A dog harness or a harness, in general, is an equipment that’s made up of straps that loop around the torso of the animal. Most harnesses are fastened together by side release buckles.
The basic design of a harness is to have a strap on the chest in front of the forelimbs of the dog and then another that goes around the torso behind the forelimbs. Both of which are connected at the sides of the dogs with buckles that make putting it on or taking it off so much easier.
A D- ring is always present at the back so a leash is clipped to it.
There are a wide variety of uses for pet harnesses. One of the most common uses of the pet harness is for restraint. When a pet harness is used as a restraint, it is usually worn with a leash attached to it.
The design of a harness, unlike a collar that only encircles the neck, allows for the distribution of force. They have loops that surround the thorax of the pet and this reduces the pressure placed on the animal’s throat and this, in turn, reduces the risk of strangulation.
The odds of a dog or any other animal slipping out of a harness as opposed to a collar is very low. For this reason, collars have slowly but steadily been replaced by harnesses.
Dog Sled Harness
Another type of harness is the sled dog harness. This harness depends on whether the dog is racing or hauling freight. Due to the constant development of dog sports, more varieties of harnesses are being created. The crowd favorite is the Y- back and guard or distance harness. Freight harness is mostly an H-back harness that has a wide chest and occasionally, extra padding. It is designed to make pulling of heavyweights more efficient and convenient. These harnesses distribute the weight being pulled over a wider body area.
Assistance Dog Harness
The assistance dog harness is used by guide dogs and mobility assistance dogs. There are handlebars attached to the harnesses that the dogs wear. People who are blind or physically disabled can hold on to these handlebars. Mobility assistance dogs have their harnesses designed to allow them to carry a little bit of their handler’s weight. This helps them provide balance assistance, bracing, stability, and counterbalance. Guide dogs have specially designed harnesses that help them communicate well with their handlers. The handle of a guide dog harness is quite different from that of the mobility assistance dog; the guide handle is positioned at an angle that allows a more comfortable and fairly natural hand position for the handler and it doesn’t carry weight.
A lifting harness as the name suggests is a dog lifting sling with a handle that wrapped around the body of the dog, allows you to help with relieving their hips, spine, or legs of their body weight. Each unique to their qualities, there are different types with their advantages. Some of which are the front harness, rear harness, mid-section support harness, rear and front combo, full-body harness, and amputee harness. There are a couple of conditions that give rise to the use of a dog lifting harness some of the top contenders being; hip dysplasia, sprained knees, broken bones, spine injuries, recent surgery, strained muscles, arthritis, and missing limb.
Car Safety Harness
These are safety purpose harnesses designed for the purpose of automobile restraint. It helps to restrain the dogs in the car using the car seat belt. The harnesses are advertised as being able to reduce the risk of injury to the animal in the car during a collision. The harness also prevents the animal from escaping the vehicle and from distracting the driver.
BRAND REVIEWS OF TOP 10 DOG HARNESSES
A harness should be very easy to put on. According to Jason Kraut, Owner of Jason the Dog Walker & Co., it is a big deal for an easy to put on harness because if you make a mistake in getting your dog the wrong harness, the dog walker suffers from that decision. A harness can make a real difference. It is advisable to go for a fully adjustable harness if you’re buying online or can’t take your dog to try it on. Jason Kraut also suggests to look out for multiple adjustment points for a good fit and leash clips both in front and at the back. He also mentioned that a front clip harness does great for a big dog. However, a front clip harness is a dangerous move more a small dog because the leash would constantly get tangled under them. In order to avoid that scenario, a harness with the leash clip at the back is better so you don’t have the leash dangling in front of the dog. A harness that can go both ways- clip in front and at the back is suggested. That gives room for options.
This is the best overall harness for all dogs.
The two Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness and Leash
According to Neli Chowdhury, founder, and owner of Brooklyn Tails and Trails who is also a fan of harnesses with multiple clips, when you want to buy a harness, it is important to go for one with multiple loops that go both in front the chest and the back of the chest as well. This is because the moment you clip to the front of the chest there would be no way for them to pull. Dogs are known to move leading with their nose and chest, so they will go the direction you want them to go if you pull the leash. It is something that has saved many of their walkers’ arms. She also suggested that for extra security, one should get a leash with two ends. “If your dog squirms or is an escapee, we suggest the use of a leash with double ends, that way, one end clips to the front og the harness and the other clips between the shoulders in the back”. This was not available five years back when she started the business but as it stands, they do and it has been amazing. This is the best overall harness with two ended leash.
Authentic Puppia HARNESS with neck adjustability
Recommended for little dogs by both Liff and Chowdhury. The puppia brand harness is a soft, mesh lightweight and very comfortable piece of equipment for small dogs. They are very easy to clean for those dogs that are low to the ground and get dirty easily. However, the situation may be, whether you’re having a muddy winter or it got dirty any other way, it can just be tossed in the laundry. Chowdhury recommended that for extra safety, you can connect harnesses and collars just in case. Whenever puppia is used on a small or skittish dog or rescues that are scared of truck noises and such, both a harness and collar is used. They are clipped together, so if they slip out of the harness, the collar serves as a backup. This is mentioned as the best harness to use for little dogs.
The Coastal pet K9 Explorer – A reflective Dog harness
Chowdhury recommends that for big dogs in particular, something with a little bit of reflective detail is preferably used and the K9 explorer dog harness comes to mind. Chowdhury also mentions that they are good for dogs like German Shepherds or boxers. It has a reflective strap and is padded. The reflective strap is useful for places with low light or just in case you’re walking your dog at night. The straps are really thick due to the fact that these dogs are pretty big and have a lot of muscle. This is notably the best harness for big dogs
Small Dog Choke Free Step In Harness, Gooby- Perfect Fit X Harness
Liff, Chowdhury and Kraut emphasized the importance of a harness that does not restrict the neck and chest in flat faced dogs. Their uniquely shaped faces make it difficult for them to breathe. Pugs and Boston Terriers need a harness that will protect their necks from pressure as they have flat faces. This harness was designed specifically to meet that need. This is the best harness for flat faced dogs.
The Ruffwear Front Range Harness for Dogs
Ben Cawley, the director of admissions and graduaate relations at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a trainer for over 20 years and a man who currently works with service dogs stated that when you want to engage your dog in hiking type activities and you want your dog to have fun and be in front of you, the Ruffwear Front Range Harness is highly recommended.There are different connection points on the harness, front, back and center so they can drag the leash and youcan also be in control if needed. It helps trainers to teach dogs about off leash manners. This is the best harness for hiking and off-leash training.
Easy Walk Harness from Petsafe
The Easy walk harness according to Chowdhury, is used on all four of her dogs that have a tendency to pull. “I use the Easy Walk Harness for my dogs. I have four of them. It is a pretty affordable harness and its good because my dogs tend to pull a lot. As curious dogs, they want to eat and sniff nearly everything”. It is a crowd favorite as it is easy to put on. Kraut further mentioned that he likes the Easy Walk Harness because it’s so easy to put on and it works regardless of the way you attach it. The two major ways of putting a harness on a dog. Its either you put it over the dog’s head and it goes on to be attached under their belly. There are also some that go underneath so it looks more like the dog is stepping into it and you clip it on top of them. Generally, dog walkers hate the harnesses due to the fact that they fight gravity and it can take about five to ten minutes to get it on a super excited dog. A harness that works with gravity on the other hand is so much easier as it goes over the dog’s head and the dog pushes itself into the harness and you simply clip it under. This is the best harness for dogs who pull.
Gentle Leader Head Collar from Petsafe
Both Cawley and Kraut have suggested using a head collar, which is also known as a gentle leader. There are a lot of dogs that need a gentle leader according to Kraut. It looks like one is walking a horse but the really big strong dogs are practically full of energy. Some of these dogs lunge at kids, oncoming skateboarders, runners or even bicycle riders. Dogs like that absolutely have to be controlled at a moment’s notice and control of their head equals control of everything. It also proves useful for dogs that eat off the street. This is the best harness for dogs that lunge at people or eat off the street.
The All Weather No Pull step in mesh dog harness with padded vest
A step in style harness is a lot less scary for puppies, skittish dogs and compared to the one that goes over the head. Many times people don’t make effort to introduce their dogs to a new piece of equipment like harnesses. There are so many things to do to make sure it is a positive experience the first time your put on a harness for your dog, especially if the dog does not like things being passed over their heads. For dogs like that, you can make use of a step in harness so they don’t get nervous the moment you put it on. This is one of the best harnesses for puppies and nervous dogs.