Advice on how to pick the best harness for your puppy
If you’ve never used a dog harness before and don’t know much about them, the options can seem a little overwhelming at first. With all those holes and clips and buckles, it can look like a maze! But don’t worry, our puppy harness guide can help. We’ll cover all the basics from safety and sizing, to beginning steps and best practices.
Collar vs Harness - which is better?
Though collars are handy for displaying those all important identity tags, the collar and lead option isn’t necessarily the best one when it comes to your puppies walkies.
Research indicates that pulling on a collar can risk injury to a young dog’s neck. This applies to collars with padding too!
As puppies haven’t yet learnt their walking manners, a harness is a must have. Harnesses have the ability to distribute weight evenly and redirect a dog’s momentum. This makes your puppy much easier to control, and keeps them safe while they’re still working on their leash manners.
(To heel, pup!)
So what should you look for in your puppy harness? Here’s the low-down:
Fit - Look for a harness that can be adjusted in several places. All pups are built differently, and it’s important to find the right fit. You should be able to adjust the harness around the neck and chest. As your puppy grows you’ll also need to keep adjusting. This might mean upgrading to a big-dog harness at some point too! (How time flies…)
Durability - Will it hold up to rambunctious walkies and a good roll around? Look for sturdy materials and lots of positive reviews.
Chew-resistantmaterial - As teething is a big part of puppy life, make sure the material of the harness is chew-proof or safe.
Comfort - Look for designs that aim to keep your dog feeling comfy. Make sure the harness avoids putting pressure on their throat and neck.
Safety - Look for features like identity personalisation and reflective strips. These greatly add to your pup’s security, should they get loose.
Cost - A harness is an investment. So while it’s tempting to go for a bargain, it’s better to ensure the quality is right.
Style - The fun part! Because we just love our pooches feeling and looking their best, right? Some harnesses even offer personalization, so your pup can stand out from the pack!
Types of puppy harnesses
There are a number of different harness types that offer varying experiences for your pup. Here’s the most common:
The vest harness - A comfortable option that is frequently used with dogs that don't pull. This might be the ideal option for when your pup is getting the hang of their leash training, but isn’t a stubborn “tugger”.
The anti-pull front-clip harness - This design allows you to clip the leash at the chest, which can help to get around the “opposition reflex” which some dogs enjoy - where they start thinking they are a sled dog!
The no-pull harness with front and back clips - These harnesses give you the option of a back or front clip. Some are specially designed to discourage pulling from the back, and distribute pressure evenly along your dog’s upper torso.
The head halter - This is a slightly different style that slides over the nose and fastens behind the ears. Whilst it offers more control, very few dogs actually like this option, as it can feel awkward and restrictive for pups.
How should a puppy harness fit?
Once your harness arrives, make sure you can adjust it perfectly to your pup. The main body of the harness should fit nicely around the dog’s frame. Not too tight but snug enough to feel secure, so your puppy can’t escape! You should be able to fit two fingers underneath any strap around their body.
Once walking, keep an eye on any areas that could be rubbing or causing discomfort for your pup.
How to get your puppy to accept a harness?
Whilst harnesses might look perfectly nice to us, puppies might sometimes see a boogie monster!
You’ll have a much easier time getting your pup into their harness if you start slow, desensitizing as you go. Reward them with praise, treats or play if they sniff or investigate, then slowly begin to rub it along their body, finally build up to them wearing the harness for a few minutes at a time. Work in the house first, letting your pup adjust to the weight of a leash, and eventually graduate to the big outdoors!
With this puppy harness guide, we hope you enjoy many long walks with your new furry family member!
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