It took a while before we even considered the idea.
There was something harsh about that word. Harness.
Like we were turning our dog into our beast of burden.
But the case was clearly in favor of the harness: Because Joey was so excited when we took him outside, and in particular to a wooded area, he would pull so hard he would choke himself. AHHHH. CHoKKKKe. AHHAHHH. CHuPPPPa. Along with a few "Joey, take it easy. Easy. Slow down." Choking and coughing wouldn't deter this dog. He would just pull and pull. Smart dog!
Around the same time, I started to take Joey to the lake for hydrotherapy. The harness would definitely help there. Also, I saw some photos of a Retriever in the field, with his harness on and his owner at the other end of the lead, and the balance of power between dog and human seemed to be working well.
Truth be told, the harness gave Joey even greater freedom when he walked. When we were out walking on a trail, it reduced the tug on his neck. Less tugging - less choking! Less choking: a happier puppy. As Joey meandered from one side of the trail to the other and back to the first, the harness allowed him to move, in his meandering path, like the Charles River!
Friends of ours use a harness on their new puppy that makes him walk more slowly. The harness we have for our chocolate Lab is perfect for hunting dogs, dogs who love to roam and explore.
So now of course you've been convinced that you need a harness for your dog. There are two parts of getting your dog a harness that you have to master:
1) Getting one the right size, and
2) Figuring out how to - correctly - get the darned thing on your dog.
So you have to ask two questions:
How much patience does your dog have?
And how much patience do you have?
Face it. The dog knows that the harness means, "Yes, I am going to take you outside." So that means keeping him still, while he's as excited as a boy who is seeing snow for the first time.