When it comes to using neck collars such as choke and prong collars, dogs are at risk of a preventable injury. Dog harnesses are a great way to take the pressure off your dog’s neck and are a much kinder way to stop them pulling. If you’re stumped over how to put on a dog harness, you’re not alone.
Despite being a relatively straight forward concept, harnesses can prove to be challenging when you attempt to put one on your dog. The process can be even more difficult if your dog is resistant or you haven’t picked the most suitable harness for your dog. In this article, we’ll examine the right way of doing it, so you know how to put a harness on your dog.
How to Put a Harness on a Dog
The way you need to put your harness on the dog will depend on the type you’ve bought. You’ll either need to slip it over your dogs head or have it step into the harness. If you have a harness that you need to slide over its head, make sure you allow the dog to step into the armholes rather than forcing them in. We’d recommend avoiding sudden movements as it’s likely to frighten your dog. Remember to give reassuring feedback throughout, and a treat afterward to reward and promote encouragement.
Different Types of Dog Harness
There’s a wide variety of harnesses for dogs available, we’ve broken a few of these down below:
- Back-clip: these are a very common type of harness. With the hoop that connects the leash to your dog placed centrally on your dogs back. Removing pressure from the neck, these are especially useful for dogs that don’t respond well to regular collars and leashes.
- Front-clip: the hole which you attach the leash to is central to your dog’s chest. These are good for preventing pulling, and the placement of the leash connection means you can easily redirect the path of your dog if needed.
- No-pull harness: with no-pull harnesses, the clue’s in the name when it comes to their purpose. Similar to the front clip harness, the attachment will be at the front of your dog’s chest. However, when the dog pulls, it will add small amounts of pressure to the harness encouraging your dog to stop pulling.
- Step-in harness: these are designed to have your dog walk into them and close around the back of your dog. You can lie the harness on your floor, have your dog step over it and pull it upwards clipping it around the back and securing your dog into the harness.
- Soft harnesses: this refers to the material of the harness, rather than your dog’s method of entry. Soft harnesses are often made from lighter materials such as mesh. These can be in back and front clip form as well as step-in.
Why Use a Dog Harness?
Whether it’s for regular walks, or you’re looking for a dog harness for running they’re a great way to be “kinder” on your dog’s neck. People often use choke leashes as a preventive measure to stop their dogs from pulling. The problem is, you don’t have control over the pressure put on your dog’s neck. What if your dog sees a cat or a bird it wants to chase? Using a leash that puts this kind of strain around the throat of your dog can do severe damage in these situations.
Here’s what Ashley Atkinson, CPDT-KA and behavior consultant at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary thinks:
“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.”
Also, be cautious about finding the right sized harness. Make sure you adjust the harness properly before putting your dog in. If you’re worried there’s not enough length don’t try and force the clips shut. You’ll scare your dog and potentially harm it. For finding the best sized harness for your dog we recommend reading this sizing guide.