Skip to Content

Harness for Dogs: How to Choose the Right One for Comfort and Control

Harness for Dogs: How to Choose the Right One for Comfort and Control

Are you tired of your dog pulling on walks or feeling uncomfortable in their harness? Choosing the right harness for your furry friend can make all the difference in both their comfort and your control. With so many options available, how do you know which one is best for your dog?

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about selecting the perfect dog harness. From measuring your dog for the right fit to exploring the different types of harnesses, we’ve got you covered. Discover the benefits of using a harness, why it’s important to choose the correct size, and how to ensure both comfort and durability.

Don’t let the overwhelming number of choices deter you. We’ve done the research and compiled all the information you need to make an informed decision. Say goodbye to struggling walks and uncomfortable dogs – let’s find the ideal harness that will provide comfort, control, and security for you and your canine companion.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right harness is crucial for your dog’s comfort and your control.
  • Different types of harnesses offer various benefits and considerations.
  • Measuring your dog properly ensures a proper fit.
  • Consider your dog’s specific needs and behavior when selecting a harness.
  • Pairing the harness with the right leash enhances the walking experience.

Benefits of Using a Dog Harness

When it comes to walking our furry friends, having proper control is essential. Traditional collars may not always provide the level of control needed, especially for dogs that tend to pull. This is where dog harnesses come in—they offer several benefits that can greatly enhance your walking experience with your canine companion.

1. Better control: Dog harnesses provide superior control, particularly for dogs that tend to pull during walks. The design of harnesses allows for better distribution of forces across a larger section of the dog’s body, reducing strain on the neck and windpipe. This not only minimizes the risk of injuries but also gives you greater control over your dog’s movements.

2. Prevention of pulling: If your dog is prone to pulling on their leash, a harness can be a game-changer. The attachment point on the back of most harnesses redirects your dog’s pulling force, making it harder for them to pull you along. With consistent training and the right harness, you can discourage pulling behavior and enjoy a more relaxed walking experience.

3. Comfort: Comfort is a top priority when it comes to our furry friends. Dog harnesses are designed to prioritize your dog’s comfort by distributing pressure evenly across their body. This is particularly beneficial for specific breeds, such as those with short noses or delicate necks, who may find collars uncomfortable.

4. Safety: Harnesses offer an added layer of safety by providing a secure and reliable way to fasten your dog’s leash. They are less likely to slip off compared to collars, especially for dogs with slender necks or those skilled at slipping out of traditional collars. A properly fitted harness ensures a secure connection, giving you peace of mind during walks or outdoor adventures.

5. Assistance for older dogs: As our furry friends age, they may require additional support and assistance. Dog harnesses can be a valuable tool in assisting older dogs with mobility issues. The harness provides stability and support, making it easier for them to stand up after resting or navigate uneven terrain.

Overall, the benefits of using a dog harness are numerous—it offers better control, helps prevent pulling, ensures comfort, enhances safety, and can even assist older dogs. By choosing the right harness for your furry friend, you can make walks enjoyable and stress-free for both of you.

Benefits of Using a Dog Harness

How to Measure Your Dog for a Harness

Measuring your dog for a harness is essential to ensure a proper fit and optimal comfort. The most crucial measurement you need is the girth, which is the measurement of your dog’s chest area behind the front legs. To measure the girth, follow these simple steps:

  1. Have your dog stand in a comfortable and relaxed position.
  2. Wrap a tape measure around the widest part of your dog’s chest, just behind the front legs.
  3. Make sure the tape measure is snug but not too tight.

The girth measurement will determine the appropriate range of harness sizes for your dog. It’s important to choose a harness that fits your dog properly to avoid any discomfort or restrictions on movement.

When selecting the size of the harness, consider your dog’s weight as well. Some harnesses have weight guidelines to help you choose the right size. However, keep in mind that weight alone may not be an accurate indicator of the proper fit, as dogs can vary in shape and body structure.

A properly sized harness should allow for about two fingers of space between the harness and your dog’s body. This ensures a comfortable fit without causing any discomfort or indentations in the fur.

Girth Measurement (Inches) Recommended Harness Size Weight Range (lbs)
14-20 Small 10-20
18-26 Medium 20-40
24-34 Large 40-75
32-44 X-Large 75-120

measuring dog for harness

Remember, a properly fitting harness is essential for your dog’s comfort and safety during walks and other activities. By measuring your dog’s girth and considering their weight, you can ensure a proper fit and enjoy a secure and enjoyable experience with your furry companion.

Different Types of Dog Harnesses

When it comes to choosing a dog harness, it’s important to consider the different types available to find the one that best suits your needs and your furry friend’s comfort. Here are some of the most common types of dog harnesses:

Adjustable Strap Harnesses

Also known as figure 8 harnesses, adjustable strap harnesses are minimalist in design and perfect for dogs that enjoy easy walks. These harnesses feature adjustable straps that ensure a secure fit while providing optimal control and comfort.

Step-In Strap Harnesses

If convenience is a priority for you, step-in strap harnesses are an excellent choice. With these harnesses, your dog can simply step into the harness, making it easy to put on and take off. They offer good control, but be mindful that they may not be suitable for strong pullers.

Step-In Padded/Mesh/Vest Harnesses

If your dog has a broader chest or tends to pull on walks, step-in padded, mesh, or vest harnesses are worth considering. These harnesses provide additional comfort and support, making them ideal for dogs that need a little extra padding and breathability during their adventures.

Over-the-Head Strap Harnesses

Designed for longer-haired dogs or those who don’t like things being slipped over their heads, over-the-head strap harnesses are a great option. These harnesses are less likely to snag on fur and ensure a secure fit without causing any discomfort.

Over-the-Head Mesh/Vest Harnesses

If your dog tends to pull during walks, over-the-head mesh or vest harnesses can provide you with added control. These harnesses offer extra support and distribute the pulling force across the dog’s body, making them an effective tool for reducing pulling behavior.

Each type of harness has its own advantages and considerations. Take the time to understand your dog’s needs and behavior to choose the harness that will provide the best fit, comfort, and control.

Different Types of Dog Harnesses

Why Choose a Dog Harness?

Dog harnesses offer several advantages over traditional collars, making them a popular choice among dog owners. Whether your furry companion is large, small, or somewhere in between, a harness can provide the control and comfort they need during walks. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider using a dog harness:

  • Control over large dogs: Harnesses are especially beneficial for large dogs that may be more challenging to control with just a collar and leash. The harness distributes the pulling force over a larger area, giving you better control and preventing your dog from dragging you around.
  • Reduced risk of neck injuries: Unlike collars that put pressure on the neck, harnesses distribute the force across the chest and shoulders, reducing the risk of neck injuries. This is particularly important for dogs that tend to pull or lunge while on a leash.
  • Discourages pulling behavior: Many dogs are prone to pulling during walks, which can be frustrating for both the owner and the dog. A harness can help discourage pulling behavior by redirecting their focus and preventing them from gaining momentum.
  • Comfort for certain breeds: Certain dog breeds, such as pugs and chihuahuas, have delicate necks and throats. Harnesses provide a more comfortable alternative to collars, preventing unnecessary strain on these breeds’ delicate structures.
  • Visibility for nighttime walks: If you enjoy taking your dog for walks in the evening or early morning, a harness with reflective strips or bright colors can enhance visibility. This added visibility ensures that you and your furry friend are easily seen by passing motorists, reducing the risk of accidents.

Choosing the right dog harness is essential to ensure proper fit, comfort, and effectiveness. Considering your dog’s specific needs and behavior will help you make an informed decision. In the next section, we’ll explore how to choose the right dog harness based on size, comfort, material, style, and fitting.

How to Choose the Right Dog Harness

When it comes to selecting a dog harness, there are several factors to consider to ensure the perfect fit and optimum control for your furry friend. By taking into account the size, comfort, material, style, and fitting of the harness, you can provide your dog with a comfortable and secure walking experience.

Size: The first step in choosing a dog harness is determining the right size for your canine companion. Measure your dog’s girth, which is the measurement around their chest just behind the front legs, to find the appropriate harness size. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s sizing guide and leave enough space for two fingers to fit between the harness and your dog’s body.

Comfort: Prioritize your dog’s comfort by selecting a harness with padded or cushioned areas. Look for materials such as nylon or leather, which are durable and provide maximum comfort for your pup during walks. A well-padded harness will prevent chafing or discomfort, ensuring a pleasant experience for your dog.

Material: The material of the harness is crucial for its durability and longevity. Choose a high-quality harness that can withstand your dog’s activities and retain its shape over time. Nylon and leather harnesses are popular choices due to their strength and resistance to wear and tear.

Style: Consider the different styles of harnesses available to suit your dog’s needs and behavior. Back-clip harnesses attach to the back of the dog and are suitable for dogs that walk calmly on a leash. Front-clip harnesses provide more control by redirecting the dog’s movement when they pull, making them ideal for dogs that tend to be strong pullers. Dual-clip harnesses offer the flexibility of using both front and back attachments for optimal control.

Fitting: Ensure the harness fits correctly by adjusting the straps accordingly. Use the two-finger rule to determine if the harness is snug but not too tight. This allows for freedom of movement while maintaining control. Incorrectly fitted harnesses can cause discomfort or restrict your dog’s mobility, so regularly check and readjust the fit as needed.

Dog Leashes: Lastly, don’t forget to choose a dog leash that complements the harness. Opt for a leash that is comfortable to hold and provides a secure grip. Consider factors such as length, material, and attachment style (clip or buckle) when selecting the perfect leash to accompany your dog’s harness.

By considering these factors – size, comfort, material, style, fitting, and dog leashes – you can confidently choose a dog harness that provides the right balance of comfort, control, and safety for your beloved pet.

Tips for Using a Dog Harness

When it comes to walking your dog, a harness can be a valuable tool. While it won’t magically train your furry friend to walk perfectly on a loose leash, it can help during the training process. One effective option is a front-attachment harness, which redirects your dog’s movement when they pull, making it easier to teach them to walk on a loose leash.

To enhance control and minimize pulling, consider using a double-ended leash with your harness. By attaching one end to the front clip and the other to the back clip of the harness, you gain more control over your dog’s movement. This setup allows you to redirect their attention and guide them in the right direction, promoting better leash manners.

When selecting a harness, it’s important to avoid tightening harnesses that rely on aversive methods to discourage pulling. These can cause discomfort and potentially harm your furry companion. Instead, opt for a comfortable and well-fitting harness that allows your dog to move freely without any restrictions on their neck and shoulders.

Lastly, remember to regularly measure your dog’s girth to ensure the harness still fits properly. As your dog grows or gains/loses weight, their size may change, necessitating an adjustment in their harness. By ensuring a proper fit, you can maintain optimal comfort and control during your walks.


What are the benefits of using a dog harness?

Dog harnesses provide better control over dogs, prevent pulling, offer comfort, ensure safety, and assist older dogs in getting up.

How do I measure my dog for a harness?

To measure your dog for a harness, wrap a tape measure around the widest part of their chest, known as the girth. Consider your dog’s weight and ensure that there is two fingers of space between the harness and their body.

What are the different types of dog harnesses?

There are several types of dog harnesses available, including adjustable strap harnesses, step-in strap harnesses, step-in padded/mesh/vest harnesses, over-the-head strap harnesses, and over-the-head mesh/vest harnesses.

Why should I choose a dog harness?

Dog harnesses offer better control, reduce the risk of neck injuries, discourage pulling, provide comfort for certain breeds, and enhance visibility during nighttime walks.

How do I choose the right dog harness?

When choosing a dog harness, consider the size of your dog, look for comfort features like padding, choose a durable material, select a suitable style, ensure a proper fit by adjusting the straps, and choose a compatible dog leash.

What are some tips for using a dog harness?

While a dog harness alone will not train your dog to walk nicely on a leash, it can be a helpful tool. Consider using a front-attachment harness or a double-ended leash for better control. Avoid using tightening harnesses that rely on aversive methods to discourage pulling.


  • Becca Hartmann

    • Age: 47
    • Lives In: Portland, Oregon
    • Interests: Botanical gardening, craft brewing, and collecting vintage dog posters
    • Favorite Dog: Border Collie, because their intelligence and energy keep me on my toes.
    What I Enjoy About Writing: "Sharing knowledge about our furry companions while promoting responsible dog ownership is my jam. Off the clock, I'm either tending to my garden with my Border Collie, Zoe, or sipping on a homebrew and admiring my dog poster collection."