Harness for Dogs- The Ultimate Guide to Keeping your Dog Safe During Activity

Hold your horses; sorry, your puppies. We are talking harnesses, restraints for all doggies (nice rhymes, yeah?). Come along with us now as we show you the wonders a simple harness for dogs can do for you.

Every dog owner knows every dog loves activity. Whether it’s a mountain climb, a run along the park, a long drive while it sticks its head out the window, or simply a walk around the block.

All these activities have one thing in common, dogs running around playing. And frankly, it sometimes gets very challenging trying to control your dogs to “stay” especially if they haven’t gotten formal leash training.

We know this can get very tiring for you. And it’s not really about the activity itself but about how difficult it is to control your dogs and keep them safe without hurting them.

So without further ado, let’s answer the question:


What is a Harness for Dogs?

According to Wikipedia, a harness for dogs is a piece of equipment used for dogs, similar to the harness tack for horses that allows their owner to move them around with ease.

Basically, it’s just something you strap your dog to attach a leash to.

I Have A Small Dog, I Don’t Need A Harness for dogs


Harness for small dogs


While the size of your dog will determine the size of the harness to get for it, no size of dogs is exempted when it comes to getting a harness. Small dogs require activity and exercise no matter how little right? So, if they require activity, they should have a harness too.

A harness distributes the strain from your pull all around the body of your dog. This is quite unlike the traditional leash-to-collar that is centered only around the neck. And what a fragile place to put all that weight on!



I have A Large Dog, I Really Need a Harness

Harness for dogs -- large


Oh yes, you’re right. You really need a harness. Big dogs might be quite difficult to control especially when they’re very active dogs.

Using a traditional leash-to-collar becomes more difficult as the dogs get larger. They become stronger, and if they’re not properly leash trained, will you give you a very hard time during walks.

Get yourself a harness and make sure you control the motion of your dog instead of your dog controlling your movement.

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Benefits Of A Dog Harness

It Prevents Choking or injuries

If your dog is regularly and constantly pulling and yanking at the leash, it is extremely likely that they might develop a respiratory problem more especially if it is a short nose breed.

Shortnose breeds include;

  • Bulldogs.
  • Pugs.
  • Boxers.
  • Puggles.
  • Chow Chows etc.

Regular dogs who might not get a respiratory problem could suffer injuries to the neck and trachea from constant pulling.  This is because the collar, which is directly connected to their necks, is taking all the stress of the pulling unlike a harness. With a harness, that stress is lifted off the neck and distributed across other different areas of the body.

Chances of Tangling are Almost Zero

We all know how excited dogs can get when they see you after a long day at work, or when they see food or treats, or simply after a “good boy” accolade. Like little children, when dogs are excited they jump around and spin sometimes so fast they get tangled in their own leash.

A dog tangled in a leash is not good news both for the dog and you.

This is less likely if you’re using a harness because then the leash is strapped to their backs rather than their necks. So, it becomes more difficult to turn over.


Your Roaming Dogs are Restrained

Some dogs like Siberian huskies are “born to roam”, which simply means they are more likely to roam than most other dog breeds. Dogs roam for different purposes, the most frequent being a male dog following the scent of a female dog in heat.

So, what exactly does it mean for a dog to be in heat?

Canidae.com defines estrus (street name, heat) as one of the several stages in a female dog‘s reproductive cycle.  In this stage, she is more “open” to the idea of mating with a male partner for the sake of reproduction.

During this phase, there is first an increase in estrogen levels, after which follows a sharp decrease again. This then leads to the release of mature eggs from the ovaries.

Aside from heat, other causes for roaming may include boredom and/or loneliness.

Dogs that are more likely to roam will usually be smart enough to free themselves out of a traditional leash by chewing on the cord or simply wriggling their way out. This would be impossible with a harness since they cannot eat a leash attached to a harness on their backs.


Which is Better for Training: Traditional Leash or Harness for Dogs?

When your dog is fully trained on leash attitudes, whether it’s an ordinary leash or a leash to harness won’t really matter because you dog would have learned to stay put.

However, which is better when training? Which gives you more control over your dog while teaching them to “sit” and “stay”? Well, you guessed right… A harness!

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Aside having total control over your dog’s movement, harnesses are easier to wear on an excitable dog. You know how training time is synonymous with treating time, especially when your dog behaves very well? And you also know that when treats are involved, all dogs become excitable – even the really shy ones.

Well, with an excited, joyous dog you can be sure of a lot of tail wagging, head wiggling, and spinning around too. In this case, it would be much easier for all involved to strap a harness on the chest or back of your dog rather than struggling with a leash around a wiggling, albeit expectant, head.

However, if, by some awfully odd chance, you own a dog that is:

  • Not prone to respiratory problems,
  • Doesn’t pull on the leash,
  • Doesn’t roam,
  • Extremely easy to train,
  • Has strong neck bones and,
  • Doesn’t chew on leashes

Then and only then will we advise you to get a collar instead. However, what is the chance of getting a dog like that? Zero.


What Type of Harness for Dogs Should I Get?

There are lots of different types of harness for dogs which are great for different breeds. So, ultimately, for every breed out there, there is a harness.

Picking a harness for dogs is quite a simple task as it focuses on mainly two things:

  • Size
  • Personality


Types of Harness for Dogs

We are now going to discuss the various types of harnesses and which would fit your dog based on the criteria that has been fore-listed.

Standard Harness for Dogs

Standard Harness for Dogs


This is the most common type of harness. And it distributes the stress of the leash around the dog’s chest and back, which is excellent for small dogs.

However, it might not be the best fit for big canines because it makes it easier for them to pull hard against the leash with their big muscular chests.

There are two types of standard harnesses, viz:

  • Back-clip harness
  • Front-clip harness


Back-clip Harness for Dogs:

It protects the neck area of your dog It’s hard to control your dog on this type of harness if they have behavioral issues
Your dog won’t get tangled in the leash
It’s easy to put on
Very comfortable for your dog

Front-clip Harness for Dogs :

It allows you to steer your dog in the right direction The leash on the front can get tangled in its front legs
Better control of a dog that has poor leash manners

No-Pull Harness for Dogs

No pull dog harness


As the name implies, this type of harness for dogs is used for pups that like to pull and owners that don’t like that. When the dog pulls, the harness tightens a little bit instead of around the neck like a collar, it tightens around the dog’s “armpits”.

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If you want to get this type of harness please check for the following signs:

  • Irritation: Just like the armpit of humans, the underarms of dogs are quite sensitive and can easily get irritated.
  • Rubbing: Check closely after every use whether the harness is causing markings on the underarms of the dog.
  • Fit: You need to get the right measurement for this type of harness. There is no one-size-fits-all.

Determining the Right Size and Fit

When getting a harness, it is important to measure the rib cage of your dog to know the proper size to get. Also, always make sure to check the packaging properly to know that you’re getting the right size.

Again, don’t forget to check for the instructions on how to set up so you don’t accidentally tie your dog up in the name of wearing a harness.

No Shock Collars!

Please, no shock collars. Don’t be inhumane.

What are shock collars?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, shock collars use electricity passing through metal contact points on the collar to give your dog a signal. This signal can range from a mild tickling sensation to a painful shock. Often used to stop unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking or making sure a dog stays close while off-leash, shock collars are seen by some as a training tool.

However, from a humane point of view and certain researches conducted, shock collars have been seen as a cause of distress in dogs. And this distress only increases with every level of shock.

Think of the dog like it’s your own child. Will you try to electrocute your baby for a simple thing such as barking or veering far off unleashed? We guessed not, cos you’re human.

If your dog has a problem with obeying commands, there are a million other better, more effective training methods online. Meanwhile, a harness can be very helpful in keeping them restrained.





It is great practice to remove the harness after every outing, except when you’re out alone and you need the dog to stay put. Constant wear can get very annoying for the dog. It can also be quite harmful to their tender fur and skin to keep the harnesses on 24/7.

Choosing the perfect harness can take 10 tries, 5 tries and can come to you on the first try. It all depends on very varying factors and you need to be extremely patient. It’s like finding the right shoe for that dress or tux.

At the end of the day, every pup is unique so the right harness may not come at the first try, don’t lose hope. Try again. And eventually, you’ll find the right harness for your dogs.

A harness should never be too tight for any reason at all. This defeats the purpose of using it in the first place. It also should not be used as a punishment for bad behavior.

Bad behavior in dogs should be taken care of using methods that are not in any way harmful to the dogs. And lastly, if you find any dog being maltreated, call 911.