Whether you’ve never used a dog harness before or are considering trying out a new style, it’s easy to get tangled up in the process. With every new style there is a different set of benefits that vary from training to comfort purposes. There are also unique guidelines and different ways to put on the many styles of harness. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to find out which harness is best for you and how to properly put it on your dog.
Why Your Dog Might Need a Dog Harness
A pet parent might consider getting a harness over a collar for different reasons. “Certain dogs who have medical conditions like megaesophagus (an enlarged esophagus) or a neck injury are better off with a harness because it won’t put any pressure on the neck,” said Ashley Atkinson, CPDT-KA and behavior consultant at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
You may also consider a harness to help train your dog to not pull or jump. Harnesses are a less severe option when compared to pinch or chain collars as training methods.
Types of Dog Harnesses
Collars are pretty straight forward, but the harnesses can become overwhelming fast. “There are quite a few different types of harnesses on the market today,” said Annie Angell, CPDT-KA and co-owner of My Two Dogs. The options may look like a bunch of strings and clips, but there is more to it, as each type of harness will have a slightly different style and fit, Atkinson said. Here are the most common options available :
this style is generally the easiest style for most dogs to adjust to. Back-clip harnesses are for calm dogs that are trained not to pull on the leash and are especially useful for small dogs with delicate throats that are easily irritated by collars.
Front-clip or Training Harness
this style has a leash attachment in front of the harness and should be in the center of your dog’s chest. Trainers often choose front-clip harnesses to help decrease the dog’s pulling on the leash. The chest clip will give better control over the direction that your dog is going and allows him to be redirected if needed.
Comfort Wrap or Step-in Harness
this style is typically designed to easily have your dog step into the harness and close on his back. Lay the harness on the ground, have him step in, pull the harness up and around his shoulders and then clip him in.
Soft or Vest Harness
this harness option is typically made of a mesh material that comes in a range of colors and patterns. The style will resemble a vest and may seem thicker and wider than other options. Some slip over the head and some can be stepped into.
like a training or front clip harness, this style is designed to help discourage your dog from pulling. The leash attachment ring will be at the center of your dog’s chest and harness will tighten and add pressure if the dog pulls (encouraging him to stay closer to you). Some styles also tighten around your dog’s leg area in addition to his chest.
these harnesses have an attachment that hooks into your vehicle’s seat belt and are perfect for the pet that enjoys going on car rides.
Dog Mobility Harness
this style is used for senior dogs or those with leg or spine injuries. The full body style is a dog lifting aid and is not used for everyday walks and outings like the other styles.
How to Put On a Dog Harness
Each style of harness has its own set of techniques to consider when putting it on your dog. Typically, the harness will either require your dog to step into it or you’ll have to slip it over your dog’s head and the have him step through the arm holes before you clip him in. With any style, it is important to get your dog used to how you put it on so that you both stay tangle-free.