Harnesses are worn by dogs and act as a form of leash attachment, hence replacing collars for some.
It supports the entire torso compared to a collar which only supports the neck. They are growing in popularity in recent years due to the added safety for the dogs wearing them.
Each harness comes equipped with a loop on the back which allows for leash attachment while the straps secure the body of the dog. The strap prevents the harness from slipping off which is common with collars. They are also available in a variety of sizes to fit any breed of dog.
This means that dogs as small as pugs to dogs that are as large as golden retrievers are all able to use one.
Harnesses are also available in a wide range of colours and designs, hence allowing them to act as styling accessories as well for your dog.
Why Are Harnesses Good for Your Dog?
- Allow owners to have greater control over their dogs. This makes it easier for owners to train their mischievous pups that like to run around and jump on people.
- Help protect dogs that may have respiratory problems. Collars may cause choking or coughing fits when the owner pulls back on the leash too hard. The collar crushes the windpipe, restricting the dog’s airflow, thus making it harder for the dog to breathe. Pugs are especially vulnerable to this problem and continued pressure on their neck areas may result in their eyes bulging out from the sockets.
- Reduce the chance of neck injuries for your dog. Dogs can suffer whiplash from being jerked around too hard when they are on a collar and leash. Whiplash is caused by sudden jerks of the head which will result in the muscles of the neck getting sprained or torn. Neck injuries are generally very serious and some cases may even lead to the dog being more vulnerable to cancer.
- Harder to entangle so if you have a very active and playful pup that enjoys running around, a harness is suitable if you do not enjoy getting tangled up by the leash and looking silly. Also, the leash is connected to the back of the harness which prevents the dogs from getting entangled and potentially tripping over their leash.
- Prevent pressure on the thyroid gland which is situated in the neck of the dog. The thyroid gland is an important cog in the machine that is the immune system. Inflammation of the thyroid gland may lead to diseases due to a weakened immune system. Sustained pressure on the thyroid gland may result in thyroid gland inflammation and eventual destruction which will cause your dog to be susceptible to serious illnesses.
Why Can a Dog Harness Be Bad or Uncomfortable?
The only observable problem with wearing a harness would be the slight discomfort your dog might feel due to it wrapping around his entire torso.
Hence, pet owners may be reluctant to subject their dogs to such discomfort.
Choose a comfortable harness or leash that is not tight for your dog. Different dogs may have different preferences.
How Can I Train My Dog to Like a Harness?
Even if your dog has a specific preference, it can be easily circumvented by allowing your dog to get used to the harness and eventually like it. The solution is just like any other method of training your dog.
- Encourage your dog to play with the harness by leaving it alone with him. With time, your dog will smell it and eventually get used to its presence.
- Place treats on the harness to associate it with good memories.
- Pet and stroke your dog in the places where the harness will touch so as to get it used to the feeling.
Use those methods for a couple of weeks to allow your dog to get used to it. Try not to go too fast to prevent your dog from feeling uncomfortable as it may result in it rejecting the harness instead.
Further Steps to Take
Apart from the methods stated above, there are additional measures to consider:
- Letting your dog wear the harness around the house to allow him to get used to the feeling
- Rewarding it with a treat or its favourite toy every time it wears it
This allows your dog to associate the wearing of the harness to positive experiences, thus encouraging it to look forward to the harness instead of dreading it.
It allows you to bring your dog out comfortably for both of you.
How Do I Choose the Best Dog Harness?
Your dog deserves to be pampered and cared for, so it is critical to choose a suitable harness to give it the best experience it can get. That is why it is necessary to remember the tips below to make a good choice for your dog.
The most important part is to know your dog’s size and measurements to ensure that the harness you bought will fit your dog to a T. Tight harnesses will constrict your dog and affect its breathing while a loose harness will allow your dog to wiggle out easily, hence defeating its purpose.
How to Choose the Right Dog Harness Size?
In order to determine the best size, you can take measurements.
Measure these parts of your dog:
- Lower neck as that’s where the harness sits
- Chest (measure your dog’s chest at its widest point)
It is important to avoid choosing your harness based on your dog’s weight as 2 dogs with the same weight may have varying body structures.
The best way to tell if it is ill-fitting is when:
- There is fur loss around the areas where the harness is
- Your dog is able to wiggle free
- Your dog is strongly resistant to walking
Having the harness alone would be useless without the leash. The leash is attached to the loop on the back or front of the harness and it allows you to control where your dog wants to go. This prevents your dog from going berserk and running away from you.
Leashes are important as it protects you, your dog, and other passers-by. Just like harnesses, leashes are available in many different colours and styles which you can customise to fit your dog’s style and needs.
How Do I Choose a Good Dog Leash?
Not just any leash is suitable for you and your dog! The leash should be carefully selected to give you and your dog the best experience possible, especially if you’re choosing the best leash for dogs that pull.
Some considerations are:
- Consider nylon leashes as they are strong and durable. Nylon is also easily washed and can be kept clean with nearly no effort. Upon washing, nylon does not shrink either, making it a very good and solid material to use for a leash.
- Similarly, consider leashes that have handles (like the one in the photo) that possess a good grip hence reducing the chance of your dog yanking the leash away.
- Select retractable leashes to give your dog the freedom to walk but still put you in control as to how far your dog can go.
- Consult your local vet on the best type of leash that can be used for your breed of dog.
- For dogs that are chewers, choose wider leashes that are harder to snap to ensure strength. However, for younger dogs, it is advisable that a thinner leash should be used as wider leashes are generally heavier for the dogs, hence inhibiting movement.
- The clip on the end of the leash is also important as a lot of pressure will be put on it during walks. Hence the clip needs to be strong and will not be at risk of snapping. Furthermore, the clip needs to be waterproof to prevent corrosion should it be exposed to rain or your dog’s saliva.
- Try to get more than one leash at once as a standby should the regular one get damaged or lost.
How Do I Know What Size Leash to Get?
To achieve all-round control, it is recommended to get a leash that is 4- to 6-feet long, or 3-feet for a taller dog.
Like dog harnesses, you can also take accurate measurements of your dog to determine the leash size and length.
The Benefits of Retractable Dog Leashes
Retractable dog leashes are great for dogs because of their flexibility and control. Some benefits include:
- Gives your dog greater freedom of movement
- Improves your dog’s walks and quality of life
- Gives you control over a distracted or disobedient dog
Where Can I Get My Harnesses and Leashes?
You can check out the different leashes available here on PetFoodCare.
We hope that you and your dog have fun together outdoors in parks, the streets, and in nature!