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How to Put On a Dog Harness: A Definitive Guide

How to Put On a Dog Harness: A Definitive Guide

Are you a new or used dog owner who struggles with the daily battle to take out your pooch? Is your new puppy prone to running and jumping?

Well, I might just have the solution for you.

A dog harness could be just what you didn’t know you were looking for.

Now, before you start about not wanting to wrangle and struggle putting that confusing piece of fabric around your puppy’s wild body, I’m here to tell you relax, this whole process is a lot easier than you think.

In this article we will go over all the tips, tricks and questions surrounding the use of a dog harness. However, spoiler alert, both you and your furry friend will be very happy with the outcome of this purchase.

Dog harnesses offer a plethora of various positive benefits for both you and your pup. If you’re one of the many with a finicky dog that is either not easy to walk with, or you want to feel a little more secure when taking them out and about, then a dog harness will be the best option for you.

Why Your Dog Might Need a Dog Harness


Dog harness on a dog toy

There is a multitude of different reasons that a pet parent might consider purchasing a dog harness for their loving pooch.

Dog harnesses greatly aid in helping to train your dog – whether that be from jumping, to even running away. They also offer more comfortable options compared to the comfort of a regular collar. These types of harnesses have even been known to highly prevent the chance that your beloved pet will slip off their leash.

Whatever your reason may be for deciding to invest in a dog harness, I am here to tell you that you’re making the right pet-parent decision. The below step-by-step guide will help you to ensure the proper use of your new favorite pet accessory.

How to Put On a Dog Harness – Do it Right


There are multiple types of dog harnesses, each which contains a slightly varied version of the steps. However, for the most part, all of the dog harnesses work virtually the same – plus or minus just a few details.

Different types of dog harnesses need to be put on different ways, so I’m going to walk you through some of the most common harness options and assembly instructions.

1. Standard Dog Harness (Back-Clip Harness)

Dog with a harness

As mentioned in the name, this is the most common style of dog harness on the market. It is generally known and accepted for most any and all dogs.

However, keep in mind that back-clip harnesses are best for trained dogs that are not going to continuously pull at the leash. This dog harness is also extremely handy for owners of small dogs, as the delicate throats of these tiny critters can be easily irritated and choked by regular collars.

The standard harness has one loop around the ribcage, with another loop around the neck and a D-ring on the dogs back to clip your leash onto. You are going to want to get behind your dog and place them in a comfortable position either standing or sitting.

You are then going to want to slip the harness over your dog’s head, making sure that the D-ring is on your dog’s back. Just remember that the wider loop (which is the one with the buckle) goes on first, and the narrower loop goes on second.

You’re then going to slip your dog’s foot through the first leg hole of the harness. Said leg should now be in-between the loop that goes around the ribs and the loop that goes around your dog’s neck. Buckle the harness, so that the dog’s other leg is also placed into the proper leg hole.

Keep in mind that if the buckle doesn’t reach and allow you to close the harness, then the straps need to be adjusted and loosened.

Once you’ve got the harness all buckled up and ready to go, just make sure it fits your puppy properly. The dog harness shouldn't be too loose or too tight (you should be able to easily slip two fingers underneath the harness strap). Another way to make sure the harness is secure is by testing it and trying to pull the harness over your dog’s head.

If the harness doesn’t budge, then you’re good to go!

2. Comfort Wrap Harness (Step-In Harness)

Dog in harness

This style was specifically designed for your dog to easily step into. This dog harness wraps around the dog in a burrito-like fashion, closing on the pooches back. The main difference between a standard harness and a step-in harness is that the first creates rectangles around your dog’s legs while the latter forms triangles.

Start off by laying the harness on the ground, so that you can clearly see the two triangles. Make sure that the buckles are on top of the D-rings.

The easiest way to put this type of harness on your dog is to have them step into the harness that you already have laying on the ground. Hold your dog from behind and guide their front legs into the two triangles.

After your puppy has stepped over the correct holes, pull the harness up and securely around his shoulders. After that, all you have to do is clip him in and adjust the harness accordingly – easy as that!

3. Training Harness (Front-Clip Harness)

Black dog in harness

This style of dog harness is designed to discourage dogs from pulling on their owners when strapped up. This front-clip harness has the leash clip in the front over the dog’s chest. There are a couple different kinds of front-clip harnesses with some being shaped like the standard step-in harnesses.

Although there are some front-clip harnesses with a different type of design, that has a loop going around the ribs and a single strap around the chest. There will be no divider between the dog’s legs and in order to put it on properly, I would highly suggest following the steps listed below.

You are going to want to calmly kneel on the right side of your dog when they are either sitting or standing. You’re going to want to put the loop of the dog harness over your canine’s head. The harness label should sit on his left shoulder and the metal ring for the leash should be positioned at the center of the dog’s chest.

After that, you are going to want to reach underneath your dog’s belly and fasten the belly strap. Make sure to properly adjust the harness to fit your dog, as you don’t want to be able to pull the harness up and over the dog’s head.

4. Soft Vest Harness

Dog with a soft vest harness

This dog harness is typically made out of a flexible mesh material and ranges in hundreds of different colors and options. For the fashionable trendy girl, who wants her pup to match her outfit, this is probably the preferred dog harness for you.

This style, as mentioned in the name, resembles a vest. This means that the product may seem wider or thicker than some of the other options. Some of these can slip over your animal’s head and some of them can be easily stepped into. Both versions of these are available with this option of dog harness so just refer to one of the above harness instructions when putting your soft vest harness on your dog.

5. No-Pull Harness

No pull harness on a dog

Known for being able to apply intense heat in a matter of seconds, irons can greatly help to tighten any pair of jeans before use. Whether it be a singular spot that needs to be tightened or the entire set, ironing will help to tighten everything up.

Just be careful to always let this article of clothing cool don before putting them on, as they could burn you right after ironing.

6. Automobile Harness

These types of harnesses are great for the on-the-go pup. So if you like taking your pet with you wherever you go, I would highly recommend just buckling down (see what I did there) and purchase this dog harness.

The Automobile Harness has an ingenious attachment that hooks into your vehicles seat belt system, making it the perfect option for adventurous dog owners like myself.

See the world with your dog, the safe way!

7. Dog Mobility Harness

Dog with mobility harness

This style of dog harness is primarily used on older pups. The mobility harness is extremely helpful for senior dogs whose limbs aren’t as agile as they used to be or for dogs with leg and spinal injuries. This full-body style harness contains a lifting aid. It is suggested to not use this harness for everyday walks, like some of these other versatile styles.

Please remember to keep in mind that each of the dog harnesses listed above provides great ways to enhance the look, fit, comfort-ability and overall experience of talking your dog out of the house with you.

While some of these harnesses may seem tricky to figure out, each solution offers a solid way to securely strap in your pup. Picking the right dog harness really just comes down to your personal preferences on which option you would like to go with.

Dog with a GoPro harness

Happily Harness your Hooch 


Now that you’ve learned how to put on a dog harness properly, these seemingly simple steps should provide a long-term solution for anytime you wish to take your dog out and about with you.

However, just be careful to remember that different dog harnesses require different steps to ensure that your furbaby is secure and safe.

Other than that, you should be good to go, set and ready to conquer the world with man (and woman’s) best friend.

We hope these steps and tips have set your mind at ease when looking into purchasing a dog harness, as it is of utmost importance that you pick the perfect option for your pet.

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