Are you shopping around online looking for the best dog harness, but you have no idea which type would be right for your pet? Choosing the right type of harness can be a bit of a challenge considering the hundreds of choices available. Reading dog harness reviews can give you a realistic look at how each model stands up to heavy everyday use and which type of harness will work well for a specific breed. These days, you’ll find many styles of harnesses designed for different purposes and ultimately, the best model for your pet will be highly adjustable, sturdy and above all, comfortable.
Dog Harness Buying Guide
To start, you’ll need to determine what you’re looking to get out of using a harness. A harness can be used for pulling, daily walking, anti-pulling, tracking, rock climbing, training, dog identification, assistance and guide work or rehabilitation after a surgery.
A pulling harness can be used to develop a dog’s muscles. Some models also allow you to attach cargo to it, so a dog will have to work much harder when pulling. Cargo can include bricks, sand or stones. Users can also attach different sizes of weight or even tires. These harnesses can be purchased for fun outdoor activities or to train for pull competitions. Many service animals are also trained to pull using this type of harness. Other uses included bicycle pulling, rollerblading, jogging and skateboarding. Dog owners will need to be very careful with this type of training and ensure that they don’t end up overtraining their pet.
These harnesses are made from leather or nylon. Nylon models are perfect for hotter climates or in places known for high humidity.
There are a number of ways to train a dog, and sometimes trainers need to use a double stitched harness for extra durability. Dog training harnesses are often used in sports competitions and for protection training. This type of harness is often heavily padded to ensure a dog’s comfort during use. A well-fitting harness will allow a dog to move, breathe and walk freely.
A traditional walking harness is perfect for dogs with certain behavior issues including pulling, dog aggression, or a high hunt or prey drive. There are a number of techniques and tools used to correct behavior problems such as shock collars, prong collars, or choke chains, a harness is the most gentle way to apply correction when needed.
An assistance harness is designed for the dog whose job is to provide mobility or physical assistance. Typically, it’s reinforced for added durability and provides maximum comfort. The shape and durability of this type of harness will depend on its usage.
A tracking harness is used for search and rescue missions or sports competitions. This style of harness will ensure that a dog’s movements are not restricted, so the model you choose should be heavily padded and lightweight. The weight of the harness allows the dog to wear it for longer periods of time and also works to avoid irritation and skin rubbing. You’ll find models made from nylon or leather.
A vest harness consists of fabrics designed to handle the cold and keep a dog body warm during colder weather. There is usually a handle located on the top, which allows pet owners to assist their dog when the terrain is more challenging or snow is deep. A leash can also be attached via a D-ring, so a regular collar is not needed.
A harness for guide dogs is probably one of the most comfortable models because they’re designed for all day wear. These harnesses have a handle, giving the user better control.
An identification harness is a must-have for search and rescue, security, police, military or service dogs.
A rehabilitation harness is used to help an injured dog to go through the recovery and therapy period without causing injury or decreasing mobility. Some of these harnesses will also remove pressure and tension for problematic areas and some can be connected to a special wheelchair.
Dog Harness Must-Have Features
When you’re shopping for a new harness, you must pay close attention to the manufacturer’s sizing chart. You should also measure your dog before you begin searching. Measure their neck, girth, and length. Most harnesses are adjustable to a certain degree, however, you’ll need to find the closest fit in order to prevent the dog from backing out of the harness. Harness sizes can vary from brand to brand. Your dog may wear a medium harness for one manufacturer and need a large with another, which is why it’s so important to read the measurements listed on a sizing chart.
For high humidity and wet weather climates, you’ll want to choose a nylon harness. In dry weather climates, leather or nylon harnesses will work fine. If you choose a leather harness you should also buy some leather conditioner, which will allow you to use the harness in wet weather as well.
Padding will always be important, especially if your dog wears a harness for several hours each day. Models with heavier padding will always be on the pricey side. Look for felt or fleece lining for ultimate comfort. Models that use fleece lining are also less likely to slip and slide during use.
A harness with a built-in handle will allow you to quickly grab your dog if they’re running around off leash. Handles can also give you more control during a walk and are ideal for service dogs, working dogs and guide dogs. Control handles aren’t usually important for small dog harnesses because the user will not be controlling their dog using the handle, however, a handle can make it easier to lift a small dog securely.
A harness that’s equipped with reflective trim can save your pet’s life. This trim will make a dog highly visible to passers-by and drivers in low light conditions. It’s also the perfect feature for dog owners who enjoy taking their pet for a walk or run at night.
If you’re looking to use a harness mainly for light duty or walking with easy dogs then a plastic buckle system is the way to go. These systems make taking the harness on and off easy and quick. If you need a harness for a more energetic dog or for dog safety in a vehicle, then you should go with metal buckles. Metal buckles will not pinch a dog’s skin or fur like plastic buckles can.
The two basic designs of harnesses include the step-in harness and the over-the-head harness. The step-in models feature a figure eight shape and require the dog to step into them. These harnesses can be easier to put on for some breeds but are less secure than over-the-head harnesses. Over-the-head models are the kind that easily slides over a dog’s head and are then secured around the back of the harness. These harnesses also offer more points of adjustment and more padding.
It’s important that the harness you choose has many points of adjustment in order to get a custom fit for your dog. Experts recommend choosing a harness with at least four or five points to ensure you get the best fit. At the very minimum, you’ll need to be able to make adjustments around the chest and neck. There are some models that are designed with one piece or a continuous loop of webbing which allows the user to adjust the harness to fit nearly any breed.
Dog Harness Buying Tips
There are a number of reasons to consider purchasing a harness for your dog, including medical conditions, safety concerns or training purposes. Using a harness can help to relieve the pressure caused by a standard leash and collar around a dog’s neck and can keep the dog from slipping out of their collar.
If you’re looking to prevent a more powerful, larger dog from pulling on their leash, a harness can be the perfect training tool. By taking control of the dog’s weight at their chest, the owner will have more control over correcting any unwanted behaviors quickly and without injuring a dog’s neck and throat. Additionally, a harness can be used as a safety device for bigger breeds that are secured in a car.
Before you buy, the first thing you should do is speak with your dog trainer or vet. They will be able to provide you with your pet’s breed and medical history and will be able to recommend specific harnesses that will align with your needs.
Look for an adjustable model that’s durable and easy to fit. Pay attention to the size, width, and material of the harness while ensuring that the buckle system is comfortable and secure.
If you want a harness to restrict pulling, there are a couple of types to choose from. The first option attaches at the center of a dog’s chest and works to guide them gently back when they begin to pull. The other option is one that will tighten around the dog’s legs and chest area and will restrain them when they begin to pull. This second choice is probably the best option for the dedicated puller.
After you’ve done a little research and picked the right harness for your pet, be sure to double check to ensure the thickness of the harness straps are right for your pet and that they’ll be comfortable walking in the harness. A harness that’s designed to prevent pulling may fit differently than a traditional harness, so follow the directions carefully the first time you take your dog out. You can also have your trainer help you to fit it for the first time.
The harness should be snug enough to prevent the dog from slipping it, but not so tight that it inhibits mobility. Allow your dog to walk around the home for a bit in order to gauge their comfort and determine if the harness needs further adjustments. A harness can loosen with washing or wear, so check the fit each time you take your dog out.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to your energy as you take your dog for a walk. Using a harness can be a training tool for both of you, so be sure to stand up straight and take the lead the entire time you’re walking.
Dog Harness Comparison Chart
Ruffwear Doubleback Strength Rated Safety Dog Harness Review
The Doubleback Ruffwear strength rated harness for dogs is specifically designed for rock climbing and hiking adventures over rough terrain. This model is strength rated and equipped with a metal buckle system for added safety. The harness features seven points of adjustment, reflective trim and padded belly support and leg loops. This harness received a perfect consumer rating, which makes it our top rated product.
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Mod-Tec Service Dog Harness with Packs Review
This dog harness by Mod-Tech underwent one year of product testing to ensure that it’s both comfortable and durable and one of the most affordable service dog harness options on the market. This harness features a couple of large packs, a lifetime product warranty and an integrated webbing system. Pet owners can pack these pouches with enough gear to get them through the day. The innovative harness design makes this harness comfortable to wear all day long.
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Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness Review
The Kurgo Tru-Fit smart dog walking harness is available in five sizes and features a lifetime product warranty. It also features a couple of different leash attachment points that you can use based on your dog’s level of experience walking on a leash. This model also comes with an additional clip that owners can use to secure the harness to a seat belt which will prevent a dog from distracting their owner during a drive.
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