One of the most commonly asked questions by dog owners is what harness is best for their dog. Through my years of experience in the rescue world I have learned there is a true divide between what harnesses actually do and what owners want them to do.
There are several different types if harnesses, some that clip in front, some in the back, some with both and others without clips at all. Each harness has a different function and are meant to be used for a specific type of dog based on their leash skills.
In order for both hooman and fur kid to enjoy a leisurely walk, whether it be down the beach or through the neighborhood, you have to make sure you have the right equipment; Happy dog, happy owner.
Why a harness and not just a collar?
Collars are great for identification purposes and may even be suitable for a dog who’s mastered walking on a leash like a canine Olympian but 9 times out of 10 Fido needs something a bit gentler on his neck.
Collars alone do not provide any control and can place tremendous strain and pressure on the neck and throat. They can cause permit, irreversible damage. Not to mention, if your dog pulls strong enough to snap the collar you’ve just lost their form of identification should they take off.
So, what are your options?
There are 3 main types of harness all with very different applications.
The first is the most common and readily available: Back-Clip Harness – Leash clips to a loop on the dogs back.
Back-Clip harnesses are perfect for little dogs whose throats are especially fragile and are easily damaged. They are easy to put on and dogs generally adjust to walking on one of these harnesses pretty easily. However, they do little to discourage pulling and should not be used for training purposes. They are meant for calmer, already leash trained pups who can walk without pulling.
Back-clip harnesses also make it a bit more difficult for the lead to get caught under the dogs front legs as it keeps the leash back and drawn upwards.
The second option, a little less popular but still readily available, is the Front-Clip Harness - Leash clips to a ring center in the middle of the dogs chest.
Front Clip Harnesses are great for dogs who need a little TLC on leash etiquette. They clip in the front under the dogs chin in the center of the chest.
These harnesses give the owner more control over the direction the dog is walking and nicks pulling in the doopa. A dog that pulls will end up facing the wrong direction. These harnesses are also good for dogs who maybe dog reactive as the clip in the front allows the dog walker to easily redirect the dogs attention by turning them in the opposite direction of the object(s) causing a reaction.
Sadly, because they do clip in the front and the leash tends to sag a bit they tend to get more easily tangled in your fur buddies feet.
The third most common type of harness is the Tightening Harness - generally clips in the front, just like the Front Clip harness but this harness tightens slowly when a dog pulls.
These types of harnesses are the most used for training purposes.
But its important to be leery of where the harness tightens and the amount of pressure imposed on that part of the body. You do not want to cause pain or injury.
There are several different variations of this harness, even full body harnesses that tighten in different places depending on the direction and level of tugging.
You can also find harness that are a variation of the options described above...
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!