Why Should I Use A Harness?
There are many reasons why a harness is better than a collar for taking your dog a walk:
- Security – Harnesses are less likely to slip off vs collars, as they can’t just slip over their head
- Control – It is easier to control your dog as the harness covers their whole body, and it can discourage pulling, especially with large strong breeds
- Safety – Prolonged use of a collar with a dog that pulls can cause lasting throat and trachea damage, especially with Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds
- Choice – There are a lot more options of harnesses to suit your particular dog compared to collars for a more secure fit
How Do I Fit/Measure A Dog For A Harness?
You generally need two measurements – the neck circumference and the chest.
Grab a soft measuring tape and wrap around the largest part of their torso/chest first. This is usually around their ribcage as opposed to behind their armpits. Then measure around their lower neck. A harness sits below where the collar goes, so don’t take this measurement in the same place.
You may also want to measure the width of your dog. While this is mostly to do with preference, you still need to cover your dog’s core and bear in mind some breeds are longer than others. Weight can also be a factor, but a tiny french bulldog can weigh the same as a whippet, so double-check your chosen harness is good for the weight and won’t be too weak if they pull.
If between two sizes, always go up. They can always be tightened, but a small harness can’t be loosened more than they allow.
Remember the two-finger rule as well. You should be able to slide two fingers between your dog and harness to ensure it isn’t too tight. Check the harness is suitable for what you need it for as well. There are some dedicated high-activity models out there, and some harnesses are simply not a suitable shape for some breeds either.
Can I Leave My Dogs Collar Off If They Are Wearing A Harness?
Dogs should always wear a collar for identification purposes when outside in public spaces. Even if they are chipped, they need to wear a visible collar and ID tag with suitable information on.
When their collar doesn’t form part of their lead or harness makeup, it can be kept loose enough to be comfortable but will still need to be tight as to not slip off, or so it can be grabbed if they run away.
There are some harnesses out there which can be incorporated with a collar using a small clip to ensure that if their harness slips off, they are still attached to the lead via the collar.
Could you not just place an ID tag on their harness? Well, if the harness comes off accidentally, then you are in a bit of a pickle. A collar is likely to remain on until they are found and reunited. It could be a good idea to put a tag on both though.
Can I Attach A Go Pro To My Dogs Harness?
If you like to go on adventures it could be entertaining to see it all from your dogs level. There are dedicated harnesses out there which you can mount a camera to. These keep the camera secure, elevated above their bodies or fastened to their chest and in the right position.
It could be difficult or impossible to attach a camera to an ordinary harness, as they usually don’t have the correct fastenings for this.
Which Harness Can I Use For Running?
This usually doesn’t require a special harness, as it is all in the lead that you use which attaches around your waist or arm.
But you may want to look for a harness which gives your dog plenty of room to move such as one for high-activity or adventure dogs, and one which is strong enough for you to pull them back without stopping or ruining your running to do so.
You may also want to look for a double hook harness, for extra security.