Correctly Fitting Your Dog with a Harness

Correctly Fitting Your Dog with a Harness

Various Types of Dog Harnesses

If you want to learn how to adjust a dog harness to fit properly, the internet can be a source of confusion. The reason is there are different types of dog harnesses available on the market today.

Each of the types has different designs necessitating different ways to achieve an optimal fit. However, a dog that looks comfortable and free while properly wearing a harness demonstrates how a dog harness should fit.

Before you dwell on the steps and procedures for achieving a good fit, you need to know what options you have for a dog harness.

This article lists five of the common types of dog harnesses as well as their advantages and disadvantages to help you decide what kind you should buy.

1. Back-Clip Harness

The back-clip dog harness is one of the most common and easy to use harnesses because most dogs find it comfortable for walking. It is great for small breeds of dogs which are more prone to neck injuries caused by collars. As the name suggests, the leash attachment is found on the top of the dog’s back.


  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Comfortable for most dogs to wear
  • Leash attachment on the back does not tangle under the front legs as is the case with collars


  • Still not enough to discourage pulling
  • Offers little control over the dog’s behavior

2. Front-Clip Harness

The leash attachment of the harness is over the dog’s chest. It still removes pressure from the neck like most harnesses do. A lot of dog trainers choose this over the first type because it offers greater control and lessens the dog’s pulling reflex. The front-clip harness can more easily lead the direction of the dog as you walk with it.


  • Offers greater control over the dog
  • Discourages pulling or jumping and other poor leash manners
  • Provides directional steering or leading


  • Not ideal for dogs with serious behavior issues like aggression
  • Leash can tangle under the dog’s front legs

3. Tightening Harness

This type of harness is effective to discourage pulling. Whenever your dog pulls the leash, the harness adds pressure, making your pet feel uncomfortable.

This will cause the dog to slow down or stop pulling the leash. You will also notice that the leash will become slack. This type of dog harness is especially good for training an aggressive pet. However, it could also cause your dog sharp pain.

That is why it is always important to check that the tightening harness adds pressure gently and not painfully for your dog. Otherwise, it may only increase aggression.


  • Effective in training most dogs, teaching them not to pull the leash when you are walking
  • Generally, they are easy to wear and take off


  • May cause pain to smaller breeds of dogs
  • Too much pain can create negative behaviors

4. Lift Support Harness

A special kind of harness is made for older dogs and dogs who suffer leg injuries to help them walk, stand, etc. This harness supports dogs that cannot do the things that they used to on their own. Instead of carrying them, owners use this harness to lift the injured part of the body and assist them in getting in the car, climbing the stairs, and more.


  • Generally easy to wear and available in different sizes
  • Safe to use and provides support to injured and old age dogs


  • Some designs can cause discomfort to the dogs as it slides down to the hips

5. Two-point Connection

This type of dog harness is also great for training your dog. The two-point connection means you can attach two leashes at the same time; one on the chest and the one on the back of your dog. You can think of it as the front leash like a steering wheel for direction while the back leash is for brakes.


  • Allows you to walk beside your dog as well as offers good communication from owner to pets


  • Can be confusing to use for the first time
  • Leashes are prone to get tangled

How Does a Dog Harness Fit?

The general rule of thumb for fitting your dog with a harness is to slip two fingers in between the straps of the harness and the dog. The space allowance would be enough for your dog to feel at ease and comfortable while moving.

There are two ways to put a harness on your dog. They are either to slip the loops over the head and have the dog step through the arm holes, or to have the dog step over the straps into the harness.

Either way, it is recommended that you wait for your dog to be calm first before putting it on and to give him a treat to eat during or after you do it.

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