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. See details on p.18 or on our website.
Measuring Instructions and Videos:
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:
The BLD Balance Assistance Harness (BAH):
Who is it for? The BAH is a good choice for many people with conditions such as vertigo, balance impairment, disequilibrium, neurological conditions, brain injuries, ataxia, disassociation, other injuries, etc. where light to moderate contact with a flexible handle can assist with orientation and/or balance support.
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!
- Several styles of Assistance Handles are available, each made with sturdy, double-layered leather
- Handles are custom made to any height/length you desire
- Use one or a combination of Assistance Handle styles for specific tasks you’d like your dog to perform
- Offers excellent communication and close-contact from nearly any angle
- Handle and harness are designed to properly distribute pressure around the dog’s core with minimal impact on the dog’s range of motion
- 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.
Dog friendly features:
- Harnesses are custom made to fit your dog’s measurements and conform to your dog’s anatomy
- Great Fit Guarantee
- Fit adjustment at no charge, if necessary, within 4 weeks of delivery (shipping charges may apply if incorrect measurements were provided)
- Lifetime Warranty on materials and workmanship. See details on p. 18
- Allows dog freedom of movement & distribution of weight/pressure around the core of the dog’s body
- Flexes with movement yet does not shift or wobble when fitted properly
- Lightweight despite its sturdy nature!
- Complete harness weighs only 2.5 lb. (1 KG) for standard size, and around 3 pounds for giant size
- Adjustable Straps
- All straps have several inches of adjustment to fine-tune the fit
- Straps are replaceable and can be re-fit to another dog of similar size (saddle size stays the same)
- Layers of specialized padding for dog’s comfort
- No hard edges or direct contact with irritating synthetic materials
- Saddle is made with layers of neoprene padding inside to protect the spine and distribute pressure properly
- Natural shearling wool (genuine sheepskin)
- 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
- Suitable for all climates due to the natural material’s breathability, resilience, and durability
- Does not get hot or retain heat like synthetic materials (not recommended for swimming)
People friendly features:
- Premium quality top grain leather and durable hardware combined with fine workmanship for a lifetime of reliable performance
- Our harnesses are designed to offer optimal balance support and stability
- A variety of handle options are available to meet your needs. Handles are made to your desired height, are well-balanced and properly supported for maximum stability assistance.
- Additional handles, such as pulling and guide, are available on all harnesses to add more functionality
- 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
- NEW! Magnetic latches are now available for those with very limited dexterity. See a video of the magnetic latch option here!
- D-rings for attaching accessories, such as a cape, pouch, ID badges, pulling strap, etc.
- Easy to clean and maintain, details available on our website and in Owner’s Manual
- Simply apply leather conditioner regularly to keep harness supple and weather resistant
- Clean the wool lining with a brush and vacuum
- Can be hand washed as needed
- Excellent customer support
- We are equipment experts and are happy to help you through this process
- We are here should you encounter an issue in the future
- Lifetime Warranty on materials & workmanship, see details at https://boldleaddesigns.com/company-info/our-guarantee/
- Comprehensive Owner’s Manual is included with each harness
- Harness will arrive with detailed instructions for fitting, use and care of the equipment, and warranty information for your reference
- Have questions? Call or email! We’re available to help you find the right solutions for you.
BAH Harness size:
Standard BAH $400
For most dogs 45-95 pounds, with a girth size of 26-34 inches (best choice for most retrievers and doodles)
Extra Large BAH $430
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 $510
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 (add $20): 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 (add $30) Highly recommended!
Same looks and features as the above option, but a bit stiffer. Reinforced with 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 (add $30)
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.
Additional BAH Options, if needed:
- Additional D-rings (add $6 each) may be available if you have a specific need for an accessory or attachment, and it does not impede the design or function of the harness. Not recommended for most people.
- One-Hand latch operation (add $8) 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.)
Other options and accessories for your harness (available separately):
- Cape/Vest : designed to be compatible with your BLD harness, has 3 pockets and 3 Velcro panels for patches
- Leather Accessory Pouch: handcrafted from the finest supple leather, this zippered pouch is an elegant accessory
ID Patches & Badges (available separately)
Harnesses take 4 weeks to complete and are built to your specifications. Shipping price includes insurance and tracking via USPS Priority Mail (2-3 days in USA). Yes, we ship WORLDWIDE!
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. (Except fixed balance handles. Rigid brace handle not compatible with this harness.) See replacement parts here.
Due to the custom nature of this special harness, returns and refunds are not available on this product.
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 is physically demanding; a service dog must be in prime physical condition. The dog’s growth plates must be closed before beginning harness work (recommended minimum of 18-24 months of age). Please allow your dog time to grow and mature.
Consulting a qualified veterinarian (orthopedic specialist or canine sports medicine physical therapist) is highly recommended for all service/assistance dogs that perform physical tasks. 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. Likewise, harness users should consult a physician and physical therapist to determine what medical equipment is appropriate for their mobility needs.
Our equipment is designed to allow an appropriately selected and trained service dog to reasonably assist a person with a balance or mobility impairment. BLD cannot assess a dog’s suitability or appropriateness. BLD harnesses are not intended to serve as, or to replace, a durable medical device such as a cane, walker, or crutch. User assumes all responsibility for the safety, health, and care of the animal and human alike.