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30+ Of Your Questions About Canine Harness, Answered!


Harnesses for dogs are a weird concept, aren’t they? Well. I really want to discuss it with you so that you’re much more comfortable with them.

So, I’ve gotten the 30 or so most frequently asked questions about Harnesses, and answered them for you.

Right here.

What dog harness is best?

I love this question, and I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to it and created this list: 19 Best Dog Harnesses – Tried and Tested which is a growing list of everything that I’ve tested with my three dogs.

But as a quick overview, firstly, consider shape. The harness should be y-shaped to allow for optimum freedom of movement. The harness should be comfortable and not cause chafing, it should also be able to fit correctly and have adequate flexibility to allow for a correct fit.

Honestly though, the best thing you can do is head over to the best harnesses list and see what I’ve been up to!

Which dog harness is best in the UK?

Actually the current Best Dog Harnesses is a British designed and made. So that should answer your question!

Some harnesses have handles like the embark urban harness, this particular harness comes with a front chest attachment as well as a back attachment which can definitely help if your dog is a puller.

What dog harness is best to stop pulling?

Firstly, it’s never the equipments’ job to teach your dog, it needs to be a trained effort. However, a “Two point” harness, aka a harness that has both chest and back attachment points are my favourite for teaching a dog to stop pulling. They give fantastic control and I’d thoroughly recommend them!

(A unique list is forthcoming but check the Best Harnesses list for now!)

What dog harness is the most comfortable?

Comfort is one of the number 1 things I’ve considered when creating the Best Dog Harnesses 2022. Comfort has to come first, which is why there are no “front strap” harnesses in there, they’re all y-shaped and enable your dog to move freely!

What dog harnesses are crash tested?

Sleepypod and Kurgo Impact are two I know off the top of my head. I’ll be creating a list of crash tested harnesses in the near future.

What dog harnesses are made in the USA?

There are several manufacturers who keep their factories and supplies in the US, but they do tend to be smaller designers. Brands like Tactipup, Modern Icon and Landshark are made in the US – but I’ll make a shortlist for this.

What dog harness does the military use?

Whilst I’ve yet to find the actual brand, they use “Tactical” harnesses. Which are harnesses that are are longer, contain more material (typically) to guard the body. They’re designed primarily to protect your dog and for hard terrain. They often come with the flexibility to implement the MOLLE system often used in the military, and likely have some level of stab deterrence in them.

What dog harnesses do the Police use?

The police tend to use “Tactical” Harnesses. I think the ones provided to the police are from Ray Allen Manufacturing – I’ll check with them and confirm.

How should a dog harness fit?

Not too tight and not too loose. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit two fingers between your dog at all points, focus it on the ‘tight’ points, like just above the spine, on the chest bone and by the neck.

But this goes into it in much more detail: How To Fit A Harness For Your Dog

Shelby wearing a pink X-link harness from ezy-dog
Shelby wearing a pink X-link harness from ezy-dog, this harness has a really broad front chest plate, which can make harnesses more comfortable for broad chested dogs like bull-breeds.

Are dog harnesses machine washable?

Most are, yes. I’ve only found one that says it’s not (the Ruffwear Flagline) – but I washed it anyway and it’s come out fine so far! But always check the instructions, it can also be really useful to pop it in a pillow case when you’re washing to stop it clunking around in your machine.

The only ones I might suggest against washing are leather and biothane harnesses. But anything fabric should really be okay. I do encourage line drying it (or allowing it to dry naturally!).

Are dog harnesses bad?

No. They’re actually really good because they contain your dog in the safest way possible without hurting your dog or compromising their safety in any way.

Are dog harnesses better than collars

Harnesses are certainly safer than collars. Collars (particularly if they’re not the right width for the right size of dog) can impose upon your dogs trachea and cause damage – particularly if your dog is a puller.

Are dog harnesses good or bad

Good! They’re definitely good. There’s still a lot of rumour online that they’re not, but it’s come from a place of ignorance. Usually from the ‘but huskies use harnesses for pulling’ line.

And yeah, they do. But the harness a husky uses to pull is structurally different to an every day walking style harness. So please don’t pay this any mind.

Are dog harnesses supposed to be tight

The answer here is tight enough. A harness should be tight enough that it doesn’t present a risk in snag or tangling your dog up, or chafing, but it should also not be too tight. too tight can cause just as many problems as too loose.

But for more info, check out How To Fit A Harness For Your Dog!

Are dog harnesses better than leashes

This question confuses me. They’re two different pieces of equipment and both are technically required? They’re different aspects of managing your dog and should be treated as such.

Lucy the coonhound wearing a haqihana harness
Lucy the coonhound wearing a haqihana harness – i love this harness because it’s really soft and very adaptable!

Are dog harnesses illegal

No.

This comes from the fact that in some places (like in the UK) it’s a legal requirement that your dog wear a collar with an ID tag on. The “Control of Dogs Order 1992” in the UK says they need to wear a collar with an Identifying tag read more over on the blue cross page.

But it’s not to say that harnesses are illegal and to be honest? This is an argument of semantics.

Are dog harnesses adjustable?

Yep! Different harnesses come with different amounts of adjustability. For example the Perfect fit has 5 ‘dimensions’ of adjustment, whilst the Ruffwear Front Range has 4. Some even have 6! You’ll notice most harness manufacturers give a range of sizes that they apply to.

Why should I use dog harness

it’s usually used for containing a dog in a more friendly way than a collar. A harness protects the trachea and is harder to slip than a collar too. They’re also great for travel if you have a car safe harness.

I love harnesses for reactive dogs and for dogs who might be more inclined to lunge.

the blue-9 balance harness on shelby the redbone coonhound y-shaped harness on hound dog
this is the blue-9 balance harness, it’s a great example of a “Y-shaped” harness, can you see the chest strap and then the shoulders form a Y in shape?

Why would I use a dog harness instead of a collar?

Mainly for safety. Harnesses are safe to use with longlines and flexi-leads, whilst a collar is not. Harnesses are safer for dogs who pull or lunge. Harnesses are also car safe, where as collars are not.

It’s mostly about protecting your dogs neck and trachea, which are fairly vital to their survival (read: critical!)

Why should I buy a dog harness?

Because you’re interested in protecting your dogs safety. Harnesses are the safe option for containing your dog as they don’t cause pain or discomfort or impose upon the trachea when your dog pulls or similar.

Additionally, they’re great for control and for teaching.

Why doesn’t my dog like their harness?

It could be a number of reasons such as a poor fit, an uncomfortable choice of harness, or sometimes they don’t like the process of a harness going over their head.

There’s a lot of reasons for it, but the way to remedy this is to ensure you’re not making a game out of putting on their harness (the “chase me” thing is usually fun for dogs!) and then make sure that your dogs harness has a positive connotation to it!

Do dog harnesses work on cats

Small ones absolutely do. They’re fundamentally similar, and if you measure them properly, they should work. Heck, I’ve seen dog harnesses repurposed onto a snow leopard cub!

Do dog harness stop pulling

No, but they can certainly help you achieve this goal as you teach them. I would recommend a two point harness (where there are attachments on the chest and on the back), and a double ended leash to attach to both of these points.

Check Best Dog Harnesses for a harness with these attachments and then the instructions for how to teach your dog not to pull, check this!

the OneTigris Metall harness k9 tactical harness
This is a tactical style harness from OneTigris! It’s the Metall harness and you can find a review for it here.

Do dog harnesses hurt dogs?

Only if they’re incorrectly fitted, have a sensitivity or you do something with your harness that you’re not supposed to, such as use a non-crash-tested-harness in a car crash…

So check it’s fitted correctly and make the best choice for you, your dog and how you live and it should work out just fine.

Do dog harnesses encourage pulling

Nope. It’s a common misconception, but the device doesn’t encourage pulling. The only thing that encourages pulling is the human on the other end of the leash – sorry!

But it is true. It takes training no matter what tool you use, but the safest tool to use is a harness without a doubt.

Do dog harnesses help with pulling

A very specific type of harness can help your dog to pull, but these are sports harnesses, not the ‘every day’ walking style harness. A pulling harness (joring, mushing, canicross or even weight pulling) is specifically constructed to push the strain around the entire body, they’re structurally different than a normal harness.

What Is A Tactical Harness For Dogs?

Modelled after the military harnesses of the working K9’s, these harnesses are longer, contain more material (typically) to guard the body. They’re designed primarily to protect your dog and for hard terrain. They often come with the flexibility to implement the MOLLE system often used in the military. This means you can quickly turn these harnesses into a backpack, or just carry their favourite toy.

How’s that?

I think I’ve pretty much covered everything you might ever want within this page, but if you have more, either comment below or email me and I’ll endeavour to get you an answer! I know a couple of these are vague, but I am looking into them or making proper lists for you. So bear with me!

If you need more help with your dogs harness, why not go see my Harness rankings? They may help! and if not, feel free to book in a bark day!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!



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