A dog harness offers better canine body support, and diverse control and training features. Read on to find out what different types of harnesses are there and the answer to “what is the best harness for your dog?”
Choosing between a collar and a harness for a walk
Both collar and harness have their pros and cons.
- Easy to put on and ready-to-wear.
- Less likely to get caught on objects.
- Easy for dogs to slip out.
- Encourages pulling on the lead and may cause choking.
- Places pressure on the neck area, which can result in respiratory problems.
A dog collar is suitable for dogs that have completed their lead training. As they are not prone to pulling or jumping up whilst walking, dog collars are safe to use.
- Discourages your dog from pulling.
- Gives you more control over your dog.
- Non-constrictive to the neck.
- Takes longer to put on, especially if your dog is not used to it.
- Could be uncomfortable to wear during hot days.
A dog harness prevents neck injuries in pooches during instances when they pull as they walk. It is ideal for dogs that need to be lead-trained.
A dog harness is also a good choice for dog owners with athletic dogs that love to join dog competitions. It allows owners to handle and navigate their dogs through obstacles better.
What is the most comfortable harness for dogs?
A padded harness, also known as a no-rub dog harness, is the most comfortable harness for dogs. Chafing is a common problem when pooches wear harnesses. The padded variety is stuffed with neoprene or foam to prevent chafing and boost canine comfort.
The soft mesh harness also places importance on comfort. It is breathable since it does not trap much heat compared to other harnesses. The stretchability of the mesh will keep your dog’s skin from chafing.
How do I choose a harness for my dog?
There are many different types of dog harnesses in the market that choosing one can be overwhelming. Such a choice should not be confusing if you just focus on these 3 considerations:
- The size of your dog.
- The specific purpose for the harness.
- Your dog’s behaviour.
Let us discuss those 3 aspects in detail.
3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Dog Harness
1. Your Dog’s Size
What is the best harness for a dog that is still growing?
Go for an adjustable harness. For large dogs, a durable heavy-duty harness with wide straps and secure closures is ideal.
What is the best harness for small dogs?
Choose a harness that is properly fitted to their body. It should not be too loose as they can accidentally slip out of it. An extra-small harness is a big no-no, especially for small brachycephalic dogs that are prone to breathing difficulties.
The harness must be a comfortable and snug fit on your pooch.
Here is how to find a perfect-fit dog harness for your dog:
- Ensure that the harness fits underneath the deepest point of your dog’s chest (about 5–12 centimetres from his front legs).
This is the optimal spot that allows you to lift or hold your pet up by his sternum. If the harness goes beyond this area, it will slide to your dog’s neck at some point.
- The belly strap is in a “T” position, not sideways, and in a “Y” position.
- The strap fits your pooch snugly without creating bulges in his skin. You should be able to slip 2 fingers in the straps.
- The front part is not loose, dangling, tugged to the side or bunched up in the dog’s chin or neck.
- The chest strap that goes across your dog’s chest should be a tight but comfortable fit. It should be above the dog’s shoulder joints and should not go round the armpits so that he has a full range of motion.
2. Purpose of Getting the Dog Harness
There may be many styles and designs of harnesses, but they can be generally classified into 4 types according to their uses, which are as follows:
Dog harnesses under this category are also known as no-pull harnesses. If you have questions like “how do I get my dog to stop pulling on walks?” or “what is the best harness for a dog that pulls?,” the obvious choice would be this type.
No-pull dog harnesses are commonly used by dog trainers and dog owners when training the dog to walk nicely on a lead.
- Front-Range Harness
This harness is for training dogs not to tug and also for puppies to learn to walk on a lead. Front-clip ones are lead-attached from the centre of the canine’s sternum or to the side.
When the dog tries to pull, he will end up circling right back to you. The front attachment design does not cause choking or put pressure on the dog.
Make sure that it is a secure fit for your dog. If not in the right size, this harness type will interfere with your dog’s movement.
- Tightening Dog Harness
What is the best harness for a dog that needs loose-lead training? Tightening dog harness is one of the most ideal stop-pulling harnesses. It comes with a front and back martingale-style lead attachment. It gradually adds pressure when your dog pulls.
It comes in several strap adjustment points, with some inducing discomfort in a rather gentle, pain-free way. The rope type tends to be soft and more comfortable for both the owner and the dog.
- Head Halter Dog Harness
What is the best harness for a dog that is undergoing obedience training? The head halter type is another good option.
A head halter harness goes around your dog’s muzzle and his neck, tightening when tugged. It helps you to maintain your dog’s attention, keeping his nose off the ground.
Aside from obedience training, it can also be used for loose-walk training. Mind that if you are not careful, your pooch may learn that he can pull whenever you use a different kind of harness.
A head halter harness may be uncomfortable for a dog to wear at first and will take time to get used to. Normally, it requires much patience and treats before he will feel comfortable wearing it.
On the brighter side, compared to other harness types, the head halter one can quickly help in training your dog to walk in a behaved manner.
Exercise and Restraint
If you want a dog harness for walking your dog or keeping him in check whilst engaging in outdoor activities, variations of the following type are recommended:
- Back-Attachment Dog Harness
This harness fits on the chest and has a ring on the back, where the lead can be attached. This is the harness most pooches are agreeable to. This is especially true for dog breeds that are prone to throat issues such as Boston Terriers and Pugs.
What is the best dog harness for a dog that is already trained on the lead? The back-clip one is the ideal choice. Mind that your pooch should be fully lead-trained and have no obedience problems if you opt to use this type.
Some variations of this equipment, such as the activity harness, are ideal for active dogs involved in tracking and swimming.
Safety and Injury Prevention
Under this category are dog harnesses that help safeguard your dog from potential accidents.
- Car-Safety Dog Harness
Travelling with an unrestrained dog in a car can cause a lot of distraction.
To safely travel with your furry companion, place him in a car-safety dog harness. Similar to a seat belt lead, it offers greater support and reinforcement.
This type of harness covers the dog’s underbelly and chest, going around the back where a strap clips on and attaches it to the car seat.
The car-safety dog harness will prevent your dog from trying to get too close to your whilst you drive. It will also protect him in case a car accident occurs.
- Reflective Dog Harness
What is the best harness for a dog on night walks? One good option is the reflective dog harness. It has reflective stitching or reflective strips that allow your dog to be more visible to motorists.
- Light-Up Dog Harness
This type of harness is also suitable when you walk your dog for outdoor jaunts at night or in dim conditions. The LED feature makes your dog visible to you and others from afar and even without light reflecting on the harness.
- Tactical Dog HarnessWhat is the best harness for a dog who loves the great outdoors? Get him a tactical dog harness. It is durable and provides an extra layer of protection for your pooch as he walks in bushes and thickets.Most tactical harnesses also come with handles for owners to easily aid their dog in navigating rough terrains.Another great feature of this type of harness is its MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) system. It allows you to attach essentials for camping or hiking such as a water bottle, flashlight, and even your dog’s sleeping mat.
Tactical harnesses usually have pouches. This is extremely handy since you can store small items inside including your cell phone, bandages, and medications.
This classification covers dog harnesses that provide support to injured or aging dogs. It also includes guide dogs.
- Waistcoat Dog Harness
What is the best harness for a service dog? That would be the waistcoat dog harness. It typically has a D-ring for lead attachment on the back. Dogs needing a bit more insulation can benefit from using this type too.
However, it is not suitable for training and is meant for dogs that do not have lead walking or obedience issues. A fashionable variation of this harness adds a dash of style whilst providing extra coverage for its canine user.
- Rear Lift Support Dog Harness
What is the best harness for a dog with mobility issues? Opt for a rear lift support type. This type allows dog owners to lift the pelvic area of their pooch who’s afflicted with bone and joint problems.
This type of harness does not wrap around the back legs and can lift the animal without adding pressure to tendons or joints. This can be used on dogs that pull skis or are taken along for backpacking.
- Dog Mobility Harness
What is the best harness for an ageing dog? Usually, geriatric pooches have a hard time getting in and out of vehicles or elevated spaces. Thus, using a mobility harness is recommended.
This contraption includes front and rear straps that allow the handler to lift the dog with one hand.
3. Your Dog’s Behaviour
What is your dog’s temperament like? Is he very excitable? What about his energy level? If you have an overenergetic pooch, you will do well in choosing the front attachment harness. This allows you to manage all that frisky movement without causing injury to your dog.
If your dog is calm and has already been trained to walk on a lead, the back attachment type will be suitable for him.
Does your dog easily get jumpy and anxious on a walk? The best type for a nervous dog is the tightening dog harness, which keeps him from pulling on the lead if startled. You can easily control your nervous pooch to continue walking through this type of harness.
Some dogs are not fond of having something put over their heads. They may panic and become wary of wearing harnesses. What is the best harness for a dog with this type of problem? The solution is to use a step-in harness.
As its name implies, your dog will need to step into it with both front paws to wear the harness. Thus, there is no need for it to go over his head and prevent triggering his anxiety.
Tip: Watch out for tangles. If you are using a long lead or you have an energetic pooch, ensure that your dog’s legs will not be entangled by the lead’s length.
Harnessing Your Dog’s Potential
Don’t rush and take your time picking the right harness for your canine companion. If possible, bring him with you, so that he can try out different types and sizes.
This will make it easier for you to figure out which harness fits his needs. When chosen correctly, the harness will contribute to a better-behaved dog and a happier owner.