We always want to ensure that our dogs are appropriately outfitted each time they head out into the world. With all that running, leaping, bounding and fetching - they need to be comfortable, secure & free from chafing.
And while collars are important for holding our dog’s identity tag, a harness is a much more effective way to have control over our dog’s movement. In busy areas and situations where we need to keep them safe, being able to evenly distribute pressure is important to allow for safe movement and control when needed - especially in rambunctious youngsters.
Studies have also shown that collars run the risk of harming our dogs’ necks when pressure is applied, so if your dog is a puller - using a harness is even more important.
But how do you pick the best harness for your dog? What if they are a puller? What if you want to take them on trails? And what if they are a very small or very large breed?
Harness options can seem a little overwhelming at first. So, here’s a handy guide to picking the right harness for your dog, looking at their walking style, your common activities and other important considerations.
Let’s jump in.
This is a common question, and many owners turn to harnesses to help them with their leash walking for the reasons we saw above. While loose leash walking will always improve with training, there is a harness option that can have a dramatic difference on your dog’s leash behaviour.
A front clip harness can really help. Most harnesses clip to a lead at the back, which for some dogs causes an “opposition reflex” to kick in. ie: there is a natural tendency in many dogs to push against pressure, especially in sledding breeds!
Clipping at the chest removes this mush drive, and instead provides a gentle barrier that can really click with your dog quickly and keep them at a more manageable pace by your side.
Finding a front clip harness that doesn’t twist, chafe or shift as your dog walks has been my mission. And after years of searching, I decided it was high time I created it myself!
4Pooch Control Harness is that creation; a multifunction harness that is specifically designed to eliminate discomfort to your pup, whilst supporting your loose leash training at the same time. The dynamic attachment options and secure front clip allows for freedom of movement, whilst gently encouraging your dog to make great choices while on lead. Giving you the tools they need to step out into the world with confidence, comfort and style.
There are some other great quality alternatives available across our boutique. I’d personally recommend the Freedom No Pull Dog Harness as an ideal choice for leash pullers.
Small dogs can be tricky, as they are more likely to slip out of harnesses made for more generic breed standards. They also struggle to find a fit that’s comfortable for them, so require some special attention to make sure they are happy.
A vest harness can be helpful here. They tend to fit comfortably and flexibly to your dog’s body, like a piece of clothing, and will be less likely to chafe under the armpits with small breeds
The DOOG Neoflex harness is made from a soft, pliable material - like a lightweight wetsuit harness for dogs! So It’s a good bet for fitting your little one snuggly.
Large dogs might have the opposite problem of feeling restricted or struggling with sagging areas, if they have an unusual or giant frame. Plus, with a larger frame, you might want the option of a little extra control when you need it - to make sure you are both safe.
For this reason often the 4Pooch or Huskimo range can do the trick. With sizes up to XL, an extra handle and dual lead attachment points for front or rear lead clipping - they deliver optimal control. Adjustable at the neck and chest, you’ll be able to customise the fit to your dog’s frame for comfort too.
If you want something that will keep up with you and your dog on adventures and athletic pursuits, you'll need a hard wearing and comfortable harness that’s weather resistant.
The ROGZ Control or Explore harnesses are a good choice here. Made from sporty neoprene, with a highly reflective stitching, and a support handle for climbing and trekking - it’s an ideal adventure buddy. The inner padding ensures that your dog remains comfortable even when worn for long periods of time.
While a harness is a great option for your dog's safety and comfort, some might find the concept very scary. Especially for sensitive or fearful dogs, placing something over their head is often impractical and stressful.
In this case, I suggest trying the 4Pooch Control Harness or the Blue-9 Balance Buckle Neck harness. With the Buckle-Neck, you can simply snap the strap around your dogs neck, which is a much easier concept to teach your dog to love with positive reinforcement.
Once on, its unique design offers you the flexibility of multiple adjustment points to ensure that your dog has a properly fitting harness. This ensures they won’t feel any uncomfortable pinching or chafing, which might otherwise create a further aversion to harness wearing. Plus, you can choose from flexible leash attachments to accommodate your individual preference - as well as using it for car travel too!
Top Tip - Always Measure! Just like us, dogs in every breed come in different sizes, and it is important to measure your dog correctly before ordering a harness. Follow our full guide if you want to know how a dog harness should fit, and how to measure your dog correctly.
We hope this guide to how to pick the right harness for your dog has provided you with some solutions to effortless, safe and comfortable adventures with your dog!