How Tight Should a Dog Harness Be?
There is an overwhelmingly wide variety of gear available for your pet pal, so it can be difficult to choose one harness over another.
But a harness is a very worthwhile piece of equipment and it is actually one of the best dog gear items you will ever buy, so it is important that it fits properly – and this includes tightness.
In the past, dogs were put on collars and leads, which was the total input into their walking gear. However, as we have increased our knowledge and interest in our pooch’s health and wellness, it has led dog gear manufacturers to create many innovations in training and exercise equipment, with harnesses being given a lot of focus.
These items are great for making your dog’s walking and training comfy and enjoyable, provided that the harness is the right tightness. Let’s take a look at harnesses and how tight they should be.
Why Use a Harness?
There are quite a few reasons to select a dog harness, the main ones being for training, lifting, and stopping choking. Traditional collars may choke your pooch if they are a puller, whereas harnesses will evenly distribute your pup’s pulling force across their chest.
A harness offers you different points of attachment so that you can make sure that the leash doesn’t get tangled around you or your dog. It also gives you a different point to attach the leash when you are training your pup. When the lead is attached to the chest area, it makes it impossible for your dog to tug without turning themself around.
Harnesses also give you extra places to grab when lifting your pup into your car, over rocks or fences, or when around water. It also offers you more control if he gets excited by other dogs and people.
The Two Finger Rule
Ensuring that your dog’s harness is the right tightness is quite easy when your keep the two finger rule in mind. The harness needs to be tight enough that your pup can’t wiggle free from it, but not so tight that it hurts them or makes it difficult for them to breathe.
If your pup reacts to the tightness of the harness, do not give in. Your dog will get used to how it fits. If your pup reacts badly, put it on for a few minutes and play a game with them. Gradually increase the wear time and start walking them around the house, first without a leash, getting them to follow you, then with a leash. As long as you can fit two fingers between the harness and your dog at any point, you have the correct tightness.
Using a Harness
Over the last couple of years, harnesses have become more popular because dog owners have discovered the benefits they offer. They are a good training tool for puppies that are learning to walk on a leash, and they let you have more control. Harnesses stop your pooch from jumping on other dogs without choking them. Harnesses also discourage tugging.
Another advantage that harnesses have over collars is that it reduces the risk of a neck injury, especially in delicate toy breeds. Harnesses also cause less restriction for pups that struggle with respiratory issues and tracheal collapse, including French bulldogs and pugs. If you have a pup with breathing issues, a harness is a good choice. Collars can also cause some breeds’ eyeballs to bulge from their sockets when pressure is applied to their necks.
You can attach the leash to the harness on your dog’s chest or back. A front-attached harness is very effective for big dogs as you lead, giving you the control. Back-attached harnesses can make your pup’s pulling even worse without your guidance, which is needed when training. However, back-attached harnesses are perfect for small pooches that are aware of pressure. Plus, a front-attached harness may be painful and sore for little dogs.
Signs of Incorrect Fit
You may witness the following signs if the dog harness is too tight or loose:
- Chafing or loss of fur around the harness
- Escaping by wiggling free
- Back of the harness moves side-to-side
- Canine resists walking or has a different gait
There are many advantages to using a harness. With so many choices, it can become confusing to find and correctly fit one. Always keep things simple; be sure to choose the right size of harness for your pup’s chest and neck as well as their weight. Check that you can fit 2 fingers between the harness and your dog’s body – this is the surest way to know that the harness is the right tightness.