It’s that time of the day. We’re going for a walk! Grab your phone; grab your keys. What else are we missing? The harness! Can’t forget the harness. If you have a dog, chances are you already own some sort of leash, but if you are here, it probably means that you are looking for something better. A harness perhaps? Unlike a leash, a harness comfortably straps around your dog’s body, protecting his neck from strains. That’s why using a good, solid harness on your dog is a much safer and more comfortable alternative worth looking into.
With loads of dog harnesses to choose from, shopping for the best can be quite a chore. To assist you in the process, we created this guide to provide insight on what to consider when shopping for dog harnesses.
Choosing a Good Dog Harness
As a dog parent, we understand you want nothing but best for your little runner (or big runner). While collars are the traditional and most popular option, a harness is undoubtedly better, unless your dog really loves his leash.
There are many advantages to owning a dog harness. For starters, it provides more control. It also equally disperses the pull force across your dog’s body once he begins tugging on his leash, therefore reducing any discomfort or pain.
Although buying a harness may sound as simple as going to your local pet store and selecting from their assortment, it’s actually not that simple. Remember those factors we asked you to consider earlier?
Types of Dog Harnesses
When shopping for harnesses, you’ll see that they vary in styles, colors, and designs. These are the different types of dog harnesses:
Easy Walk Harness
The standard harness is the most basic type that you can find in pet supply stores. It features a standard fit and offers basic chest protection. This type of harness is ideal for less aggressive pullers (small dogs or puppies). Not recommended for big and unruly dogs.
Tightening Adjustable Harness
This one is not for the anxious puppies. This type of harness squeezes around your dog’s body whenever he pulls forcibly. A tightening harness is designed for large pullers and overagitated big dogs. Putting this on your dog will actively control his pulling behavior.
The only downside to this type of harness is that it may apply pressure on your dog’s body, but there’s nothing to worry about. While it might cause minimal discomfort for your dog, it isn’t designed to hurt him. The tightening harness is not recommended for dogs with shy personalities and dogs that have a history of abuse as it may trigger some undesired recollections and may provoke him instead.
Unlike the tightening harness, a no-pull harness doesn’t squeeze firmly when your dog starts dragging. Instead, he’ll feel a bit of force under his front armpits. Be mindful of how you put it on; you have to adjust it properly to make sure that it doesn’t irritate your dog’s armpits.
If you have a dog with limited mobility, then this harness is a great fit for you. Commonly used on dogs with conditions such as hip dysplasia, joint fractures, or some sort of impairment. This type of harness features several models with a back handle, wraparound handle, or a hip-lift handle designed to carry your dog’s weight.
A head harness is basically a horse’s hackamore but designed for dogs. Similarly to the tightening harness, it restrains your dog’s impulsive behavior by constraining the movement of his head.
The head harness should only be used by experienced dog trainers as many have reported that it may damage your dog’s cervical spine, especially when he has an aggressive temperament. This type of harness is perfect for tenacious pullers.
Dog harnesses are usually composed of either leather or nylon. While they both make great dog harnesses, nylon-made harnesses are often the go-to choice due to its less expensive price. However, while nylon might be an affordable option, you can unquestionably rely on the durability and strength of the leather kind.
Size and Fit
Before you pick and choose your next harness, you have to consider the size as well as the fit. Don’t go too small. Always leave a bit of leeway for your dog to feel comfortable. Tight harnesses can be very uncomfortable, and in some circumstances, they might even lead to chest injuries. Let’s take a look at the two distinct types of fit.
Roman: The Roman fit type features a strap that goes around the shoulders and another one around your dog’s chest, which then attaches under the chest and back section.
Step-in: The step-in fit is pretty common in most harnesses. This design is only suitable for small dogs and puppies. Perfect for old parents with limited manual adroitness.
By now, you know that dog harnesses come in many varieties. Also, their features range as well. When shopping for a harness, it’s essential to know the harness’s features. The next few sections will explore some of the features you want to look for when harness shopping.
A good pad helps your dog feel comfortable while wearing the harness. We recommend purchasing a well-padded, fleece, or neoprene harness. Non-padded harnesses can induce injuries on your dog’s chest as it rubs on his body.
The D-ring is another feature that you should consider. The D-ring is what attaches the harness to the leash. An ideal D-ring should be centered to ensure that the leash is correctly fastened. Additionally, you should go for a harness in which the D-ring is made of long-lasting material.
A handle on your dog’s harness can go a long way. If your dog ever gets into a sticky situation, the handle gives you the ability to pull him out of trouble.
If you enjoy evening walks, you might want to consider a harness that features reflective strips. These will not only make your dog visible, but they also improve your security when strolling on a bustling street at night.
Although this feature is not necessary, it can be quite handy for dogs that like to swim.
Whether you just adopted a new dog, are looking for a more comfortable way to walk your old buddy or want to train your puppy, a good harness can make a huge difference. But remember, when looking for the best harness for your dog, you have to consider the type of material it’s built with, comfortability, and the additional features included.