Gentle Leader vs Easy Walk Harness: Which Will Help Your Dog Walk Better?

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Two dogs with Gentle Leader and Easy Walk HarnessDoes your dog have issues pulling on the leash, barking excessively or lunging and jumping while walking? Not every dog is a perfect Lassie. So a training leash is a helpful tool to tame your pup’s anxiety and aggression.

Two popular options to help are reviewed here. But which is better: gentle leader vs easy walk harness? Find out which might help your dog.

Article Overview

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness PetSafe Gentle Leader
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness PetSafe Gentle Leader
View Easy Walk on Amazon View Gentle Leader on Amazon

Gentle Leader & Easy Walk Harness Features

Two popular training collar options are the Easy Walk Harness and Gentle Leader Headcollar.

Both can help train against unwanted behavior, but they are not identical products. So when comparing side by side, we wanted to point out the features of each.

To help you see which one you should pick, take a look at the table below. After reading, you may decide that your dog could benefit from both (more on that below).

 Easy Walk HarnessGentle Leader Head Collar
Discourages pulling on the leash
Helps train against excessive barking, lunging, jumping and even anxiety and aggression in some cases
Perfect for training dogs to heel
Easier to fit because it goes on the body, not the head
Recommended for brachycephalic breeds or short-nosed dogs (pugs, boxers, etc.)
Can be used on most breeds older than 6 weeks
Does not damage the trachea
Prevents gagging, choking and coughing
Requires little acclimation time or special technique
Great for every day walks
Popular among trainers and vets because you can walk your dog more comfortably on a leash

Use & Sizing Guide

The Gentle Leader head collar is sized by weight, whereas the Easy Walk dog harness uses chest and girth measurements.

Gentle Leader

Why is the gentle leader effective for dogs who pull? Because the Gentle Leader harness applies gentle pressure on the nose when the dog pulls.

Putting the Gentle Leader on correctly is critical to its effectiveness. Watch this 1-minute video from Austin Pets Alive to see how this head collar should be worn appropriately.

Easy Walk Harness

The Easy Walk harness has four adjustment points, so your dog is comfortable and has a reliable fit. There is a martingale loop in the chest piece to prevent twisting and the quick snap buckles on the shoulder, and belly straps make it easy to put on and take off. The collar sits high on your dog’s neck without putting any pressure on the throat.

How Much Do These Products Cost?

The Easy Walk harness costs Check Amazon for availability  and the Gentle Leader for dogs is  Check Amazon for availability .

Gentle Leader Head CollarEasy Walk Harness
weight under 5 lbs
chest width 6"-7"
girth measurement 12"-16"
weight up to 25 lbs
chest width 8"-9"
girth measurement 13"-18"
weight 25-60 lbs
chest width 8.5"-11"
girth measurement 15"-21"
weight 60-130 lbs
chest width 11"-13"
girth measurement 19"-26"
Extra Large
weight over 130 lbs
chest width 12"-15"
girth measurement 21"-32"
chest width 14"-18"
girth measurement 24.5"-34"
chest width 16"-21"
girth measurement 27"-40"
Extra Large
chest width 17.5"-23.5"
girth measurement 32"-50"

Our Experience With The Easy Walk Harness

We use the Easy Walk Harness on our Lab. It definitely reduces her uncontrolled pulling on walks. However, it gets stuck behind her front legs sometimes, rather than staying in front as it should. I guess this annoyance is worth the trade-off for a more manageable dog on walks! – Michelle, Co-Founder of Canine Journal

Can You Use Both The Gentle Leader & Easy Walk?

These two tools are fairly inexpensive. So, if your dog has issues with pulling on the leash and lunging, you may want to purchase both. You can then apply the training tool that makes sense in a particular situation.

For example, you may use the Easy Walk at the park but the Gentle Leader for dogs at the vet’s office.

Tips For Improving Dog Walking Behavior

View Easy Walk on Amazon | View Gentle Leader on Amazon

We want to remind you that although these harnesses can be immensely helpful, they are still just one of many training tools. If your dog’s issue is that he pulls on the leash, it’s important that you are consistent with your commands. Also, don’t forget to reward him when he isn’t pulling, so it reinforces good behavior.

To further maximize your dog’s walking success you might also consider other dog training collar options, an online dog training class or other harnesses.

What issue does your dog have on a leash?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories, and more. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

Kimberly's natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs. Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child.

In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly’s research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today. One of Kimberly’s favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds, and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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Alice wysell
April 25, 2020 12:02 pm

My dog is a daushound ,lancashire heeled mix . He is responding to some walking commands but goes nuts when seeing or hearing a dog. We use martingale collar and I just ordered muzzle to possibly meet dogs safely. Hoping this helps

March 22, 2020 9:52 am

I tried a no pull harness on my 15 lb chihuahua mix, doesn’t work. I’m thinking of gentle lead but have little faith it will help.he lunges away or toward dogs and their barks

Apiffany Gaither Billings
March 23, 2020 10:53 am
Reply to  Alice

It sounds like your dog may benefit from training to help with leash walking skills.

Demon dog owner
January 18, 2020 7:14 pm

We’ve tried both a gentle leader and frontclip harness with our dog/terrorist mix. He just spins around and pulls backward like a cartoon donkey, because he can get leverage that way. He’s a street dog mutt and too smart for his own good (knows like 200 commands perfectly, just won’t listen when he wants to pull to another dog). Any ideas? Plain “dog training” ain’t gonna cut it, we’ve done $800 worth of classes so far, including two reactive dog classes, and so far all that’s accomplished is teaching him English.

June 16, 2020 9:36 pm

We must have the same dog!

February 18, 2020 6:51 pm

I don’t have that many suggestions, sorry. But I’ll give you what I’ve tried.

First of all, do you have a fenced backyard? If not, can you take him to somewhere where he can run free and try to take the edge of his energy with a Frisbee/ball/etc. Or you could just let him run around, if he’s as energetic as it sounds like, he may be one of those dogs that will just wear himself out without too much help from you, LOL! Then try to take him for a walk. I’m not saying this is a cure, IT’S NOT, but it helps when you’re trying to train him not to pull to have him at maybe 495% energy instead of 500%! Just kidding, LOL, but hopefully you get the idea.

My other advice is what I did with my dog. When the dog pulls, stop and stand still until there is slack on the leash. Then continue your walk. Okay, so in reality, what will probably happen is you’ll have to wait forever for him to actually put slack on the leash, and then as soon as you take 1 step forward, the dog will bolt ahead (make sure to brace yourself for the lunge lol). That’s when you must stop (AGAIN)and repeat the exercise. Persistence and patience are the keys here. If you don’t persist doing this EVERY SINGLE TIME HE PULLS, it won’t work. If you don’t have patience with the dog, well…that won’t work either :). It’s hard to say which is more difficult to apply xD! The good thing is, the smarter the dog is, the faster he’ll figure out that you are going to follow through on that “new rule” and that he might as well just cooperate. Warning: You will probably have like, a total breakthrough walk. You go home and party (and especially tell ALL your friends about how you solved your problem) and the next time you go out (this is a demo for all your non-believing friends) he acts like he totally forgot the last walk. That’s where the 2 P’s (patience and persistence) are really tested…but just keep doing it. Your dog may also pull the forgot-everything-I-learned trick with someone else who’s new at walking him (see how much he can push each individual over lol). You should probably give new walkers at least an hour lecture on the 2 P’s. Just kidding about that :p. Oh well, I hope your dog gets better!!! God bless!

November 11, 2019 12:02 am

I got a gentle leader for my powerful, broad chested bull mastiff after he pulled me clean off my feet when bolting suddenly after a rabbit. It is working well but he does lean into it and I worry about his neck. Is the harness a strong enough correction to turn a power lunge?

March 30, 2020 2:41 pm
Reply to  Cindy

did you get an answer?

September 12, 2019 5:41 pm

We have a two-year-old, medium sized, female labradoodle. We have been using the gentle leader to reduce pulling for about 9 months. It does reduce pulling, but it obviously bothers her because she frequently jumps up and uses both front paws to try to remove the gentle leader. She seems frantic to get it off. The leader is not too tight. How can I make the gentle leader more comfortable? Is there a softer/cushioned nose piece?

January 10, 2020 1:40 am
Reply to  Karen

This is the same issue I have with my Golden Retriever. She hates it being on her snout and even a veterinarian checked to see if I had it on right and I did. She is stubborn and will go into a crocodile role to try to get the loop off of her snout.

My Golden ended up fighting so much when it was on that it rubbed the area around the top of her snout (in front of her eyes) raw.

Valerie Mccleaf
November 4, 2019 6:29 pm
Reply to  Karen

Make sure you have the right gentle lead collar it should be in the shape of a v when it’s on I’m not block her mouth at all I bought the wrong one at first and I had to go back for another one try to get it off and Igive it a little tug every time she does that she’s getting used to it I can walk her without a problem it’s usually when high stop

July 21, 2019 3:01 pm

The dog in the video “how to put on a gentle leader” could be the twin of the dog I just adopted three days ago. What breed (or mix) is he known or thought to be?

August 9, 2019 2:22 pm
Reply to  KEN

I would say definitely mostly Pitbull type breed.

July 16, 2019 12:16 pm

We have a 7 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback, her issue is that she walks ahead with some pulling and will lunge at other dogs. We recently tried the gentle leader and it was amazing however left her with a major cut on the top of her nose not sure if it was rubbing against her. We’re letting it heal but hair needs to grow back. Is the Easy walk a better alternative. She doesn’t have a problem with barking.

Janeen Landsberger
July 9, 2019 8:28 pm

I have a 4.5 lb Maltese with chest 11 inch and neck 6.5. Have a Sporn mesh harness XS that is way too big. Pug Life smallest size is too big. Would your petite size fit her? I don’t want to buy another big one.

Tony Dellwo
May 9, 2019 3:34 pm

My dog Brena is a Malador Shepard. She pulls like a plow horse, she whines. She won’t heel. She wants to run free. She’s a big ball of energy.

Wolf Burgess
January 18, 2020 7:24 pm
Reply to  Tony Dellwo

Had a Dutch shepherd for 17 years, and a GSD/malamute mix for 10 until she tragically died young. You gotta get them a job to keep them happy, especially if they’re not food oriented. Find a strong neighborhood kid (a high school track athlete would work well) that wants to jog 5 miles for some money, wear her out, then work on the heel command for something she values. Probably won’t be food – a toy might work best. My Dutch shepherd worked for a frisbee, and the GSD/malamute was a big love and just wanted praise.

Just NEVER use any pain/fear training like pinch collars, shock collars, jerking the leash, shouting, etc, because shepherds are sensitive to that and it’ll make them hate both training and you, and they’ll end up skittish and poor workers. I see that a lot at obedience trials – scared shepherds cowering in shock collars with domineering owners. Not a good look.

Eric Delacy
May 8, 2019 6:01 pm

Which would you recommend for a 120lbs Male Akita that pulls for the first 20 minutes of a walk, or when he sees another dog. We also have a female that doesn’t pull at all.


Eric Delacy
May 9, 2019 11:55 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

also, I don’t see an XL version of the Easy walk harness. only goes to 95lbs

Eric Delacy
May 9, 2019 10:19 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

the female is young (4 months), but is perfect so far.

Jenna Bud
April 26, 2019 11:14 pm

What would you recommend for a Dalmatian puppy

January 23, 2019 2:37 pm

The Gentle Leader has been a lifesaver for us. We live in an RV resort during the winter. Our lab was pulling and lunging, but no more. We can walk him anywhere in the park.

Bruce F.
January 9, 2019 2:58 am

Word of warning on the Gentle Leader. I’ve used it for my German Shepherd for the last 7-8 months. It works great for keeping him on heel and no pulling. The VERY BAD News is that he developed sores on the side of his mouth and jowls. We didn’t know why his jowls, especially on one side were red and irritated and occasionally “crusty” or scabbed. Duh! We stopped using the leader a couple of weeks ago and his jowls have healed. We are looking at trying the Easy Walk. If you look at the design of the Gentle Leader you’ll notice that it goes across the dog’s snout and will rub the back part of his jowls with any tension applied by the dog or by you during the walk. Too bad, because as a walking and training aid the Gentle Leader is great.

December 19, 2018 3:25 am

I am wanting to buy an Easy Walk Harness, but am having trouble finding one to buy. One crowd advertise they keep it in store and they actually don’t. Where can I buy one please?

Lauren Rossi
June 12, 2019 7:22 am
Reply to  Merilyn

I got mine from chewy but I advise you not to get the easy walk harness due to the fact it does not work if you are trying to stop pulling.

November 27, 2018 11:59 pm

My daughter has a Doberman and just bought a gentle leader and he’s being stubborn and not wanting to poop like his normal times like in the mornings. He waits til lunch.

Jr hii
February 14, 2019 7:50 pm
Reply to  Sharon

I would be cautious about the gentle leader on a doberman. As I was warned,They can be prone to neck issues, especially with head halters. Their bodies and so fast and strong compared to their head and neck proportions that they can hurt themselves. I use an easy walk with mine and it works very well.

September 21, 2018 6:44 am

I have a 16 week old Beagle puppy that pulls a lot when we go for walks. She wears a SPORN harness to prevent pulling but it’s not working. Even if I tighten it she STILL pulls. She doesn’t seem to care. Which harness do you think might work better on her? I’d really appreciate some advice. As she is starting puppy school soon, and I would like to at least tone down the pulling.

Michelle Schenker
September 21, 2018 2:09 pm
Reply to  Zoe

Hi Zoe, We use the Gentle Leader on our strong-pulling Lab, Bella, and it works like a charm. It is the only thing I have found that stops her from either pulling or choking herself. There is no guarantee that it will work for your dog of course, but it sure has helped us.

July 27, 2018 4:47 am

This is very informative. Thanks for posting all the pros and cons of this product.

July 23, 2018 12:08 pm

I have a young Basset who has just turned a year. He is quite lean but girth measures 63 cm when last measured. The problem is in training he pulls – I have tried several harnesses on him and the recent was the PerfectFit Harness which supposedly was guaranteed against pulling – but he still pulls if he cannot get away using front muscles he uses his back muscles to pull and is really strong. What would you suggest be used for him in training so that he does not pull?

July 17, 2018 1:10 am

This is very informative, thank you!

Amy Ferraro
March 6, 2018 3:46 pm

I have a 97lb rescue shep/lab mix.. That still has some anxiety issues. She is also houdini!! Her escape trip is to Back out of collars and some halters I have a combo halter’ish leash made from woven cotton.. I think. That puts pressure around her chest directly behind her front legs and not her neck at all. It is also houdini proof. I’m concerned when this wears out… I don’t think it’s still made, what is the best alternative for her. She gets freaked easily and does not respond well to change. However, we live in the rural area of Maine and is off leash with good recall during the day. Nights are another matter when the wild things are out and about. Thanks for suggestions.. Sorry so long

March 14, 2018 3:39 am
Reply to  Amy Ferraro

If she doesn’t pull, you may want to try the ruff wear webmaster harness. It has and extra belly strap making it virtually impossible to escape. However, the leash attaches to the back of the harness, so it will not help with pulling. You could also get a martingale collar. These collars tighten slightly when a dog tries to back out of the collar but there is a limit on how tight a martingale collar
can go which means that when they are adjusted correctly they will not choke the dog, just tighten a LITTLE BIT if they try to back out of the collar which stops them from escaping. The best martingale collar is the PetSafe quick release martingale. If you don’t buy that one, just make that the one you get has a fabric loop (Not chain; it can get stuck when it tightens) and make sure it has quick release buckles. Martingale collars should only be used for walks and should not be left on a dog 24/7. Goof luck!

Amy Ferraro
March 8, 2018 10:37 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

She does pull a bit but my biggest concern is that she is an escape artist. If something frightens her or she just doesn’t want to go forward.. She can back out of most everything

April 11, 2020 2:22 pm
Reply to  Amy Ferraro

we have a border collie that has found a way out of every harness and collar we put on her, we found the ruff wear adventure harness worked for her. if you are wanting to use a gentle leader or harness I would suggest making a safety clip that attaches to both the harness and the collar.

CJ davidson
April 2, 2017 10:12 am

I bought easy walk harnesses for all 3 of my dogs & am sorry I did. I have GSPs which have very deep chests but narrow shoulders. The easy walk is supposed to be adjustable but I could never adjust them properly for my 2 bigger dogs (both got sores); I can sort of use it for the younger one but it doesn’t stay adjusted. I’m disappointed.

Hound Dog
October 5, 2017 7:14 am
Reply to  CJ davidson

Absolutely the same same problem! Glad to here I’m not the only one! My dog is very slim except for her BARREL chest, and it always rubbed on her too. Try the Gentle Leader, it worked better for me.

May 31, 2018 12:24 pm
Reply to  Hound Dog

Our Large Munsterlander has the same physique, deep chest and narrow shoulders. Try ‘The Perfect Fit’ harness. This has a front attachment and it fits perfectly!

j. Giblin
June 15, 2017 5:54 pm
Reply to  CJ davidson

I bought the Easy Walk Harness for my 63-pound Border Collie/Black Lab Cross because walks had become so uncomfortable for me from her pulling that I finally stopped walking her. I was led to believe that the harness would help control the pulling and jerking, but it not only didn’t help, she was even less controllable than when we used a ‘choke-chain’ training collar. I felt that she could have easily pulled me over if I had been less steady on my feet. I’m sure it has been fitted to her correctly according to the instructions, and I believe the purchase was a waste of time and money. I’d still like to have walks with my wonderful (in every other way) pet. So I’m on this site to consider buying a gentle leader head collar. A good idea? or wasting more money and time?

Hound Dog
October 5, 2017 7:16 am
Reply to  j. Giblin

The Gentle Leader worked for my dog, and I used to use an Easy-Walk Harness, but stopped because it didn’t work and was rubbing.

Wolf Burgess
January 18, 2020 7:32 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Pinch collars can make dogs fearful of training and even leashing. The shelter I volunteer at forbids their use by adopters because of that. Sometimes, they make dogs so skittish that they need corrective behavioral training afterward. Flicking your trachea HURTS. You do not want your dog to associate training with pain.

August 11, 2018 1:18 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Most of us considering harness and head collars do so because we don’t want to use pinch collars. Look them up on the RSPCA website.

July 24, 2018 2:40 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

I must say that as an owner of a service dog, my dog leads in front of me like a guide dog as I have PTSD. I am sometimes stopped at least a few times a week by people telling me that my dog is not obedient. He is highly trained and taught to walk specifically like this.

March 15, 2017 11:19 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

It seems like you may have a size too big but perhaps she will grow into it? Or try adjusting it smaller. Our dog Bella uses the Easy Walk too and it is the ONLY thing that allows me to keep ahold of her when we walk by other dogs she wants to meet!

Hound Dog
October 10, 2017 7:40 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Well what size did you get, and what size is your dog?

Hound Dog
November 12, 2017 11:07 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

I really don’t like the easy-walk harness for the reason that it chaffs many dogs, and like most harnesses, has to be really snug to work right. I found a “Sporn Non-Pull” harness, it has fleece padding, and tightens under her front legs when she pulls. (If she doesn’t pull, it remains totally loose.) It doesn’t eliminate pulling, but doesn’t rub. I recommend for light-medium pullers!

Hound Dog
November 24, 2017 8:41 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Can’t wait to hear! If that doesn’t work I still recommend that “Sporn no-pull” harness–I like it better every single day!

Hound Dog
February 19, 2018 11:55 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Just saying, I don’t all the tools in the world will a make a difference to this problem. Work on training, and stop trying to slap a tool on her. Didn’t realize before you were dealing with behavior/emotional, not behavior/pulling

February 14, 2017 6:08 pm

I’ve been worried about my dog’s neck when I tug on her collar when she’s sniffing around or picking up something on the ground that she’s not supposed to eat while out on a walk. So I’m going to give one of these a try and hope it helps!

Hound Dog
October 5, 2017 7:11 am
Reply to  Gretchen

If your dog sniffs a lot, DON’T get the easy walk harness, or any harness for that matter! Here, I’ll explain it. My dog is very barrel-chested, so that even though we got a medium easy-walk harness, the chest strap was out ALL the way. That was also because my dog sniffs a LOT (she’ll walk around the block without taking her nose off the ground) and when she sniffs her chest would push forward more so that her nose could reach the ground. If I didn’t want the whole harness pulled off whenever her chest and nose went down to the ground, then I had to loosen the chest strap to give her room for the sniffing; however, whenever my dog wasn’t sniffing the now loose chest strap would begin to rub. (Actually, she got a lot of places all over that were raw, from the harness.) My dog is also a very strong puller and though this decreased the force, she still would kind of run pulled sideways, and could also pull her way out of the harness. SO, if your dog is a hard puller or has a barrel chest or likes to sniff or all three, don’t get this! (My dog has a gentle leader now, and it works fine.)

Hound Dog
November 24, 2017 8:52 am
Reply to  Hound Dog

So, an update–I, or actually my neighbor found a harness that I like and works for my dog! (I know, I just said don’t get any kind of harness and now I’m advertising one!) I left Rosie with my neighbor while I was out of town for 4 days. And Rosie chewed up her Gentle Leader (true, it had been left ON her, which I never did because I was pretty sure I knew the results)! Anyway, my neighbor went to Pet Smart and bought this “Sporn no-pull” harness”. It has a neck collar and then two straps run from it between her belly and up onto her back where a leash ring is attached–the way it works is when the dog pulls, the straps squeeze under its belly, and loosen when it stops pulling (unlike the Gentle Leader which didn’t always loosen after it tightened). The under straps are padded with fleece and it’s only $8 on Amazon. The great thing (to me) is that you can fasten it really loose, and it will only tighten when the dog pulls; this is the best tool I have yet to find!