Types of Dog Harnesses


Did you know that the constant use of a dog collar on your Pug will result in a lot of pressure around its neck, which will lead to the protrusion of its eyeballs from its sockets? Are you shocked? Are you now rethinking whether to use a dog collar or not? At the same time, how else can you control your dog or safely take it for a walk?

My advice is to use a dog harness. You are just about to find out why.

About The Dog Harness

A harness is supporting equipment that consists of multiple straps webbed like a closed loop and that which fits snugly around your dog. You can fasten the straps with the help of the release buckles found at the sides.

About The Need

Dog harnesses are the best solution to control hyperactive dogs and discourage them from jumping and pulling around much. It also reduces the risk of a neck injury. A harness is also beneficial for dogs suffering from back or leg injuries.

About The Fit

However, you must be careful while selecting the right harnesses for your dog. No one particular harness will suit all dogs nor will all harness be appropriate for your dog. You must remember that every dog is different in size and mobility.

While certain dog harnesses sit well at the center of your dog’s chest, there are others that cross the chest and shoulders of the dog over the front. While the former type is great for preventing your dog from pulling, it restricts mobility. On the contrary, the latter type allows your dog to move its shoulders freely.

Hence, you must consider the fit and structure of the harness before you decide which harness best suits your dog. After all, you want your pet to be comfortable at all times.

Back-clip Harness

In this type, the ring that fastens to the leash is present on the topside of your dog’s back. Most dogs adjust to a back-clip harness sooner than the other types.

Pros

  • It is easy to put on the harness.
  • It is a comfortable gear for your dog.
  • It protects the delicate neck area of your dog.
  • Unlike a collar on a leash, the leash of this harness does not interfere between the legs of your dog.
  • It comes in different styles and patterns, hence serves as a cute add-on accessory.

Cons

It does not contribute to controlling your dog’s behavior, especially if it is the kind that has certain behavioral issues, for instance, your dog is aggressive, jumps frequently, or pulls excessively.

Suitable For

This type of harness is best suited for small dogs that have a delicate throat, which can be easily damaged by using a dog collar, for instance, pugs and poodles.

You can also use it on quieter and well-trained dogs that do not pull on the leash much.

It is also the best choice for dogs who love to roam freely. The dogs will feel like they are on a loose leash held on a long line.

Not Suitable For

Avoid the back-clip type for dogs that are hard to control or tend to pull a lot, as it throws you a challenge and sometimes even drags you around.

Front-clip Harness

Also known as the No-pull type, it deters pulling. Here, the leash clips to the center of your dog’s chest. The principle behind the no-pull or the front-clip type is that it utilizes the motion of the dog and its center of gravity to align it and thereby discourage it from pulling.

Pros

  • It is advantageous for dog trainers, as it is easier to train the dog and discourage it from pulling or jumping.
  • It is also easy in terms of owner management as well.
  • It gives you full control over the direction in which your dog moves and if needed it also allows the dog to face you.

Cons

  • It is not apt for aggressive or reactive dogs. You will need an additional supporting gear such as a walking tool to gain control.
  • If the leash is not of the right length, then it can interfere with your dog’s front legs and tangle between them causing discomfort while walking.

Suitable For

  • The front-clip harnesses are best for dogs that pull often.
  • It is also suitable for dogs that are not receptive, as it helps in to adjust the new equipment with ease and gives the dog a good sense of direction.

Not Suitable For

  • It is not the right choice for dogs with acute behavioral issues.

Dual-clip Harness

It offers the best features of both a back-clip and a front-clip harness combined. While the back-clip helps you to guide your dog during a walk, the front-clip deters pulling or lunging on the leash. Hence, this dual combination proves more efficient when it comes to training your dog.

Pros

  • The dual combination offers you greater control over your dog.
  • It also serves the purpose of preventing your dog from pulling.

Cons

  • The webbed design of the harness causes it to rub against the shoulder area.
  • Dual-Clip types are often more expensive than the front-clip and back-clip varieties.

Suitable For

  • You can use the dual-clip harness to train reactive dogs.

Step-in Harness

The step-in harness is all about the fit of the harness. It can have back, front, or even both types of attachments based on the requirement. The design of this harness is such that you would need your dog to put its feet into the two holes that are available rather than forcing something over its head.

Pros

  • It is easy to put on.
  • It is safe on your dog’s neck.
  • It distributes the pressure applied through the leash uniformly across your dog’s shoulders and chest.
  • It reduces rather eliminates the risk of choking.

Cons

  • You might find it difficult to put it on a dog that is over-excited.
  • It might not be the best type for strong dogs.

Suitable For

  • It is perfect most dogs.
  • Especially recommended for canine dogs.
  • You can even use this on dogs that panic on the sight of having something thrown over its head.

Not Suitable For

  • Not recommended for dogs that get overly excited.

Self-tightening Harness

This type allows your dog to settle into its new gear in a slow and gentle manner. There are different types in this model and each varies based on the pressure experienced by the dog while wearing the harness. Even a mild tightening can restrict your dog from pulling the leash. However, you must examine your dog as the harness tightens and see if it is causing any sort of pain. Pain causing harnesses are not recommended as it leads to more aggression. Instead, opt for ones that are gentle and do not cause any pain during the tightening.

Pros

  • It is easy to put on your dog.
  • The self-tightening strap prevents your dog from pulling the leash.
  • It also prevents the dog from backing out of the harness.
  • It is also helpful in resisting escape.

Cons

  • Do not consider this as a walking tool, as it will only prevent your dog from walking. Instead, use it only to train your dog to deter it from pulling and helping it to walk on a loose leash.
  • Some tightening harnesses cause pain, which will only aggravate the situation. Hence, choose the right self-tightening harness.

Suitable For

  • I recommend this type of harness for more determined and persistent pullers.

Not Suitable For

  • Do not try this on aggressive pets, as even the slightest pain can increase their aggression foiling the purpose of a harness.

Head Halter

  • By design, the head halters offer complete control around your dog’s head, nose, mouth, and, the entire body. It is extremely beneficial for dogs that suffer from major pulling issues. It is also a boon to reactive dogs and those that are easily distracted. I say this is the best harness type because it gives you complete control over your dog without having to compromise on its trust. A win-win situation for both the pet and the owner.

Pros

  • It is an excellent gear to reduce pulling.
  • It is a better alternative to other pain-inducing tools such as choke collars or prong collars.
  • You can even get one that comes with soft padding for a snug fit.
  • Unlike a muzzle or a closed tool, the head halters allow dogs to gasp for air with ease.
  • If trained right, dogs can adjust well to head halters and will begin to behave properly.

Cons

  • Head halters can harm your dog’s neck and spine because of the continuous pulling of your dog’s head to your side. Hence, make sure not to pull a lot.
  • Head halters are also a struggle with some dogs initially because they do not respond well to a head restraint.

Suitable For

  • Best recommended for strong pullers or highly reactive dogs such as Labradors

Not Suitable For

  • Again it is not suitable for dogs that are afraid or panics quickly.

A Harness For Walking & While Driving

You can find a number of harness types for your dogs while you take it out for a walk but what about the time when you take your dog for a drive? Is your car equipped with a dog safety belt? Or do you have to invest further in getting one?

The solution is simple. Today, there are several brands of dog harnesses that can double up as both a pull restraint and as a seat belt safety harness. Some of these even come with a universal seat belt leash attachment that you can use on any car. This way you are ensuring both the safety of your pet and yourself while driving.

The purpose of a dog harness cum safety seat belt is to keep your pet restrained at all times and keep it less distracted on the drive. Some of the famous brands under this category include the Friends Forever Vehicle Harness with a car dog seat belt and the Might Paw range of seat belts harnesses.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know that you cannot just use any harness on your poor pet. Rather what you buy must be specific. I would further like to share another piece of info to all the dog owners out there before I conclude - Just as we humans, dogs also need time to acclimatize to change and adapt to something new. Therefore, you must be willing to invest both your time and efforts to ensure that your dog gets used to its new gear. Only once it is in ease and compliantly wears the harness will your dog be comfortable in it.

Hence, your efforts in a harness hunt do not end with just buying the right type but finishes only once you are successful in making your dog wear it with ease and earning its trust.


Ratings for Types of Dog Harnesses