There’s probably nothing in the world that your dog likes more than going out for its daily walk. If you have a furry canine friend at home, then you know this is part of your daily routine. In order to enjoy this acticvity safely, you need a quality harness as well as the dog’s leash. A good harness will prevent Rover, Fluffy or Fido from running off on his own and straying too far from you, possibly endangering himself or another do/person/cat when you’re out walking every day.

Dogs need to go out to “go,” stretch their legs, release their energy and socialize with people, their environment and other dogs. However, you need to make sure that your dog doesn’t run into the street, get lost, “go” where he is not allowed, or attack other animals. Nowadays, a harness and leash are the most frequently used methods of preventing nay of these unfortunate situations.

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Key Facts

  • The harness you choose must fit the individual body, size and needs of your dog, as well as provide comfort of use for you, the owner.
  • Going out is your cfurry friend’s favorite time of day, and wearing a harness will make it a pleasant moment for you both, as well as other people, cats, squirrels and other dogs passing nearby.
  • Dog owners are required by law to have their animal on a leash in most public spaces and when traveling by car. Unlike collars, harnesses can distribute weight more evenly along the dog’s body, allowing you to pull on the leash without harming the do’s neck area.

Ranking: The Best Dog Harnesses on the U.S. Market

In the following section, we’ve looked over many products to come up with our selection of the very best dog harnesses available on the U.S. market right now. You’ll learn about the main features of each harness so that you can compare different models. This will make your job all that much easier when you need to choose the harness that best suits your dog and yourself.

No. 1: Rabbitgoo Adjustable Outdoor No-Pull Pet Vest 

Specially designed with 2 Metal Leash Rings for safer dog walks. Use the CHEST attachment clip to stop your dog from pulling on walks, perfect for dog training, dog behavioral control, or strong pulling dogs. The BACK one is great for casual walks, jogging, hiking, etc

This Adjustable “Y” harness features 4 easy adjusting straps around the body. 2 Neck straps and 2 Chest straps allow a Perfect Fit for your dog with some room of growth. No worries about slipping out or choking.

Comfort dog harness made of durable Nylon Oxford and padded with Soft Cushion for an enjoyable dog walking experience. Breathable mesh keeps your dog cool while minimizing the chance of hurting in case of pulling. Super bright Reflective Strips ensure a SAFE walk both day and night

No. 2: Bolux Dog Harness, No-Pull Reflective Breathable Adjustable Pet Vest with Handle 

The fabric material is resistant to tearing and the straps has no elasticity so will not deform. The soft sponge pad won’t hurt the pet’s skin. Breathable and lightweight give the dog a more comfortable experience. D-Ring: Anti-oxidation will not rust; Buckle with anti-shock engineering plastic, it anti-aging and direct sunlight.

Sturdy D-ring leash attachment point and easy grip handle to help you to control and assist your dog. The thickness and weight are just right, the details ensure the quality, and it’s firmer.  The handle designed is easy to use and release. It is made of nylon and can be released freely, making it easier to control your dog. Don’t worry about tearing the interface because it is very tight.

Reflective straps to ensure your dog is highly visible and keep dogs safe at night. You can connect the dog leash on the D-ring and it is safer on crowded streets. The high-end harness is perfect for daily walking, running, hiking, training, hunting, outdoor adventure and more!

No. 3: Authentic Puppia Soft Dog Harness

Puppia Soft Dog Harness The Puppia Soft Dog Harness is lightweight and made with soft durable material to provide your pet dog with excellent comfort. Pair it with the Puppia Two Tone Dog Leash to make a matching set. Features: Durable, soft and lightweight material Designed to fit comfortably around dog’s neck and chest Coordinates with Puppia Two Tone Dog Leash.

Authentic Puppia Soft Dog Harness made out of 100% Polyester. Adjustable chest belt and quick-release buckle Comfortable padded neck opening. Make sure all measurements fit within the dimensions with room to spare in the chest and neck.

No. 4: RUFFWEAR – Front Range, Everyday No Pull Dog Harness with Front Clip

An everyday harness that is easy to put on and comfortable for dogs to wear. Foam-padded strips across the chest and belly provide equal load distribution and comfort when running, walking, or resting. Four convenient points of adjustment for full range of motion; Easy access ID pocket for safe storage of your dog’s tags. Bright, easily visible fabric with reflective trim helps your dog stand out against any landscape day and night.

Lightweight, durable, and made for all-day outdoor adventures. Designed for easy on and off. Reinforced webbing at chest stands up to pulling and gives additional control (ideal for training, too); Aluminum V-ring centered on back.

No. 5: Big Dog Harness No Pull Adjustable Pet Reflective Oxford Soft Vest

Chest Girth 32-42 inch. Perfect harness for large dogs, like golden retriever, great dane, saint bernard and more; You’d better determine your dog’s chest girth by measuring the widest part of your dog’s chest before purchase. Pulling pressure is evenly distributed to the body to prevent Pulling and Choking. Our dog vest harness comes with 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. This pet harness with simple design and quick snap buckles which make it easy to put on and take off; Fully adjustable straps at the chest and neck, which allow a custom fit for your pet.

Comes with sturdy D-ring leash attachment point and easy grap handle to help you to control and assist your dog. With the reflective strap pet vest, keep your dog SAFE all the time while out for a walk even at night; Breathable mesh lining with soft sponge padding plate of our dog harness prevents dog injuries, giving extra comfort and protection.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Dog Harnesses

Before you purchase a harness for your dog, you should become very familair with the functionalities of this pet product and its benefits for your pet and yourself. This will naturally depend on the model you choose. In the section below, we will discuss some of the most important features of dog harnesses, so that you can make an informed decision before you buy. We’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about dog harnesses.

Experts recommend three daily walks of at least 30 minutes each for the average dog.
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Why should I walk my dog with a harness?

Your dog is better off being on a leash when you go out so that it cannot escape or go to an area where its life could be at risk – the street, for instance. This is why it is necessary that you outfit your dog with a harness, as well as a leash. This will result in a more comfortable experience for other pedestrians and dogs that are around you when you are out with your pup. You should also have your dog on a leash and harness whenever you’re driving.

Dogs need to be restrained in all public places, except those specifically designed for dogs to play freely. You should only let your canine friend loose in special “dog parks” where they are allowed to run freely, or in other specific areas designated for dogs to be off their leashes.

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Remember that your insurance is unlikeley to cover your costs if your doc causes damage or injury outside the home while not wearing wearing a harness (or collar) and a leash under an adult’s control.

Does a harness also work to secure my dog in the car?

A dog needs to be well-secured when traveling by car. Harnesses specially created for car use are available, or you can simply use the harness you have for walking. With the latter, you’ll have to tie a cord to one of the rings of the harness and to the seat belt, to secure your dog safely for rides in the car.

To travel legally and safely, you must wear a seat belt at all times in your vehicle. The same principle applies to your dog. You are advised to attach the seat belt to a harness for greater comfort and security of your dog. This accessory will ensure that your puppy is protected, and that any sudden movement of the vehicle doesn’t cause your dog harm.

You are advised not to force your dog to go on its first walks, nor expose it to the outside world for long periods of time if it is not already comfortable doing so.
(Source: Yuliya Mykolavna Heikens: 90788321/ 123rf.com)

Are people afraid of dogs who don’t wear harnesses?

Some people are simply not accustomed to interacting with dogs, and they may not understand dogs’ methods of expressing themselves to humans. Certain dogs also can becom more nervous when they are around people who are afraid of them. By smelling the adrenaline, the animal itself starts to feel uncomfortable with the body gestures of someone who fears them and this can cause the dog to defensively bark at the person.

If you walk your dog on a leash, you can avoid these risky situations and avoid disturbing pedestrians who are afraid of dogs. Situations can quickly escalate if your dog runs loose. Your dog may become uneasy before a fearful person, and that person will further increase the discomfort and fear they feel.  Be a good citizen and keep your dog at ease as well by always keeping your dog on a leash, even close to home.

Are there laws on walking dogs with a harness?

There are laws in place regarding dog leashes in most countries. In The U.S., the laws vary depending on the municipality in which you and your dog live and are located. These regulations are designed to protect dogs from abuse, and avoid any injuries involving these animals. Owners must abide by animal control laws at all times. You can check with your local municipality regarding the local laws regarding the care and control of dogs in your area.

Most laws will require you to obtain liability insurance and to keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date. These animals must be on a leash in most public places, unless the park rules specifically state that they can be off-leash. In some locations, certain breeds are considered especially dangerous, and thus can never be set loose and must always wear a muzzle.

Before you buy a harness for your dog, you should know the proper functions of the product and its benefits to your pet and yourself.
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Is a harness the same as a dog collar?

While designed to fulfil the same function, these two accessories are not the same. Both allow you take your dog for a walk in realtive safety. Used with a leash, they both prevent your animal from straying too far from you and running into the street You can control their actions and prevent them from getting too close to a dog with whom they could fight. A harness distributes the pressure of the dog pulling on the leash or you pulling on the leash, over a broader area of the dog’s upper body and provides mroe control for you as well as reducing the chance of injury to the dog, when compares to an ordinary collar.

A harness with a corresponding hook is necessary when travelling by car, while a collar cannot be used in that case. It would cause more harm to your dog than a harness in case of an accident or sudden braking.

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Collars are only attached to the neck, while harnesses divide the weight of a “pull” over the whole body. This minimizes potential harm caused to your pet and provides you with better control.

What problems can a collar cause that a harness won’t?

Collars are generally more popularly used than harnesses by people to walk their pets. However, in recent years many experts have discussed the problems assocaited with collars. Others still stand by collars. We’ve listed the advantages and disadvantages of both accessories in the table below:

Style Advantages Disadvantages
Collar Some say that the harness can be pulled upon, as it was its original purpose. It’s also an indication that pet and owner are going for a walk. Pulling can actually cause damage to the neck of the dog, which is a very delicate part of its body.
Harness Pulling won’t harm your pet since the weight of the leash is distributed over its body. Recommended when travelling by car. Ideal for dogs with respiratory problems. A dog that you are often correcting for pulling may think that it can indeed pull. Do not tolerate it.

How do I get my dog to not pull too much on the leash?

How you raised your dog ultimately determines its attitude when you go out for walks together. Some will constantly pull on their leash, and these outings can become very annoying for their owners. You could even suffer from back injury from holding your pet dog firmly to avoid it going where it should not go, getting it to follow the right path, or to walk at a reasonable speed.

If this is your case, experts advise you against using retractable leashes, as these give freedom that your dog cannot appreciate during training. Very short leashes, on the other hand, will oppress your pet unfairly. Remember that, while you ultimately set the rules, you should also try to walk at the dog’s natural walking pace. This is their happy time, so don’t stop too often.

Harnesses usually have a ring on the chest and another on the back so you can choose where to tie the leash.
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If your dog pulls more than is reasonable, stop until it calms down before continuing your walk. If you can’t get it to obey, simply change direction and your pet will know exactly which way you’re going. Keep in mind that you should always be calm, as your dog will notice if you are nervous and they will become nervous, too.

Are harnesses suitable for dogs of all weights and sizes?

As you might have realized from our product selection, the vast majority of harnesses come in various sizes to fit every dog breed. You’ll be able tofind the right harness for your pet, whether it’s a tiny Chihuahua or a Great Dane. That being said, you should pay particular attention to the overall quality, seam strength and resistance of the product, especially if your dog is very big.

Very small dogs are lighter and easier to control, so a harness is more of a fashion accessory. It is a great tool to train larger breeds in the beginning: it allows you to direct their movements and make them understand what they may and may not do. You will also have better control over them with a harness.

Can harnesses make my dog pull more?

Some people believe that the harness can lead to dogs more pulling on the leash. The reason behind this thinking is that this accessory was originally created and used for dogs pulling sleds or carts. That being said, this market has developed quite a lot in recent years and you can now find various types of harnesses, many of which are ideal for canine training.

This is why it is not evident whether a harness will make your pet pull more or not. In fact, the market offers certain models designed to teach your dog not to pull on the leash. It’s also interesting to know that a harness will cause less physical harm to your dog than a collar if it has the tendency to pull a lot during walks. As we mentioned earlier, this is because the weight is more evenly distributed.

Using a harness with your dog will make walks much easier and more pleasant for both of you.
(Source: Monika Wisniewska: 58817628/ 123rf.com)

What advice should I follow when taking my dog for a walk?

Outside time is the best time of day for your animal, and we encourage you to respect its tastes. However, you’ll still need to follow your own schedule. This is why it is recommended that you start your outing by heading to a place where your dog can be completely free, like a dog park. Allow it to sniff around and explore, play and relieve itself.

After you’ve given your pet some fun time, you can go for a walk together. This is when you want to set some proper rules. You can still allow the dog to sniff around or mark its territory from time to time, but you don’t want this to be so frequent that you stop more than you walk.

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You also need to respect this idea, as well, and refrain from too frequently window shopping or checking your phone, as this will only lead to anxiety for your dog.

What happens if I just harness my dog so it can relieve itself?

You are not advised, under any circumstances, to leave home just for your dog to do its business. This will make it think that it has to hurry every time you go out, and it won’t want to move forward or do anything else but mark its territory. This means that your dog’s only goal will be to urinate as many times as possible before going back home.

Your dog won’t be able to keep up with you when you do decide to go out for a longer walk. It will continue to think that you’ll be going home soon, will feel rushed, and will constantly mark its territory instead of enjoying a leisurely walk, making the walk very difficult and tiresome. Remember that this isn’t your pet’s fault, but rather what you’ve been teaching it every day.

Dogs, especially large breeds, can drag us along by pulling on the leash during walks.
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For how long should I walk my dog?

When you’re about to add a canine member to your family and you live in an apartment, you have to remember that you will need to dedicate several hours each day to entertain and care for the dog. Dogs must go out to relieve themselves, play and socialize with other pets. As a matter of fact, experts recommend three daily outings of at least 30 minutes each.

These animals need to discover new smells, and interact with dogs and people alike, in order to maintain their socialization skills. If you always go out for a good 20 to 30 minutes of walking every time, your canine friend will know that it has plenty of leisure time to do everything it wants–sniff, wag, explore, etc. This will mean that it is also more obedient to you.

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Keep in mind that your dog will expect to go out for quite a while when you put the harness on.

Should you use a harness on a puppy?

If you adopt your dog when it is still a puppy, you should know that you have to wait for the vaccination isolation period to be over before taking it out. This means that it generally cannot meet the outside world before approximately 12 weeks of age. This is why you should consider the size it will be at that age before buying its first harness.

Puppies will need to have a suitable place at home to do their business. Experts say a dog will learn everything you teach it between the age of 3 and 14 weeks. This is therefore a crucial time in terms of education. In that regard, you can start putting a harness on your dog and walk together inside your home so it is prepared for its first “real” outing.

Dogs need to discover new smells and interact with dogs and people alike to get their minds working.
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Which vaccinations are required before my dog can go out?

Whether your dog is a puppy or fully grown already, it is essential that you check its vaccinations. Make sure you get it any missing vaccinatins before heading out for your first walk. That way, your new pet won’t be at risk of contracting diseases. In The US, mandatory vaccinations – also called “core caccines” – will protect your dog from canine distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus. Non-core vaccines are for parainfluenza virus, bordetella bronchiseptica and leptospira interrogans.

  • The first round of vaccines is usually given between six and eight weeks of a pupply’s life.
  • The final vaccine is usually not given until your dog is sixteen weeks of age.
  • Your puppy will be ready for the street after you check one last time with your vet.
  • It is recommended that you microchip your dog before ever going for that first walk, in case it gets lost at any time during its life.

Do all harnesses prevent my dog from pulling?

All harnesses allow you better control of your dog. However, not all harnesses are designed to prevent pulling. In fact, the majority of harnesses are simply made to take your dog out for a walk. This is why you’ll need to pay attention to whether the harness you buy is designed to avoid pulling or not.

You are advised to opt for a no-pull harness if your pet is particularly big, strong, strong-willed or is still learning to follow your orders. These specifically-designed models will slightly tighten on your dog and restrain its legs if it pulls on the leash. In that case, the leash is attached to the animal’s chest area rather than it’s neck.

All harnesses allow you to better control your dog from where it wants to go.
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How should I use a no-pull harness with my dog?

Dogs, especially large breeds, can drag their owners along by pulling on the leash during walks. Nowadays, we have access to models tailored to educate your dog about respecting your walking speed. Training harness are created specifically for you to walk while controlling your pet’s movements.

The harness is adjusted to the dog’s body, and generally features several grips so that you can control it and decide the direction to take. These harnesses have a ring on the chest and another on the back, so you can choose which one best suits your needs.

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Did you know that many harnesses have a short grip to restrain your dog close to you in case he becomes anxious?

How will my dog react the first time it goes out with a harness?

Dogs are smart creatures. They learn quickly, but we have to teach them what we want from them. The first few times you go out together, the outside world will offer a huge amount of stimuli. This isn’t always pleasant for animals, and you might see that your puppy isn’t comfortable in this new environment. If that’s the case, take it out several times a day for shorter periods of time, rather than one long outing.

You are advised not to force your dog onto its first walks, or expose the dog to the outside world for too long if it does not seem comfortable. Let your pet sniff around and set its own pace while becoming accustomed to its surroundings. Don’t force the to interact with other dogs or people. Your animal needs to do what it wants, in order to gain confidence.

Dog harnesses come in different shapes and designs, each performing specific functions.
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Should I also muzzle my dog?

While having your dog harnessed may be mandatory in public places in the area where you live, the muzzle generally depends on the breed. This means that you may never have to put one on your pet. That being said, you may have to use a muzzle if you’re travelling with your dog on a train, bus or other public transportation.

Depending on your state laws, breeds such as pit bull terrier, Presa Canario or Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian mastiff) will be required to wear a muzzle in public spaces at all times. Other dogs that have shown signs of aggressive behavior, or that who may potentially be aggressive, should also be muzzled for extra safety. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Shopping Criteria

Dog harnesses aren’t just useful to make walking your pet more comfortable: they are sometimes mandated by law. In any case, if you have a dog, you will need one of these accessories, and you want to buy one suitable for both your dog and yourself. To help you make the right decision, we’ve discussed the following key criteria in the next section:

  • Size
  • Materials
  • Design
  • Night-time Visibility

Size

It is very important that you measure the size of the harness, so that it fits your dog’s body snugly without injuring it. This is also true for the lower part of the harness, which goes around the thorax. If it’s too loose, it may chafe his body while walking, or your dog may be able to escape. Overly large harnesses also make it more difficult for you to control the animal.

On the other hand, your dog will feel oppressed and may even have difficulty breathing if it’s too tight. Most models sold on the U.S. market come in different sizes to fit all breeds. You can naturally adjust the harness using the straps to make it wider or narrower depending on your dog.

If you adopt your dog when it is still a puppy, you should know that you have to wait for the vaccination period to be over before taking him outside.
(Source: Bonzami Emmanuel: 14486825/ 123rf.com)

Materials

A wide array of materials are used to manufacture dog harnesses. You can even buy harnesses designed specifically for winter or summer. One of the most important things to remember is that the product must be resistant enough to withstand your dog pulling on it. Pay particular attention to this if you have a large dog. The strap connections to each part of the harness tend to be made from nylon, a very strong material.

During summer, you may want to opt for a mesh model harness. It will help your dog to stay cool and overheating won’t become an issue. Some harnesses are designed to withstand going in water so your animal can cool off when it gets very hot. Nylon webbing products are also useful for the heat. In winter, you should opt for padded models, whcih add insulation and provide cushioning and comfort.

The outdoor climate will naturally influence the material you choose, but you also want to ensure that the harness you opt for won’t damage your dog’s skin. Nowadays, most harnesses are made from products that are compatible canine skin. We strongly encourage you to pay attention to this criterion, as poor quality materials may lead to wounds on your dog’s body.

Design

Dog harnesses come in different sizes and designs, each performing specific functions. They can adapt to different bodies and sizes to perfectly fit each pet. We’ve listed the main harness designs available right now on the U.S. market, so you can choose which is best suited to your pet:

  • Y-harness: Made with nylon straps, it generally wraps the chest and front legs of the animal, closing near the ribs. Other materials are also used for the straps, such as leather. They give little control, so they are ideal for smaller breeds or dogs that have learned to walk without pulling on the leash. These models keep your dog cool in summer.
  • Safety harness: This model is also called a three-point harness. Similar to the Y-harness, it features a waist strap to prevent your dog from turning back. It is most commonly used with breeds like hunting dogs and greyhounds. That third point on the waist will also make your pet feel more secure.
  • Training harness: Also known as no-pull harnesses, these accessories are designed for you to train your dog to stop pulling on the leash. They have a ring to hook the leash in the center of the chest, and sometimes another ring at the top of the back. Also made from nylon straps, they are particularly helpful during training.
  • Vest harness: This type of harness is usually padded and more comfortable during the colder months because it covers a greater part of the body. The Julius-K9 brand has made them very trendy. You can also use them for summer if they are made from light mesh. Fearful animals feel more protected with these models, and it allows you to better control your pet.

Regardless of your dog’s size, you will be able to find a harness that is just right.
(Source: Peter Kirillov: 6772684/ 123rf.com)

Night-Time Visibility

Today, many harnesses are visible in the dark. They will allow you to find your pet in case it gets lost at night or starts running in dark places. There are two main types of harnesses that will let you keep an eye on your dog in almost any situation. They are made with the following straps:

  • Reflective straps: They are made with a material that sends light back to its original source. This means that they are only visible when light hits them. Otherwise, you will not be able to see the harness. In other words, models with reflective straps are useful to find your dog if there are lampposts, cars circulating or if you’re using a flashlight.
  • Luminescent straps: These models of dog harnesses are less common than those mentioned above. The material they are made from receives and stores energy, later transforming it into a light source in dark environments. This basically means that you will always be able to see the harness, even if there is absolutely no light around.

Summary

As you now know, you need to take your dog outside several times a day. These animals needs to stretch their legs, have fun and do their business. However, many U.S. municipalities have regulations requiring dogs to wear a leash attached to a collar or a harness at all times outside the house. The former have become particularly trendy, due to the fact that they are very comfortable to use, both for the dog and for its owner.

You’ll come to appreciate that a harness is a great tool to take your dog out, to train it, to guide it and to control its movements. These accessories are also mandatory to use with the seat belt when you’re travelling with your pet. You will find a wide range of models on the market, manufactured with different materials and in all sizes to fit the needs of your dog and yourself.

If you liked our shopping guide on dog harnesses, feel free to and share the article on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be happy to answer any question you may have.

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