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Does A Walking Harness Make A Newfie Pull More?

A harness makes a Newfie pull more.

I’ve heard that sentence so many times and still to this day I can’t wrap my head around why some people think that. 

Before I get to my thoughts on this I want to make clear that this is my opinion and one that I’ve thought about for a quite while now. 

I’m not here to ruffle any feathers or tell anyone that they’re wrong only that this is my opinion on walking harnesses and why I don’t think they make a Newfie pull.

I have used a walking harness on my Newfies for several years now and currently Odin, Lou and Finn wear the Duo Gear Adapt Walking Harness.

It’s an escape-proof harness meaning that they can’t back out or wiggle out of it. 

I use this for their safety and my anxiety.

newfoundland dog wearing walking harness


I first started using this harness back with Leroy when he had neck issues. 

Besides fearing that my dogs could back out of a harness or collar, I like to use a harness to prevent neck injuries and if you’ve ever had a Newfie with Newfie Neck, then you know what I’m talking about. 

So let’s get to it:

Newfies Were Bred To Pull 

Way back in the day, Newfies were bred to help fishermen haul carts from their ships to land so many people believe that Newfies are bred to pull. 

You don’t breed a dog to pull you breed a dog to work and to do that you breed a dog that is strong, sound and good-tempered. 

You teach a dog to haul or pull carts and you breed them to be built to do that.

So your dog might be capable to pull a cart but they don’t and there is nothing wrong with that.

brown newfie puppy wearing harness

It’s a Newfies Instinct To Pull

A Newfie is a strong dog that can pull heavy loads if given the opportunity. 

Meaning they have the correct state of mind, strength and endurance to haul heavy things.

You aren’t going to hook a Newfie up to a cart or wagon and they are going to know what to do. 

Most of them would freak out.

You have to train them in very detailed steps on how to pull a cart wearing a proper carting harness. 

And when a Newfie does get to the point where they can pull a cart or wagon, they are doing so in a controlled manner and in tangent with their instructor. 

Because you work as a team. 

landseer newfoundland wearing walking harness

They aren’t running all over the place lunging forward when they’re attached to a cart.

They are effortlessly pulling a cart. 

Who’s Newfie is lunging forward when hauling a cart?

A Newfie is not pulling you because they’re not pulling a cart.

They’re pulling you because they are being allowed to pull you.

This is unwanted behavior and not instinct. 

Any Harness Will Make a Newfie Pull

A carting harness and a walking harness are two totally different harnesses and Newfies know that. 

If you think that your Newfoundland doesn’t know the difference between a carting harness and a walking harness, you’re not giving your Newfie enough credit. 

On that note, a walk is a leisure activity, hauling a cart is a job. 

A Harness Makes My Newfie Pull More

A walking harness is a tool just like a collar and a leash are a tool. 

A harness is not letting a dog pull more, you are. 

Sure, in some cases a harness makes it easier and more comfortable for a dog to pull because their trachea isn’t collapsing, but you’re letting them do that. 

Turn around.

Stop walking. 

landseer newfie wearing harness

Bring out another tool from your toolbox. 

Your dog should be able to walk on a loose leash with any type of walking device.

Not All Walking Harnesses Are Good

This is true. 

There are hundreds of walking harnesses available and a handful will fit a Newfie. 

The most important thing you want to look for is that the harness does not impede their movement in any way. 

So you don’t want a harness that restricts their front leg movement or shoulders. 

brown newfoundland walking

I have a full post dedicated to some of the more popular walking harnesses used by Newfie owners here

Front clip or rear clip is a personal preference in my opinion. 

Final Thoughts

So here’s my beef with this. 

When someone asks which walking harness is best for a Newfie and someone responds, “Newfies were bred to pull and harnesses make them pull more.”

You’re not helping at all. 

You are not giving good advice. 

You’re basically telling this person that their Newfoundland is going to pull, it’s just the way they are.

There is no breeder out there that is breeding their Newfies specifically to pull.

None. Zero. Zip. 

They might be breeding a “working line” but they are not breeding a Newfie to pull.

Just like any other breed of dog, a Newfie should be trained to walk on a loose leash no matter what walking gear they have on.

If you need help getting your Newfie to stop pulling on a walk, reach out to a dog trainer that practices positive training techniques. 




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