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What is the Best Dog Harness for My Dog?

by on January 25, 2014 - Leave a Comment

The best dog harness for your dog depends on a few things. There are many different types of dog harnesses, and each varies in terms of features and benefits. This article is designed to break down harnesses by type and use so that you can choose the best dog harness for you and your dogs needs. The primary benefit of using a dog harness over a collar is to eliminate stress and injury to your dog’s neck, and most of the harness types listed here do that, unless otherwise noted.

Mesh Dog harness

This type of dog harness is constructed of polyester mesh. It closes in the back, and uses either a Velcro or side release buckle closure. mesh dog harnessIt is attached to the leash from the back by either a double or single d-ring. Some slip over the head and others are put on from the front.

Pros: Designed primarily for small dogs, a mesh harness is very comfortable and good for dogs with sensitive skin. Made of soft mesh material, it is usually available in wide choice of colors and prints.

Cons: Limited adjust-ability and sizing, usually for dogs under 30 lbs. While comfortable, mesh harnesses are stretchy and dogs can get out of them more easily that traditional harnesses. Therefore they are not the best dog harness for large dogs or any dog that is not well-behaved on leash. As a mess harness covers much of a dogs torso, they can be uncomfortable in warm weather. Also, mesh harnesses tend to create more matting on dogs with long coats or coats that tend to mat easily. Not very durable.

Vest Dog Harness

A vest harness comes in a few varieties. There is a vest harness that is used for service dogs, which is usually more utilitarian and made for bigger dogs. Then there are vest harnesses that are designed to be worn for warmth or fashion like clothes. Both work similarly in that they can close in front or back and are made in a wide variety of materials from weather and water proof fibers to cotton fashion prints. They usually attach to the leash from the back by a single d-ring.

Pros: Great for cooler climates, a vest harness can be comfortable and warm. Available in a wide variety of colors and fabrics both online and off. Those designed for service dogs are very durable.

Cons: Limited adjustability for fit. Can be uncomfortable in warmer weather, and will mat coats like the mesh harness. Not designed for leash training or dogs that are not well behaved on leash. Those designed for appeal/fashion are less durable than service vest harnesses.

Step-in Dog Harness

This type of dog harness is designed for everyday walks. Made of nylon webbing and/or fabric, it is available in sizes from XS to XL. Suitable for dogs of all sizes, the step-in dog harness attaches to a leash from the back by double d-rings. It is fitted well under the forearms, making it more difficult for a dog to back out of the harness. Some makers are better than others. Look for adjustability on all 4 straps (for best fit), and a fixed breast strap (some are loose, causing rubbing, chaffing).

Pros: Easy to put on and take off as the dog “steps into” this harness which is closed by a side release buckle. Good adjustability for fitting all body types, minimizing the chance that a dog will get out of the harness. Available in a wide variety of colors and designs. Very durable, made to last.

Cons: Not as soft as fabric/mesh vests, but will soften with time and wear. Very small sizes can be hard to find.

Easy Walk Dog Harness

These are excellent training harnesses, particularly for big dogs. They are made of nylon webbing and slip over the head and are secured under the forelegs with a side-release buckle. The leash is attached to a d-ring from the front of the harness. This is also know as a “no pull” harness because when dogs try to pull in this harness, the front loop tightens and draws the dog toward the owner.

Pros: As mentioned above, this is the best dog harness for leash training big dogs. Easy to put on, and available in a variety of colors. Durable construction, made to last.

Cons: Limited availability in smaller sizes and designs. Difficult to find in local stores. Not quite a comfortable as fabric harnesses, but will soften with wear.

For a great selection of step-in dog harnesses, be sure to visit The Artful Canine’s online shop. Our dog harnesses fit well, are durable, come in a plethora of designs, and are made in the USA with a 1-yr guarantee.

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