Dog Harnesses: What Should You Look For?

With studies revealing that 40% of Australian households contain at least one dog, and with charities like Guide Dogs Australia recommending that owners take their dogs for at least two-thirty minute walks a day, dog walking is very much a regular part of daily routines for countless pet owners across the country. It makes sense to ensure that these walks are as comfortable and safe for both owner and pooch as possible. Investing in the right dog harness for your needs from our selection here at Budget Pet Products is one of the best ways to ensure that.

Unlike traditional collars which can apply unnecessary pressure to the throat , a well-chosen harness that takes your dog’s temperament, breed, and preferences into account can make them more comfortable while providing you with some much-needed control. In this guide, we consider the different types of harness, the benefits of using them, and a few tips and tricks to get your dog onside with the change! 

 

Are harnesses better than dog collars?

Let’s get to the most pressing question first – are harnesses better than collars for dogs? According to the experts, yes, and for a wide range of reasons.

While options like choke collars and prong collars are most commonly associated with injury, the restrictions posed by a standard collar can lead to all manner of damaging injuries like a collapsed trachea, whiplash, or even damage to neck vertebrae.

By comparison, harnesses that keep lead pressure away from your dog’s neck offer a far safer alternative, with benefits that include: 

  • Increased walking security

  • Improved control

  • Reduced pulling

  • Increased comfort, especially for flat-faced breeds like pugs

  • Significantly fewer injuries

 

What to look for in a dog harness

Choosing the right harness for your needs is essential for ensuring you feel these benefits. Start your search by considering your general walking habits, such as: 

  • Your dog’s breed and temperament

  • Your most common walking locations/times.

  • The types of leash you most like to use

You’ll then want to look out for a harness with qualities that allow you to cater for these needs and any other walking requirements, including:

  • Ensuring the right fit: We’ll talk about measuring your dog for a harness later, but a harness should always be the ideal fit for your dog, which generally means that you can fit two fingers between your harness and your dog’s body.  May particular attention to the areas under the armpits.

  • Finding the right clip: Harnesses are generally available with front-clips or back-lips, the best of which will depend on your dog’s level of training and the control you require. 

  • Adjustability: To ensure this investment lasts, it’s also worth looking for a harness that adjusts as your dog grows.

  • General comfort: Harnesses are a generally comfier walking option, but additions like extra padding can especially help to ensure comfort for short-haired dogs that may experience rubbing or irritation otherwise.

  • Durability: You will use your harness every day in all weather - so make sure it is built to last.

 

What are the types of dog harness?

There are various types of dog harness, and each offers slightly different benefits. The most popular different types of harness include:

Back Clip Harness

Back clip harnesses like the True Love puppy harness provide added comfort for dogs who are already generally relaxed and well-controlled during walks. 

Front clip harness

The Company of Animals Halti front control harnesses is a prime example of a front clip harness which owners will generally find best for increasing control. These are also called an anti-pull harness.This type of harness can be particularly useful in strong dogs that like to pull - even in a traditional back clip harness.

Dual clip harness

The True Love dog harness is a dual clip harness that provides front and back attachments, and is typically best used by owners of puppies or even older dogs undergoing leash training.

Step in harness

With a step in harness like the Rogz Utility reflective step in harness, your dog can easily step into the harness, making this an easy option for owners of small dogs, or for dogs who are generally nervous of harnesses or dislike having a harness pulled on over their heads

Safety harness

There are several types of safety harnesses available depending on your requirements.  This one from Kazoo Active provides additional safety features such as reflective strips for owners who regularly walk near roads. Car safety harnesses have attachment points for the seatbelt so that your dog is kept safely on the seat when traveling in the car.  This Two in One Safety Harness from Yours Droolly is also a comfortable walking harness.

Day-pack harness

Ideal for owners who often take their dogs out for day-long trips and explorations, day-pack harnesses like this Wihnyepet Backpack provide additional storage for treats, extra supplies,  and water 

 

How to measure a dog for a harness

As mentioned, the correct fit is essential for comfort and safety, and relies on proper measurements, which you can ensure using this simple method: 

  1. Measure the chest by wrapping a measuring tape around the widest part of your dog’s torso, just behind their front legs.

  2. Measure the lower neck by measuring around the widest part of your dog’s neck, right on top of their shoulders.

  3. Weigh your dog, either by getting them on the scales or weighing yourself first and then weighing yourself again while holding your dog.

  4. Some owners also like to measure their dog’s length to be sure that a harness covers their full core.

 

How can you get your dog used to the harness?

Whether your dog is already nervous of harnesses or you simply want to get your puppy used to their harness, techniques that can help here include –

  • Laying the harness on the floor by your dog in a neutral area and scattering a few treats around it.

  • Getting them used to having their head in their harness, and offering treats as a reward

  • Opening and closing the buckle both before and during fitting, and instantly accompanying the sound with a reward

  • Allowing them to get used to walking with their harness in a familiar setting

  • Taking things at your dog’s pace and making sure not to rush.

  • Always make a positive association with the harness so that they know that good things happen when they have their harness on.  Some people feed their dogs in the harness when they are getting them used to it.

  • Start when your puppy is young.  If your puppy is used to wearing a harness from an early age it will make things easier.  Your puppy can wear both a collar and a harness when lead training and learn to walk with both.

 

Wrap up

Whether you’re looking for a safer walking solution or simply something more comfortable for both you and your four-legged friend, harnesses offer these benefits and more. All you need to do is take the time to choose the best option for your needs from our vast selection of dog harnesses. Tread carefully when getting your dog used to this new addition to walkies, and you’ll find those outdoor experiences transformed in no time!