How to Fit a Dog Harness Correctly

How to Fit a Dog Harness Correctly

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With the wide and overwhelming variety of paraphernalia available for our furry friends, it may be tough to select one item over another. However, a harness is a worthwhile investment. Actually, it is one of the best canine items you will own, and therefore, the correct fit is vital.

In the past, pups were placed on a collar and lead, which was the sum of their walking equipment. But, as our knowledge and interest in canine health has increased, it has led to many innovations in equipment and training – the dog harness being one.

These nifty accessories are ideal for making your pup’s daily walks both comfortable and enjoyable … that is as long as you have the right fit. Read on to find out how to fit a dog harness correctly.

Why Use a Harness?

There are many reasons to choose a harness, the main ones being training, lifting, and preventing choking. A traditional collar can choke your pup when they pull, but harnesses evenly distribute the weight across their chest.

Why Use a Harness

Harnesses give you different attachment points so you can ensure the leash doesn’t get tangled around your dog. It also gives you alternative leash attachment points when training. If your dog pulls, you can attach the leash to the chest area, making it impossible for them to pull as it will turn them around.

A harness offers you additional places to grab to lift your pooch into the car, over rocks, or while boating. It also gives you extra control if they react to other dogs.

Choosing the Correct Size Harness

Once you have chosen to get a harness, you need to find the correct size for your canine. There are a few measurements you need:

  • Neck: Place a tape measure around the biggest part of your pup’s neck, normally right above their shoulders
  • Chest: Wrap the tape around your dog’s rib cage and back at the biggest part.
  • Weight: Although neck and chest measurements are very accurate, many harnesses use weight as a size guide. If you can’t get your dog on the scale, measure your weight, then pick them up and get the total. The difference is your pup’s weight.

When you have the measurements, you can go to the store or pop online.

Harness Sizing Chart

Looking at the label on the harness, you will find the sizing guide. Most size ranges will overlap. If your pooch falls into two different size ranges for the chest and neck measurements, it is always best to go for the bigger size and make it smaller.

How to Fit an Overhead Harness

How to Fit an Overhead Harness

  1. To properly fit the harness, make it loose to start so you can easily slip it over your pup’s head.
  2. Slide your pup’s head through the neck piece
  3. Arrange the straps between their front legs and under their belly
  4. Fasten the buckles on each side of the harness
  5. Use the adjustment points to make the harness snug, starting at the sides, then the shoulder
  6. Ensure that you can fit 2 fingers between the harness and your dog

How to Fit a Step-In Harness

  1. Unbuckle the harness and lay it flat and open on the floor
  2. Place your pup’s left leg in the left loop and their right leg in the right loop
  3. Lift the harness up to your pups body
  4. Bring the straps around their shoulders to their back
  5. Fasten the buckle at the back
  6. Use the adjustment point to make the harness snug, starting at the sides then the shoulder
  7. Ensure that you can fit 2 fingers between the harness and your dog

Signs of an Incorrect Fit

You may experience the following if the harness is the wrong size or incorrect fit:

  • Chafing or loss of fur around the harness
  • Escaping
  • Back of the harness moves side-to-side
  • Pup resists walking or has a change in how they walk

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits to using a harness for both your pooch and you. With so many options, it can become overwhelming to find and correctly fit the right one. Keep it simple; if it is easier to use a step-in harness, then do so. If your pooch prefers an overhead harness, do that.

Be sure to select the correct size of harness for your dog’s chest and neck size as well as weight. If your dog has never used a harness before, ensure that you get them used to it first. Once they are used to it and the fit is correct, you will have enjoyable, comfortable walks with a happy dog.

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