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Best Escape Proof Dog Harnesses: Ratings & Reviews

Emma Braby

Last Updated: March 23, 2020 | 18 min read

Best Escape Proof Dog Harnesses

One of the worst feelings in the world is losing your pup. Some dogs grow out of it, but some dogs perfect their skills and become the Houdini of hounds. There are many reasons why dogs escape their harnesses, some run because they hate being restricted, some dogs run away to chase after other creatures, and some seem to do it just because they are mischievous. To prevent the behavior, you’ll want to train regularly and pick up an escape proof dog harness known to limit your pup’s ability to take off.

In this comprehensive guide we are going to look at why your dog might be escaping his harness, tips on how to stop him escaping, what to look for in an escape proof dog harness, and our top recommendations that are currently available on the market. While certain breeds like the Pitbull are known for escaping their harness, all breeds can develop the want to break free.

Not only have we completed all of the time consuming and hard research just so that you don’t have to, but all of our recommendations have also been tried and tested by other canine escape artist owners across the world so you know that these harnesses will stand up to the test. So, let’s jump straight into why your dog might be jumping straight out!

At a Glance: Our Favorite Escape Proof Harnesses

Best Overall: Icefang Tactical Harness
High End: Ruffwear Multi-Use Harness
Budget Pick: Gooby Escape Free Harness

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Reasons Dogs Escape

Reasons Dogs Escape Harnesses
There are many reasons dogs try to escape their harnesses.

There are many reasons why dogs try to escape their harness or leash. Some of these reasons include poor harness fit, poor quality, nervousness or leash reactiveness, and having a high prey drive.  Some of these issues can be breed dependent, but most of them will vary by dog.  Let’s look at each reason in a little more detail.

Poor fit: This is probably the most common reason why dogs slip their harnesses, simply because the harness that their owner has bought them does not fit them properly. Owners either order the wrong size without measuring their pooch properly, or because their pup is not used to wearing a harness and then protest against it, owners assume that it is too tight so they loosen it up a bit which is when they make good their escape. As with anything, be patient, and he will soon get used to it!

Poor quality: Another common reason why many pooches escape out of their harness is because their harness is either of poor quality, or it is not specifically designed to be more secure. A basic harness is not going to stand up to the tests of Houdini hounds! All of the recommendations in this guide are either designed specifically for Houdinis, or they are so well made and tick off all of the criteria needed, that they have made it onto our list. Either way, you know that your chances of keeping him strapped up are the best with any of our recommendations below.

Nervousness: Some dogs become nervous and simply freak out when confronted with unfamiliar situations. If he is a young pup then it is really important to invest time with his socialization training and ensure that you make all new situations as pleasant as possible. This should be done by gradually exposing him to a sidewalk and the associated sounds either early in the morning or late at night when noises are minimal. As he becomes accustomed to the different surroundings you should gradually change the times to when it becomes a little busier. 

Leash averse: Some dogs need to walk before they can run, and if he is nervous or unfamiliar with his new harness, then this is simply about getting him used to it. Practice walking him with his new harness on either indoors or in a secure area, and again, once he has become more accustomed to it he will become more confident. This is particularly true of puppies and rescue pups, so be patient with your pooch!

High prey drive: These pooches tend to be the best harness escapers simply because, to them, squirrels are life, and there is nothing that is going to get in their way, not even their harness! Prey drive can rarely be trained out of a dog like a greyhound, so finding the right harness for that breed is essential. Not only do you need to purchase one of the best harnesses around, but you’ve also got to have your wits about you, especially if he is a large or strong dog.

If your pooch has escaped a harness, or many harnesses, then expect him to do it again. He needs to be treated as a high-risk offender and do not take any calm walk for granted. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and while he may have returned to you once before, the outcome could have been far worse, so be sure to invest in a high-quality harness to reduce the chances of him escaping ever again.

Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide For Escape Proof Harnesses
Our Buyer’s Guide walks you through all the proper harness considerations for escape prone pups.

So, before you purchase an escape proof harness it is important to understand what makes it more secure than others. Here are the most important aspects of the harness that you need to consider.

Secure Clips: Secure clips are important to making sure your pooch won’t be able to break out of the harness grip. Flimsy plastic clips aren’t going to hold up against his straining, so you need to ensure that the clips are solid and sturdy and will hold up against his pulling. Having several clips also increases the chances of him not being able to escape, and while such harnesses might take longer to put on, at least if he slips one clip, or one breaks, then you can rely on the others to hold in place.

Strong Material: Ensuring that the material that the harness is made from is strong and well put together is also the key to ensuring that the harness doesn’t break. Look for harnesses that are either made from nylon webbing, neoprene, leather, or other seriously strong material.

Padding: If your pooch finds the harness uncomfortable at first, the best way to get him feeling comfortable is to make sure you buy a harness with padding, as this will decrease the initial discomfort and rubbing significantly. If it’s digging into to him or causing irritation then he is more likely to get out of it, and to be honest, we can understand why!

Handle Grip: So, if he is in the middle of trying to escape and you think there is a good chance that he might succeed, then a handle grip is a good way to try and prevent him from making a run for it. Additionally, if you know what triggers his want to escape, such as a cat or a loud dog, then being able to pull him in closer and hold onto him not only gives you more control, but it also gives you peace of mind. Again, strong material that is well attached to his harness is key here.

Visibility: Even with the best intentions it is not always possible to prevent him from escaping, so in the chance that he does you need to make sure that his harness is visible to others, so reflective strips or stitching ensures that others can see him in poor lighting or poor visibility.


Top Harnesses For Escapers

Top Escape Proof Harnesses
The harnesses below are sure to help keep your “houdini” pup under control.

So hopefully you know exactly what it is that triggers your pooch to escape, and combined with your knowledge about what to look for in an more secure harness, you will be able to find the perfect harness for your dog and his disappearing skills. Of course, not every dog is the same, nor do they have the same requirements or the same build, so focus on what is important for both your dog and you, but we guarantee that there is something in our list of recommendations for everyone.

Remember to measure your pooch as per the instructions on the product listing, and do not be tempted to guess, as what one company might deem a medium size, might be small or large for another.


Icefang Tactical Dog Harness

ICEFANG Large Dog Tactical Harness,Military...
  • [2x METAL BUCKLE]: 2 x Metal Buckle (1000 lb Proof-Load Test ) on...
  • [CUSTOM- FIT]: No Rub As well as Escape-proof; Harness was...
  • [NO PULL/SAFETY CONTROL]: Connect leash to No pull front...
  • [HANDS FREE CARRYING ]:Two 1" Strips of Molle Sewn Onto Both...

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This harness has 4 adjustable points which means it can be made to fit snuggly, and the edges are designed not to rub his skin. There are 2 metal buckles and 2 POM buckles to clip the harness into place, and there are also two metal leash attachment points, with one being in front of his chest, which makes this a great option for strong pullers.

There is also a handle at the base of his neck at the rear, which is great if you need to take control of him. There are several military colors available, as well as Velcro strips where name and information badges and other additions can be placed. This harness offers the largest size on this list, which makes it a great option for those XXL pooches. The only issue that we can see with this harness is that there are no reflective strips or stitching.

We love that this harness is made with 2 metal buckles that are tested to take 1,000 pounds worth of weight, and 2 POM buckles that are tested to take 250 pounds of weight, as well as the rear metal V ring, which is designed to take 1,200 pounds of weight, which makes this harness a great option for strong pullers.


Ruffwear Web Master Harness

RUFFWEAR - Web Master, Multi-Use Support Dog...
  • SUPER SECURE: Anatomically designed for canine companions with a...
  • LIFT AND ASSIST: Made for maneuvering, the padded, reinforced...
  • CUSTOMIZABLE FIT: 5 convenient points of adjustment for full...
  • BUILT TO LAST: Durable construction for a high-performance,...

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While this harness is not described as an escape proof harness and is often used for owners that like to run with their dogs, with 5 adjustable clips, strong material and a shape that will be very difficult to back out of, it has made our top escape proof recommendations. It is a high quality harness, it is durable and value for money, and it even comes with a lifetime guarantee against doggy damage and poor craftsmanship.

In addition to this, many owners have reviewed that this harness has prevented their Houdini hound from escaping, with many escape specific harnesses not being up to the challenge. It has a reinforced handle perfect for emergency situations, and it has extra padding which means that it is comfortable for you pooch. It has reflective trimming which makes it great for his safety and has 2 leash attachment points which makes it excellent for pullers.

We love that this is the smallest harness on this list, which makes it a great option for those XXS breeds.


Mihachi Secure Dog Harness

Mihachi Secure Dog Harness - Escape-Proof...
  • Five Point of Adjustment - The Dog Harness have 5 points of...
  • Fashion & Practical Handle - Our harness with plastic handle is...
  • Material & Structure - The surface is made of high intensity...
  • Foam Padded & Leg Loops - The harness vest padded belly support...

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This secure dog harness has 5 adjustment points which means it is easier to find that perfect fit for your pooch, and the better the fit the less likely he is going to escape out of it. The material is polyester, and many owners have described the material as strong, yet it is still lightweight enough to be comfortable.

The layer lying closest to his body is meshed material and therefore breathable, and the edges are soft to avoid irritation and rubbing. The harness has reflective strips and stitching, and it also has a handle placed across his shoulder blades. Unfortunately, this harness is only for medium or large dogs like a German Shepherd, so it is not an option for smaller pooches.

We love that the buckles and rings are made out of metal, so it is very durable and can take the strength of his pulling.


Cosy Meadow Dog Harness

Cosy Meadow Escape Proof Dog Harness - Metal...
  • ESCAPE PROOF: Adjustable shoulder & chest straps makes it easy to...
  • 2019 Improved Version: Quick-Release, Heavy-Duty METAL Buckles...
  • Sturdy Safety Handle: Gain immediate CONTROL of your dog in...
  • NON-CHOKING: Won't harm pet's sensitive throat & trachea unlike...

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This harness has improved since their 2018 version, with the material being 52% thicker and stronger, the rings are made from welded stainless metal which means you do not have to worry about breakages or rusting. Neoprene is a weather resistant material, and with extra padding it is comfortable for your pooch, and the sleeves are made with softer material, which means less rubbing.

It is stitched with reflective material which enhances your pooches chances of being seen in poor visibility, and it is available in three different colors. There is also a handle across his shoulder blades, which provides you with the ability to take control of him in emergency situations.

We love that a car seat belt leash comes with this harness, so this is a good option for those dogs who are known to escape from the car as you open the door to let him out.


Didog Escape Proof Dog Harness

Didog Multi-Use Escape Proof Dog Harnesses...
  • This escape proof harness is designed for escape artist dogs...
  • All the straps can be adjustable,easy to put on and take off.
  • COMFORTABLE & SECURE:Made of durable air mesh,reflective and soft...
  • Sturdy and stong enough for medium large dogs exploring,such as...

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It is stitched with thick reflective material, so whichever angle your pooch is seen from he is going to be visible. There are 7 adjustable clips, which means that this is the most adjustable harness on this list too, so if your pooch falls in the size range then it will undoubtedly fit his body, whatever his shape.

There is a multi-point tension pad across his chest which makes the harness comfortable for your pooch whichever way he pulls, and the rear attachment point is a metal D ring which makes it strong. The only issue that we can see with this harness is that the handle is much further back along the harness, which some owners commented that it makes it more difficult to take control of your pooch if he is pulling away from you.

We love that this material is uniquely meshed throughout, rather than just the underlayer, which makes it a great option for those pooches who suffer with heat related rashes as it is much more breathable.


Gooby Escape Free Harness

Gooby - Escape Free Easy Fit Harness, Small...
  • FOR SMALL DOGS – Escape Free Easy Fit Harness is made for small...
  • ESCAPE FREE- The harness reduces the space around the back making...
  • EASY-ON. EASY-OFF – Step-In design makes it easy for your dog...
  • EASY TO CLEAN – The harness is very easy to clean. Just machine...

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This harness fits dogs up to 35 pounds in weight. It is designed to ensure that there is no space around the back of the neck which prevents your pooch from backing out of the harness. It is designed for easy on and off placement, which is great for those smaller wriggly pups.

The harness is padded around the chest and strap areas which increase the comfort for your pooch, and it is made from neoprene material which is weatherproof as well as helping to insulate his body heat. It can be adjusted to ensure that it fits your dog correctly, and it comes in a variety of colors too. The only problem that we can see with this harness is that it does not appear to have reflective material on it.

We love that this is escape harness is designed with smaller pooches in mind, so you know that it is perfect for your little escapee.


Harness Lead Escape Resistant

Harness Lead Escape Resistant Reduces Pull...
  • REDUCES PULL: Gently tightens around barrel only. No tightening...
  • ESCAPE RESISTANT: If dog attempts to back out of this harness,...
  • ADJUSTS TO ANY SIZE OR BODY TYPE: Align the movable black stops...
  • SIZES: Small/Medium 14 lbs to 40; Medium/Large 40 lbs to 170 lbs

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This leash is designed in the shape and design much similar to a harness. It is hand spliced and has a tensile strength of 4000 pounds, and according to the manufacturer’s description it is strong enough to hold a boat. Despite being seriously strong it is made with soft edged material which makes it comfortable for your pooch, with no hard edges or rubbing.

It fits around your pooches body contours, which means that it will fit any pooch perfectly just as long as they weigh between 14 and 170 pounds in weight. It is simple to use and fit, and it if your pooch attempts to back out of it, it will tighten around his barrel, preventing him from escaping.

We love that this lead offers an alternative to a traditional harness.


Ensuring a Proper Fit

One of the most common issues we see is that pet owners don’t ensure their pup has a proper fit.  People often do this by buying the wrong size harness, which leaves too much room for your pup to move around inside, allowing them to break free at the first opportunity.  Here are a few tips to keep your pup fitted correctly.

Measure it: Measure your pup.  Measure it according to each manufacturer’s suggestions once you’ve picked a harness out for your dog.  Each harness fits a little differently, so make sure you are sizing your dog correctly with the right size before making a purchase.

Put it on While Standing: Put your pup’s harness on while your dog is standing.  By doing this you will ensure you are giving your dog a proper fittment.  If you tighten the harness while your dog is lying down, it’s likely to cause loose areas in the harness, allowing your pup room to escape.

Tighten the Straps: Once it’s on your pup, ensure you tighten the straps.  Don’t just blindly put the harness on, expecting it to be a one-size-fits-all solution for your dog. Every dog is different, so you’ll want to make sure your pup is firmly secure.

Finger Rule: Ensure the harness fits your dog correctly by allowing no more than a finger of space between the harness and your dog’s body.  This will ensure that your harness fits firmly, and that your dog doesn’t have room to wiggle away on walks or if high prey drive kicks in.

Combining With Collars

Dog with Collar and Harness Both
Equipping your dog with both a harness and collar will double up to ensure they are safe.

An escape proof harness is the best thing to purchase for dogs who like to escape, and their leash should always be attached to their harness and not their collar. But having a collar with a nametag on is a must for those pooches who like to run away, as you need to know that someone can contact you in the event of an emergency, and your pooch having a nametag on is the easiest bet.

Dr Emily Weiss, the Vice President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, notes that only 10% to 30% of dogs that run away are reunited with their owners, and not only are those pups with a name tag more likely to find themselves back with their owners, they are also much quicker to be reunited than those who simply have chips. So, make sure you invest in a name tag, and keep your contact details up to date on both his tag and chip.

Ensure that your current contact number, preferably a mobile number, as well as the city that you reside in is up to date. Some owners prefer to put their pooches name on the tag, others prefer not to, and some like to put their full address on whereas others do not, these are all a personal choice. It is also a good idea to get a second tag with the microchips company name and a contact number, and in some states it is the law for your pooch to wear a proof of rabies vaccination tag.

Frequently Asked Questions

While we’ve likely covered many of your questions above, there are still some other questions you may have.  Below are a few commonly asked questions we get here at Love Your Dog, for high likelihood or repeat escapees.

Q: Will harnesses that tighten hurt my dog?
A: No, harnesses are designed not to hurt your dog in any way. Those that utilize tightening as a deterrent will tighten across the barrel of his body, and it is designed to put pressure around the barrel of his body and muscles, rather than his lungs or airways. Your dog will not like the sensation of the tightening, but it does not harm him in anyway, and they are suggested and used by dog trainers across the world. Any harness that works on air restriction techniques are not to be used. 

Q: How do I know that the harness fits properly?
A: The rule to the perfect harness fit is that as long as you can fit two fingers between the harness and his skin, even if it feels a bit snug, it fits him fine. If your pooch has a fluffy coat then your fingers need to press against his skin rather than his coat, otherwise the harness will be too loose, and he will escape easily. If he initially starts scratching or tries to pull it off, then he simply needs to get used to the feeling of a harness around his body, and it won’t take too long for him to get used to the feeling. Just be persistent with it, and if he is trying to escape then practice in a controlled area first such as indoors or in your backyard, and once he is used to it then take him outside.

Q: Can I attach my dog’s leash to his harness as well as his collar just in case he slips the harness?
A: If you are really concerned about your pooch slipping his escape proof harness then you can attach his collar to his harness with a carabiner, because that way you will still be attached to him in some way. Just be sure to use a strong carabiner that will not break under pressure, especially if you have a large or powerful dog.

Final Thoughts

It is important to firstly focus on what triggers your pup, and if it is something external or unavoidable such as other animals, then always be alert to your surroundings, or if it is simply a new experience for your pup then take the time to train him and be persistent.

Once you have recognised what makes him want to escape it may help you to choose a particular type or design of harness. Always check that the harness is the correct size before every adventure out, and remember the two finger rule! Ensure that his name tags and chip is up to date with contact details too, just to be on the safe side.

Our escape artist pooches are undoubtedly clever, naughty, tricksy or mischievous, but whatever word you would use to describe your four legged escapee, if you go with one of our recommendations in this guide it will 99% put a stop to his escaping behaviour. Of course, nothing is certain, but the above harnesses really are the best around and they have all worked for many others in the same boat as you and your pooch.

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