The BLD Balance Assistance Harness (BAH):
This is not your average service dog harness!
BLD’s specialty service dog harness is designed to provide balance and stability support for people with balance or mobility impairments, as well as for anyone needing good communication and contact with their service dog. We have designed this harness with the dog’s physical structure and movement in mind, and then added features to make it user-friendly and truly accessible. This is the most stable, ergonomic, and functional service dog harness available!
Guided by a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, canine sports medicine experts, and canine physical therapists, BLD’s unique harness design allows the dog to move, breathe, and work with minimal impact from the equipment. Weight and pressure are properly distributed across the dog’s body for optimal performance of physical assistance tasks. Similar to a horse saddle, this harness sits just behind the withers (or shoulders), around the dog’s center of gravity. When fitted properly, this harness does not wobble, shift, pinch, or rub the dog. It is lightweight, sturdy, and very comfortable.
BLD’s innovative harness design has benefited thousands of people around the world since 2009.
Every harness is custom made by hand in our own Colorado workshop. A variety of handle options are available. Crafting each harness to order is how we are able to provide the right fit for the dog, while meeting the user’s individual needs.
Proper fit is assured by our Great Fit Guarantee. Our famous Lifetime Warranty, plus BLD’s excellent customer support, is standard with everything we make in our workshop.
This harness can assist balance by counterbalance or pulling. It offers stabilization while standing or walking, momentum pull, maintaining a regular gait, leading/guiding, and/or getting up from a seated position. Formerly known as the “Basic” Assistance Harness, this harness has a lot to offer! See below for a brief list of facts about this harness and see our Size/Color & Handle Options tab for more specifics!
- Harnesses are custom made to fit your dog’s measurements and conform to your dog’s anatomy
- Handle and harness are designed to properly distribute pressure around the dog’s core with minimal impact on the dog’s range of motion Flexes with movement yet does not shift or wobble when fitted properly
- All straps have several inches of adjustment to fine-tune the fit
- Quick-Release buckles make it easy to put on and take off the dog—simply click together two easy-to-use latches; harness remains adjusted when removed
- Saddle is made with layers of neoprene padding inside to protect the spine, distribute pressure properly, and to be comfortable for your dog
- Sheepskin lining on saddle, breastplate, girth, and belly straps provide proper cushion to prevent pinching or rubbing, as well as optimal structural support for the function of the harness
- D-rings for attaching accessories, such as a cape, pouch, ID badges, pulling strap, etc.
- Each harness comes with a Great Fit Guarantee—see the Satisfaction Guarantee & Warranty tab for more information
- Only for dogs over 45 pounds
NOTE: This harness does NOT offer bracing; leather assistance handle is lower impact and generally safer for the dog than a rigid metal handle. For bracing needs, see our Mobility Support Harness.
We are equipment experts and are happy to help you through this process. We understand that there is a lot of information, so we have put together a Complete Information Booklet for you to use as you become familiar with what options we offer. Start off by reading through this booklet and if you have any questions, please give us a call or email—we’re available to help find the right solutions for you!
BAH Harness size:
Standard BAH $555
For most dogs 45-95 pounds, with a girth size of 26-34 inches (best choice for most retrievers and doodles)
Extra Large BAH $565
For most dogs 90-150 pounds, with a girth size of 33-40 inches (also recommended for deep-chested breeds such as GSD’s and Dobermans weighing 85 pounds or more, and any dog over 100 pounds such as Rottweilers, smaller Great Danes, Newfoundlands, etc.)
Giant BAH $650
For dogs 140-200 pounds, with a girth over 40 inches (best choice for larger Great Danes, Mastiffs, etc.).
Need help with sizing? Don’t hesitate to ask! Contact us. We’ll take a look at your dog’s measurements to be sure you get the right size.
- Black: Solid black latigo leather is our default standard offering. This leather wears beautifully over time, does not fade, and hides the appearance of scuffs and scratches
- London Tan ($): Gorgeous vegetable-tanned Bridle leather! Color and shades will vary; each part of harness may be a different shade. Tan leather naturally appears rustic and may show scuffs and wear over time; color may darken with use over time.
Primary Assistance Handle: Select one
A) Flexible Balance Handle (vertical) Default standard option
This leather handle is positioned vertically on the harness. It is stabilized to provide excellent feedback and communication with your dog. Mounts low on the harness saddle with quick-release buckles, and is kept upright with heavy-duty O-rings. Folds flat by unclipping the quick-release buckles and pivoting back. (A brace strap may be added to stabilize the handle loop, depending on the height of your handle, shown at right.) This flexible handle will soften and slump over time. Good for counterbalance, and light momentum while walking.
B) Semi-Rigid Balance Handle ($) Highly recommended!
Same looks and features as the above option, but a bit stiffer. Reinforced with rawhide for firmer feel and increased feedback. This handle is designed to hold its form and stand upright, making it accessible for grasping without bending over which assists with orientation. The handle will form to the angle of your hand grip over time. This is the firmest, most vertical handle option for the BAH. Good for counterbalance and stability contact for orientation. (Not a brace handle–it will flex with direct pressure to diffuse movement and minimize torque on the dog.)
C) Clip-on handle ($)
Minimal, low profile option clips onto heavy-duty d-rings toward the top of the harness saddle. Handle lays down when you let go of it. Feels looser than the other options. Easily replaceable, if needed. Ideal for a short grab-handle. Good for counterbalance, getting up from a seated position, or for occasional momentum assistance.
D) Flexible Leather Support Pull Handle ($)
E) Semi-Rigid Leather Support Pull ($)
The NEW Support Pull Handle is designed for heavier momentum and pulling needs. Provides optimal pulling pressure distribution. Handle attaches to heavy-duty d-rings with spring snap clips. “Mouse ear” loops keep the handle in position at a slight angle back. This handle drops a bit when you let go of it, has a looser feel than A or B, but is best for those who need moderate gait stabilization or a sturdy momentum pull. Available flexible or semi-rigid. We recommend a clip-on balance handle as an additional option. A brace strap may be added to options C-G to stabilize the handle loop, depending on the height of your handle.
Additional BAH handle options: Select if desired
Same as described above, an additional handle can be longer, or shorter, than the primary handle to allow the dog to assist with additional tasks. For example, you might choose primary option B) Semi-Rigid Balance Handle for walking and additional option 1) Basic Pull-Strap for getting up from a chair.
Strap Buckle Options:
- Regular metal Quick-Release latches are standard on the girth and belly straps; they are very easy to use and effective.
- One-Hand latch operation ($) D-rings placed near the quick release latches on the girth and belly straps make it easier to grasp the straps and fasten with one hand. Good for people who primarily use one hand. (Not recommended for most users.)
- NEW! Magnetic Latches ($) Magnetic Latches on the girth and belly straps. These special latches are very easy to use and are secure. Ideal for those with very limited strength or dexterity and for one-hand operation. Magnets automatically align and close the latch. Pull-tab releases the latch. Includes D-rings for easy grasp when fastening the straps on your dog.
Cape/Vest: Specifically designed to be compatible with your harness! 3 pockets and 3 Velcro panels to add patches (available separately). Only available with Silver easy to use Quick-Release Buckle.
Leather Accessory Pouch: Handcrafted from the finest supple leather, this zippered pouch is an elegant accessory
Fabric Accessory Pouch: Roomy pouch with Velcro panel for a patch
ID Patches & Badges (available separately)
Leash Wrap double-sided badge: 2-sided badges Velcro onto leash, strap, or a banner badge on the handle
Stop Sign: Double-sided badge; 2-sided badges Velcro onto leash, strap, or on handlebar
Velcro Patch: for capes, various designs
BAH Replacement Parts are available:
This harness has been designed with interchangeable straps for the greatest flexibility; perfect for adapting a harness to fit a new dog or user (Does not apply for fixed balance handles; Rigid brace handle not compatible with this harness). See replacement parts here.
You are ready to order a harness…Now what? Here is a quick list of the steps to take to place a harness order:
- First, select the desired harness size.
- Next, select the color, primary assistance handle type, strap buckle options, and any additional handles & optional accessories that you need. The Complete Information Booklet has more information on all of these options, and if you need further assistance, feel free to give us a call or email!
- Proceed to the next section where you will need to fill in the Measurement details.
- Finally, add any notes that you feel are important to your order.
- Click Add to Cart.
*Final price depends on the options that are selected. We will confirm your order with you directly within 5 business days. Upon receiving your order, measurements and details will be reviewed. Rest assured we’ll reach out if we have any questions.
Turnaround Time: Harnesses take 4-5 weeks to complete and are built to your specifications.
Contact us if you need your harness faster (subject to availability with a rush fee).
You must contact us directly to request rush service.
- 3 week RUSH: add 10%
- 2 week RUSH: add 15%
*Rush fees are added to the cost of the harness and harness options ONLY
Shipping price includes insurance and tracking via USPS Priority Mail (2-3 days in USA). Yes, we ship WORLDWIDE!
Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page for answers:Harness FAQs
Harness Information Video
Accessories: Harness Pouch
Accessories: Leash Wraps on Harness
Leather care is easy! Don’t worry too much, and don’t be afraid to use your items — we promise leather is incredibly resilient, and regular weather won’t hurt it. If you think your item looks dirty, dry, or just need a little extra love, pouring a little leather conditioner on a cloth, and rubbing it in like lotion will usually do the trick. Baths and a jaunt in the river are just fine, but you might want to offer a little conditioner to your products afterwards. Saltwater can be harsh, so after a visit to the ocean, a good rinse in fresh water and proper conditioning will help preserve and protect your treasured leash or collar. See our Leather Care page for more specific information.
Luckily, the harnesses are easy to clean and maintain! Simply apply leather conditioner regularly to keep harness supple & weather resistant and clean the wool lining using a brush and vacuum.
Your harness can also be hand washed if needed. Here is a video on how to hand wash your harness:
You can also find cleaning instructions in the Owner’s Manual.
Important Notes: please read this before ordering
Due to the custom nature of this special harness, returns and refunds are not available on this product.
At Bold Lead Designs, we take the health and safety of your dog seriously. We have created these guidelines based on over 15 years of experience with this specialized equipment. Dogs must be physically mature and of appropriate size, fitness and soundness for the work you would like them to perform. Mobility, stability, and balance assistance work are physically demanding. A service dog should always be in prime physical condition to remain healthy.
Age, Size and Fitness:
Dogs should be at least 18 months of age before beginning harness work. The dog’s growth plates must be closed before starting to train a dog for harness work. This happens for most large breed dogs at 18-24 months of age and giant breeds need even longer to mature. Please allow your dog time to grow and mature as rushing into harness work may cause injury and shorten your dog’s working life. Additionally, if the harness is ordered too soon it will cost you significantly more money if your dog outgrows the harness.
Dogs MUST be in our recommended weight/measurement range set forth in the sizing guide for the harness to fit and function properly.
We want to see properly exercised, fit, lean, muscular dogs! Overweight dogs should never be expected to perform load bearing tasks; additionally, obesity contributes to serious health risks and can significantly shorten a dog’s lifespan. Consider implementing an exercise and fitness routine when the dog is “off duty” to keep him/her in good shape.
Consult the Pros:
Consulting a qualified veterinarian (orthopedic specialist or canine sports medicine physical therapist) is highly recommended for all service/assistance dogs that perform physical tasks. Radiographs (x-rays) or other tests may be recommended by the vet and are required by most service dog training organizations to determine if the dog is suitable for the demands of service dog work.
Harness users should consult a physician and physical therapist to determine what medical equipment is appropriate for their mobility needs. BLD harnesses are not intended to serve as, or to replace, a durable medical device such as a cane, walker, or crutch. Please understand that one should never lean on a dog to stay upright. Rigid metal handles must not be pushed or pulled on while the dog is in motion. Such use is not how the harness is intended to be used and could put the dog at risk for injury.
Fit and performance of the equipment can only be assured if the dog meets the minimum recommended standards, the user and trainer have reasonable expectations, and when the equipment is used responsibly for the purpose it was designed.
Our equipment is designed to allow an appropriately selected and trained service dog to reasonably assist a person with a balance, mobility impairment, or other disability that requires specialty service dog gear. BLD cannot assess a dog’s suitability or appropriateness. Users assume all responsibility for the safety, health, and care of the animal and human alike.
In your dog’s best interest, please understand that BLD may decline an order if we believe a harness could be harmful to the dog because of age, size, or unreasonable expectations.
The proper fit for each harness is assured by our Great Fit Guarantee. Our famous Lifetime Warranty, plus BLD’s excellent customer support, is standard with everything we make in our workshop.
Great Fit Guarantee
All new harnesses and custom service dog equipment come with a Great Fit Guarantee. Every effort is made to produce a harness that fits your dog perfectly. If we made an error, or a fit adjustment is needed, we will correct it at no cost to you within the first 4 weeks of delivery. This includes new parts and standard shipping. If inaccurate information or measurements were given when the order was placed, we will still adjust your harness or fabricate new parts at no charge to ensure the correct fit, but shipping costs will apply. (There may be additional charges for a change of size and/or features as well.) Sorry, no refunds or returns are accepted on all new harnesses and custom service dog equipment. We will do our best to be sure you have the right equipment, properly fitted, and we promise to be here if you have questions.
We proudly stand behind the quality of our products. Bold Lead Designs’ handcrafted leather & Brahma products are guaranteed against defects in materials and craftsmanship for life!
If your BLD harness ever breaks or is damaged from regular use due to materials or craftsmanship flaws, contact Bold Lead Designs for a replacement or repair at no charge. There is no time limit. Customer is responsible for shipping charges.
If you ever have issues or questions about your equipment, contact us at the workshop so we can help find a solution! Non-warranty repairs and service may be available for a nominal repair charge. Replacement parts may be available for purchase.
Warranty is limited to replacement or repair of covered product only, and does not cover chewing, neglect, misuse, normal wear, or customer alterations. Bold Lead Designs reserves the right to determine if a repair or replacement is covered by our warranty. Items we don't make in our workshop, like accessories and consumable items, are excluded. Note: any item sold as used or imperfect or marked with a star is excluded from any warranty or guarantee.
Limitation of Damages:
Guarantee/Warranty is limited to replacement or repair of product only. Bold Lead Designs, LLC, or its associates, cannot be responsible for any claims or liabilities beyond the scope of the guarantee. Chewing, neglect and misuse, customer alterations, and items marked with a star void all warranties. No other warranties, expressed or implied, are made. User assumes all responsibility for proper and safe use of products and care of animal. Customer pays for shipping for warranty claims. See our warranty page for complete details.