Are Harnesses Good for Dogs?

are harnesses good for dogs
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Are harnesses good for dogs? This is a question that is more common among pet parents than you'd think.

As a pet parent, you will have probably heard that they are a fantastic alternative to collars.

However, before deciding on switching to one, you must consider the several benefits and few drawbacks to using harnesses.

How to Choose the Right Dog Harness

One of the key factors in deciding if harnesses are right for your dog is to have the best harness for dogs that pull.

A few essential features that the perfect harness should have for your dog's comfort and control include:

1. Harness Type

The type of harness you choose has a lot to do with comfort and control. Four of the most popular versions are head halters, dual-clip, front-clip, and back-clip.

Head Halters

It's easy to spot head halters, as they typically go around your dog's snout.

The primary purpose of these models is to prevent your dog from pulling. The more pressure they put on the halter, the more uncomfortable it will be, causing them to stop.

One of the most challenging aspects of these harnesses is that dogs don't like them. They'll either continuously try to take it off their snout or refuse to wear it at all.

You can guarantee there will be training required to get them accustomed to it.


With back-clip harnesses, you'll have control over your pet without leash tangling.

The D-ring to connect the leash will be on the back of your dog, offering optimal control. However, it's not highly recommended for incessant pullers.

As the leash is behind your dog, they will have more forward-facing power. If you have a small build and own a large dog, opting for a front-clip harness is preferable.


Even though the likelihood of leash tangling is greater, front-clip harnesses are useful. You'll be able to have better control when it comes to pulling, especially with large dogs.

You can also change the leash's direction, whether you want it on the left or right side.

Their overall design is very similar to back-clip harnesses; it's the D-ring position that differs. The D-ring on this rig is located on your dog's chest.


If you're someone who likes the idea of front and back clips, a dual-clip harness is best. You'll be able to easily transition the leash from the front to back as needed.

Also, you have the opportunity to connect a split leash for even more control. Even though dual-clip harnesses are bulkier than their counterparts, they can be preferable.

2. Measurements

The next important thing to consider is harness measurements. Not only will you need to consider the thickness of the straps but also the size of the entire unit.

Most harnesses require you to size your dog by age and breed, but exact measurements are recommended.

To fit a harness, you'll need the neck and chest measurements of your dog.

When measuring the neck, use a tape measure to get the area's size where their collar sits. For the chest, measure the width of the widest part of their body. 

Fortunately, most harnesses can be quickly adjusted for a more tailored fit.

3. Padding

Most harnesses can be made of durable materials. Even though it speaks to their quality, it also means that it could be uncomfortable.

It's best if you're able to find padding for your dog to protect their fur and skin.

4. Material

The material of your chosen harness is also important in terms of quality and ease of use. You'll want to choose something that is easy to keep clean and is comfortable.

Nylon is one of the most popular options, as it's easy to wash for pets with allergies. Pet parents might also consider leather because it's long-lasting, high-quality, and luxurious.

are harnesses good for dogs

Are Harnesses Good for Dogs?

Some of the most exceptional benefits of harnesses include:

1. Fantastic Training Tool

When you bring a new puppy home, you're going to need training equipment.

Harnesses are a great way to curb the innate need for dogs to pull when on walks. By eliminating the behavior early, walking them as an adult will be easier.

You'll also find that getting your pets accustomed to their harnesses as puppies will be simpler.

2. Breed-Specific Use

Did you know there are specific dog breeds that require harnesses for walking? Pugs, for example, need harnesses for a couple of essential reasons.

Harnesses allow pug owners to protect their pets from excessive pressure on their respiratory tract.

Also, collars can cause their eyeballs to protrude from their sockets with excessive pressure.

3. Enhanced Control

Control over your dog is not only necessary for training purposes but also for their safety. When you are walking, you must pull your dog to safety as quickly as possible.

Because harnesses encompass their entire chest, you can easily ensure they're out of harm's way.

In non-emergencies, you'll find that you will have more confidence walking your dog in a harness. You can tug and pull without the risk of damaging their neck.

4. Choking Prevention

Whether indoors or outside, dogs are prone to get themselves in sticky situations.

With collars, dogs can get caught on things and choke without owners ever knowing. Harnesses, on the other hand, reduce this risk.

Even when walking, you'll find that your dogs will be less likely to choke themselves.

5. Impressive Versatility

There's no doubt that when you shop for a harness, there are plenty of styles to choose from. You can find several sizes, colors, and ones with specific features for your dog.

With an ample amount of choices, you will be able to make sure your pets have the best possible equipment.

The Disadvantages of Harnesses

Even though there are plenty of things to boast about when it comes to harnesses, there are cons, too. A few of the most prevalent disadvantages include:

1. Unappealing Design

The most significant issue you're bound to have with your dog's harness is their aversion to it.

It's more natural for dogs to want to wear collars than harnesses, as collars are undetectable.

As such, you're going to need to spend a little more time and effort getting them used to their new walking tool.

This reason is why it is highly recommended you begin harness training as early as possible. You can use treats and positive reinforcement to get them more accustomed to their harness.

2. Too Many Choices

The numerous harness options can prove to be a disadvantage for pet parents, as well.

At first, you might have to try different styles to figure out which are best for your pet. For example, a back-clip harness might perform worse than a front-clip design.

It can be overwhelming for first-time pet owners to choose the right style immediately. However, choosing a dual-clip harness eliminates these challenges by offering both.

3. Cost

Due to their versatility, harnesses are bound to be far more expensive than traditional flat collars, especially if you need to consider buying both a collar and a harness.

You’ll find that individual styles are more expensive than others; for example, dual-clip harnesses are pricier.

It’s important that you ensure you find the perfect high-quality harness, which can be twice as expensive as a collar.

4. ID Tag Concerns

You're likely going to have to invest in a collar and harness for your dog's security.

Most harnesses don't have D-rings for ID tags and vaccination records, which could be required.

If your dog were to escape from your home wearing just their harness, it could be disastrous.

With that said, investing in both should be a one-time cost and can protect your pet. You might also have a little more peace of mind if your dog is chipped.


So, are harnesses good for dogs? If you’re wondering the same thing, know that they certainly have an array of benefits.

From letting you have more control over your pet to protecting their respiratory tract, there's plenty to like about harnesses.

They're also stylish and readily available from any pet supply retailer in your area.

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