Why Should My Dog Wear A Harness?
Why Fit Your Dog For A Harness Instead Of Using A Lead And Collar?
Walking your dog on a lead that is attached to a collar can put stress on your dog’s neck and spine, especially if your dog pulls on their leash. Not only will a harness more effectively prevent your dog from slipping away from you, but a harness will also more evenly distribute pressure over a larger area of their body. In effect this will reduce the strain on the dog’s neck and back.
A harness is also useful in helping to discourage the habit of pulling. Tugging at the leash still allows the dog to move forward. A harness won’t allow the dog to go anywhere, and the dog will stop trying to pull against you once it realizes this. This will also have the dual effect of reducing strain on your own arms and back as well, once the habit has been fully discouraged. If you have an older dog, or a dog who is overweight, they may have trouble standing without stress on their joints. A harness will assist you in lifting a dog who has trouble getting up from
lying down much easier, and with less risk of injury to you or the dog.
Taking time to measure your dog is important to make sure that the harness you’ve chosen is the appropriate size for your animal’s body. This will prevent escape, but it will also ensure that the harness isn’t hurting any part of your dog’s body more than it is helping you and your dog.
You Can Use These Instructions To Take The Proper Measurements:
COLLAR AREA: Measure the circumference of the dog’s neck, and then add 2” to that measurement. You want to be able to comfortably fit two of your fingers between the collar of the harness and your dog’s neck.
LENGTH OF DOG: To measure the length of the dog’s body, measure from the base of their neck at the collar, to the base of the tail. If the dog is overweight or has a thick coat, you will want to go up one size further to ensure a comfortable fit.
GIRTH: From behind your dog’s front legs, measure the circumference of the deepest part of their body. Again, overweight dogs will likely require one size larger.
If you are seeing bunched up rolls of skin while the dog is wearing the harness, this means the harness is too tight for your dog. Also look for indentions in your dog’s fur from wear. A properly fitted harness should never leave marks on your dog’s body.
Even though you may feel worry-free as you outfit your pet in their new harness for the first time, there are still a few other safety considerations to keep in mind to make sure your dog is as happy with their harness as you are.
First, always make sure to monitor hidden areas on your dog’s body during, and after wearing a harness to be certain that it is not causing skin irritation. You will also want to make sure the dog is not at risk of getting choked, or tangled in the harness while laying down. Even if you are sure this is not a potential threat, you never want to leave a harness on your dog constantly, especially if the harness gets wet, as this can cause skin infections.
Lastly, even if your dog is securely inside of their harness you should always still have their identification tags on their collar as well, in the event that the dog is suddenly able to slip away from you.
There are all different varieties of harness available for your dog, but here are the main two types you’ll be likely to see:
A Back Clip Harness, as it sounds, has the leash attachment on the back of the harness. This is the most common type of harness that you will see because they are easy to use for the owner, and comfortable for the dog. The rear attachment keeps the leash away from the dog’s throat. This makes back clip harnesses very effective for small dogs with delicate throat areas.
Front clip harnesses are less common. These are often favored by professional dog trainers because the leash is attached in the front of the dog’s body. When the dog pulls against the leash, this creates tension that directs the dog toward the trainer, instead of forward. The downsides of this is that even though the dog can’t pull forward, it doesn’t necessarily discourage the activity, and the leash being placed in the front of the dog means that it is more likely to get tangled around the dog’s neck or legs. Poorly fit harnesses of this kind put a large
amount of stress on a dog’s front legs.
Dual Clip harnesses are the best option available on the market for several reasons. In most cases, the additional clip gives the owner two options for places to attach the leash. The back clip is used for direction of the dog’s movements but the front clip engages if the dog has a habit of jumping or pulling against the leash. The main drawback to this type of harness is the price usually.
The Adventure harness from Alcott features easy-to-see neon nylon with reflective accents, and has an easy on/off design because of its 3 buckles. The mesh padding on the straps of this highly affordable, dual-clip harness will make sure that your dog is comfortable. Additionally, the two D-rings on the harness are solid, so you can walk your dog from two different attachments with no risk of losing tags or the leash slipping.
One other type of harness you might notice on the market are harnesses for your dog to wear while you have them in the car. These are designed to prevent your pet from moving around too much while you are driving, and also to act as a seat belt for them in the event of an automobile accident.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Smart Harness is a front clip harness that has been crash tested for safety, and functions as both a car harness, and an everyday walking harness. A unique feature of this harness is a special nesting buckle system that was inspired by similar systems used by linemen and rock climbers to ensure their safety. So in the event of a car crash your pet will be safely buckled into their place in the back seat. The harness is also fully adjustable with 5 points of adjustment so your dog will have plenty of room to sit or lay down while wearing it.
Kurgo is not the only company making high quality car harnesses. The Clickit Sport Dog Safety Harness from Sleepypod has the distinct honor of being the only harness to earn a safety certification and a five star rating from the Center for Pet Safety. It is made from automotive grade materials and features a unique two-or-three point attachment option, three for use in the rear passenger seats or two for use in the very back of the car. The neoprene, and ballistic nylon construction make this dual clip harness easily cleanable, and very sturdy so it can also function as a normal harness when you and your dog are not in the car.
A properly sized, and well-fitted harness can help to keep your dog safe, and healthy and can save you a great deal of strain and trouble with rowdy dogs. They are not only helpful in those regards but also stylish, and have been shown to be effective in discouraging bad behavior like pulling and lunging. You might be looking into buying the harness for your dog, but it could quickly become your dog's favorite item of clothing too!