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How to Put on a Dog Harness the Right Way

Dog harnesses are a handy tool for taking your dog on a comfortable walk. They are recommended over collars because they do not run the risk of choking your dog while they are being walked. Some dogs take time to learn how to walk calmly next to their owners. A no-pull dog harness can help you teach them this skill while still protecting their neck and throat.

However, a harness can look very confusing when you are trying to figure out how to put it on your dog. If you have a wiggly puppy, this task can be even harder! It’s a good idea to have a plan for how to put the harness on your dog before attempting it.

One of the confusing things about harnesses is that there are different styles of harnesses! We will go over instructions for the three main types of harnesses—a standard dog harness, a step-in dog harness, and a front clip dog harness. All of these have similar designs but are put on a bit differently.

Standard Dog Harness

This style of harness is probably the one that you are most familiar with seeing on dogs. This harness has a small loop for the neck, a larger loop for the ribs, and is connected by a length that goes on the top of the dog’s back and has a ring to attach the leash to and a length that goes between your dog's legs and attaches to the piece around the ribs.

To get this type of harness onto your dog, you will first want to stand above or kneel next to your dog when they are calm. Slip the smaller loop over your dog’s head and around their neck, making sure the D-ring is on your dog’s back.

One leg at a time, guide your dog’s front paw through the leg hole on that side of the harness. The other leg should be able to be clipped into the harness by securing the larger loop that goes around the ribs.

When looking at your dog, there should be a three-way ring on the front of their chest with two parts going to the side and across the shoulders, and one piece going down between the front legs.

Looking from above, you will see the two shoulder lengths meeting on the top of the back where the D-ring clip for the leash is. From here you will see two lengths going down around the belly to meet the piece that is going between the two front legs.

Adjust the harness as needed. This will not be necessary after the first time, as you will have it ready for your dog (unless they are a growing puppy). A good test of the tightness of the harness is to make sure you’re able to slip two fingers underneath each of the straps. Also, try to pull the harness off their neck—if it’s secure, you will not be able to.

Step-in Dog Harness

A step-in dog harness is very similar to the standard dog harness. This type of harness has two triangles for the legs. Lay this harness on the ground and have your dog place their paws in the triangles. Then, raise the two sides up and around your dog's ribs and attach the D-rings to the leash.

Front Clip Dog Harness

The last style of harness is one that can be used to teach your dog not to pull on the leash when being walked. This style has a D-ring on the front of the chest as opposed to their back. Some are designed like the previously-mentioned harnesses. If they are, follow those instructions.

Some are designed without a strap in-between the legs. These can be put on by putting the harness over the dog's head and then strapping the belly strap underneath your dog's belly.

Walking your dog is one of the best ways to bond with them. An added bonus is the exercise that you will both be getting! A harness can be a great tool in learning how to enjoy walks to their full potential, no matter how spunky your puppy may be! There's no need to be intimidated by the confusing looking harness—just follow our steps and you'll be all set for your next outdoor adventure!

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