An agitation harness is an invaluable tool for both average dog owners and experienced handlers. The best agitation harness should be sturdy, durable, and reliable.
Here, we will share our #1 pick…
… Four other top picks, and discuss key points about agitation harnesses and their many uses.
What You Need To Know
Harnesses may all look the same, but they are not created equally or with the same purpose in mind. Below we will discuss the unique differences between agitation harnesses and the walking harnesses you see hanging at your local pet store, as well as what you should look for in a high-quality agitation harness.
What Makes An Agitation Harness Different?
Unlike average walking harnesses, agitation harnesses are high-grade training devices that enable you to maintain better control of your dog’s body during regular obedience training and more complex training like protection, tracking, and agitation. They are built with durable materials like leather or military-grade nylon and are stitched or riveted to keep them reliably intact. A regular walking harness that you might buy at your local pet store would not be the ideal training tool for the type of training that agitation harnesses are built to endure.
Agitation Harness Design: Why Are They So Tough?
So why are agitation harnesses made to be so tough? Agitation harnesses are used for working dogs, primarily by handlers in law enforcement and the military. They are also used for tracking and sports like Schutzhund and agility. These harnesses need to be tough to keep dogs safe during training and withstand their intense power and drive, especially those serving in the line of duty where the stakes are high, and work is grueling.
In terms of the overall design, they have wider breastplates that are padded for comfort and shock absorption. The leather or nylon straps wrap around the dog’s neck and continue around the dog’s body and between the dog’s front legs where they connect to the breastplate. Some agitation harnesses are designed with an additional handle strap at the back of the harness for the handler to grip if needed.
Areas of Use
Clearly, agitation harnesses are purposefully designed. So what exactly do dogs that wear agitation harnesses do? Let’s do a quick overview of what types of jobs dogs can perform while wearing an agitation harness.
Simple Obedience Training
One of the key features of an agitation harness is that it gives you, the trainer, more control. If your dog drives you crazy while trying to walk on a leash, then an agitation harness might be just the right tool you need to keep your dog under control. Having direct control over your dog’s body is an added benefit to any obedience training.
One of the primary uses for an agitation harness is for agitation training, where the dog is trained to lunge, bite, or attack. The durability of the harness enables the handler to stay in control and hold the dog back, even when the dog pulls or lunges. Agitation harnesses are also meant to encourage the desired behavior, so often times the handler will let the dog lunge several times while keeping it at a distance from its target before letting the dog loose to perform.
Dogs that track need to be persistent, eager to perform, but not uncontrollable. The agitation harness allows the handler to keep the dog from dragging them along as it searches for its goal. As with agitation training, the harness makes the dog more eager to get to its goal because the handler is able to keep them from exerting all of their physical force into the search.
One sport that often includes the use of an agitation harness is Schutzhund, a sport that wraps all of the training we have already mentioned into one. Dogs demonstrate their intelligence, trainability, and endurance by performing different tasks in the areas of tracking, obedience, and protection. In general, an agitation harness can be used in all kinds of agility sports where control is a needed feature.
What You Should Look For
Since agitation harnesses are used for protection, safety, and maintaining control, it cannot be overstated how important quality and endurance are when choosing an agitation harness.
Here’s what to look for in a good quality agitation harness:
- Stitching or riveting to prevent escape or harness failure
- Leather or high-grade nylon
- Flexible straps to prevent chafing or wear
- Padded breastplate to absorb shock
- Appropriate harness weight for the type of training or job the dog performs
- Strong alloy, brass, or metal hardware
- Reliable quick-release buckles for easy removal and added safety
- Overall load strength to handle intense pulling, jerking, or yanking
- Warranty or Return Policy
This tracking training video is a great example of an agitation harness in use.
The Best Agitation Harnesses We’ve Found
Whether you’re training your dog to track a wounded animal, attack a suspect, or preparing them for the next Schutzhund tournament, we know you want something that will ensure your dog’s safety and comfort. Take a look below at our top five agitation harnesses to find the one that is the perfect fit for your dog and your training style.
Able to stand up to 1,200 Ibs of stress on the metal v-ring alone, the ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness can handle just about anything you and your dog want to tackle. The harness can be fitted for both small dogs and large dogs and is affordably priced. It won’t fall apart on you after your dog takes a swim in the lake or rolls around in the mud. It’s versatile, lightweight, and built to last.
- Nylon stitching for added durability
- Sewn-in handle
- Padded ventilated mesh for comfort and overheating reduction
- Both metal buckles individually have a 1,000 Ib pull capacity
- Metal v-ring has a 1,200 Ib pull capacity
- POM buckles each have a 250 Ib pull capacity
- Water-resistant design
- Able to tolerate the elements like water, mud, and debris
- Alloy metal hardware for increased reliability and strength
- Added feature to attach ID patches or badges
- Affordable price
- Quick-release buckles for easy put on and off and added security
- No pull ring on front and back of the harness for added control
- Accurate expected sizing
- Includes molle patches for carrying lightweight items
- Lightweight material for increased comfort, stamina, and training versatility
- Underbelly buckles are plastic
- Design does not include reflective tape or reflective material
- Placement of harness on some body types is not appropriately balanced
- Some users report large dogs breaking the buckles, though there are few users reporting this
- Harness is susceptible to damage from chewing
- Harness makes noise while the dog runs which may be distracting during training
We like that the OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest is made of military-grade nylon and has padding in all of the pressure points of the harness. It comes in several colors and three sizes so you can pick the one that fits and looks the best on your pup. The OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest is attractively priced and includes many of the features of a high-quality agitation harness.
- Military-grade nylon
- Padded pressure areas for comfort
- Quick-release buckle for easy put on and off and added safety
- Four buckles total for increased security
- Design includes a handle for leading and restraining
- A v-ring is located at the front of the harness for attaching a leash
- Two molle straps are included for attaching lightweight pouches
- IDs and Badges can be attached to the harness
- A hoop and loop strip panel is located over the top of the harness for attaching small items like water bottles, trash bags for cleaning up after your dog, or small bags of snacks
- Available in four colors: black, coyote brown, grey, and ranger green
- Affordable pricing
- Breathable material to keep reduce overheating
- Lightweight design
- Hand washable and easy to clean
- Only fits medium to extra large size dogs
- All of the buckles are made of plastic
- Harness makes noise while the dog rungs, which may cause distraction during training
- Finding the perfect size, even for dogs in the medium to extra large range, may be difficult for dogs on the leaner or smaller side
- Harness is susceptible to damage from chewing
- No reflective material
We absolutely love the craftsmanship of this harness by Dean & Tyler. The Boss harness is a handmade, beautifully crafted harness made with leather and all brass hardware. It’s sturdy, difficult to damage, and designed to last a lifetime. It can withstand the harsh elements and all the rough playtime your dog might put it through. With its four adjustable leather straps, your dog can literally grow up with this harness. Besides its superior rugged endurance, it’s practically a work of art.
- Crafted with all full-grain leather harness
- Handmade and beautifully designed
- Brass, nickel, or brass coated steel hardware options
- Four adjustable straps for increased versatility
- Easy release buckles for functionality and added security
- Leather is available in two colors: brown or black
- Velcro patches are included for adding IDs or badges
- Reinforced with rivets and stitched together for added durability
- Leather is lined with thick felt for comfort and reduced chances of chafing
- Less likely to be destroyed from chewing
- Well ventilated to prevent overheating
- Designed intentionally for superior strength and endurance to handle agitation training
- Wide breastplate for added safety and comfort
- Can be purchased with handle for additional control
- Multiple options for customization and personalization
- One year warranty for product defects
- Belted straps around the breastplate and between the legs for optimal durability and resistance to pulling
- Padded for comfort and shock absorption
- Price is on the higher end of the scale
- Product inventory may be smaller due to the handmade nature of the harness
- Shipping takes several weeks
- Sizing unavailable for smaller breeds
We really like the beauty and unique qualities of handmade leather harnesses, so we found another high-quality option for our best agitation harness list. The Leerburg 2 Snap Agitation Harness is crafted with Amish made Latigo leather and excess padding on the breastplate. The snap design makes removal easy, simple, and less time-consuming. The harness is designed specifically for large working dogs and for functionality.
- Crafted with all Amish made Latigo leather
- Optional leather handle for added control
- High-quality stainless steel snaps
- Extra copper rivets along the back harness strap for added strength
- Three color options: black, brown, and distressed leather
- Chrome and steel hardware
- Sewn and pop-riveted for safety and durability
- Designed to fit and adjust for any size working dog
- Flexible to prevent rubbing and chaffing on the dog’s skin
- Excessively padded breastplate for optimal shock absorption and comfort
- Designed specifically for bite dogs and agitation training, so it is a great option for agitation trainers, police officers, and military units
- Water-resistant and able to handle harsh elements like water, mud, and debris
- Less likely to be damaged from chewing
- Snap function makes removal easy and less time consuming
- Wide breastplate for added safety and comfort
- Heavy overall weight that could affect training and the dog’s comfort
- Not suitable for long treks, intensive walking, or hiking
- Not designed for routine tracking dogs
- It is on the higher end of the price scale
- Return policy requires that the harness be returned brand new and custom orders can not be returned
The Redline K-9 Yurkiw Protection Harness is named after its designer, Police K9 Officer, Dave Yurkiw. Dave Yurkiw engineered this harness to be the ideal agitation vest for police canine officers. The design is highly recommended for police officers and also works great for agitation training and tracking. It’s durable, versatile, and easy on the wallet. The harness is designed primarily for the body type of German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, so if you own a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, then this harness is definitely for you!
- Three-point padded breastplate for shock absorption and stress reduction
- Back plate padded for additional comfort and reduced spinal damage
- Holds up to three velcro badges or IDs
- Four points of adjustment for flexible sizing
- Shoulder and belly straps made with Biothane for increased strength
- Heavy buckles for added durability and reliability
- Side strap buckle is a cop lock buckle for easy put on and off and added security
- Design includes an attached handle for added control
- Great for agitation training, tracking, and general hiking or walking
- Priced affordably
- ‘D’ rings on either side of the harness for pulling and extra control
- Has three standard sizes: small, medium, and large
- Breathable, lightweight material to reduce overheating and increase comfort and stamina for training
- Water-resistant and durable against the elements
- Hand washable and easy to clean
- The harness may feel heavy to some smaller breeds
- Designed specifically for the body type of the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois, so the sizing may not function well for smaller or larger dog breeds
- The harness is only available in the color black
- The buckles are made of plastic and may be susceptible to failure
- Size large is the biggest size this harness comes in and is made to support up to only a 90-pound dog
- Harness is vulnerable to damage from chewing
- Dogs larger and heavier than the general design guide may cause damage to the harness
This harness is the latest addition to our list. We chose it because of its durability, versatility, and the trust it has within the professional community. Let’s take a look at some 0f its features.
- Made in the USA (Pennsylvania) by Amish craftsmen
- Crafted with Biothane, a strong, non-stretching leather alternative
- Trusted by Law Enforcement and Military
- 5-way adjustable design
- Padded chest plate protects pulling dogs
- Top handle allows for great control
- It was mentioned by some that it’s a bit heavier than they would like (weighs 1 lb 14oz)
Putting it All Together
Our top five agitation harnesses include several different styles, price ranges, and strength capabilities to help you in your search for the one that’s right for you and your dog.
The ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness is our #1 pick because of its reliability, load proof testing results, functional design, and affordability.
This harness checks all the right boxes. It’s tough as nails and well equipped to handle all the pulling, tugging, and resistance your dog throws at it. The design consists of high-quality ballistic nylon and stitching for durability. It is ventilated for comfort and has an attractive style and look. Most importantly, you can depend on it to keep your dog safe.
Though we think the ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness is a great option, you know your dog best and what they are capable of. Our dogs are our family, partners in crime, and most trusted confidant. Agitation training, tracking, and other similar activities can be tough on your dog’s body.
No matter what harness you decide is right for your dog, we hope that this article has provided you with helpful information about the best agitation harnesses available and what features to look for during your search.