If you’re new to dog ownership, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the countless selections when purchasing a dog collar vs. a dog harness.  There are many pros and cons yet don’t dismiss the number one benefit of a dog collar which is a quick and easy way to attach a various number of identifications that can quickly return your dog if lost.  And, most dog harnesses work effectively without the need to remove the dog’s collar used for identification.  With that said, let’s take a look at a variety of dog harnesses.

Selecting Your Dog’s Harness

Selection of a good dog harness has health benefits if your dog won’t stop pulling during walks.  Collars can apply pressure, putting undo compression on your dog’s throat.  This pressure can cause added concerns if your dog has a medical condition that obstructs the breathing and flow of oxygen or eyeballs protruding from the sockets (common in pugs) due to pressure or strain on the dog’s neck by a collar. 

 A dog harness can be useful at stopping a dog from pulling during walks if managed properly.  They make great training devices and are often recommended by skilled dog trainers.  And if you have the daunting task of walking several dogs, a harness can provide control of your pack and safety for everyone.

 When deciding between a dog collar or dog harness for walking or training your dog, make sure you speak to a professional dog trainer as to the best option and type of harness for your dog.

Types of Dog Harnesses

The type of harness really depends on what it will be used for. 

  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Sport Training
  • Car Travel
  • An Attached Handle for More Control When Catching Your Dog
  • Dog Mobility Issues
  • Night Reflective Harness so Your Dog Can Easily be Seen in the Dark

So, making a check list of what the harness will be used for is beneficial.  And no reason not to have a variety of harnesses on hand for different events with your dog.

Walking or Hiking - You’ll want to pick a harness that is less restrictive and comfortable, unless your dog tends to pull.  A well-padded harness will add extra comfort for your dog.  There are several different styles that have either a front clip, a back clip, head halter or a design that will tighten and add slight pressure when the dog pulls you forward. 

    1. Back clip harness is a great option for smaller dogs or a large dog that does not pull. These halters offer more control and comfort for the dog since prevents throat damage.  Back clip harnesses are great for running or hiking since prevents the dog from getting entangled in the leash.

     2. Front-hook harnesses have a clip on the dog’s chest. These harnesses give the walker more leverage since difficult for the dog to pull forward since the harness redirects the dog back to the walker.  Front-hook harnesses provide better steering and have been used for centuries to walk large animals such as horses, camels, cows, etc.  Attaching a leash to a ‘behind position’ encourages the dog to pull.  Yet attaching to the front gives the walker an advantage since more leverage.

 Attaching the leash to the front/chest area of the dog forces the dog to pivot around you instead of pulling.  The front/chest attachment gives the walker more steering power since it controls the shoulders and chest area of the dog.  Whereas, in back ring attachment harnesses, encourages the dog to pull.

3. Tightening harnesses lessen the dogs pulling since slightly uncomfortable for your dog therefore lessens their pulling or stops it all together.

4. Dog backpacks are a wonderful accessory for your dog’s hiking or camping experience. Great solution for your dog gear such as hydration packs, food, dishes, first aid kit, bags and boots.  Most have a minimum of two saddle bags for organization of supplies and are usually incredibly sturdy.  Made of tear resistant fabrics with heavy zipper compartments.  Some even have cooling devices on the dog harness underbelly!

Most dog backpack manufacturers and veterinarians recommend that your dog carry no more than 25% of their body weight, including the weight of the pack and its contents.  If your dog is new to dog packs, start with a light load and work up to a heavier load as your dog gets used to wearing the pack.

Training and Sport – Look for lightweight materials that offer adjustable settings yet allow you to add weight to the harness which helps to strengthen your dog and adds resistance.  The harness should fit snug to the dog’s body so cannot get caught on training obstacles.  Many of these harnesses have a convenient handle that allows the handler to hold the dog.

Mobility – Mobility harnesses are typically used for injured or senior dogs.  These harnesses assist the dog owner with the distribution of the dog’s weight so you can lift the dog more easily.  This is especially useful for large dogs since trying to lift a heavy dog can cause pain for the dog and the owner.  Make sure that you check with your vet for mobility harness recommendations that will meet your dog’s disability demands.

Reflective Trim – Reflective trim is useful if you take your dog out for walks at night or take the dog camping.  The reflective trim makes your dog more visible to cars or motorcycles that may not see the dog due to minimal streetlights or complete darkness.

If you have a favorite harness for your dog, you can also purchase reflective tape and glue to the harness.  Provides a cost-effective solution for adding reflective trim and night safety for your dog.

Whatever you decide, make sure you consider your dog’s weight, character and breed when determining the best suited harness for your dog.