There's probably nothing in the world that a dog likes more than going out for a walk. This must be a part of your daily routine if you have a canine friend at home. You need a leash and a good harness to do this safely. They will prevent your dog from escaping and from straying too far from you when you're strolling about.
Dogs need to go out to relieve themselves, stretch their legs, release their energy and socialise with other dogs. However, you have to make sure that your pet doesn't run across the road, get lost or fight with other animal. Nowadays, a harness and a leash are the most frequently used solution.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our selection: The best dog harnesses
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dog harnesses
- 4.1 Why should I walk my dog with a harness?
- 4.2 Does my harness also work to tie my dog in the car?
- 4.3 Are people afraid of dogs who don't wear harnesses?
- 4.4 Is a collar the same as a dog harness?
- 4.5 What problems can a collar cause that a harness won't?
- 4.6 How do I get my dog to not pull too much on the leash?
- 4.7 Are harnesses suitable for dogs of all weights and sizes?
- 4.8 Can harnesses make my dog pull more?
- 4.9 What advice should I follow when taking my dog for a walk?
- 4.10 What happens if I just harness my dog so it can relieve itself?
- 4.11 How long should I walk my dog for?
- 4.12 Can I take my puppy out with a harness?
- 4.13 What vaccinations are required before my dog can go out?
- 4.14 Do all harnesses prevent my dog from pulling?
- 4.15 How should I use a no-pull harness with my dog?
- 4.16 How will my dog react the first time it goes out with a harness?
- 4.17 Should I also muzzle my dog?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- The harness you choose must fit the body, size and needs of your dog, as well as your comfort of use.
- Going out is the best time of the day for your canine friend, and wearing a harness will make it a pleasant moment for you, other people and other dogs walking about near you.
- Dog owners are required to have their animal on a leash in most public areas and when travelling by car. Unlike collars, harnesses can divide the weight evenly along the body of the canine, allowing you to pull on the leash without harming it.
Our selection: The best dog harnesses
In the following section, we've analysed products to come up with our selection of the very best dog harnesses available on the market right now. You'll discover what the main features of each one so you can compare different models. This will make your job all that much easier when you have to pick the harness that best suits your dog and yourself.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dog harnesses
Before you buy a harness for your dog, you should absolutely know the functionalities of this canine product and its benefits for your pet and yourself. This will naturally depend on the model you choose. In the section below, we discuss some of the most important aspects regarding harnesses, so that you can make an informed decision. We've also answered the most frequently asked questions.
Why should I walk my dog with a harness?
Dogs need to be restrained in all public places, except those specifically designed for them. You can only let your canine friend loose in parks where these animals are allowed or in other specific areas.
Does my harness also work to tie my dog in the car?
To travel legally and safely, you must wear a seat belt at all times in your vehicle. The exact same goes for your dog. You are advised to attach the belt to a harness for greater comfort. This accessory will ensure that your canine friend is protected and that the force of braking doesn't cause it any unwanted harm.
Are people afraid of dogs who don't wear harnesses?
If you walk your dog on a leash, you can avoid these risky situations and not disturb other pedestrians who are afraid of animals. Situations can quickly escalate if your dog runs loose. It may become uneasy before a fearful person, and that person will further increase the discomfort and fear they feel.
Is a collar the same as a dog harness?
A harness with the corresponding hook is necessary when travelling by car, while a collar cannot be used in that case. It would cause greater harm to your dog in case of an accident or braking.
What problems can a collar cause that a harness won't?
|Collar||Some say that the harness can be pulled on, as it was its original purpose. It's also an indication that pet and owner are going for a walk.||Pulling can actually cause damage to the neck of your dog, which is a very delicate part of its body.|
|Harness||Pulling won't harm your pet since the weight of the leash is distributed over its body. Recommended when travelling by car. Ideal for dogs with respiratory problems.||A dog that you are often correcting for pulling may think that it can indeed pull. Do not tolerate it.|
How do I get my dog to not pull too much on the leash?
If this is your case, experts advise you against using retractable leashes, as these give freedom that your dog cannot have during training. very short leashes, on the other hand, will oppress your pet. Remember that, while you ultimately set the rules, you should also try and walk at their pace. This is their happy time, so don't stop too often.
If your dog pulls more than it should, stop until it calms down before continuing your walk. If you can't get it to obey, simply change direction and your pet will know exactly which way you're going. Keep in mind that you should always be calm, as it would notice if you are nervous and will be too.
Are harnesses suitable for dogs of all weights and sizes?
Very small dogs are lighter and easier to control, so a harness is more of a nice accessory. It is a great tool to train larger breeds in the beginning: it allows you to direct their movements and make them understand what they can and cannot do. You also have better control over them.
Can harnesses make my dog pull more?
This is why it is not evident whether a harness will make your pet pull more or not. In fact, the market offers certain models designed to teach your dog not to pull on the leash. It's also interesting to know that a harness will cause less physical harm to your dog than a collar if it has the tendency to pull a lot during walks. As we mentioned earlier, this is because the weight is more evenly distributed.
What advice should I follow when taking my dog for a walk?
After you've given your pet some fun time, you can go for a walk together. This is when you want to set some proper rules. You can still allow it to smell or mark its territory from time to time, but you don't want this to be so frequent that you can't walk.
What happens if I just harness my dog so it can relieve itself?
Your dog won't be able to keep up with you anymore when you decide to go out for a longer walk. It will continue to think that you'll be going home soon and won't stop marking its territory every other step, making the walk very difficult and tiresome. Remember that this isn't your pet's fault, but rather what you've been teaching it every day.
How long should I walk my dog for?
These animals need to discover new smells and interact with dogs and people alike to get their minds working. If you always go out for a good 20 to 30 minutes of walking every time, your canine friend will know that it has the time to do everything it wants. This will mean that it is also more obedient to you.
Can I take my puppy out with a harness?
Puppies will need to have a suitable place at home to do their business. Experts say a dog will learn everything you teach it between the age of 3 and 14 weeks. This is therefore a crucial time in terms of education. In that regard, you can start putting a harness on your dog and walk together inside your home so it is prepared for its first outing.
What vaccinations are required before my dog can go out?
- The first round of vaccines is given between six and eight weeks of life.
- The final vaccine is not given until your dog turns sixteen weeks.
- Your puppy will be ready for the street after you check one last time with your vet.
- It is recommended to chip your dog before going for the first walk, in case it gets lost.
Do all harnesses prevent my dog from pulling?
You are advised to opt for a no-pull harness if your pet is particularly big, strong or still learning to follow your orders. These specifically-designed models will slightly close up on your dog and restrain its legs if it pulls on the leash. In that case, the leash is attached to the animal's thorax.
How should I use a no-pull harness with my dog?
The harness is adjusted to the dog's body, and generally features several grips so that you can control it and decide the direction to take. These harnesses have a ring on the chest and another on the back, so you can choose which one suits your use best.
How will my dog react the first time it goes out with a harness?
You are advised not to force your dog on its first walks, or expose it to the outside world for long if it is not comfortable. Let your pet smell around and find its own rhythm while getting accustomed to the surroundings. Don't force it to interact with other dogs or people. Your animal needs to do what it wants to gain confidence.
Should I also muzzle my dog?
Depending on your state laws, breeds such as pit bull terrier, Presa Canario or Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian mastiff) will need to wear a muzzle in public spaces at all times. Other dogs that have shown signs of aggressive behaviour, or that may potentially be aggressive, should also be muzzled for extra safety.
Dog harnesses aren't only useful to make walking your pet more comfortable: they are sometimes mandatory by law. In any case, you will always need one of these accessories, and you want to buy one that fits both your dog and yourself. To help you make the right decision, we've discussed the following key criteria in the next section:
- Night-time visibility
It is very important that you measure the size of the harness so that it fits your dog's head without disturbing it. This is also true for the lower part of the harness, which goes around the thorax. If it's loose, it may chafe its body while walking, and your dog will be able to escape. Overly large harnesses also make it more difficult for you to control the animal.
On the other hand, your dog will feel oppressed and may even have difficulty breathing if it's too tight. Most models sold on the market come in different sizes to fit all breeds. You can naturally adjust the harness using the straps to make it wider or narrower depending on your dog.
A wide array of materials are used to manufacture these accessories. You can even buy harnesses designed specifically for winter or summer. One of the most important things is that the product be resistant enough to withstand your dog pulling on it. Pay particular attention to this if you have a large dog. The straps connection each part of the harness tend to be made from nylon, a very strong material.
During summer, you may want to opt for a mesh model. It will help your dog to breathe and sweat won't become an issue. Some harnesses are designed to withstand going in water so your animal can cool off when it gets very hot. Nylon webbing products are also useful for the heat. In winter, you should prefer padded models.
The climate will naturally influence the material you choose, but you also want to ensure that the one you opt for won't damage your dog's skin. Nowadays, most harnesses are made from products that respect canine skin. We strongly encourage you to pay attention to this criterion, as poor quality materials may lead to wounds.
Dog harnesses come in different shapes and designs, each performing specific functions. They can adapt to different bodies and sizes to perfectly fit each animal. We've listed the main harness designs available right now on the market, so you can choose which is best suited to your pet:
- Y-harness: Made with nylon straps, it generally wraps the chest and legs of the animal, closing near the ribs. Other materials are also used for the straps, such as leather. They give little control, so they are ideal for smaller breeds or dogs that have learnt to walk without pulling on the leash. These models keep your dog cool in summer.
- Safety harness: This model is also called a three-point harness. Similar to the Y-harness, it features a waist strap to prevent your dog from turning back. It is most commonly used with breeds like hunting dogs and greyhounds. That third point on the waist will make your pet feel more protected.
- Training harness: Also known as no-pull harnesses, these accessories are designed for you to stop your dog from pulling on the leash. They have a ring to hook the leash in the centre of the chest, and sometimes another at the top of the back. Also made from nylon straps, they are particularly helpful during training.
- Vest harness: This type of harness is usually padded and more comfortable during the colder months because it covers a greater part of the body. The Julius-K9 products has made them very trendy. You can also use them for summer if they made from light mesh. Fearful animals feel more protected with these models, and it allows you to better control your pet.
Today, many harnesses are visible in the dark. They will allow you to find your pet in case it gets lost at night or starts running in dark places. There are two main types of harnesses that will let you keep an eye on your dog in almost any situation. They are made with the following straps:
- Reflective straps: They are made with a material that sends light back to its original source. This means that they are only visible when light hits them. Otherwise, you will not be able to see the harness. In other words, models with reflective straps are useful to find your dog if there are lampposts, cars circulating or if you're using a flashlight.
- Luminescent straps: These models of dog harnesses are less common than those mentioned above. The material they are made from receives and stores energy, later transforming it into a light source in dark environments. This basically means that you will always be able to see the harness, even if there is absolutely no light around.
As you now know, you have to take your dog out several times a day. These animals needs to stretch their legs, have fun and do their business. However, many Australian states have regulations requiring dogs to wear a leash attached to a collar or a harness.The former have become particularly trendy, due to the fact that they are very comfortable to use, both for the dog and for its owner.
You'll realise that a harness is a great tool to take your dog out, to train it, to guide it and to control its movements. These accessories are also mandatory to use with the seat belt when you're travelling with your pet. You will find a wide range of models on the market, manufactured with different materials and in all sizes to fit the needs of your dog and yourself.
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(Source of featured image: Jaromir Chalabala: 32461779/ 123rf.com)