What Are The Benefits Of A Dog Harness?
Have you noticed that many dogs wear a harness when out walking? Here we take a look at the benefits of a dog harness and how it differs from a normal lead and collar. As well as looking great the harness can make your dog walking stress-free and you have the added knowledge that your dog is comfortable and secure.
What is a dog harness?
A dog harness is a piece of equipment worn around the dog’s torso with buckles and straps which are used to attach to a normal dog leash.
Why Use A Dog Harness?
It’s a way of moving pressure away from the neck when the dog is being walked. Collars can twist the neck and windpipe when the dog pulls, so harnesses are considered to be far more humane. Most harnesses have clips attached so that your dog can be safely restrained in a car. They also have reflective strips so that the dog can be seen easily in the dark. Dog harnesses are designed ergonomically, with padding to protect the dog’s pressure points from injury. They are durable and there is no chance that they can suddenly break leaving the dog loose.
It is essential that the harness is the exact fit for the dog.
Which type of dog NEEDS a harness?
Large Dogs need to be harnessed to give the owner more control, especially if the dog is prone to pulling.
Small Dogs have very delicate neck areas. Using a harness disperses the stress to the back area, which is the strongest part of the dog.
Excitable Dogs are prone to jumping, twisting and pulling which can put the owner and dog at risk. The harness gives the owner more control than a simple leash and collar.
Some dogs have a fear of being restrained, especially around the neck area. Rescue dogs may have a history of abuse and for this reason, a harness is a much gentler way than using a collar.
A harness will be helpful for a dog who continually tries to escape his collar. In addition to the danger of the dog getting completely loose, there is a risk of injury to the neck.
Puppies are easily trained to walk nicely on the leash because the owner has good control.
Dogs with small heads and thick necks (eg Pugs and Bulldogs) can easily slip a collar.
Disadvantages of A Dog Harness
A badly fitted harness can lead to several problems. A loose harness makes it easy for the dog to escape. A harness which is too tight can cause sores or rubbing under the armpits or in the stomach area.
Extra care is required if the dog has long fur which can get caught in the clasp attachments. The harness should only be worn for short periods to prevent matting of the fur.
Identification Is Still Important
It is advised that a loose collar with ID attached is used when the dog is walked. It can be worn as well as the harness.
In the UK an owner can be fined if a dog is found without identification tags.
Training A Puppy To Wear A Harness
It’s obviously best to get your dog used to wearing a harness as early as possible.
Take the time to research brands and make sure that it is the correct fit.
Leave the harness unattached for the dog to investigate, without trying to put it on him.
The first time you put the harness on the puppy, make sure he is a little tired and feeling relaxed.
Keep some treats at hand, so that the puppy associates having the harness fitted with something nice.
Get the puppy used to wearing the harness for short periods around the house. This way, he will feel comfortable when he goes for his first walk.
Finding The Best Harness
There are many things to consider when choosing the right harness for your dog.
Firstly think about the reason why you want to purchase a harness. This might simply be a first puppy harness or because the dog tends to pull or gets very excitable on walks.
Secondly, consider the size and breed of dog and their anatomy. Small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers and Pugs need to have their neck areas free from pressure so a back clip would be beneficial. A dog with a long body like a Dachshund needs good spinal support to protect from injury.
Measure your dog and make sure that the straps are adjustable to achieve a good fit.
Don’t fit the harness too tight, you should be able to easily fit two fingers inside the fabric.
Consider if your dog will be comfortable with a harness which is placed over his head or one that he can simply step into.
If your dog likes to go into water a harness should be fast drying to prevent chafing.
Some harnesses have breathable mesh and padding to give your dog extra comfort and support.
Recommended Dog Harness
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This is a harness that I recommend and have used on a large dog.
It is designed to prevent pulling and is adjustable and reflective.
The video shows all the benefits of the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness.
It comes in 4 sizes and 6 colors.
This video is very beneficial because it shows exactly how to fit the harness correctly to your dog. This is the main problem I had when I first started using a harness. It does take practice but becomes easy once you have done it a few times.
We use this on a very excitable Goldendoodle. The harness fits really well and makes him look super smart. On walks, he used to nearly pull my shoulder out of its socket but that has completely stopped now. He has grown since we purchased it but we simply had to readjust the straps, no need to buy a bigger one!
Recommended Dog Harness For Small Dogs
This is the Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
I love this because your dog literally steps into the harness, there are no straps to fasten. My rescue dog doesn’t like anything placed over his head, so this is perfect for him. I purchased one of these three years ago and it is still going strong. My Dachshund has bald areas on his tummy and I was worried the fabric would irritate his skin. However, there have been no problems at all. This fits just as well as ones I have purchased from a breed-specific harness retailer.
The fabric is breathable mesh and it is available in 16 colorways and 5 sizes.
The manufacturer has included instructions on exactly how to set up the harness and also how to measure your dog.
Benefits of a Collar
It is important to understand that every dog is different. If a collar and leash is the right option for you and your dog, there is nothing wrong with that at all.
Leashes can be connected to collars in seconds and they are a better option if you just want to walk to the car, or let the dog into the garden.
Also, it is so important that the dog has his identification details on his collar, in case he accidentally gets lost.
I hope that this information has been useful.