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The Wonder Walker is one of the most consistently popular dog-walking harnesses out there. It’s designed to curb pulling by placing control of the harness around a dog’s center of gravity, the chest, so it’s easier to move them in the direction you want them to go without pulling or yanking.
We review and interview trainers who use the Wonder Walker harness to see how it measures up to other no-pull designs on the market.
How the Wonder Walker Harness Works
The Wonder Walker harness got its start when Mary Dolan, a Seattle horse trainer and avid rider, was unhappy with the dog harnesses available. To teach her pup how to loose-leash walk, she built her own harness based on what she knew from working with horses.
The design was so effective that she started selling the patented harness to interested pet parents and local trainers.
Mary’s Wonder Walker:
- Slips on over a dog’s head, with one buckle to secure it on the belly
- Features two leash attachment points: one on the chest and one on the back
- Has four adjustment points to help tailor the fit to dogs of different shapes
- Uses two color tones to help pet parents remember which side is up
The Wonder Walker can look confusing at first, especially since it has a girth strap, a chest strap, and a back strap—and you have to put them on correctly. A video shows the proper fitting technique, which includes making sure the chest strap ring fits just above the chest bone (especially important for safety reasons in H-shape harnesses). Once it’s on, it should fit snugly.
The Wonder Walker places the control of the harness around the dog’s center of gravity, rather than around the head and neck, making it easier to move them in the desired direction without pulling or yanking.
According to the Wonder Walker, “This utilizes a dog’s instinctive push/pull reflex called the opposition reflex—a dog’s natural inclination is to move toward pressure. This reflex is why so many dogs pull while on leash—as you pull, they pull back.”
Reviewing the Wonder Walker Harness
A lot of people, from trainers to our own Rover pet parents, love these harnesses and give the Wonder Walker rave reviews. Cheryl Frantz, owner of Zoom Room in Seattle, recommends them to dog parents. According to Frantz, “Many [harnesses] are designed to inhibit the dog’s stride and impede their gait. The Wonder Walker sits higher on the dogs and therefore they can reach full strides even while wearing [it] with no risk of damage to the shoulders.”
She adds, “This is our number one harness and go-to training tool, and over 85% of all our dogs use the Wonder Walker.”
Christopher Paul Dolan, Mary’s Dolan’s son, says they’ve sold between 50,000 and 75,000 annually. Vanessa Tretton, who runs a private dog sitting and walking service, says that the majority of her client families use them.
Tretton likes how gentle they are, especially that they have no contact with the dog’s neck. It also creates a less-is-more approach to training, where ultimately a gentle tug communicates to the dog what a pet parent wants.
At Rover HQ in Seattle, many Rover employees favor the device. Mayme uses a Wonder Walker on her adopted Puggle, Budley. “I tried so many front harnesses because we had to have one because of the pulling. I hated how big they were, how gross they got, and how complicated they were. They all took up so much space on his body and rubbed,” she says.
She counted off the ways that made her love the Wonder Walker: ease of use, lightweight, fun colors, and range of sizes for awkwardly shaped dogs like Budley. The lack of extra fabric means it stays clean. Budley wears it all day at work and is comfortable, she says.
Recommendation: A Gentle Fit for Dogs Who Pull
Our testers gave the Wonder Walker harness enthusiastic approval. For many dogs, the higher front loop design across the chest works as a deterrent to pulling and as an aid to loose-leash training.
While you won’t find it on Amazon or Chewy, you can order the harness from the company itself, on the Rover Store, or at select local pet supply retailers. It’s also worth noting that the company will also do repairs, alterations, and custom-fittings.
Which dogs would benefit from the Wonder Walker harness:
- Dogs who pull on leash
- Puppies and adult dogs who are learning loose-leash walking
- Dogs who can easily slip a collar
Which dogs wouldn’t:
- Dogs who chafe with this style of harness, for example, under the armpits
- Dogs who don’t like a harness that goes over the head and need a step-in option