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Top 5 Questions Dog Owners Ask About Collars and Harnesses

So, you would like to learn more about Dog collars and Harnesses to understand what is best for your fur friend. In this piece, we were supposed to undertake a contextual comparative study of Dog Collars and Harnesses, but we’ll go a little bit farther than that, so we can achieve a better understanding of these essential Dog items. If you are a caring Dog mom or Dad, then you definitely do want to know the following:

  1. What is a Dog Harness?

  2. How Does a Dog Harness Work?

  3. Why Should You Use a Dog Harness?

  4. When Do You Need a Dog Harness?

  5. Are Harnesses advisable for All Dogs?

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What is a Dog Harness?

They are special ‘jackets’ designed for dogs. The harness is comfortable, fitted, and they come with special clips, known as a “D-Ring” so you can attach a leash while walking your dog. There are many advantages to a dog harness. You will also be delighted to know that dogs find it easy to “accept” the harness so you won’t have a ‘grumpy faced” dog for long when you start using a dog harness for the first time.

 

Now, that’s a little bit extra to a mere definition, but you get the whole idea, right?

 

Next question…

How Does a Dog Harness Work?

Dog harnesses are designed for small, medium and large dog breeds. You will probably be asked by the pet store owner to describe or mention the size of your dog.

 

The dog harness has adjustable features and secure clasps that hold firm when the harness is on the dog. Many do come with a child-proof lock that requires you to press another button to release the straps to remove. First, you will need to slip the harness over your dog’s head. Second, secure the straps below the belly and up and over back with the clasps. Next, you want to test the fitting on your dog by slipping two fingers under the harness. If your fingers cannot easily slip between the harness and your dog’s fur it is too tight and should be readjusted.

 

It is also helpful to observe your dog soon after you have finished securing the harness over its body. Look out for signs of discomfort. The harness should not limit the dog’s shoulder movements or breathing. If everything seems all right, attach the leash and you are set to go out for a dog walk.

How to Put On and Off a Dog Harness

Why Should You Use a Dog Harness?

Every dog owner should have a harness. It helps to keep you and your cute pet safe. In this article, I will be discussing the top reasons you need a harness and when you should consider buying one. Fortunately, it is easy to buy mesh harnesses for large and small dog breeds online.

When Do You Need a Dog Harness?

 

Okay, so many people are not sure why they should use a harness. It is so much easier to go for dog walks when you use a dog harness. There will be no need to scream commands or chase your dog across the fields. You and your pet dog can have a wonderful experience outdoors every time.

You should consider buying a dog harness if you have dogs with the following features:

Another important question asked as a follow-up to when you need a Dog Harness is…

Are Harnesses Advisable for All Dogs?

While there’s no reason to avoid a dog harness, some animals dislike the feeling of it and will need some time to adjust. If you’re planning on using a harness with your dog, starting early is the best option. Otherwise, you might find that the whole on/off process of using a harness is not quite as simple – especially if your dog refuses to cooperate. Harnesses are also not a replacement for collars, because one of the main uses of a collar is to carry identification. Even if your pet is microchipped, he should always wear an ID tag with contact information.

 

Remember, if your pet gets lost without a collar, he might be taken for a stray. A collar usually sends a quick signal that an owner was around at some point and might prompt faster action when your pet is found. Harnesses come in different sizes and fits, so make sure you take your pet along when shopping for walking equipment for your dog. That way you’ll be able to try on several options and see what fits him best.

 

There you go. Those are our handpicked questions most dog owners are asking about Dog harnesses and their answers. Have you asked any of those questions before? Are they what you are also looking to find answers to? If so, let us know in the comment section below. Also, if you have any contribution to make in addition to this post, kindly drop your comment below.

Reasons Why You Should Choose a Dog Harness Over a Collar and Leash

Having control of your dog on walks is essential for a happy dog and a happy owner, and the right type of walking equipment can help. Body harnesses are a great tool because of the comfort they afford the dog and the ease with which most dogs adjust to them.

When on a leash, dogs that pull a lot run the risk of increasing blood pressure flowing to their eyes, straining or spraining their neck, and braking their larynx and trachea, according to a 2006 study. Moreover, because owners have less control over the dog when using a leash and collar, there’s an increased risk to both dogs and owners walking them, according to another study. This is because a collar only provides a singular point of control, whereas a harness redistributes your dog’s pulling force and momentum more evenly and over multiple points of control. 

NOTE however that even among harnesses, some types are better than others at delivering this result.

That notwithstanding, Dog harnesses are also less likely to break away or slip off when your dog is compelled to run. Less confident dogs can find comfort and security from the way that a harness wraps around their body. This increased confidence makes your dog more receptive to your commands and less fearful of new environments. The bottom line is that a dog harness is generally safer and more comfortable for the dog and the owner than a regular dog leash.

Beyond the above reason for preferring a dog harness for a leash and collar, there also other benefits of using a Dog Harness.

If you have never paid dog harness much attention before, you might be missing out. Harnesses often bring to mind badly-behaved dogs, but the truth is that this little piece of equipment can become a great training tool.

Do you have a dog that won’t stop pulling during walks? 

Using a harness can not only stop that, but it can eventually teach him (or her) to walk properly.  It can also be a wonderful addition or alternative to a collar for dogs with medical conditions (such as collapsing trachea) where pressure on their throat can lead to other concerns. A harness is also a good option for dogs like pugs, who risk their eyeballs protruding from the sockets if too much pressure is put around their neck.

Besides, harnesses can be extremely useful if you walk more than one dog at once and need complete control over them at all times.

Collar and Leash Vs Dog Harness: Walking your dog

More Benefits of Dog Harnesses Over and Above Traditional Dog Collars and Leashes

  • Better control over your dog, which is especially important if you’re walking on a busy road, when surrounded by large crowds, etc.
  • Discourages pulling, because it teaches dogs that the action doesn’t give him any advantage. With a collar, pulling moves the dog forward, so he feels like the action is working. With a harness, pulling often does nothing but get the front legs off the floor – definitely not a result your dog will find effective.
  • Helps to stop the dog jumping. If you have a pet that jumps up against people, a dog harness is a good way to stop the action without worrying about choking him in the process.
  • Ideal for puppies, which might get tangled or hurt themselves while pulling on a regular collar and dog leash.
  • Helps control dogs that are easily distracted. This is key when you’re hiking with your dog or in areas where getting distracted could result in injury or the dog getting lost.
  • Harnesses can also be great allies if you have a dog that needs a little assistance during walks or getting up after a break. With a harness, you can simply pull up and provide lifting assistance when necessary and without causing discomfort or pain. 
  • Another major advantage of the dog harness is that it is unlikely to come off accidentally. Collars can come undone when a dog pulls too hard, but a harness embraces the entire body so pulling won’t affect its hold on your dog.

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TYPES OF DOG HARNESSES

Now that we’ve gone through some important topical areas about Dog Harness, let’s settle in to the moment you want to actually choose a Dog Harness to buy. Harnesses come in different types and sizes, the most common types of dog harness is the ones that hugs the chest. It’s an ideal choice for larger dogs and those with a stronger pull, where you need maximum control.

For the purpose on this section of this piece, let us classify Dog Harnesses into 3 different categories for convenience sake, and then break them down into the different types according to their varying criteria.

Classification of Dog Harnesses:

let’s now go further to give you a descriptive detail of the above outlined types and classifications of Dog Harnesses for better understanding, and guidance.

Front-Clip Dog Harnesses

A front-clip dog harness has the D-ring on the front, in the center of the chest. A front clip allows more control of the dog’s forward motion and direction, and you’ll see that most no-pull harnesses are front-clip.

Front-clip harnesses are best for:

  • Dogs that pull
  • Dogs that jump
  • Dogs that get distracted and are hard to direct when walking

Front-clip harnesses are not ideal for Dogs with serious behavioral concerns like aggression or uncontrolled prey-drive.

For example, a Golden Retriever with aggression would not do well with a front-clip harness, because it doesn’t provide enough control over an animal with serious behavioral issues.

However, it would be a good choice for a Labrador Retriever that walks well on a leash but may get over-excited and pull when they get distracted.

 

Back-Clip Harnesses

A back-clip dog harness has a D-ring (leash attachment) on the back, between the shoulder blades.

It offers more control than a leash, but less control than a front-clip harness. It creates a single anchor point for the dog to pull their owner behind them.

Back-clip harnesses are best for:

  • Small dogs
  • Dogs with respiratory or trachea problems
  • Dogs with neck injuries.

Back-clip harnesses are not ideal for:

  • Dogs that pull excessively
  • Large dogs with a high prey drive and little training
  • Dogs with a lot of power

For example, a 200-pound bull mastiff who has not yet been trained to walk on a leash and who pulls excessively would not benefit more from a back-clip harness but it’d be a great choice for a small old Yorkie.

Dual-Clip Harnesses

A dual-clip (or multi-clip) dog harness has the D-ring on both front and back. Some types have even more than two D-ring attachments.

This type is obviously more versatile. They used to be only popular among dog trainers, but more pet owners are now buying them as well.

These harnesses combine all the advantages of the back-clip and front-clip style mentioned above.

However, there are still three disadvantages to a multi-clip harness:

  1. They’re more expensive
  2. Some dogs may find them uncomfortable due to multiple D-ring attachments
  3. Dog trainers don’t recommend using them due to over-dependency on this type of harness because the dog must learn how to walk properly without the use of it.

Generally, it’s best to use a dual/multi-clip harness only for a short term while training and then switch to one of the two above.

Utility-based Harness

Besides the location of the leash clip attachment on the harness and the “regular” type of dog harnesses, there are also a few other, more unique types, and they serve a different purpose in terms of control of the dog.

The Mobility Harness

A mobility dog harness, also known as dog sling harness, is a harness designed to assist a dog with limited mobility.

This type of harness can feature a hip-lift handle, a back handle, wraparound handles or a strap that passes from the front to the back of the harness.

All sling harnesses are made and designed to support a dog with hip dysplasia, joint degeneration, limited mobility, or joint injuries.

Mobility dog harnesses are best for:

  • Larger dogs with joint injuries
  • Dogs recovering from surgery
  • Older dogs with limited mobility
  • A 90-pound German Shepherd that has recently undergone a CCL repair surgery would be the perfect candidate for a mobility harness.

Mobility harnesses can be used with most breeds, but certain types of these harnesses are best suited to certain types of dogs.

For example, a sling harness with a strap from front to back is better suited for a small dog or dog with short stature, like a Beagle.

The one with a hip lift and back handle is better for a medium to large breeds with stiffness in all joints or injuries in hind legs. A harness with a hip lift handle only is best for large breeds with difficulty in their hind legs.

Those with wraparound handles are best for large female dogs with difficulty with all four legs or the hind legs only.

The Tightening Harness

A tightening dog harness is a harness which tightens and applies pressure to the dog when they pull or jump. This pressure discourages negative behaviors, such as jumping at people, by creating slight discomfort as it tightens (safely).

Tightening dog harnesses are best for:

  • Stubborn pullers
  • Regular jumpers

Tightening dog harnesses are not ideal for:

  • Timid dogs or dogs with a history of abuse
  • Dogs that do not respond well to corrective training
  • For example, a Poodle with a history of abuse would not do well on a tightening harness.

Although minimal, the discomfort caused by the harness tightening can cause a formerly abused dog to regress or act out. Whereas, a Pit Bull that regularly jumps to greet strangers while on a walk might need the tightening harness type.

The Head Harness

The Head Harness

A head dog harness is often referred to as a “head collar”. Rather than fit around the body, this harness fits around the dog’s muzzle and head.

 

Like the tightening one, the head harness creates pressure to discourage negative behavior.

 

This harness also provides more control over a dog’s direction by controlling head direction and movement, much like a horse’s bridle.

 

Similar to dog muzzles, there is some controversy over the potential of a head harness to cause damage to a dog’s neck. But also similar to muzzles, such a harness may be needed for certain dogs, especially if there are laws requiring them to wear it.

 

Fortunately, when used correctly without force, a head harness can be effective and safe for training.

 

Head dog harnesses are best for:

  • Patient and experienced dog trainers
  • Persistent pullers
  • Dogs that are easily distracted

 

Head dog harnesses are not ideal for:

  • Owners who are quick to get frustrated
  • Dogs with respiratory difficulties
  • Dogs with short muzzles

For example, English Bulldogs are not suited for this type of harness because their small muzzle does not accommodate a head harness well.

A Golden Doodle that consistently pulls and does not respond to a traditional tightening harness would do well with a head harness.

The head muzzle creates more control and direction for a dog that lacks both.

Design-based Harnesses

The Step-in Harness

A step-in dog harness resembles a figure eight in design. The dog simply steps into the harness and it clips at the back.

Step-in dog harnesses are best for:

  • Smaller or lighter breed dogs
  • Older dog owners with less manual dexterity
  • Unfortunately, step-in harnesses are almost exclusively made for small breeds. They can be found for larger dogs, but there isn’t much of a selection.

The Roman Harness

A Roman dog harness has two straps – one that fits around the dog’s chest and one that fits around the shoulder blades. These two straps are joined along the back and under the chest.

Roman harnesses are best for the same dogs as the back-clip harness. Roman harnesses are not for owners that have difficulty with fine motor skills, arthritis, or confusion. The Roman harness proves more of a challenge to “untangle” and put onto a dog.

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How to Find the Perfect Fit for Your Dog Harness

Different types will fit your pet differently. Depending on your dog’s build, some will be better than others, and you’ll find that it’s also easier/harder to fit your dog type of harness on your dog than the other.

It’s crucial to measure your dog correctly for their harness, and then put it on properly.

A dog harness that is too loose provides little control and the possibility of escape, and a harness that is too tight creates discomfort, pain and risk of injuries.

There are two measurements you need for most harnesses – the lower neck and chest.

Using a soft measuring tape, measure around the lower portion of your dog’s neck. Place the measuring tape just above the breastbone and around the back of the neck.

Using a soft measuring tape, measure around the widest part of your dog’s chest.

For most dogs, this means placing the measuring tape just behind the front legs and wrapping it around to your dog’s back.

Many dog harnesses use the term “girth” when referencing your dog’s measurements. Girth is the same as your dog’s chest measurement around the widest part of their chest.

1 Comment

  1. Kristine Stern January 27, 2022 Reply

    My Frenchie wears a harness but she pulls very hard, to the point she has actually pulled the leash from my hand.
    Is there a harness that would help to keep this in check? Because of her anatomy some of the other things recommended
    would not work for her.

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