Discover the 6 main types of dog harnesses, from back clip to Y-shaped harnesses. You’ll also learn how to put them on your pup and discover our top pick for each type.
As a new dog owner, going out with your dog is fun. It’s a great way to keep your pup active and enjoy nature together.
However, you must gear up properly to ensure your pet’s safety. That’s by deciding between the various types of dog harnesses for daily walks.
And if you don’t know where to start, this guide is here.
It will shed some light on the various types of dog harnesses and how to put them. The goal is to help you find the best lead attachment for your hound.
But before that, let’s understand what a dog harness is, why you need it, and how it works.
What Is a Dog Harness?
A dog harness is a special cloth that goes around your dog’s chest and back. It allows you to walk your dog without hurting his neck, keeping them safe and secure.
Dog harnesses often look like a little vest with straps that connect to a leash. You put your dog’s front legs through the holes in the vest and then buckle it up around their body.
What Is the Role of a Dog Harness?
There are plenty of types of dog harnesses, each with distinct functions and benefits.
Dog harnesses are useful training tools for guiding your pup during outdoor walks. They offer your dog greater control, reducing tension on their neck when they pull.
Harnesses also have straps that wrap around your pup’s torso. And like dog collars, they feature D-rings and clips you can attach to a leash for lead walking.
How do Dog Harnesses Work?
High-quality dog harnesses work by using your dog’s pulling power and weight. They spread out the force of the leash across the dog’s chest and shoulders to protect their neck and chest. As such, they help:
- Offer you more control over your dog during walks
- Reduce the risk of neck strain, injuries, and chocking
- Make it more comfortable for your dog to walk on a leash
- Prevent excessive pulling or tugging on the leash
So, with the right type of dog harness, you can confidently take your furry friend for a walk. It helps keep your dog safe and comfortable on all your adventures.
Types of Dog Harnesses and How to Put Them On
There are several types of dog harnesses, each with unique purposes, pros, and cons. However, most of them are suitable for lead training and outdoor walks. Here are the most popular options to consider:
1. Back Clip Harnesses
These are the most basic, versatile, and common types of dog harnesses available today. They feature a metal D-loop or ring sewn into the fabric at the back. These loops or rings offer a spot for attaching the dog leash.
Back clip harnesses are ideal for dogs that are often calm on dog walks. That’s because they are ineffective at discouraging pulling.
- Easy to use
- Works with different dog leashes, including retractable ones
- Widely available
- The leash is less likely to trip or tangle your dog
- Restricts your dog from reaching the leash and chewing it
- Difficult to discourage dogs that pull
OUR TOP PICK: PetSafe Back Clip Dog Harness
If you’re looking for the best back clip dog harness, consider the PetSafe Back Clip Dog Harness. Its soft padding and elastic neckline make it one of the comfiest dog harnesses on the market.
How to Put on a Back Clip Dog Harness
Having your dog wear a harness on a dog is easier than it may seem. Just follow these three easy steps:
- Lay the harness flat and identify the smaller loop at the front.
- Get down on the ground next to or behind your dog and gently slip the smaller loop over its head.
- Lift your dog’s front left paw and slide the harness strap through it.
- Guide the strap under your dog’s belly and buckle it near the right leg. Adjust for comfort.
- Make sure the D-ring on the harness sits on the top at the back, between your dog’s shoulder blades.
Ensure you measure your dog’s lower neck and chest bones. This will help you choose the right size harness and prevent any injuries.
2. Front Clip Harnesses
Anti-pull or front clip harnesses are excellent for dogs that excessively pull on leashes during walks.
Unlike back clips, these harnesses have strong D-rings on a dog’s chest for easy leash attachment.
These harnesses are ideal for dog owners who want to discourage pulling behavior and gain better control over their dogs.
They are useful for training your dog to walk on a leash. As your dog pulls, the lead shortens and moves to the side, guiding them back to you.
- Effective at discouraging pulling
- It provides better control over the dog’s movements
- Reduces strain on the dog’s neck and throat
- Encourages dogs to walk beside or behind the owner
- Some dogs may find the front attachment uncomfortable or restrictive
- Not suitable for dogs with respiratory issues or brachycephalic breeds
OUR TOP PICK: Ruffwear Frong Range Harness
One of the best front clip harnesses on the market is the Ruffwear Front Range Harness.
The harness has a belly panel, a padded chest for comfort, and two leash attachment points: one on the front and one on the back. It also has four adjustment points for a custom fit and a pocket for storing tags or treats.
How to Put on a Front Clip Dog Harness
Putting on a front clip harness on your dog resembles a back clip harness. The only difference is that the D-ring should be in the middle of your dog’s chest.
Here’s how to use a front clip harness:
- Crouch or kneel beside or behind your dog and unclip the belly strap buckle.
- Slide the main loop over your dog’s head, properly positioning the D-ring.
- Use the provided clips and adjust the belly strap behind your dog’s legs for comfort.
- When properly fitted, the chest strap should fit horizontally over your dog’s chest bone.
3. No-Pull Harnesses
No-pull harnesses are specifically designed to prevent dogs from pulling during walks. They typically have a front attachment point and additional features like chest straps or martingale-style loops that tighten when the dog pulls.
- Highly effective at reducing pulling behavior
- It offers more control and prevents the dog from lunging forward
- It provides a comfortable and secure fit
- Some dogs may find the tightness or pressure uncomfortable
- Not suitable for dogs with respiratory issues or brachycephalic breeds
OUR TOP PICK: Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Vest Harness
One popular no-pull harness is the Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Vest Harness. It is safe and cozy enough to make outdoor walks excitable.
This no-pull dog harness has a dual-clip design, making it one of the most versatile options available. The front clip is designed to help restrict your dog from pulling, allowing for effortless daily walking, outdoor activities, and training.
How to Put on a No-Pull Dog Harness
Putting on a no-pull harness requires a few more steps than traditional harnesses. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:
1. Unbuckle the no-pull harness and lay it flat on the ground.
2. Slide the harness over your dog’s head, ensuring the D-ring is positioned at the front of your dog’s chest.
3. Adjust the straps so the harness fits snugly but comfortably around your dog’s body.
4. Securely buckle the straps together on your dog’s back.
5. Attach the leash to the front D-ring on the chest of the harness.
6. Ensure that the harness is properly fitted and comfortable for your dog by checking that it does not restrict their movement or cause discomfort.
7. Practice walking with your dog using the no-pull harness, providing gentle guidance and redirection when they pull, and utilizing the saddle design to discourage pulling behavior.
4. Step in Harnesses
Some dogs may feel uncomfortable putting on the harness over their heads. In such cases, a step-in harness can be the best solution.
A step in dog harness is designed to be easy to put on and take off. It consists of two loops your dog steps into with the front paws and a closure around the back.
- Easy to put on and take off
- Comfortable for the dog
- Suitable for small dog breeds
• Not as secure as other types of harnesses
• Not suitable for dogs with a tendency to back out of their harnesses
OUR TOP PICK: Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness
The Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness is an excellent example of a step-in harness. It’s made of soft, supportive, and breathable mesh for keeping your dog cool and comfortable in any season.
You’ll find it with a hoop and loop fastener, which allows you to adjust its fit and secure your dog. The buckle and D-rings offer an extra layer of security.
With the reflective bands on the sides, this harness will ensure your dog is visible and safe during late-evening or night walks.
How to Put on a Step In Dog Harness
Putting on a step in dog harness is a simple process that involves your puppy stepping into the harness rather than going over their head. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:
- Unbuckle the harness and lay it flat on the ground.
- Guide your dog’s front paws through the loops of the harness.
- Pull the straps over your dog’s back.
- Clip the harness buckle on your dog’s back.
- Attach the leash to the D-rings on each side of the back buckle.
5. Dual Clip Harness
A dual clip harness allows you to attach leashes to your dog’s front, back, or front. The exact position will depend on your pup’s behavior.
They are one of the most versatile dog harnesses available. For example, you can use it on daily dog walks or when walking in places that require greater control, like busy streets.
Dual-clip harnesses are also ideal in preventing neck strain or injuries. That’s because they evenly distribute the pressure on pulls across your pup’s body.
- Versatile walking options
- Safe and comfortable for your dog
- Suitable for dogs that pull
- It takes time for your pup to get used to these types of dog harnesses
- The two metal loops may rub against your dog’s skin, making them uncomfortable
OUR TOP PICK: JUXZH Truelove Soft Dog Harness
Would a dual-clip be a great option for your pup? If yes, consider the JUXZH Truelove Soft Dog Harness.
It comes with stainless steel O-ring on a dog’s front (chest) and a back aluminum-alloy V-ring for attaching a lead. Additionally, there is a handle on the top that gives you excellent control of your puppy.
This harness boasts two adjustable neck straps and buckles, ensuring a proper fit for your pup. It’s elegant, durable, and safe to protect your dog from injuries while on walks.
How to Put on a Dual Clip Dog Harness
Having your pup wear a dual-clip dog harness can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time. These harnesses typically have both front and back attachment points. So they require a specific order of steps to ensure proper fitting and functionality.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:
- Locate the loose D-ring, which should be at the top of your dog’s back.
- Kneel or crouch calmly behind or beside your dog and gently slide the harness over its head.
- Pull each loop under your dog’s left and right forelegs and fasten the harness straps with the buckles.
- This harness has multiple D-rings, so ensure the loose D-ring sits at the top of your dog’s back.
6. Y-Shaped Dog Harnesses
These types of dog harnesses offer greater freedom of shoulder movements and comfort during outdoor walks or activities.
They have a Y-shaped structure, with the leash attachment clip at the back between the shoulder blades. This forms a Y-Shape when viewed from above.
Y-shaped harnesses also feature improved back clip fastening and fit. These elements help distribute your dog’s weight and prevent neck strain during walks.
- Provides enhanced control
- Reduces strain or pressure on your dog’s neck
- Offers a customized and comfortable fit
- Front clip attachment makes it unsuitable for dogs that pull
OUR TOP PICK: Eagloo Dog Harness
If you’re looking for the best Y-shaped harness for your dog, the Eagloo Dog Harness would be the perfect choice. It has versatile back and front clips for easy redirecting and controlling your dog when walking, hiking, or jogging.
This dog harness also features a top safety handle, providing quick control when needed. Thanks to the two non-slip buckles, it is easy to put on and take off.
With this harness, you can explore the outdoors with confidence!
How to Put on a Y-shaped Dog Harness
Thanks to its simple design, putting on a Y-shaped dog harness is a relatively straightforward process. All you need is to:
1. Unbuckle the y-shaped harness and lay it flat on the ground.
2. Slide your dog’s head through the opening in the middle of the harness.
3. Adjust the harness so the y-shaped portion rests between your dog’s front legs.
4. Bring the two straps behind your dog’s front legs and cross them over each other.
5. Securely buckle the straps together on your dog’s back.
6. Check that the harness fits comfortably and make any necessary adjustments.
7. Attach the leash to the D-ring on the harness’s back.
Factors To Consider When Choosing the Best Harness for Your Dog
When selecting the best harness for your dog, you need to consider several important factors. These include:
i. Size and Fit
Ensure the harness is the correct size for your dog, taking accurate neck and chest measurements. A properly fitted harness should be snug but not too tight, allowing for comfortable movement.
ii. Type of Harness
Consider the different types of harnesses available, such as back clip, front clip, no-pull, or step-in harnesses. Choose the style that suits your dog’s needs, behavior, and training goals.
iii. Control and Safety
Look for a harness that provides adequate control over your dog during walks. Consider features like sturdy buckles, adjustable straps, and secure leash attachment points. Ensure the harness is well-constructed and made of durable materials.
Prioritize your dog’s comfort when selecting a harness. Look for soft padding or materials that won’t rub against their skin. Avoid harnesses that may restrict their movement or cause discomfort.
v. Purpose and Usage
Consider your specific needs and activities with your dog. For example, a harness with reflective or visibility features may be beneficial if you plan to go jogging or hiking. If you need a harness for training or addressing pulling behavior, choose one designed for that purpose.
vi. Breed and Body Type
Different harness styles may be more suitable for certain breeds or body types. For example, breeds with short noses (brachycephalic breeds) may benefit from harnesses that don’t put pressure on their necks.
vii. Ease of Use
Choose an easy harness to wear and take off, especially if your dog is uncomfortable. Some harnesses have step-in designs or quick-release buckles for convenience.
viii. Reviews and Recommendations
Read reviews from other dog owners and seek recommendations from trusted sources such as veterinarians, trainers, or experienced dog owners.
By considering these factors, you can choose a harness that fits well, provides control and comfort, and meets your dog’s specific needs.
Types of Dog Harnesses FAQs
What Are the Advantages of Using Dog Harnesses?
Using a dog harness offers several benefits for you and your dog. Here are the main advantages of using dog harnesses:
i. Encourages Proper Walking
A harness helps dogs slow down and learn to walk properly. That’s by redirecting their pulling force and encouraging them to walk toward their owner.
ii. Reduces Neck Pressure
Harnesses distribute pressure evenly over the chest area. This reduces strain on the neck and prevents issues like restricted airways.
iii. Enhances Security and Safety
Harnesses offer a secure fit, reducing the chances of the dog slipping out and running away. This prevents accidents and ensures your dog’s safety.
Is A Dog Harness Safe for Puppies?
Absolutely! It’s safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks old to wear harnesses. Using a harness is particularly helpful for young puppies still learning to walk on a leash. It reduces the risk of neck injuries caused by pulling.
Puppy harnesses are popular and recommended. When introducing the harness to your puppy, give them a few days to get used to it before starting any training.
Starting leash training at a young age helps puppies develop good walking habits and gives you better control when you take them for walks.
What Is the Best Dog Harness for Pulling?
If you’re looking for a dog harness to address pulling behavior, the best option is a front clip harness. These harnesses, also known as anti-pull or no-pull harnesses, are designed to redirect the leash attachment to the side, encouraging the dog to come back towards you when they pull too far ahead.
Are Front Clip Harnesses Bad for Dogs?
Front clip harnesses are not bad for dogs. They are useful for managing pulling behavior and providing control during walks. However, use them correctly and ensure they are properly fitted for your dog.
What Type of Harness Is Best for a Dog?
The best type of harness for a dog can vary depending on the individual dog’s needs and preferences. However, a few popular harness options are often recommended, including dual clip, step-in, front, and back clip dog harnesses.
Ultimately, the best harness for your dog will depend on its specific needs, size, and behavior. When selecting a harness, it’s essential to consider factors such as comfort, fit, and control. It’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer to determine the most suitable harness for your dog.