Complete Guide on Dog Harnesses

safest harness for dog owners

In the post, we are going to help you find the very best harness for your pet.

We know that, as a pet owner who wants the best for their pet pooch, finding the best harness for everyday use or leash training purposes is really important to you.

Our goal is to help you save money and time as you make your choice. Helping you get the best possible no-pull dog harness to suit you and your dog’s needs with minimal fuss and no messing around!

Table of Contents

Most Important Features to Consider When Buying the Best Dog Harnesses

The Total Number of Adjustment Points

You want to make sure the no-pull harness is a secure fit so that you have lots of control. Also, your dog can’t escape from it, but you also want to give the dog maximum comfort while wearing it. Having multiple adjustment points and adjustability helps avoid friction problems, especially with strong pullers.

Suitable to Fit Sizes From a Small Dog to a Very Large Dog

Obviously, you need to find a harness that is built to fit your particular size of dog. The harnesses usually come in a range of sizes and then with adjustments to get the perfect fit for each dog.

Easy to Put on and Take Off

You do not want the stress for either you or your dog of having to wrestle and wrangle the dog into the harness. So a design that is really easy to put on and off is essential.

Fully Adjustable

Adjustable straps and adjustable points to make sure the harness fits safely and comfortably. The more adjustment the harness has, the better.

Multiple Leash Attachment Points

A clip on the back of the harness is great for normal walking. If you want to use the harness for no-pull training or walking, having a dual leash clipped onto the back or spine, and the front clip on the chest plate is the best method for increased control.

So, if you want a no-pull harness, you should definitely buy one with the two attachment points, particularly if your pets are strong pullers.

Easy Attachment Points

The attachment points should be secure but also easy to clip the leash on and off. Obviously, you want secure attachment points so that the dog can’t run off. But they also need to be easily accessible so that it is easy to take the lead on and off.

Is it Crash Tested?

If you are buying it for car rides, the harness should be crash tested. If you want to use the harness as a seat belt, make sure it is a crash-tested model designed for use in a car. Preventing serious injuries or worse should be the top priority here.

Heavy Duty Materials

When buying things like leashes or harnesses, this can make a world of difference. This is not the place to skimp on build quality or materials. Cheap materials will wear out under the force and either break or cause your pup discomfort.

Balance harness for dog

How Do You Put on a Dog Harness? From Start to Finish

The first thing to say is that before you even buy a dog harness, you should take the time to make sure you buy the right size for your dog.

All the best dog harness manufacturers share detailed sizing charts and instructions, so read them carefully and take your time before ordering.

Ok, now let’s look at this process step by step, assuming the harness is brand new and your dog has never worn it before:

  • Remove the dog’s harness from the packaging and introduce it to the dog. Just lay it on the ground so they can see it.
  • If the dog starts to play or chew with the harness, tell them off, they should not see it as a toy or a chew.
  • Once they have seen and smelled the doggo harness and are not interested in it anymore, you can start to think about putting it on the dog.
  • If the type of harness is an over the head design, use a treat or calling to pull the dog’s head through the loop.
  • If it is a step-in harness, lay the loops on the ground and have the dog step its paws inside the loops.how to put on a dog harness
  • If your dog seems unsure, you can repeat this part of the process giving treats or praise to reward the dog’s good behavior.
  • Next, pull the feet or head loops fairly tight against the dog’s chest, legs, and torso.
  • Make sure none of the side straps are crossed over or twisted.
  • Then click into place the webbing straps using the attachment buckles.
  • The harness should now be on the dog and just need to be adjusted to get a secure but still comfortable fit.
  • The rule of thumb is that at no place on the dog’s body should you not be able to get two fingers between the harness strap and the dog’s belly, body, or legs.
  • So using the adjustment points, adust the length of the harness straps until they are fairly tight around the dog.
  • Then run two fingers around all the whole dog harness (including under each buckle) and check for any tight or loose spots.

Note – If your dog is really laid back, then some or all of the steps might not be necessary. So feel free to miss any of them out as you practice learning the correct way to put on a dog harness.

In a nutshell, this is the proper way to put on a dog harness, but there are more useful things to consider, so let’s keep going.

Things to Look Out for When Using Dog Harnesses

  1. Make sure the loop around the dog’s head isn’t too tight. You do not want any choking around the dog’s throat because the neck hole is too tight.
  2. Once again, be sure that at all around the dog harness flat sections of webbing, you can get two fingers next to the dog’s body.
  3. Most harnesses have two attachment points, one of the chest plate and one on the back of the harness. The front clip chest attachment stops the pet from pulling, and the back attachment is for normal leash walking. So you can pick with leash clip harness to use.
  4. A dog harness covers more of the dog’s body than a normal collar, so you should pay attention in hot weather so that the dog doesn’t overheat. It would help if you also kept an eye out for any chaffing or rubbing against the dog/s skin.

Dog Harness FAQ’s

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic of dog harnesses.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Escaping a Harness?

  1. Obviously, you need to buy a good quality escape-proof harness for your dog; this is an excellent first step.
  2. You then need to take the time to read the instructions and make sure you know how to use it correctly. (You might also want to check YouTube and see if the manufacturers have shared any videos showing how to fit and use the harness).
  3. Next, you need to practice fitting it carefully and correctly so that it is comfortable for the dog to walk and run in but still escape-proof.
  4. Over time as you use it again and again with your dog, make sure it is always well-fitted (dogs sometimes lose or put on weight, so the straps may need adjusting).
  5. Also, keep a close eye out for any wear and tear on the harness straps. This is even more important if your dog may be tempted to chew on the webbing!

What are the Best Harnesses for Dogs?

Choosing the right harness is specific to each dog, their size, strength, personality, and behaviors when out on walks or adventures.

If you struggle to walk your dog without him or her pulling on the leash, then you would be well advised to get a specific no-pull dog harness.

If your dog is a little escape artist, then an escape-proof dog harness fit will be essential. Some dogs, especially the tiny ones like chihuahuas, are unbelievably good at escaping from normal harnesses.

We also think that build quality is essential for your dog’s harness, and a small amount of damage can soon turn into an escaped pet!

With some pet supplies such as blankets or chew toys, the quality doesn’t really matter so much, and you can often get away just fine with the cheaper options.

However, your dog’s harness has important work to do! Keeping your dog safe and secure on walks whilst also being comfortable enough for the dog to enjoy their adventures.

There are a few important factors to consider when picking the right harness for your dog, but if you go through our guide above, you should hopefully have all the details you need to make the right choice for your dog harnesses.

What is the Most Comfortable Dog Harness?

Again, figuring out which is the comfiest dog harness is fairly specific to each dog and their personality.

However, some basic features will really help you get the best one for your dog.

You should look for a harness that has:

  • a large chest plate
  • multiple adjustment straps
  • plenty of sponge padding
  • at least two attachment points
  • Comes in plenty of different sizes so that you can get the one closest to your dog

We suggest that you take your time over this purchase. Read reviews from people who have bought the harnesses you are considering.

Check and double-check the sizing chats. If necessary, speak to their customer support team and double-check you have the right size before you buy.

Take a bit of time, study the reviews, and do your best to a harness with both comfort and a secure fit.

What Type of Dog Harness is the Easiest to Put On?

It can vary a little for each animal, but the step-in harness is usually considered the easiest type to get your dog into.

The dog steps its feet (with a little help from you) into two loops that you have laid on the floor. You then pull the loops up against the dog’s chest and armpits.

The harness is then clipped over the dog’s back and secured with adjustable straps to fit nicely around the spine.

Which is Better a Dog Harness or a Dog Collar?

There is no one correct answer to this question, but overall we think that a harness is better for most people in most cases.

If you would like to explore this topic in much more depth, check out our article on the Dog Harness vs Dog Collar.

best side harness

How Do You Get a Dog to Like Their Harness?

Some dogs are very easy to train to get used to their dog harnesses, but others can take a bit more time and effort to get their head around it.

The first thing to remember with all dog training is to use praise, reward, pats on the head, and treats to encourage and reinforce good behavior.

So, if your dog really hates the harness, you could put it on the floor and then put a treat on it for the dog to eat, give the dog lots of praise as you do this.

Then try gently putting the harness on the dog, do not do any clips or fasteners. Just let it hang loosely on the dog as you give it more praise and treats.

Once it gets used to this, fit the harness correctly around the dog’s legs, neck, and back, so it is nice and snug; as you do this, repeat the praise and treats.

Now just leave the dog to go about its day while wearing the harness. If it tries to get out of the harness, tell it “No” and then give it more praise and treats once it stops.

Repeat this until the dog is happy to be in the house all day with the harness on. After that, you can try walking the dog around the house with a leash and the harness.

Finally, take the dog for a very short walk around the block or in the yard. That way, if it starts making a fuss, it is really easy to get home again.

As always, use praise and treats to reward good behavior. If you take your time with this, you can take a dog that hates its harness and train it to love it.

It will eventually associate the harness with treats, praises, and going out for walks. Bribery is usually the best way to train a dog!

(Of course, making sure you buy a good harness to start with will also help make all of this process much, much easier.)

How Do You get a Dog Used to Walking with a Harness?

Some dogs take to walking with dog harnesses like a duck takes to water.

Others hate the harnesses at first and need some time training and encouragement to accept them.

If you are struggling with this, follow these steps, continuing from the previous ones. This process is the same for a step-in harness or any other type. Once the harness if on the dog, just follow these actions:

  1. Your first goal is just to get the dog happy to wear the harness, so let it walk around the house with it.
  2. If it tries to chew or remove the dog harness, tell if off. If it reacts well to wearing it, then give it praise and rewards.
  3. You should repeat this process of putting the harness on the dog and letting him or her walk around the house with it on a good few times until you can do it with no problems at all.
  4. The next step is to try walking around the house with a leash attached to the harness.
  5. You should be control and lead the dog where you want it to go.
  6. If it tries to bite the leash or pull on it, stop walking and tell the dog off.
  7. Once the dog calms down, give it some praise, and set off walking again.
  8. Again you should repeat this process until it is done with no hassles from the dog.
  9. The goal is to get the dog very comfortable walking around the house attached to a leash without behaving badly.
  10. If you have a yard, you can try that next, see how the dog behaves, nip any bad behavior in the bud, and keep rewarding the good actions with treats and warm words.
  11. Then you can take your pup for a walk, just go around the block the first time but assuming this goes ok, then feel free to go on some nice long adventures.

If your pet dog does not naturally take to wearing a dog harness, hopefully, these training methods will help you help them get used to it.

Is it Ok to Use a Dog Harness with a Puppy?

Yes, it is ok and safe to use a harness with a young pup. In fact, dog trainers will tell you that it can be a great idea for a couple of reasons.

Puppies are very wriggly and good at escaping from a normal collar. A harness is much harder for them to get out of (assuming it is a snug fit). So, using a harness on your pup can stop them from escaping the leash and risking injury.

Another reason why using a harness for puppies is that it helps with no pull training. Using a no-pull harness with your young puppy will set the training off in the right direction from a young age.

As with all dog training, the sooner you start, the easier it will be in the long run.

By getting the puppy used to the no-pull dog harness, you give yourself the best chance to have a well-trained, easy to walk, adult dog.

This will mean less stress for you and more time to enjoy time with your pets, especially if you own a big dog.

Is it Ok for a Dog to Wear their Harness All the Time?

Yes, as long as the harness is a really good fit for your dog. As long as it is not too tight around the dog’s neck. That there isn’t unnecessary pressure on any part of the dog.

Then it is fine for your dog to wear the harness all day just like it would with a dog collar.

Once you have bought a harness for your dog, it is worth taking the time to ensure that the fit is right to ensure maximum comfort for the dog. Pay close attention to the neck and back for any pressure or tightness.

Then it will be fine to leave the dog wearing the harness all day. In fact, at first, it is a good idea just to let the dog get used to wearing it.

Another great benefit of the dog wearing the harness all day is that you can grab the handle if you need to control the dog, and you have more control instantly.

Sometimes you just need rapid control over your pup to prevent any serious injuries from occurring!

We have shared lots more impressions, help, and advice on this topic that you might find useful.

If you still need more information, please feel free to take a look at any of these pages:

Click to get the answer to the Harness vs. Collar question.

This post might be interesting if you want to learn How to Put on a Dog Harness.

Some Great Advice from a Veterinarian

To finish this article, we will share this one great video of a fully qualified DVM vet explaining to dog owners how to fit harnesses onto their pups and dogs.

We believe in listening to the experts (and their very cute pups!). So taking advice from a dog trainer or a vet is always worth doing.

The vet walks you through the process of measuring the dog to make sure that you get the right harness to fit them for maximum control.

Explaining how to measure around the dog’s front, neck, back, and chest to get a nice snug fit so the dog harnesses’ materials do not rub against the dog’s skin.

Then she walks through the main types of harnesses: the pet products balance harness, the web master, the vest harness, the step-in, padded chest, dual strap, and the halter training harnesses, explaining which she thinks is the best harness for different dogs.

After this, she looks at each one in a bit more detail, giving some really easy-to-follow steps to help you get your pet into the harness nice and easily and make sure it is a good fit using the adjustable straps.

Hopefully, if you are in any doubt about putting a harness on your pup and making it fit right, this will answer those doubts.

You also get to enjoy seeing the gorgeous little pupster who models the harnesses.

To be honest, even if you aren’t interested in dog harnesses, the video is worth watching just to enjoy her super cute little face (dogs are the best)!

Thanks for Taking the Time to Stop By!

That is finally it for this post about dogs harnesses. Thanks for taking the time to visit our site.

We put a lot of time and work into our reviews and recommendations for all the pet products and hardware we review.

These aren’t just three-minute wonders like some of the articles we see out there.

It is important for us to try to do our very best with everything we do for all the dog owners that visit our site.

So we really hope that this post helps you to find and buy the best harness.

This and all of our other posts also help you and your pooch experience a happier, healthier, more stress-free life together, enjoying lots of great activities.