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DOG / training & behavior

How to Choose a Dog Harness

A comfy option when collars are a pain in the neck

Overview

When to choose a harness

If your dog has neck problems, if you have a puppy, or if your dog is a smaller breed a collar can pull too forcefully during their walks. A harness fastens around your pet’s body and has a leash loop near the shoulders, which takes pressure off your dog’s neck.

There are tons of harness styles — the best choice will depend on your dog’s size and personality.

Standard harness

The most common type of harness distributes the force of the leash against a dog’s chest and back, which works well for small dogs. However, it’s not the best option for a large, rambunctious pooch because it allows them to pull hard against the leash.

No-pull harness

This harness will tighten slightly when a dog pulls — but the force is felt under the dog’s front “armpits” instead their neck. Pay special attention to fit and watch for any signs of rubbing or irritation, since this style can sometimes pinch a pooch in the pits.

The right size and fit

Different styles have different fits. Measure around your dog’s ribcage before you buy any harness and check the packaging to make sure you’re choosing the proper size. It’s important to get size right. Harnesses that are too tight can be painful, but dogs can wiggle out of a too-loose harness.

Don’t ditch the packaging before you’ve tried the harness a few times. Putting on a harness can be tricky and the directions will come in handy so you don’t accidently slip it on backwards or upside-down.

When should I not use a harness?

Because harnesses are less restrictive and more comfortable than collars, dogs in harnesses are more likely to pull at their leashes. If your pet constantly seems to be trying to pull your arm off during walks, you might want to stick with a collar-and- leash.

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