How To Put On A Dog Harness (Complete Guideline)

put on a dog harness

Dogs are indeed a man’s best friend. And like all of our pets, we love them to the moon and back. They fill up our lives with joy. We spend considerable time with and around them. One of the critical activities that dog owners often take part in is taking your beloved canine friend out for a walk. Whether it is at a park or just a quick stroll around the block, having your dog on a dog collar and harness can be of great benefit. It helps to keep your dog around you at all times, and away from mischief and trouble.

When it comes to dog harnesses, the pet industry is flooded with tons of different types and sizes of dog collars and harnesses, each suitable for dogs’ breeds and sizes. Such a wide variety can often confuse in regards to which harness is ideal for your dog. Hence, before we get into how to use a harness, let us look at the popular types of tackles in the market, so you know which one to pick for your pet.

Types Of Dog Harnesses

There are quite a few types available on the market for you to choose from. Some of the standard and popular types are discussed below:

The Back Clip Type: Simple and easy to use, the back clip type is probably the most commonly used type of harness for smaller breeds. It is particularly popular with the Brachiocephalic breeds of dogs. It has the added advantage of not putting pressure on your dog’s throat, something which a standard dog collar can often cause. With bigger dogs, maintaining control can be difficult, but if your pup belongs to a smaller breed, this is the type to go with.

Front Clip Type: The first clip type of Harnesses allows you to keep control of your dog’s center of gravity. This not only provides you with more control but also enables you to make quick adjustments in case your dog deviates towards any possible trouble. An excellent option for medium and more massive sized dogs as long as you can prevent the leash from getting tangled up in your pet’s legs.

Tightening Harnesses: This is one of the most popular options among trainers. It provides a trainer with an enormous amount of control, as the harness tightens around the dog’s body when it pulls against the leash. This is very much required when training dogs, especially those of the aggressive and more substantial breeds. Finding the correct fit is essential; otherwise, your pup faces a risk of injuries.

Harnesses For Smaller Breeds: If you own a chihuahua, you have probably faced the problem of your little one slipping through the dog harness on multiple occasions. Small dog harnesses are the answer to this problem. Best suited for most of the most miniature breeds, these types of Harnesses are light and made from a softer material such as nylon and fit perfectly around your pet.

Harnesses With Handles: These are specially made harnesses for guide dogs. Guide dogs are the primary source of direction and navigation for visually challenged persons. A handle attached to the harness allows the dog owner to have a grip and follow where the guide dog is leading them. General pet owners can also keep a higher amount of control and direction for their dogs.

Things To Consider While Buying A Harness

dog harness buying guide

When you are buying a harness for your dog, there are specific points to keep in mind.

Comfort: the first thing that is on the mind of most pet owners, is the comfort of their beloved pets, and rightly so. Going out for walks is a regular activity for your pet, and their harness should be comfortable enough for them to be able to spend long durations with it. The key points to consider are whether the harness doesn’t put any excess pressure on the neck and back of your pet.

Durability: like any other product, when it comes to harnesses for your pet, strength, and product quality should be at the top of the check-list. Besides product quality, finding harnesses that are adjustable based on the size of your dog is an excellent way to make sure you can efficiently use it as your dog grows.

Cost: decide on a budget before browsing the different options available in the market. Harnesses are essentials for your pet, so consider it as an investment and make your selection accordingly. Lower priced options are often the ones that are made of cheaper material and last for a shorter time. It is best to make an investment and obtain a quality product suited for your pet.

Adapt Your Dog To Harness

Once you have made your selection of an appropriate harness for your dog, the next step is to make sure you adapt your dog for using a harness. Since a harness is a type of binding, it can appear a fearful thing to dogs at first. Due to this reason, acclimatization is essential before using a harness. Trying to put on a harness on your dog forcefully is likely to result in a poor outcome. While you are out for a walk, as your dog is expected to spend most of the time finding ways to get rid of it, it will, at the very least, appear as a nuisance and a distraction, unless you gradually introduce the concept.

The best way to desensitize your dog to a new harness is to introduce the concept of rewards. Gradually introduce the harness to your pet, letting him okay with it, or gently touching them with it. And every time you do so, reward them with treats or petting. This helps them associate the concept of the harness with getting a reward. Due to this, it becomes a lot easier for you to gradually introduce the harness to them. Eventually trying to put them on gently. Your dog may at this point resists or shows signs of being uncomfortable. You can back off, and try again gradually over a few days. Dogs have different acclimatization thresholds. So they differ when it comes to the time they need to be comfortable.

How To Put On A Dog Harness

dog harness tutorial

Now that you have got your furry friend adapted to their new harness. It is finally time to put the harness around them and take them out for a nice walk.

Putting on the loop: The first step is to put on the harness loop over your pet’s head. As a result of this, the harness passes over the neck and head of your dog. This ultimately rests on their chest.

Passing the loop through the legs: Gently lift the front legs of your dog and slip the harness under them. Now the harness is entirely around the torso of your dog.

Clipping it in: Now secure the harness centrally by attaching clip on both sides. Followed by attaching lead on to the D-ring of the harness at the back of the central part of their torso.

If the harness you bought comes with padding, make sure to keep the broader area of passing towards the chest of the dog. Also the smaller city of padding towards the back.

Putting on a front clipping her can be slightly different.

The following steps can help you attach a front clip harness efficiently

In the first step, slip in the harness around the next of your pet like for a regular harness. Next, adjust the harness so that the connector rings sit behind the shoulder of your dog. And the D-ring of the harness is located towards the center of the chest. Once you do this, attach the lead to the D-ring, and your set to go. Ensure that the harness isn’t inside out in any area, and you align all parts of it appropriately.

Things To Check To Make Sure The Harness Fits Perfectly

  • It can be difficult for dog owners to judge if the harness is fitting right. Or even if it is too loose or tight. Keeping track of the following sign can be of great help:
  • If your pet frequently slips out of the harness, it means that it has been fitted too loose.
  • On the other hand, sounds of chaffing and loss of fur usually indicate a too tightly bound harness
  • You may see your dog showing visible discomfort while walking. This usually means a wrongly aligned harness, or that it has been adjusted too tight.


Our pets are our closest companions, and we spend a lot of our time with them. Picking up the right harness for them is a great way to let them enjoy their time.

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