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The Best Harness for Your Dog

Updated on October 14, 2014
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

Jack Sparrow (Yorkshire Terrier) in the Plaid Step-in Harness
Jack Sparrow (Yorkshire Terrier) in the Plaid Step-in Harness

You can find the best harness for your dog!

When does your dog use a harness? For walks? In the car? At the dog park?

Does your dog try to escape from a harness? Does she hate the sound of velcro? Can he tolerate anything going over his head?

How long does your dog wear the harness? Just for outings? All day?

Who puts the harness on the dog? Does he/she have any medical issues, like arthritis in the hands?

You should keep all these questions in mind when shopping for a harness for your dog. And with the convenience of the internet - you can find the absolute perfect harness - no matter how you answered these questions!

Our shop, Golly Gear, specializes in harnesses. We carry over three dozen different kinds, from many different manufacturers, in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. And we've made it easy to find the right harness for your dog, any time, day or night. With our Do-it-Yourself Harness Picker you're guided through a series of easy-to-answer questions that will bring you to the best choices for your dog.

Still not sure? Fill out and submit our Harness Selector and receive personalized recommendations from our expert staff!

Three basic types of dog harnesses

The vast majority of dog harnesses falls into one of three basic types:

  • Step-in Harnesses
  • Vest Harnesses
  • Standard (Roman) Harnesses

The ins-and-outs, strengths and weaknesses of each type only become important if/when your dog has a particular issue you'd like to address.

Some dogs are afraid of things going over their heads. These dogs should wear Step-in Harnesses.

Some dogs hate the sound of hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures. There are many options with pinch clasps or buckles.

Other dogs have issues with choking and should use harnesses that avoid the throat/neck entirely.

Still other dogs are escape artists, or pullers, or have sensitive skin. There are harnesses to address all of these concerns - and more.

How do you choose?

Chances are you're reading this because you need to find a good harness for your dog. It's important that he or she is comfortable and, if you've used harnesses in the past, that you remember what you liked and what didn't work about your previous harnesses.

The most important consideration for any harness is proper fit. The dog's girth measurement, all the way around, just behind the front legs, is crucial. It's much more important than either the dog's neck measurement or his/her weight. If you don't have a fabric tape measure to get an accurate reading, use a piece of string or yarn, wrap it snugly around the dog just behind the front legs, and measure that span.

Once you decide on and purchase a harness, adjust it correctly. You should be able to fit only one or two fingers, laid flat, between the dog and the harness. Too loose and the movement of the harness may cause matting, chafing, or even allow the dog to escape. Too tight and the dog will be uncomfortable and may refuse to move at all.

Maddy (Chihuahua) in her Shoulder Collar
Maddy (Chihuahua) in her Shoulder Collar

Step-in Harness

The number-one issue dog owners want to address when purchasing a harness is choking - especially for small dogs, who are prone to collapsing trachea syndrome. The Choke-Free Shoulder Collar is the answer for many. The Shoulder Collar circles the dog around her shoulders - no neck involvement at all!

Putting on a Step-in style Harness

Lilly the French Bulldog in her Purple Comfort Harness
Lilly the French Bulldog in her Purple Comfort Harness

Vest-type harness

A new twist on the vest-harness these, the Comfort Harness by Gooby is one of the best harness innovations we've seen. The classic vest-type harness is updated with a criss-cross design and v-neck style that fits most dogs beautifully! We also love the seven vibrant color choices.

Putting on a vest-type harness

Winston (Boston Terrier) in the ComfortFlex Sport Harness
Winston (Boston Terrier) in the ComfortFlex Sport Harness

Standard (Roman) Harness

One of the easiest harnesses to put on and take off - this is a modern twist on the oldest style of harness - put it on over the dog's head, secure the strap around the tummy and done. This harness is perfect for the active, powerful dog of any size. This is the ComfortFlex Sport Harness which goes on easily, holds securely, and is cute, too. One innovations is the leash ring on a loop of its own, keeping pressure off the dog's back and distributing it across those powerful shoulders and chest.

Putting on a Standard (Roman) Harness

Only the best for your dog!

You've read this page because you want to do right by your dog. The right think includes being informed about your dog's health and nutrition as well. These books are worth reading for current information about your dog's well-being.

© 2012 Hope

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