Best Escape Proof Dog Harness (2018 Edition) | Protecting Your Pooch

True story!

Daze, my kelpie x cattle, was 6 months old when he first slipped through his collar to chase some birds down at the beach (as puppies do right), I didn't think much of it at the time.

However the next time I did.

What happened haunted me for days as the situation was similar but much more serious.

This is what happened...

We were walking to the beach, and the protagonist was again a bird, but the consequences had changed dramatically. Walking next to the road that leads to the beach a seagull had darted down onto the road to scoop up a forgotten chip. On puppy impulse Daze went to chase, slipped his collar and ran onto the road... just as a car was coming. In an instant I heard the screeching of breaks and thought the worst. Turns out Daze was fine, the car didn't come close to him, but it could have.

In that moment I knew I needed to get a harness that he couldn't slip through and escape (as well as train harder on his impulse control).

Daze The Monster - Showing off his smile (and his harness)!

The lowdown...

In this article we will help you choose the right harness for your pup, even if they have a proven track record of escaping in the past.

First, we will look at some reasons why a harness is a safe alternative to collars. Then we offer a detailed review, complete with pros and cons for our top 5 dog harnesses that can’t be escaped.

We made sure to include a wide range of styles, price points and sizes so that you can find a quality piece of gear that best meets your specific situation. We have even included the sizing information so you can see at a glance if each selection comes in a size that works for your pet.


Finding the perfect harness for your toy breed Houdini presents a special challenge. Our bonus pick is just for the little guys!  

"Hello Hooman"

Myth: A Harness Will Make Your Dog Pull More. 

The truth is...

If your canine companion is pulling on a leash they need to be leash trained. This is true whether they are wearing a collar or a harness.

People often misunderstand this because they, rightly, point out that a harness is more comfortable for canines, thus they can put more force at the end of a leash before pain forces them to stop. This is true. It is why sled dogs are attached to sleds with harnesses and not collars.

However (this is a big however too!).

The same people may not be aware that although your dog can apply less forward force with a collar, they can and do still apply plenty of force to cause permanent damage to their trachea, neck and/or spine.

You have seen that poor dog on a collar choking at the end of a leash to try to get a sniff in? This dog is neither a joy to walk, nor are they being treated with true compassion. The solution for this dog is not a collar, or a choke collar. The solution is leash training.

We're not through yet...

Even with a perfectly trained dog, there is always the risk that a strong distractor like a squirrel (or a bird) or something that startles your dog like a sudden loud noise might cause them to run hard and fast with a strong jerk when they get to the end of the leash. In such a situation a harness is much less likely to injure your fur baby.

Harnesses can result in giving your dog more “leverage” at the end of a leash. However, if you have a strong puller you can get a harness with a front clip. When your dog tries to pull hard, this simple solution will force them to turn, taking away their forward momentum without choking them or causing permanent damage.


Leash training is the solution for pulling. However, if you need an equipment solution in the meantime, the safe and smart choice is a front clip harness, not a collar. We have included several front clip models in our review below.

If you want to walk your dog with love, choose the right harness for leash walking and use the collar for style and identification tags.

"I wanna lick that bird"

Help! My Dog Keeps Backing Out Of Their Harness & Escaping! 

If you have an escape artist on your hands, then you may have tried dog harnesses before and had a bad experience. The vast majority of harnesses are made with nothing but webbing, buckles and clips. You have probably seen them lining the shelves of your local pet store in a myriad of colors and sizes.

These harnesses are cheap and easy to manufacture, making them the “go to” for many dog lovers. In fact, for most canines they work great! Right up until your smarty pants figures out that all they have to do is back up and duck and they slip right out! Once your dog learns this trick, they won’t “unlearn” it.

All is not lost. Dog gear manufacturers have recognized this problem and solved it. Although you may have to invest a little more for an escape proof harness for dogs, there are some great options out there. Let’s take a look at some of the best!


Best Escape Proof Dog Harness | Preventing A Canine Getaway





Ruffwear - Web Master Secure, Reflective, Multi-Use Harness


Truelove - Reflective Outdoor Adventure Pet Harness/Vest


Ruffwear - Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness for Dogs


Embark Active Dog Harness - Easy On & Off With Front & Back Attachments


Best Pet Supplies - Voyager All Weather Step-in Suede / Corduroy Harness


#1 Ruffwear - Web Master Secure, Reflective, Multi-Use Harness

We start our review with the Cadillac of escape proof harnesses for dogs. Let’s start by noting that Ruffwear is a well-known brand among canine enthusiasts. They have a strong reputation for making durable gear with high quality materials, practical design, and durable construction.  

This particular model has a lot of features worth noting. You will notice that it has two adjustable girth straps which provides extra security. Not only will it help prevent escape if you have a real wiggler on your hands, it also helps distribute weight if you need to assist your buddy up and over something.

Padded straps, saddleback, and chest piece assure a comfortable fit that will prevent chaffing. Safety features include reflective trim, extremely secure webbing, and a low front design to prevent neck or esophagus injury if your little guy happens to be a hard puller.

It is available in 5 sizes so you will be able to find a secure fit for most breeds. The possible exception here are toy breeds which are likely too small for this model.

Another advantage of going with a big name in dog gear like Ruffwear are the compatible extras. If you are planning to run your canine in heavy brush or woods, consider this removable brush guard designed to work perfectly with this harness.

The biggest downside of going with this model is probably the higher price tag. The extra cost is likely worth it for athletic dogs that spend a great deal of time on hikes or other obstacle prone environments or for disabled canines that sometimes need an extra hand up steps or into the car.

If you are mainly looking for a harness for around the block walks, this is probably a little much to suit your needs. Keep reading for more economical options for lighter duty use.

Sizing (measure widest part of the chest):
- XX-Small: 13-17 inches (33-43 cm)
- X-Small: 17-22 inches (43-56 cm)
- Small: 22-27 inches (56-69 cm)
- Medium: 27-32 inches (69-81 cm)
- Large/X-Large: 32-42 inches (81-107 cm)

  • Excellent design for balanced lifting and emergency control.
  • Two girth straps for additional security.
  • Y-shaped front piece for neck protection.
  • Padded girth straps for comfort.
  • 7 adjustment points for the ultimate in fit.
  • 5 sizes from XX-Small to X-Large.
  • 5 colors for stylish pooches.
  • Reflective trim for low-light safety.
  • No front attachment point to assist with heavy pullers.
  • Wide saddleback top piece will trap heat on hot days.
  • Somewhat complicated to get on and off.
  • Pricey piece of equipment.

#2 Truelove - Reflective Outdoor Adventure Pet Harness/Vest

This is another top selection for escape artists. The 4-point adjustments and padded chest and saddleback, allow you to get a great fit which is critical for ensuring that your canine can’t slip out.

Another feature we love about this model is that it has a front clip on the chest piece. This is great if you have a puller on your hands. If they try to pull forward the front connection will turn them sideways, taking the power out of the pull and teaching them that pulling is a losing strategy. Over time this can even train your furry friend that pulling just doesn’t get them anywhere. 

With 5 sizes, almost all dogs can find a great fit. Three color choices give this model some points for style as well. And, you can purchase a heavy duty leash that matches this design.

A great deal of reflective material makes this one of the safest harness designs for night-time walks. The lightweight design will keep your pal cool and provide them with a free range of motion.

One downside of the design is the high top-line on the chest piece. This is likely not going to be an issue for all dogs, but if you know your pooch has a sensitive neck, this harness may not be the best design as it could irritate the windpipe depending on the fit.

Sizing (measure widest part of the chest):
- X-Small: 13-17 inches (33-43 cm)
- Small: 17-22 inches (43-56 cm)
- Medium: 22-27 inches (56-69 cm)
- Large: 27-32 inches (69-81 cm)

​- X-Large: 32-42 inches (81-107 cm)

  • Extra strength buckles for durability.
  • 3 colors and 5 sizes to choose from.
  • 6M reflective material on all webbing for added night-time safety.
  • Mesh lining for added breathability.
  • Large padded chest piece and saddleback for comfort.
  • Two attachment points, including a front ring for added control with strong pullers.
  • Affordable pricing.
  • Lift assist handle on the back is pretty small and located too far back to be very helpful.
  • Will take some practice to get in and out easily.
  • High laying top line on chest piece may agitate the windpipe of strong pullers.

#3 Ruffwear - Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness for Dogs

Ruffwear makes our list of the top escape proof dog harnesses for a second time with this durable selection. Once again, high quality materials and top-notch design and construction give this harness a serious edge.

Notice that this harness is well padded at every point that it is in contact with your dog. This helps with all-day comfort and protection against chaffing. It also serves to make this more secure over all. You can safely fit it a bit more snugly than cheaper webbing harnesses without risk of chaffing, making it completely escape proof.

This is a step-in style harness that is designed with ease of on and off in mind. Once you have this adjusted properly, you will simply slip over your pal’s head, lift one paw to step in, and secure a single easy clip. Once you get the hang of it, this will go on and off with no fuss to a perfect fit every time.

If you are big on style, you will appreciate the large range of bright colors to choose from. If you would like a matching leash, no problem!

A potential downside of this escape proof harness is that it does not go down in size enough for some toy breeds. Make sure you keep reading if you are looking for something that will fit the bill for the smallest pups – we have you covered!

Sizing (measure widest part of the chest):
- X-Small: 13-17 inches (33-43 cm)
- Small: 17-22 inches (43-56 cm)
- Medium: 22-27 inches (56-69 cm)
- Large: 27-32 inches (69-81 cm)

​- X-Large: 32-42 inches (81-107 cm)

  • Extremely durable construction from a trusted name in canine gear.
  • 6 exciting colors to choose from for major style points.
  • Front attachment point for leash training or to discourage pulling.
  • Relatively easy to get on and off because of the single snap release design.
  • Low neck line for sensitive necks.
  • All contact surfaces are padded for all-day comfort wear.
  • Higher price tag, but built to last.
  • Size range does not go down enough for toy breeds.

#4 Embark Active Dog Harness - Easy On & Off With Front & Back Attachments

This is not only our top choice for an escape proof dog harness, it is also a top choice for active dogs of all types who love the outdoors. One thing is for sure – even Houdini couldn’t escape this harness!

It all starts with incredible quality – it is quadruple stitched with military grade nylon thread for long lasting construction. The heavyweight nylon fabric is sure to endure adventures for years to come. The padded sections of this harness are thick – not just a nod to comfort. In fact, every possible pressure point is protected so that your dog will be able to wear this for long periods of activity without having to worry about rubbing or chaffing. 

Another major stand out feature of the design of the Embark Active Dog Harness is the way that it goes on and off. Most dog harnesses require that you life a paw through a loop to get it on which some dogs resist. This harness offers a completely new design. You will just slip it over your pup’s head, then use the simple clip along the girth to close.

The bottom strap is wide and padded. If you need to grab your dog in an emergency, or to help her over an obstacle, you don’t have to worry about narrow straps pinching her. The wide front chest piece also prevents any choking or agitating of the sensitive esophagus which can be a serious issue for heavy pullers.

Looking for top of the line gear? This is the choice for you!

Sizing (measure widest part of the chest):
- Small: 16-24 inches (41-61 cm)
- Medium: 24-31 inches (61-79 cm)
- Large: 31-41 inches (79-104 cm)

- X-Large: 41-47 inches (104-119 cm)

  • Excellent quality and thoughtful design
  • Easy to put on – no paw lifting required
  • Easy control handle and thick underpadding perfect for getting control in a hurry
  • Size ranges from 16” to 47” (Extra small coming soon!)
  • No pull, front leash attachment option
  • Three colors to choose from: Black, Orange and Teal
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • A little pricy, but the quality is there to justify the investment
  • May take a while to dry if your canine goes swimming in this padded harness

#5 Best Pet Supplies - Voyager All Weather Step-in Suede / Corduroy Harness

The Voyager soft vest harness is a novel design that simultaneously makes escape nearly impossible while creating a stylish look. There is no reason you can’t have form AND function!

Fully machine washable, a great advantage of this model is that it is such a breeze to keep clean. It is also simple and fast to put on with the single snap closure. The downside of the simplicity of design is that you can only make one adjustment to the size. However, the form fitting nature of this vest style compensates for that.

One of the stand out features of this dog harness for escape artists is that it distributes pressure incredibly well. The soft fabric and faux-fur lining will form fit to your dog, leaving no pressure points that could rub or chaff.

Of course, the downside of a vest design is that it can get warm. That will be a huge asset in cold, windy, or wet weather. However, it could become a major liability in the full heat of summer.

With 6 great colors to choose from, this is a great style choice for the fashion conscious. In addition, this is going to look more like a custom vest made just for your pooch than a piece of gear. If your pup likes to look their best, this is a good choice that won’t sacrifice security.

Sizing (measure widest part of the chest):
- X-Small: 12-13 inches (30-33 cm)
- Small: 13-16 inches (33-41 cm)
- Medium: 16-18 inches (41-46 cm)
- Large: 18-21 inches (46-53 cm)

- X-Large: 21-23 inches (53-58 cm)

  • Fashion forward vest design in 6 colors.
  • Goes down to 12 inches, which is small enough for many toy breeds.
  • Super easy to wash: just toss it in the machine!
  • Fast on and off with a single snap closure and intuitive design.
  • Extra warm for walks in cold or inclement weather.
  • Topping off at 23 inches at the chest, this is not a harness that will fit large or giant breeds.
  • Full coverage design will be a problem in hot summer months.

BONUS PICK! - Escape Proof Harness For Small Dogs! 

Comfort Fit – Small Padded Dog Harness

​Because so many escape proof dog harnesses are designed with medium to large dogs in mind, we wanted to feature this top pick just for tiny and medium dogs. With a chest size that goes down to 7 inches, even the smallest furry wiggle worm is going to find a size that will keep them secure.

This vest style harness is fully padded with a sturdy foam and durable poly fabric exterior. This harness will evenly distribute weight around the entire chest of your pup, thus eliminating any pressure points for a complete comfort fit. In addition, the materials are very easy to keep clean – just wipe with a damp cloth.

​With a single snap closure, this gear is easy to get on and off. Unlike strap style harnesses, you won’t need much practice to get the hang of this simple design! Even better, the complete enclosure design means there is no way your furry friend will be able to back out and escape.

There is one major downside to the simplicity of design and that is that it is only adjustable at one attachment point across the chest. For this reason you will need to make sure that both the neck and chest measurements (found below) are going to be in range for a great fit.

Concerned about quality? This product comes with a lifetime guarantee. Save your receipt and buy with confidence.

This product is a little stiff at first. Don’t worry. Once your pal wears this a few times it will form fit to a snug and comfortable vest. Your little guy will look like he is wearing a custom-made outfit!

Sizing (measure widest part of the chest):
- XX-Small: 10-13 inches (25.5-33 cm)
- X-Small: 13-16 inches (33—40.5 cm)
- Small: 16-19 inches (40.5-48 cm)
- Medium: 18-21 inches (45.5-53 cm)

Neck sizing (measure around the lowest part of the neck)

- XX-Small: 7-10 inches (18-25.5 cm)
- X-Small: 10-13 inches (25.5—33 cm)
- Small: 13-16 inches (33-40.5 cm)
- Medium: 15-18 inches (38-45.5 cm)

  • Specific design with small dog bodies in mind, this model works with even teacup size pooches.
  • Low neck line adds safety for your little puller.
  • Full coverage design is an excellent added layer of warmth, critical for tiny dogs that lose heat fast in even mild conditions.
  • Soft padded vest style has no pressure points that could rub or chaff.
  • Sharp look in 4 bright colors.
  • Smooth interior and exterior makes wiping clean a snap.
  • Extremely lightweight design, less than 2 oz.
  • Lifetime guarantee.
  • Not available for large and giant dogs.
  • Could be too warm for very hot climates.
  • Only one adjustment point, measure neck and chest to get a good fit!


We hope this detailed review of the best escape proof dog harness has been helpful. Please feel free to leave your comments below if you have a related story or comment that might help our readers. Happy tails!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Evelyn - January 17, 2018

I have a chihuaua/ miniature greyhound mix female. Chest is 17 “, Neck is 10”. Help?

    wileypup - January 17, 2018

    Hey Evelyn,

    The very last harness (under the heading ‘BONUS PICK! – Escape Proof Harness For Small Dogs!’) in the article has a great harness called ‘Comfort Fit – Small Padded Dog Harness. The x-small has a chest of 13-16 inches and a neck 10-13 inches. I think this is going to be your best bet, it’s better for the chest area to be looser than the neck and that extra inch in the chest that your pup has could be taken up by their hair.

    If not let me know and I see if I can find something more suited! (also amazon should have free returns so you shouldn’t be out of pocket).

Teri - June 11, 2018

It would have been nice to see the products on dogs. I’m looking for something where the girth is farther back, like behind the diaphragm, so it cannot ride up over the ribs & cause chafing behind the front legs & chest.

    wileypup - June 12, 2018

    Hi Teri,

    If you click through to the products they often will show the harness’s on the pups! Hope that helps

abby - July 6, 2018

Need a better harness, definitely!

    wileypup - July 6, 2018

    It’s never an easy choice as well. What looks good on paper might not be the most suitable when actually in use, if that’s the case definitely return it for a refund and try a different option.

Ryan Olivas - July 17, 2018

Great list! Oh no, picking one of these would be very tough. Which one can you recommend?

    wileypup - July 17, 2018

    Hi Ryan,

    No worries at all! Can you tell me a little bit about your dog?

Leah Stumpf - July 26, 2018

Thanks for this great list! Actually, I’ve been using trackimo, a gps tracking device, and attached it to my pet’s collar. But i’ll definitely try these for my pet’s additional security and protection. Thanks!

    wileypup - July 26, 2018

    Thanks for the kind words Leah! Always good to have a few options, especially when it comes to our fur babies!

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