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Dog Harness: How to Select the Right Dog Harness

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There are many reasons owners to use a dog harnesses, including safety concerns, medical conditions, or behavior issues. For some small dog owners harnesses become a medical necessity due to a sensitive or collapsing trachea, dogs with bronchitis or upper respiratory diseases, for other large breed owners it is a way for owners to exert more body control over a powerful dog. A dog harness is often essential for breeds with thick necks and small heads as they can easily pull out of their collars. No matter what your motivation for using a harness, finding the right style should be easy when you stop to consider a few factors before you shop.

Features to Consider in a Dog Harness

  • Materials
  • Type (training (i.e. no pull or no jump harnesses), H-harness, car seatbelt adaptable, step-in)
  • Width of straps
  • Size
  • Adjustable
  • Safety, strength
  • Comfort
  • Fashion
  • Type of buckles
  • Ease of Use

    Desirable Features in a Dog Harness

  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Machine washable
  • Strong material and secure buckles
  • Safe
  • Durable
  • Guarantee
  • Appealing
  • Performance

    Features to Avoid in a Dog Harness

  • Avoid leather; it is too bulky and uncomfortable
  • Avoid harnesses that are not adjustable

    Ideal Dog Harness Choice

    An ideal choice for a harness for your dog is an adjustable, easy to fit harness with secure buckles, that is comfortable, durable and machine washable. Choose from either the training harnesses, H-harness, car safety, or step-in harness based on your dog's size, temperament, body type or for primary function and ease of use.

    Shopping & Safety Tips for Buying a Dog Harness

  • Check to make sure the thickness of the harness straps are proportional for the size of your dog.

  • Before you shop, take measurements of your dog's chest so you can determine the appropriate size. Keep in mind that each harness type may have different or additional measurement points to assure proper sizing.

  • The H-style and step-in harnesses tend to be a little easier for owners to put on.

  • The no-jump or no-pull training harnesses need to fit differently than other harnesses. Follow the directions carefully, or have your trainer fit the harness the first time.

  • The Gentle Leader® Easy Walk TM Harness tightens across the chest and shoulders when your dog attempts to pull forward.

  • When wearing a No Jump Harness®, your dog will be able to walk but not run or jump.

  • Car safety harnesses work with your car's safety belt. Generally they allow your dog to sit or stand comfortably while keeping him secure in the car. Some (but not all) can be left on for walking once out of the car.

  • Buy a harness in a durable, washable material.

  • A harness should be tight enough to prevent slipping.

  • The harness material may stretch or loosen with age, use, or washing so be sure to check the fit each and every time you use it.

  • Be aware that some dogs have the capability to slip out of a harness that is too loose, especially if they “put the brakes on” and you pull forward.

  • Whatever type of harness you select, find one that is adjustable so it fits your dog properly and will expand if she does.

  • Before taking your dog outside on the harness and leash, let her wear the harness indoors so that she becomes acclimated to it and you can be assured that it fits properly.

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