As dog people, we all love our four legged friends. We enjoy spending time with them at home or at the park, and sometimes, after a long day at work, the most relaxing thing is the world can be simply taking your dog for a stroll around the neighborhood. Until it’s not.
Have you found that your routine walks have become somewhat of a nightmare? Does your dog spend the entire walk dragging you along as you struggle to gain control of them? Is your pet normally okay on a standard collar until a cat, squirrel or other animal crosses his path and then it’s all you can do to hang onto him without dislocating your shoulder? We’ve all been there.
If your dog walks in front of you constantly, pulls on his leash and has more control over the situation than you do, then it’s time to reevaluate the tools you’re using.
Many pet owners will agree with me when I say that the best dog harness can make all the difference when it comes to how much you and your dog enjoy your time outdoors. And there are a wide variety of harnesses to choose from. Some are designed for older dogs with mobility problems, while others are perfect for the chewing, teething puppy that gets way too excited when the neighbor’s cat crosses the street.
There is a dog harness solution to every dog walking problem. The key will be to identify which type of harness will work for your pet and what other features you’d like to get out of a harness.
Do you love taking your dog for a ride in the car, but now that he’s full grown you can’t seem to drive without his head hanging out the driver side window? Check out walking harnesses that also double as a seatbelt harness.
Do you want to take your dog hiking but you’re worried that the terrain is too challenging? Take a look at hiking or mountain climbing harnesses.
If you know what your options are, we guarantee you can find a harness that will make going for your evening walk enjoyable again. And there are harnesses available that can meet every budget.
Our Top Dog Harness Recommendations
Here are some of the best dog harness available on the market:
1. Ruffwear , Front Range Dog Harness, Reflective and Padded Harness for Training and Everyday.
Whether you have a dog that’s having difficulty ambulating due to age, injury or a medical condition, the Ruffwear Web Master harness is designed to help your dog get around with ease. This is a very lightweight harness and it looks deceptively small. One of the standout features is the fact that it’s so secure a dog will be unable to back out of it, and the manufacturer markets it as the top choice for dogs who are escape artists.
The harness comes equipped with a five-point buckle system that allows for easy adjustment. The thickly padded breastplate provides much-needed comfort and security.
The leg loops can be tucked away for increased mobility, while the padded belly support is perfect for pets who wear their harness frequently, for longer periods of time. The anatomical design is what makes this harness so supportive, allowing the owner to assist their pet with maneuvering around or over obstacles.
The design provides balanced, controlled, and comfortable lifting, offering excellent weight distribution. It also comes equipped with a built-in handle, so you can slightly lift the dog’s hind legs, reducing pressure for dogs who have difficulty walking.
Typically this is done by wrapping a towel around the dog’s waist and gently pulling up as the dog walks, in order to reduce pressure on the hind legs, but this harness makes lifting your dog much easier and the heavy padding around the dog’s midsection is designed with your pet’s comfort in mind. The handle can also be used to assist your dog from a sitting or lying position, with ease.
This mobility assistance harness scored high with pet owners, due to its innovative design, extra padding, easy on fit and overall durability. If your pet is currently recovering from an injury or medical procedure, or if they have lost some of their mobility and need a helping hand, this is one tool you can really rely on to keep your pet feeling secure and comfortable.
The harness is equipped with a D-ring located at the top for leash or seatbelt attachment. The manufacturer paid special attention to the padding placement, so it’s extra comfortable, which is essential in a harness that a dog will need to wear all day long.
Because this harness is built for all-day wear, it’s one of the top choices for service, working, and therapy dogs. The harness is highly adjustable and comes in five sizes ranging from extra-extra small to large.
One concern we had about the harness was the handle’s placement. For dogs with extremely limited rear leg mobility, this harness may not be the best option because the handle isn’t far back enough to provide total hind leg support.
2. Kurgo Tru-Fit Dog Walking Harness Review-Best Value
The Kurgo Tru-Fit dog walking harness is well made and easy to put on and take off. Instead of a tether, this harness comes with a seat belt loop. You can attach the carabiner to the back of the harness, passing the seatbelt through the loop to secure it.
While the seatbelt loop isn’t adjustable, it’s made from the same type of webbing as the harness and features a heavy-duty quality carabiner. The all-metal hardware on the harness works perfectly to increase the overall durability.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty against defects on all parts and damage caused by normal wear and tear.
The harness comes in a variety of sizes ranging from extra small to extra-large.
The manufacturer knows how to design a harness for easy adjustment. In fact, the Smart Harness is one of the easiest models to use that we reviewed. Kurgo followed up an innovative design with high quality, breathable materials. The chest plate is broad and heavily padded for comfort and extra protection.
The front leash attachment design works well if you’re leash training your dog, or they tend to pull during walks. Keep in mind, if you plan on taking your dog for a run or jog you’ll need to use the leash attachment on the back.
For the quality, you really can’t beat the price. It’s easy to adjust, comes with the popular quick release buckle system and can really work to correct leash walking issues. Basically, this is the most comfortable and easiest to use dog walking harness around. Works as a walking harness, running harness and vehicle harness.
This multi-tasking machine is perfect for most breeds and is offered in a variety of sizes. We love how adjustable it is, allowing you to get the perfect fit in order to prevent your dog from slipping his harness. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the harness for you. Despite the low price, Kurgo still worked their magic and delivered a well-designed harness that has a lot to offer in terms of durability, quality, and comfort.
Not only is this harness designed to teach your dog, not to pull, but its versatility allows you to use other attachment options for activities such as going for a run or speed walking, so you won’t have to purchase a separate harness for those purposes.
The fact that this harness can be used to keep dogs secure during a drive is simply perfect. If you have a rowdy dog that loves to jump on the front seat and back seat during a car ride, this model is for you.
Like most models of walking harnesses, it’s important to measure your pet before you buy in order to get the best fit. The harness is also not meant for all breeds, especially when it comes to the girth fit. Pet owners had issues finding the correct size that would accommodate certain breeds, such as greyhounds, which have very thin bodies, high rib cages, and smaller hindquarters. Boxer owners also had the same issue with the fit.
3. Chai’s Choice True Love Front Range Dog Harness Review –Best Harness for Pullers
This durable, safe dog harness from Chai’s Choice called the True Love is a front range dog harness that features a design that eliminates pressure from the dog’s neck which can work to prevent windpipe, spine and neck injuries.
This is an ideal option for dogs with aggressive pulling behavior. Even if your pet is not prone to pulling they can still become easily injured using a traditional collar, especially if they try to bolt when you’re standing still. This dog harness is a useful training tool that will take the power away from your dog’s front end, giving you more control during a walk.
The included handle can be used to assist your dog during a hike or to keep them safe during car travel. This versatile model can be used with a seatbelt to keep your pup safe and secure during a ride in the car.
This harness also supports handicapped or injured dogs by providing greater support than a traditional collar and can be used to aid your dog up the stairs or over obstacles in their path.
The manufacturer is so confident you’ll love this harness that they offer a thirty-day money back guarantee.
This reflective harness will also make your dog highly visible at night or in low light conditions. It comes in several color options and five sizes ranging from extra small to extra-large.
The outer layer of the harness is made from oxford materials that are scratch-resistant. The inside of the harness is lined with lightweight, soft mesh that features additional padding along the belly and chest. The D-ring is made from zinc alloy and is located at the top, with an O-ring found on the chest, giving you a couple of options for leash attachment. The O-ring attachment option is perfect for dogs that are prone to pulling.
Instead of your dog using their upper body strength to drag you along, when you pull on the leash to correct this unwanted behavior the dog will be pulled to the side, instead of being able to pull forward against your strength.
Overall, we felt this was a well-built harness with quality stitching and excellent adjustability. The extra padding makes it perfect for older dogs dealing with chronic pain or recovering from an injury. The two leash attachment points are perfect for leash training and the different sizing options ensure you’ll get the best fit for your dog.
The reflective material is perfect if you enjoy taking your pup for a walk early in the morning or in the evening and will help to keep you and your pup highly visible to drivers and other pedestrians.
Colors available include black, fuchsia, blue, green, and orange.
The top handle allows you to secure your pet with a seatbelt during car trips and can even work to assist injured dogs or dogs recovering from surgery.
Pet owners must carefully measure their dog prior to buying. There have been several reports regarding pets slipping out of this harness, due to poor fit or improper adjustment. Do not rely on choosing the traditional size, this harness has a reputation for running a little small.
The key to the manufacturer’s sizing chart with be the dog’s neck measurement. If the neck circumference is too tight, it’ll be almost impossible to slip over your dog’s head. If it’s too large, then you’ll risk the dog backing out of the harness.
Dog Harness Buying Guide
Using the best dog harness will allow you to walk your dog comfortably, without choking him and risking injury. It can also help to prevent a dog from slipping out of their collar. A harness accomplishes this through the aid of additional loops, which commonly encircle the torso and connecting straps that work to redistribute force from the dog’s neck to the lower body.
Whether the harness is meant for your favorite pet or a service dog, a harness allows you to walk your pet without worrying about injuring your dog. However, a harness is also a great option if you have a large breed dog that’s very strong and an aggressive puller.
Many models of harnesses feature innovative designs that essentially take the dog’s upper body strength away, giving the owner more control over their pet. This is done by placing the D rings in locations that don’t give the dog the leverage to pull.
When you’re searching for a dog harness, you should learn about the different types available and what to look for in terms of fit and size. This will also require learning how to properly measure a dog for harness size.
Dog Harness Design Options
A dog harness is a safer alternative than the traditional collar, especially if your dog is a known puller, or has a tendency to slip their collar.
While most models of harnesses pretty much function the same, there are some important differences to consider.
While there are many models to choose from, based on fit, style, and size, above all, make sure you choose one you can easily put on your dog. This can be especially important if you have a younger, strong large breed dog, which can make putting a harness on a major task in itself.
With the step-in harness, a dog simply steps into the harness which is comprised of straps located around the bottom and top of the front legs. The leash will connect to a point at the top.
A standard harness consists of adjustable straps that encircle the torso below and above the front legs. Some models have additional straps located around the abdomen. The leash is connected to the top of the harness.
A vest harness encases most of the torso in fabric and is usually held closed with the assistance of straps.
An easy on harness is equipped with quick release buckles and slips off and on easily. These harnesses are usually lightweight and may not be the best choice for larger breeds.
Why Dog Harness Strength Matters
When buying a harness there are certain considerations to keep in mind, such as the length and fabric type.
Fabric composition tends to go a long way in terms of determining a harness’ strength and overall durability. A harness that’s made of flimsy material will not last long with large breed dogs but may work fine on smaller breeds. More robust, thicker materials are perfect for large dogs but can be too stiff and confining for a small dog.
Also look at the stitching on a harness in order to determine how the material is put together. The best harness is one that has top stitching and has been fused together. You can determine stitching quality by looking for the biased strip. The biased strip falls all around the edge of a harness and is easily visible in a photo if you’re online shopping.
The strip will encase the edge of fused fabric. When it comes to top stitching, check carefully, as some models will only be top stitched at the opening. A durable harness will have top stitching around the entire harness.
Next, the corners of a harness, where they mold around the joints can also be an important consideration. Look for a harness that has rounded corners, especially around the strap areas and the arms, and neck. A harness with rounded corners will allow for a better fit that will mold to the dog’s body. Hard corners tend to lie over the joints which can restrict movement, so they should be avoided at all costs.
The strap where the D-ring attaches should run the length of the dog’s back, reinforced to assure a steady, good hold when walking the dog and should be stitched under the neckline. This will allow for the pull of the leash to center on the harness instead of inappropriately pulling at the top of the neck.
You should also make sure that the straps are at an appropriate length based on the size of your dog. The harness shouldn’t extend further than a dog’s waist, right past the ribs. Harnesses are only meant to cover about half of a dog’s back, fitting more like a vest. There are bigger harnesses, but they usually have an extra strap that’s secured around the dog’s hind legs.
Make sure the harness straps fit the dog snuggly. Straps that are too large for your pet will add too much bulk in addition to unnecessary pressure and weight on the belly and chest.
How To Measure Your Dog For A Harness
Purchasing a dog harness online is quite different than buying one from a traditional brick and mortar store. At your local pet shop, you can simply take your pet with you and try on a harness right in the store. But online, you have to make sure you find the right size before you buy. So first, you must learn the proper way to measure a dog. This will require the use of a flexible measuring tape and one extra person to help you get the job done.
Have someone hold your dog steady, in the standing position. Next, you’ll need to measure beneath the dog’s front legs and around the torso in order to get the circumference. This is called the dog’s girth and it will determine the size in inches that a harness will need to be.
If you’re purchasing a model that uses a neck opening, then you’ll need to measure the distance around your dog’s neck.
Keep in mind that there’s no standard in the pet industry when it comes to size, so what might be considered a small harness for one manufacturer may actually be an extra-small to another. Be sure to pay attention to the dimensions and not just the listed size.
Once your harness arrives, observe how your dog moves in their new harness, both running and walking. Be very observant and note if the harness hinders the dog’s gait or pinches.
Best Dog Harness Options for Aggressive Pullers
Pulling is an incredibly common problem that has many dog owners frustrated and it’s particularly common in large breed dogs. While a long-term solution involves following a strategic training program, these programs can take several weeks to complete, so you may need to utilize a quick fix solution for now.
While there is no easy solution to leash training, choosing the best dog harness for pullers can be one way to prevent your dog from pulling your arm out of its socket every time you head out for a walk.
Wearing a no-pull harness, a dog will be discouraged from pulling, so your arm will get a much-needed break. It can also help you to manage the pulling problem until your dog has been properly trained by a pro.
There are a number of different no-pull options to choose from. Some can be easy to use, while others can be mind-numbingly complex to put on your dog.
Essentially, there are only a few different types of no-pull harness options available. These include front attachment, back attachment, and head harnesses.
The back attachment harness features an attachment for the leash located on the dog’s back, placed right behind the shoulder blades. This type of harness is great for replacing a collar if you want to reduce pressure on a dog’s neck. This can be important if your dog is recovering from an injury or suffering some kind of trauma. It can also be a good choice to use if you want to take your dog running.
The leash can be attached to your belt and it clips nicely onto your dog’s back so it won’t be in your way during a run. But for some dogs (especially huskies), the leash attached to the back can actually encourage pulling because pulling feels good to a dog.
The front attachment harness features a D-ring right in the middle of the chest. This is the perfect type of harness to use to get your dog to stop pulling. Since the leash will be attached to the front of your dog, if they pull the effect the leash will tug their chest to the side, which will turn the dog towards you, preventing them from moving forward.
So, if they pull you, they get turned, which is definitely not the result they’re after. A dog will soon learn that they will only get to move forward if they don’t pull.
But if you want to take your dog running, this harness isn’t a good match. The front attaching harness is designed to prevent your dog from pulling while walking only.
While not in the strictest terms is the head harness an actual harness, they are in fact frequently described as such and tend to be grouped with harnesses when sold. A head harness is a good no-pull solution, which is why we have included them here.
The head collar, or head harness as they’re frequently called, is a small harness that fits around a dog’s head, with an attachment for the leash located under the dog’s chin. When a dog pulls while wearing this type of harness, this force will go into turning their head towards the walker. When their head is turned it will stop them dead in their tracks. So when they pull, their progress is halted. A dog will quickly learn not to pull if they want to continue heading forward.
This style also doesn’t allow a dog to use their sheer strength to drag you along, which can be a major problem if you have a large breed dog. Keep in mind, with this type of harness you must give your dog time to get used to wearing it and how it works before you head out for a walk. This can be done in short brief sessions around your yard for a period of a week.
How To Choose A Dog Harness For Running
Your dog isn’t just your best friend, they’re also your running buddy, but you’ve had trouble during your runs because your dog’s harness slips or you’ve noticed he’s getting sore spots under his front legs. So, what’s the best solution? You must learn how to pick out the right type of running harness for your dog, and here’s how:
Do you run with your dog daily, a few times a week, or only occasionally? Does your dog participate in any dog sports? If you spend more time walking with your dog than running, a standard harness should be fine. If you take your dog out for a run daily, you may want to consider a hands-free running harness instead.
How the harness fits will be important in order to prevent the dog from developing a rash or sore spots. If your dog is particularly large, you may want to choose a special harness and look for brands that make XL and XXL models.
Purchasing a running harness can be tricky because the harness may seem like a good fit initially and you may not realize it’s not until your dog develops running sores. Search for brands that are specifically designed for running. These harnesses will come equipped with hands-free leash attachment options and select padding placement that will provide your pup with a little padding in friction-prone areas.
Often, this type of harness will come at a higher price compared to a standard walking harness, but your dog’s comfort and a better running experience for you both will make it worth every penny.
Ultimately, the best dog harness for you and your pup will work with their body type, walking habits and size. If you purchase a harness online, make sure they accept exchanges in the event you need to purchase a different size.
We’ve covered many of the top selling models that received plenty of positive feedback from dog owners. We hope our findings will help you on your search for the right type of harness for your dog and one that can meet both of your needs.