Picture of Fox Terrier with Harness on
How to Put on a Dog Harness in a Few Easy Steps

How to Put on a Dog Harness in a Few Easy Steps

In many cases, using a dog harness on a dog is an everyday occurrence (when taking them out for a walk, the vets, or even when going for a drive), but that doesn’t mean that putting them on a pet is always a simple task. Aside from the difficulties of squirming puppies (or even fully grown dogs), there’s also the issue of complicated harnesses, too.

Even some of the best brands can be confusing to the ordinary person – but fortunately, there are a few simple steps that can be followed to put them on efficiently.

Not only can this ensure the pet’s safety, but also make travel, walks, vet visits and anything else that requires the use of a harness more comfortable for the canine too, which is certainly not something to overlook.

Why is it important to securely put on a dog harness?

Using a harness may not always seem like a necessity, so why can it be so important to know how to put them on?

There are likely to be times where it’s crucial to have a properly fitted dog harness (for example, if the canine tries to chase a cat whilst out for a walk) – and having the knowledge on how to put them on properly could make all the difference in a dangerous situation. Also, there are a number of other issues that can come when dog harnesses aren’t correctly placed or adjusted on dogs, too.

For example, the canine might try pulling against the harness to make themselves feel more comfortable or ease any pain that it’s causing. However, this can easily be mistaken for them trying to pull away – when in reality, they might just want to lessen the discomfort they’re feeling.

In addition, a dog harness that is incorrectly placed can also limit the animal’s movement and cause issues such as tight muscles (which is especially the case with dogs who adjust their body’s posture and movement, because the straps are restricting their gait).Luckily, this is often very noticeable when walking them.

Another issue that can occur is structural imbalance, which can be caused when one side of the harness pulls more than the other. This can tire them out, cause aching or pain and sometimes more.

Aside from these, the main issue of having an improperly sized or adjusted dog harness is that the canine may be able to slip out of it – and whether they’re a small puppy or an adult, it’s often best to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

In short, there are quite a few problems and dangers that can come with incorrectly placing a harness, not fastening it properly, or using one that’s not big enough – which is why knowing how to put them on can often be so important.

Putting on a dog harness

There are two main types of harnesses – overhead and step-in harnesses,– and as explained above, knowing how to put them on (and also which type will be best used for the pet in question) can be important for a number of reasons.

The type of design not only affects how the harness is put on, but also how it’s handled, how secure it is and much more.

Steps for putting on an overhead harness

  1. The first thing to do is unbuckle the harness and put it down on the floor
  2. Next, call the dog over and position them, so that they are standing over the straps
  3. Put their front paws in the loops they match up to (one at a time) – it’s likely that the harness will have come with instructions or have some form of indication to help make it easier to tell which loop is for what paw
  4. Lastly, insert the buckles on the canine’s back, so that it’s on tight (but not so much that it hurts)

Steps for putting on a step-in harness

  1. First of all, put the pet’s head through the neck piece of the harness
  2. Pull the bottom straps down, so that they’re under the dog’s belly and the top strap’s resting across their back
  3. Check to see if it’s connected on one side. If it is, shift the dog so that they’re stepping through the loop and then fasten the straps on the other side. If they aren’t connected, fasten them on both sides instead.

Other things to keep in mind

Although those easy steps are all that are needed to put a dog harness on a dog, there are often other things that need to be considered, too. For example, knowing where to place all the straps is often something that a pet owner will need to know once they’ve put it on their canine.

It’s often a wise idea to check the strap placement, because if anything has been done wrong, it can be taken off and put back on again. A few things to keep in mind when doing this are:

  • A harness should fit comfortably below the dog’s neck, but high up on the chest
  • The side straps should go up and around their shoulders
  • It shouldn’t put any pressure on their throat
  • A chest strap shouldn’t be put across the canine’s shoulder joint

If the placement has been done and checked properly, then the only thing left to do is adjust the harness to make sure that it’s secure (although it should never be put on too tight).

One of the best ways to ensure that it’s fixed firmly without putting too much pressure on the dog is to use the buckles to tighten the straps (which is how they’re typically are fastened), but to put two fingers between the pet and their harness and stop when it reaches them.

Check all the buckles and straps, try moving the harness and make sure that it’s not restricting their movement or sitting uncomfortably. Next attach their leash and collar, so that the dog is ready to go.

If all this is done, it’s likely that the end result will be perfect – and if the dog’s harness has been fit on correctly, their owner will be able to rest assured that they will not only be safe, but also secure and comfortable, too.


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