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The Gentle Leader vs. The Easy Walk Dog Harness: Which One Is Right for Your Dog?

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Collars & Harnesses By Kate Brunotts 8 min read June 10, 2021

best harness for stopping pulling

Does your canine companion have a hard time containing himself while on walks? Does he drag you to and fro while trying to check out every interesting scent he smells? Have you ever been pulled off balance when Spot spotted a squirrel?

Don’t worry — you’re not alone! 

Ultimately, you’ll want to address this issue by training your dog not to pull during walks. But this isn’t a quick-and-easy solution. It’ll often take some time to instill proper leash manners in your mutt.

Fortunately, there are a few special harnesses and halters available that can provide some quick relief and make walking your dog easier. This way, you can keep your sanity while slowly but steadily making progress via training.  

Today, we’ll look at two of the most popular choices — the PetSafe Gentle Leader and the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness — to help you choose the best one for your dog. 

The Gentle Leader vs. the Easy Walk Harness: Key Takeaways

  • The Gentle Leader Head Halter and the Easy Walk Dog Harness are two different tools designed to help owners keep control of their canine during walks. Both are pretty popular and effective options, but each works best in a different set of circumstances.
  • The Gentle Leader is a head halter, which gives you the chance to direct your dog’s attention wherever you like. This can help stop your dog from pulling, but it’s most helpful for eliminating the lunging and jumping that dogs with poor leash manners often exhibit.
  • The Easy Walk is a conventional, no-pull harness, designed to make it easier to stop your dog from pulling. Because it relies on a front-positioned leash clip, the Easy Walk makes it difficult for your dog to pull, as pulling will simply turn his body around.
  • Bottom Line: Both are awesome tools, but if you’re just trying to stop pulling, go with the Easy Harness; if you are more concerned with stopping lunging or keeping your dog focused on you, go with the Gentle Leader. Additionally, the Easy Walk is better-suited for brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds.

Quick Comparison: Head Halters vs. No-Pull Harnesses

Gentle Leader Head Halter in Use
Gentle Leader Head Halter image from Flickr.
Easy Walk Pet Harnesses in Use
Easy Walk Harness image from Flickr.

The Gentle Leader and the Easy Walk Harness have a few similarities.

For example, they’re both training harnesses, and they’re both made by the same company. You can use both on a daily basis, and they’ll work in a variety of scenarios. Further, they’re both humane and respectful to your pooch, unlike aversive collars.

However, they do differ in a few key ways.

The primary difference between the Gentle Leader and the Easy Walk harness boils down to the way that they work: The former is a head halter, while the latter is a no-pull harness. Both tools are designed to make Spot’s walk more smooth, but they are each built differently and suited for dogs with varied needs. 

Head halters like the Gentle Leader help you control the direction of your dog’s face, which can help with pulling and make it easier to direct your dog since you have control over his head. 

No-pull harnesses work in a few different ways, but the Easy Walk Harness strives to reduce your dog’s desire to pull through the use of a front-clip design.

With a front-clip setup, your dog is unable to pull forward. Instead, pulling will turn his body back around due to the tension on the leash.  

front-clip-harness

Both head halters and no-pull harnesses are useful pieces of equipment that can help you improve your dog’s leash skills. Depending on your dog’s needs and preferences, he may perform best with one option over the other. 

Product Basics: The Gentle Leader and the Easy Walk Harness

Here is a general product overview of the Gentle Leader and Easy Walk harness. Note that the tools are quite different, so they should be evaluated on an individual basis rather than a substitute for one option or the other. 

The Gentle Leader 

About: The Gentle Leader Headcollar gives you the chance to direct your dog’s snout (and therefore his attention) wherever you’d like. Your dog will still enjoy a full range of motion, and be able to sniff, eat, or drink while you’re guiding him around on-leash. 

head-halter

In addition to helping you control your canine and manage his lunging or jumping, the headcollar is perfect for teaching your pooch how to “heel.”  

Best Option for Directing Your Dog’s Attention

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PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Halter

PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Halter

A safe, effective, and gentle head halter that will help you direct your dog’s attention where you want it.

Features:

  • The headcollar design eliminates pressure on your dog’s neck and throat
  • Helps discourage excessive jumping, lunging, and pulling on the leash
  • The nose loops are padded for canine comfort
  • Prevents pups from pulling and allows you to redirect his focus 

Pros

  • Most owners were super impressed with the effectiveness of this headcollar
  • Provides an affordable way to regain control of your walks
  • With a little bit of practice, most dogs acclimated to the headcollar’s fit pretty quickly
  • Headcollar was effective when redirecting pulling, lunging at distractions, and curbing canine jumping while on walks 

Cons

  • It may take your pooch a couple of sessions to get used to this headcollar
  • Not a preferred choice for brachycephalic breeds (it won’t fit most short-faced doggos well)

The Easy Walk Harness 

About: If you’re looking for a tool to prevent your pooch from pulling as much on walks, the Easy Walk Harness is certainly worth considering. This harness discourages your dog from pulling with a front-facing leash attachment, making it easier for you to steer your dog in one direction or another without putting pressure on his throat.  

Best Option for Stopping Your Dog’s Pulling

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness

An easy-to-use, front-clip harness that’s specifically designed to stop your dog from pulling during walks.

Features:

  • Discourages pulling on the leash without putting pressure on your dog’s throat
  • Harness is easy to fit on Fido with different colored fabric to distinguish the bottom and top loops
  • 8 adjustable sizing options to fit almost any four-footer
  • Most dogs adjust to the Easy Walk harness fairly quickly 
  • Works well for most brachycephalic breeds

Pros

  • Harness is easy for dogs to acclimate to 
  • Easy Walk harness is great for brachycephalic breeds since it doesn’t fit around your dog’s nose 
  • Owners were impressed with how much this harness reducing pulling on the leash in a short amount of time
  • Another affordable option for calming down your walks

Cons

  • The Easy Walk harness won’t reduce jumping or lunging on the leash as much as a Gentle Leader headcollar will
  • Doesn’t provide a way to direct your dog’s attention during walks

Gentle Leader vs. The Easy Walk Harness: Which Product Is Right for You?

The Easy Walk harness and Gentle leader are both helpful tools, but each will work best for addressing different concerns. We’ll go over the ideal choice based on your situation below. 

However, it’s certainly worth considering getting both since they are affordable and well suited for different scenarios. 

Best Candidates For The Easy Walk Harness 

  • Your dog is only pulling. The Easy Walk harness is designed to help curb light to moderate pulling while on leash. It won’t work especially well for dogs who lunge or jump suddenly.  
  • You’re looking for something more familiar. Dogs typically acclimated to the easy walk harness quicker, since it has a similar design to other harnesses. The Gentle Leader can be difficult for some dogs to get the hang of!
  • You want something that’s easy to put on your dog quickly. The Easy Walk harness is usually easier to attach to your ‘lil angel than the Gentle Leader. 
  • You have a brachycephalic breed. Simply put, no-pull harnesses will work better for short-faced dogs than head halters will.  

Best Candidates for The Gentle Leader 

  • Your dog lunges, jumps, and pulls while on a leash. If your pooch is struggling with anything besides  run-of-the-mill leash pulling, the Gentle Leader headcollar will give you more control and allow you to direct your dog’s attention. This is also why the Gentle Leader is popular to use with leash reactive dogs, as it allows you to redirect their point of focus, helping prevent a dog from staring down their trigger and escalating.
  • You want to teach your dog “heel”. Even if your dog masters loose-leash walking, it’s a good idea to have your pooch learn the “heel” command. The Gentle Leader can be an excellent tool throughout this process since it helps you quickly redirect your dog’s attention. 
  • You’re looking for something to use in crowded areas. The Gentle Leader provides more control over your pooch, helping you keep your hound close and safe in crowded environments. Conversely, the Easy Walk Harness may be better suited for more casual settings, where you’re just looking to ease your pup’s pulling. 

While these are good guidelines to keep in mind, individual owners and dogs may simply prefer one option over the other. It’s worth experimenting with both (so long as you don’t have a brachycephalic breed). 

You may even find that different scenarios call for different tools.

For instance, you may want to use the Gentle Leader with your pooch in a crowded area (like the veterinarian’s office) to ensure that he stays safe. In more relaxed settings, the Easy Walk harness may fit the bill better. 

Just keep in mind that perfecting loose leash walking is a process, and while these tools are helpful, they’re likely not the end all be all for correcting your canine’s behavior. Teaching your dog to walk properly on a leash takes time, dedication, and a whole lot of practice. 

***

The Gentle Leader and the Easy Walk Harness are amazing tools to help refine your mutt’s manners while on leash. Each tool has its own perks and purpose, so it’s worth considering both options to find what works best for your buddy. 

Have you tried the Gentle Leader or Easy Walk harness? Did you see an improvement in your dog’s leash manners? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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