When it comes to walking your dog on lead, more people are selecting a dog harness over a collar. One of the main reasons is due to the harm that a flat collar can cause on the soft tissue of the dog’s neck.

In selecting an appropriate dog harness that fits your furry one well, and that your dog will love, consider the following:

1. Can you easily dress your dog with this harness?

I like a harness with as many clips as possible to help make it easier to put on and off. Some dogs are reluctant to put their head through a harness, and while this can be improved with training for many dogs, it can be easier to have a harness which can be clipped on.

2. Can your dog move without restriction?

Dog harnesses that sit over the shoulder blades; or over where the front legs meet the chest impinge on how easily your dog can move. I always imagine that this would feel like wearing a bra where the elastic has worn out. It’s annoying and you change how you hold your body and how you move because of it.

In the image below by Lori Stevens and Lili Chin, you can see that the harness:

  • sits over the front chest and not up on the soft tissue of the neck
  • doesn’t restrict movement of the front legs
  • the chest strap sits over the rib cage and isn’t digging into the arm pits or the belly
  • The back strap sits along the spine and does not sit over the shoulder blades

To get the right fit for your dog, it is ideal to have a harness that can be adjusted for size in all of the harness sections.

If you are keen for some more info, this is one of the best videos I’ve seen showing where a well fitted dog harness should sit.

3. Do I need a front attach option on my dog harness?

Some dog harnesses have a metal ring to attach your lead both at the back of the harness and also one at the front. This front attachment can be helpful if you are still working to teach your dog to walk on a loose lead. The idea is that if the dog pulls when the lead is attached to the front, this turns the dog back towards you.

If you have a large and strong dog, using the front attachment for lead walking can make walks easier. However it should not replace training entirely. With repeated use and lack of training, I have seen dogs learn to adjust their gait to accommodate for this front attachment, rendering it useless as a management tool.

4. Where can I find a good dog harness?

There are so many harness options on the market, some great, and others less so.

I recently upgraded my harness for my dog Henry. The harness he had was ok, however the part that sat on his back was too large for his narrow frame and stopped his shoulder blades moving freely.

In my search for a new harness I found Harbour City Dog Gear. All of the harnesses on offer are excellent. They also offer free zoom consults both before and after purchasing to help you find the right fit for your dog.

Cassandra also stocks some of the harnesses we love and can provide a fitting as part of an in home session with her.