How I can walk two German shepherds by myself

I am not a very big or strong person (I have weighed about the same as some of our male foster dogs, for example), and so walking two dogs solo has always been a challenge for me — especially if the dogs don’t have impeccable leash manners.

Christmas 2013
Pyrrha in the Freedom Harness. (It’s not usually this loose-looking; I think we need to tighten the straps a bit for P.)

Pyrrha is good on the leash, but I wouldn’t say that’s because we trained her well; she’s never really pulled much, and she just wants to walk slowly and smell everything. However, if she’s scared of something (or about to have a reactive episode), she will lunge. Introduce: the Freedom No-Pull Harness, manufactured by 2 Hounds Design. Our trainer told us about this harness, and I am SO glad she did.

Sunday walk by the river
Freedom Harness from the back.

The harness has a front and back clip, with a slight martingale-esque/cinching action from the back. The straps under the dog’s front legs are made of velvet (yes), so there is both a cushion and a reduced likelihood of the straps rubbing or burning the skin. And the harness comes in a veritable rainbow of colors! (I wanted to buy Pyrrha the pink one, so that she’d look less scary to people. Guion balked at this, but I think it’s been helpful for her public image. We bought Eden a standard black one, however, to appease her dad.)

The harness is also very easy to put on the dog, which is a big bonus for us. One of my least favorite activities at the SPCA, when I volunteered there, was trying to put a traditional harness on a dog who was about to explode from excitement. Lots of scratches to the face. Not so with the Freedom Harness!

Out with the girls

As you can see from the following photos from our recent walk, I’m able to walk both of the girls by myself with little struggle. 

Out with the girls

Out with the girls

Out with the girls

Obviously, no product is a substitute for good training — and we’re working on that too. But this harness is a great place to start — there’s no yelling, pulling, or bribing involved! The dogs just figure it out.

Out with the girls

When I walk the girls solo, I clip the leashes to the front of the harnesses, because this offers me the most control. Eden is still getting used to it — when she tries to pull and feels the resistance, she starts to pick her feet up high and prance like a pony; it’s adorable and weird — but she’s figuring it out very quickly.

The Freedom No-Pull Harness is available on Amazon, as well as through other smaller retailers. We bought ours through our trainer at Canine Campus. The harness, along with the two-ended leash, will set you back about $35-$40, depending on the size of your dog, but I think it’s worth every penny!

What makes walking your dog(s) more bearable? 

Disclaimer: I was not provided with these harnesses for review, nor was I asked to write this! We bought these harnesses with our hard-earned cash. 🙂 I just love this product and wanted to spread the word. 

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16 thoughts on “How I can walk two German shepherds by myself

  1. Have you ever used an Easy Walk Harness? How do you think this compares? It looks similar, but I’m not a huge fan of the Easy Walk and I’m always looking to try a new harness with Panzer.

    1. I haven’t used it; from checking its specs, it looks like a similar design. The only difference I can readily see is that the Freedom Harness has velvet, padded straps under the legs, whereas the Easy Walk doesn’t. I like that extra cushioning, which prevents rubbing. I’m not sure how they would function differently, however, on an actual walk!

      1. If you don’t mind me butting in: the Freedom sits higher on the dog’s chest, so it interferes less with their gait. The Freedom also has an adjustable connector between the chest strap and the belly strap. Plus, like Abby said, the padded strap and the option to back-clip when you need to.

  2. I’ve got my publicly-listed qualms about front-clips, but I do think they’re a lifesaver for small women with big dogs. The Freedom is definitely one of the best.

  3. Our dogs don’t use front clip harnesses but some of my clients dogs do. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve never cared for them because of the odd things they do to the dogs leash. One of my labs has an easy walk harness and her leash is trying to whip all over the place with every step I can hardly stand it.

  4. I am so thrilled to hear that the Freedom Harness is working for you! I am Alisha, owner of 2 Hounds Design and a friend sent your review over. Please do let us know if you have any questions or need any help in the future, we are happy to help!

  5. The dogs at the humane society I volunteer at all walk on Easy Walk Harnesses. Sounds like these are very similar to the harnesses you use. They make walking the dogs so much easier!

    Those two are so cute together, by the way! I’m glad you’re able to walk them together!

  6. Killian used to be a complete terror to walk with; as a puppy and adolescent doggie he had serious trouble keeping his attention where it should be. He was destracted by the slightest and always wanted to run over to other dogs in order to play with them. It took us some serious training to improve his on the leash behaviour and the harness that helped during the training sessions, is the U-lead. That harness makes you attach the leash on your dog’s chest and when he/she wants to go in a different direction, it makes the dog lose balance. Step by step the dog learns that staying close and following you is more comfortable and secure. We tried many things with Killian, and this was the only thing that worked. We still use the harness regularly because it gives us a little more security in keeping our 82kg Great Dane from pulling us across the street (you never know what you come across) 😉

    When it comes to Ophelia: she’s fantastic to take out on walks. From when she was a small puppy, she’s always been an absolute role model: never had any trouble with her pulling on the leash or wanting to go anywhere I don’t want her to. The only reason why I bought a K9 harness for her with an elastic leash that I can attach around my waist, is because I want to take her out jogging and this works better than a regular collar & leash. Also, I very often take the camera with me when we’re out walking, so now I have my hands free for the camera and I don’t have to worry about where to put the dog leash. 🙂

  7. Sorry for the late reply but I have always used this: Sporn non pulling mesh harness http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3046157 It pulls under the armpits but it has padding and my dog is virtually hairless and it doesn’t seem to rub. Except for moments of extreme excitement (husband appears on a walk) or extreme fear (they were thinning out the branches in all the trees in the park) she is very responsive to it and having her centered right next to me when crossing busy roads in Hanoi is crucial. It seems to work very well and is very minimal.

  8. Thank you for your great post! I have a 17 week old GS and I am thinking about give the Freedom Harness a try. What size did you get for you GS’s? My puppy is pretty big already but I just wonder if I should get a L or XL. Any recommendations? =)
    Thank you! xoxox

    1. Hi! The Freedom Harness site should have some helpful guidelines and measurements. We have a size M (1″) for Eden, our puppy, and Pyrrha wears the size L (1″). Eden may need to move up to a size L once she’s full grown, but she’s only about 45 lbs. right now, and the M works well for her. I don’t think a German shepherd would need an XL, unless you had a dog from a really giant line. Good luck!

  9. Thank you so much for the suggestion; I’m definitely going to look into this. Seeing it in action definitely helps – I’ve only got one dog to manage, so really I have no excuse. I’m going to continue to work on the training as well – just need to find the right harness for walks.

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