Dogs love to go on walks, but pulling against a leash and collar can harm their necks. Here’s how to pick the best type of harness for Fido.
Choosing the best type of harness for your dog
Taking your dog on walks can be one of the best ways for you and your four-legged companion to bond. Getting his daily exercise can be compromised, however, when using a traditional leash and collar that can put pressure on his neck. Fortunately, harnesses provide a safe and comfortable alternative to allow you and Fido to enjoy this pastime together.
Harnesses fit over dogs’ chests like a vest, reducing pressure on their neck and throat that can be harmful when they pull against it. Choosing a harness can be daunting, however, with so many models from which to choose. In selecting the best option for your pet, first, consider whether you would like a front or back clip harness. Back-clipping harnesses fasten over the top of your dog’s shoulders and provide the smoothest transition from a traditional leash and collar, while front-clip models fasten at your pup’s chest. Calm, leash-trained dogs will do well with a back-clip harness. On the other hand, front-clipping harnesses can help pets master leash training by pulling them back towards you if they attempt to run ahead on walks. However, these models become tangled in Fido’s front feet more easily, which can be frustrating if your pet does not need this extra help learning proper walking etiquette. There are also harnesses that tighten against a dog’s chest when he pulls against them, which can be a helpful transition tool for pets still mastering their leash manners.
In the same way, training comes into play when choosing a harness for your pet, so do size and the type of activities in which your dog typically engages. While a harness can offer owners more control over large-breed dogs than a collar, a Great Dane will need a much heavier-duty model than a toy breed, which can be walked comfortably on a soft, lightweight harness. Especially active dogs will need a sturdy harness to match their lifestyles, and machine washable models are always a good investment to help keep your pet and home clean. Some harnesses come with padded handles for lifting active pets over obstacles on hikes or for easily removing a pet from a dog park skirmish. Others offer adjustable elements or padding that make them extra comfortable for active pets. Whatever model you choose, be sure it fits well, as an ill-fitting harness can cause discomfort by rubbing against your pet’s skin. As a general rule, you should be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your pet.
Harnesses not only prevent potential trauma to your pet’s neck and throat but can help as new pets learn to walk beside you. With some research and the right harness, you can safely enjoy daily walks with your companion.,