Harnesses are an extremely beneficial training tool and a worthy alternative to a collar in many cases. You completely rule out the risk of neck injuries while at the same time gaining the peace of mind of knowing that you can walk your puppy or dog anywhere.
We'll be taking you through a look a dog harnesses and how to harness your dog safely and comfortably. A harness should never be tight but rather fit snugly with absolutely no discomfort. Let's take a closer look at everything you need to know about dog harnesses.
How a Harness Works
A harness works by evenly distributing pressure across the back, shoulders, and chest of your dog instead of compressing the tension around its neck. A collar holds the risk of slipping down too low, especially when a dog pulls extensively.
With the position of a harness fixed around your dog's body, there's very little risk of any pressure ever compressing the neck and trachea. You then reduce pressure even further by selecting an attachment point for your leash that is far back. Back-clip harnesses are perfect, but more concerning this is coming up soon.
Try a Step-In Harness
Always look for a step-in harness. This refers directly to the fitment style, not the position of the leash attachment. Step-in harnesses are the easiest to fit and the safest.
Incidentally, they're also the most comfortable for your dog. With this style being the most popular and most commonly found type, almost all good harnesses will follow the step-in design.
Dog Harness Types
There are many different clip positions where your leash attaches. Each gives varying degrees of control, each suited to a particular size of breed. Here's a breakdown of the different clipping positions you can expect to find.
Back-clip harnesses allow your leash to connect to a D-ring positioned on the back of your dog. This is the most common type of clip position and the best type for small dogs.
With the leash connecting to the rear, this is the furthest position from the trachea. The drastically lowered neck pressure comes at the cost of less control. A back clip doesn't really discourage pulling at all.
Front-clip harnesses are great for dogs with a tendency to pull. Thanks to the frontal positioning of the leash attachment, the tension guides your dog toward you rather than in a forward motion.
However, the only possible pitfall is that front-clip harnesses are more prone to tangling, especially if improperly fitted. This is the preferred harness for trainers and those who own large dogs.
Dual-clip step-in harnesses are far less common than other types. They're not the best design for long walks due to creating a likelihood of chafing over time.
They're also a bit more expensive due to granting more control. If you find the right harness, this design typically comes with extensive comfort features, as well. Select a dual clip harness if you need the highest possible degree of control.
Characteristics of Good Dog Harnesses
With so many different manufacturers readily supplying markets with a plethora of different designs, fabrics, clip styles, and even buckles, it can be hard to select the best harness for your dog. Here are a few features to be on the lookout for; each is a sign of a good quality harness:
- Strap composition that is weather resistance
- Machine washable fabric
- Smooth material to guarantee the softest fit
- Locking mechanism with multiple points
- Chew-proof design or fixed warranty period
Health Benefits of a Dog Harness
Keep in mind that using a harness reduces pressure on the neck, which sidesteps a host of potential issues. Neck problems occurring from your dog pulling during training are drastically minimized.
Pressure on the neck increases pressure on the eyes, which means that dog harnesses should be used by pugs. Any dogs with eye problems should generally stick to a harness.
Dogs with thyroid problems should avoid using a collar as well. The increased eye pressure problem mentioned for pugs poses an issue for any existing eye problems like glaucoma — harnesses are far safer.
Always Keep a Harness Handy
Remember, once your dog is used to walking on a leash with a good degree of good behavior, you can always switch to a collar instead.
The harness is always there as an alternative for those times when you'd rather not risk your dog pulling and running into trouble.
Restraint without the worry about harm is the best way to train your puppy, and for that, you need a good harness. Dog harnesses do work, and they work very, very well.