

It’s actually possible to alter your dog’s behavior by attaching his leash to his harness in different places. For example, by attaching the leash to the front of his chest, you can easily pull him to the side and throw off his balance a bit, which is often helpful in preventing pulling.

Conversely, if you attach a leash near your dog’s back, he’ll often start doing his best sled-dog impression. This can be helpful if you are walking up a hill and you want him to pull you for a little bit. Although it sounds mean, and you certainly don’t want to over-burden your pup, this can actually be a great way to increase the intensity of your walks, which is sometimes necessary with super-high-energy dogs.

 Attached Harness Handles

Many good harnesses come with a handle that gives you a little more extra control of your dog. This means you can help give your pooch a bit of help jumping in the car, or you can keep him really close when a cat darts out in front of you on the sidewalk.

Having a built-in handle also means you can grab your dog closer if you know his jailbreak skills are triggered by certain stimuli – like a squirrel who’s picking a fight or another dog across the street.

 Padding

Padding isn’t always necessary, but it’s usually included in the best dog harnesses since it tends to provide additional comfort and helps to prevent damage to your dog’s skin or fur. Some harnesses are entirely padded, but others only feature chest padding, as this is where the bulk of the pressure will be applied.

 Several Adjustment Points for a Good Fit

Part of the reason some dogs easily wiggle out of their harness or collar is due to the tool not being fitted correctly. Choosing a proper size will go a long way, but you’ll still need to fine-tune the adjustable straps at various locations for an appropriate fit that’s snug without being uncomfortable and allowing your dog to have full range of motion.

secure dog harness 2

DIY Solutions and Dog Harness-Securing Tips

If you’d rather not purchase an escape-proof harness, you can still do a few things to help keep your dog securely attached to his leash during walks. The following two tricks are the most common approaches, and both are fairly cheap and easy to rig up.

The T-Shirt Trick

Some owners have found that they can prevent their dog from slipping out of a harness by making them wear a T-shirt over the harness. A small slit can be cut in the shirt to allow the leash to attach to the harness. This isn’t a fool-proof method for securing your dog, but some owners have had success with this approach.

Use a Collar and a Harness

One great way to make your dog more secure is by using a collar and a harness during walks. This way, if your dog manages to slip out of the harness, he’s still connected to you via the collar. Just use a carabiner to clip the harness to the collar, and then clip your dog’s leash to the harness.

Some owners like to use a zip tie instead of a carabiner, but this should only be done with rather small dogs. A large or powerful dog could probably break a zip tie if he pulled hard enough.

Additionally, because you can’t take a zip tie off, you’ll have to cut through it after each walk and attach a new one the next time your pooch has to pee. Collars are also designed to have quick release snaps in case of an emergency. You’re definitely inviting some potentially very dangerous situations by opting for a zip tie – which can’t be removed quickly or easily in an unexpected circumstance.

dog escaping harness

Ensuring a Proper Fit for Your Escape-Proof Dog Harness

Many dogs are able to escape from their harness because their owner failed to adjust or use it properly, rather than because of some design flaw. But it is pretty easy to make sure your dog’s harness is fitted properly; just follow the steps detailed below:

1. Start by purchasing a harness of the proper size.

There aren’t many things you can do to fix a harness that is too large or small for your pooch, so be sure to consult the manufacturer’s sizing recommendations. Typically, you’ll have better luck if you rely on linear measurements, rather than your dog’s body weight, so break out the tape measure and get started – you’ll need to measure the circumference of his chest and his lower neck.

2. Place the harness around your dog while he is standing, rather than sitting.

Your dog’s rib cage will be a little thicker while he’s sitting, and you want to make sure you adjust it to accommodate his chest at its smallest. Don’t worry, he’ll still be able to sit comfortably while wearing it – it’ll just be a little snug when he does so.

3. Tighten all of the straps and loops until they are snug.

As a rule of thumb, you want the straps to be tight enough that you can just barely fit two fingers between the harness and your dog’s body. This will ensure he remains comfortable, yet secure.

4. Always test the harness’ fit and function before heading outside.

This is especially important when you purchase a new harness or make significant changes to the way the harness fits. Just put the harness on him and walk him around the living room for a bit to ensure he can’t slip free before heading outside. It is also wise to verify that your dog can’t slip his elbows or head through any of the straps.

Have you used any of the harnesses discussed above? Did they turn out to be as escape-proof as you’d hoped? Do you know of a super-secure escape-proof harness that we’ve missed? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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Will

My dog goes back to get out of it and he has already gone on an adventure around the neighbourhood because of this so I don’t know what to do at all unless there is such thing as leg straps or butt straps

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Ben Team

Oh no, Will!
Which one did you try? Some of these work better in some situations than in others.

Also, you may want to try a martingale collar if your pooch is a true Houdini.
Best of luck!

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Gio

I would like to introduce you to a truly innovative escape proof dog harness me and my buddy have built a business around.

We are a small startup company in Pasadena, Ca that designed and manufacture our ‘Adapt’ dog harness here in southern California.

You can see it here:

https://www.duo-gear.com/collections/all/products/duo-adapt-2-usa-dog-harness

Would you be interested in doing a review for us?

best,

GIO | CO-FOUNDER | DUO-GEAR

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Ben Team

Hey there, Gio.
Just use our contact form to get in touch with us.
Thanks!

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deborah lariscy

Thanks I did learn valuable information. I just rescued a tiny chi mix, 5 lbs. , and VERY scared. Well, I’m scared if he got off leash/harness, or out of fenced yard, I’d lose him. He is terrified of everything. I have an appointment with a Dog Behaviorist tomorrow. I have a lot to learn, along with this little guy. Someone traumatized him and I will not give up on him. Finding the appropriate collar or harness (both) is a must. His body type is skinny and small head, so fit is important. I will continue to come here for advice, even if an extra small dog is not mentioned as much. Best to all, Deb

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josh Tall

I loved the “Lethal Weapon” reference!!!! The rest of the article was well researched and very informative! Thank you!

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Mary

We have a 7 yr old Australia Aussie who likes to go after every dog except small dogs who he sees during our walk it’s come to a point that we have to walk him early in the morning b4 any other dogs are around I mean early around 4:30 am . What can we do?

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Meg Marrs

Hey Mary – check out our guide to leash reactivity. The good news is that this is a common issue that a behaviorist or trainer should be able to help a lot with. It’s all about rewarding your dog for calmly looking at other dogs, and being careful to stay within her threshold. Sometimes that means keeping over 10-20 ft away from other dogs! Once you figure out where your dog’s threshold is, you can work around that and start rewarding him for keeping calm. Good luck!

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Tracey

I have to dogs, a border collie and a long legged pit. The border collie is the master mind and finds new ways to escape each time I close off the latest escape route. I have to tie them out now and they chew off each others collars and harnesses so that they can carry out their escape plans. Are their any chew proof harnesses? I don’t like using the metal choke chains because I don’t want them to get choked in fighting the collars. What do you suggest?

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JOY

I had many laughs reading this article and its great to see the humour we all share if we have dogs. I have a right problem with my little JAPANESE TCHIN (Spaniel). She will be 3 in October. She WILL slip her shoulders back through her harness but only does it when we approach the main road!!! She will NOT come back when I call her back very anxiously. The breeder told me she was very INDEPENDENT but had I known the extent of that I really think I would have chosen a male. She is extremely loving when we are at home but she has slipped out of that harness once too many times for me to feel confident of even walking her. She has a good expensive harness which I check double each time I put it on her. But she suddenly pulls. It’s only on reading your article I realize she does this just before bending her front elbow and getting free behind my back You confirmed what she does!! I don’t have a small enough T shirt. She weighs 4kgs. I am a Brit and living in Switzerland. I don’t know if I can fine these harnesses but the lead in last comment would be ideal except it would ruin her lovely soft fur. I have called her Houdini so was delighted you do he same. Thanks for your article. I really did enjoy it.

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Ben Team

So glad you enjoyed the article, Joy.
Best of luck keeping “Houdini” securely tethered!

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Suzie Morritt

If it doesn’t have a third strap to go around the belly, behind the deepest part of the chest, I wouldn’t consider it an anti-escape harness. Two of my Podencos would back out of anything else in one second flat if they saw something they wanted to chase!

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Deborah M McCarrick

After having our husky pup slip her mesh harness on her very first walk at the park (had she not stopped to smell something intriguing, who knows when we would have caught her, if at all) we did much research and bought the Ruffwear Web Master harness. She has not been able to slip it and is 18 months old now. However walking her has been challenging. I am 63 and the pulling is horrendous. I have tried so many tips to get it to stop. My next attempt will be a chest lead but I have not found a harness that has that chest lead clip that looks as escape proof as her Ruffwear harness. My question: Do you think I can attach a slip lead to the front of the Ruffwear via the emblem that goes over the chest? I already use the 2 connections, Martingale collar and harness as a failsafe but this does nothing to help with the pulling. I walk her almost everyday for at least 2 miles and unless she gets over heated she never slows down. HELP!

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Alicia

Ha! This article is ridiculous. My dog can back out of all the harnesses you listed. She’s half beagle half daschound. We need harnesses for dogs with thick chests and small heads.

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Cathie

Alicia, I’m right there with ya! My boxer gets out of everything and I mean EVERYTHING. He’s got a thick chest and small head. He can roll his shoulders and slip out of any harness and the martingale is a total joke for him. I just don’t think it should be this hard for some engineer to design something that works!

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Ellie

Similar situation for me, and luckily we had a trainer/behaviorist that foresaw that problem while training our rescue for the leash.
– A strong harness with a connector in front of the chest and in back of the harness.
– A two-dog halter to connect to the front and back of harness.
Connect the leash to the center of the halter as if you were walking two dogs. However, each end of the halter will connect to the front and back of the harness. This greatly reduces the pull you will feel on your arm because, let’s face it, huskies can pull all day with no problem.

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Debbie

I did hear that a leash clip on FRONT of the dog, middle of chest, is helpful with pulling. When they PULL, it swings their body around and they are Not going forward anymore, so they learn to stop doing the pulling. Hope that helps. Love from the USA !!

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ed

Just bought a $30 “Wonder Walker”, it was fitted in a very reputable pet store; 2nd day dog got out like from every harness and collar for the last 22 months.

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Sharon R DeBoever

I recently purchased the Pug harness but my toy Australian Shepherd manages to escape from it every time even though it’s supposed to be pool proof and everything he still manages still looking for a good one for him he likes to chase cars and I don’t want to lose him he’s 15 years old thinks he’s a pup

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Marli

Thank you! Such a thorough article. I have a small Japanese Chin who is an absolute HOUDINI. Will try the recommendations above-thank youuu!!!

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Ben Team

Glad we could help, Marli! Good luck with your pooch. 🙂

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becky faulkner

i have the same problem with my boy basenji he hates anything on his back he is such a clown

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Ann Montgomery

I have a boxer that scratches out of every halter we put on her. Do you have one that you recommend that she might not be able to get out of and where I can purchase it? I would appreciate your help thank you Ann

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Tabitha McCurley

The Perfect Fit Harness from Dog Games in the UK wasn’t mentioned, it might be worth calling or emailing them to see if they can help with suggestions for your boxer. The harness comes in three different pieces so you can mix and match so it fits just right, and so it doesn’t have to slip over a dogs head if they can’t handle that kind of thing. I think I remember reading once that for big time escape artists they suggest going with a smaller neck size that fits more like a collar (so that the harness can’t be slipped out of over the head) and then the rest of the harness pieces are fitted more “normal” to the specific size of each dog. The company is from across the pond though. I’ve found here in Canada that it’s often cheaper to order things online from the UK than from province to province where I live, but I’m not sure that would be the case if you’re in the States…

I’ll try to copy and paste what they say about it:
The Ultimate in Dog Walking Harness
Modular design allows and secure and snug fit for almost any size & shape of dog
Easy to clip around dog’s neck and NOT put over head
Adjustable in up to 5 different places
Each piece can be replaced as or when needed
Front piece comes with an additional D-ring as standard
Safe for amputee dogs (Tripawed!)
Difficult for escapologist dogs to get out of
Calming for excitable dogs

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Kim Edgin

Thanks for the great information!

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Virginia Richardson

I tried the Martingale. And my Sheltie was leashed she saw something and ran to her end of the leash and hurt her throat. Never will I put any of my Shelties in one again. She is an escape artist in everything I buy. I don’t want to lose her.

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Tonya Lagergren

I hope she is OK. I have a VERY strong mixed breed that will go after cats and likes to try to take off and run. She almost pulls me down and has pulled out of collars and harnesses. I used the Martingale the way the trainer taught me but she still does these things even though she was being choked by the collar. I decided to keep her inside and in the yard.

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