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Last updated: June 20, 2020

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There’s most likely nothing on the planet that a dog likes more than going out for a walk and if you have a canine companion at home, this must be part of your daily routine. You need a lead and a decent harness to do this securely as this will keep your dog from straying too far from you when you’re out for a walk.

Dogs need to go out to relieve themselves, stretch their legs, expend some energy and socialise with other dogs. When out with your dog, you need to ensure that he or she doesn’t run across the road, get lost or get into a fight with another dog or animal. These days, a harness and lead combination is the most frequently used solution.

First Things First

  • The harness you choose must fit the body, size and needs of your dog, as well as comfortable for you.
  • Going out is the best time of the day for your canine friend and wearing a harness will make it a pleasant experience for you and other people and dogs you may meet.
  • Dog owners are required to have their animal on a lead in most public areas and when travelling by car. Unlike collars, harnesses can divide the weight evenly along the body of the canine, allowing you to pull on the lead without harming it.

The best dog harnesses on the UK market

Sporn Non-Pull Harness

The Sporn No-Pull harness is a great product at a great price. It is suitable for all dogs from puppies to adults and comes in sizes small, medium and large.  It makes for a pleasant walk with your dog without undesirable pulling.  The patented elastic mesh design uses a ‘squeeze and lift’ motion to discourage the dog from pulling, ensuring that you are always in control.

It has adjustable shoulder straps and is cushioned and fleece lined for unrestricted movement whilst maintaining ultimate comfort and a secure fit.  An extra safety feature is a sliding security cord lock which prevents over-tightening.

Beliefing Dog Body Padded Vest

The Beliefing padded vest helps prevent pulling. It is made from high quality nylon with a soft padding and is adjustable to ensure a comfortable but secure fit. It comes in black but also features reflective material for good visibility for night walks/training.  It is suitable for all dogs and comes in sizes small, medium and large.

It features a D ring own the back for lead attachment and also has a handle for extra control or to assist lifting an elderly or less able bodied dog.

Julius-K9 162P0 K9 PowerHarness

`The Julius is a great looking harness.  It is slightly more expensive but is available in a number of sizes for all breeds of dog.  It is also available in 19 different colours so there is bound to be the perfect choice for you and your dog.

The K9 harness is made from high quality material. It has a scratch resistant, water repellent outer layer and  a reflective stripe over the chest to ensure night visibility whilst the breathable inner lining is skin friendly making it more comfortable for your dog during warm or wet walks.

SlowTon Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Set

This is a great buy, the SlowTon dog car harness comes as a set with a safety seat belt for use in the car, it can also be used with the lead of your choice. The harness strap is designed to be universally compatible with most standard vehicles, keeping your pet secure whilst in transit.

The harness is fully adjustable and is available in a vast array of colours. It comes in size xxx-small to large making it a good choice for any breed. It is even suitable for cats and kittens. The seat belt can be adjusted from 20.87 inch to 29.13 inch.

fiE FIT INTO EVERYWAY No Pull Dog Harness

Another stylish harness available in black, orange and green and sizes x-small to x-large with 2 attachment points, a D-ring on the dog’s back and webbing with O-ring on the dog’s chest.  It is made from nylon and has a 3M reflective stripe to ensure good visibility at night.

It also features a handle on the dogs back to assist with control or lifting and the breathable mesh lining keeps your dog comfortable during their walk or training activities.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dog harnesses

Before buying a harness for your dog, you really should know the functionalities of this canine product along with the benefits for you and your pet. This will naturally depend on the model you choose. In the section below, we explore some of the most important aspects regarding harnesses, so that you can make an informed decision. We’ve also answered the most frequently asked questions.

family, pet, domestic animal and people concept - happy family with labrador retriever dog walking in summer park

Experts recommend three daily outings of at least 30 minutes each.
(Source: Dolgachov: 61638890/ 123rf.com)

Why should I walk my dog with a harness?

Your dog needs to be on a lead when you go out so that it cannot escape or go to a place where its life could be at risk – the road, for instance. This is why it is necessary that you equip your dog with a harness too. This will also result in a more comfortable environment for other people and dogs that are around. It is also important that you should have your dog secured in the vehicle when you’re driving.

Dogs need to be kept under control in all public places, except those specifically designed for them. You can only let your canine friend loose in parks where these animals are allowed or in other specific areas.

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Remember that your insurance will not cover most of your costs if you have a problem with your dog outside of home and it wasn’t wearing a harness or collar. In the UK, the Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar

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

A dog needs to be secured when travelling in a car. There are harnesses on the market which are specially created for use in a vehicle, although you can also use the one you already have for walking with a seat belt attachment.

To travel legally and safely, you must wear a seat belt at all times in your vehicle. The exact same goes for your dog. You are advised to attach the belt to a harness for greater comfort. This accessory will ensure that your canine friend is protected and that the force of braking doesn’t cause it any unwanted harm.

Dear puppy Brussels Griffon poses for the camera in the garden

You are advised not to force your dog on its first walks, or expose it to the outside world for long if it is not comfortable.
(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 their ways of expressing themselves to humans. Certain dogs also have the tendency of becoming more nervous when they are around people who are afraid of them. By smelling the adrenaline, the animal starts to feel uncomfortable in the company of someone who fears them and can bark at them.

If you walk your dog on a lead, you can avoid these risky situations and not disturb other pedestrians who may be afraid of animals. Situations can quickly escalate if your dog runs loose which could result in an unpleasant situation for yourself and a person who has a fear of dogs which will only increase the discomfort they feel in the future.

Are there laws on walking dogs with a harness?

There is legislation in place regarding dog control and care in most countries. As Rule 57 of the Highway Code states “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly”. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars. Although disobeying the Highway Code doesn’t necessarily mean you will be will receive a penalty, the police could pull you over and charge you with driving without due care and attention with carries a maximum fine of £2,500 and nine penalty points.

A third of drivers have never even heard of Rule 57 of the Highway Code and some insurance companies are now warning customers that their car insurance could be invalid of they are involved in a accident with an unrestrained pet in your vehicle.

If you are involved in an incident and have an unrestrained pet or passenger for that matter in the back seats this can potentially be deadly for you and your pet/passenger.

Harness for pets To bring the leash to lean and control on black background

Before you buy a harness for your dog, you should absolutely know the functionalities of this canine product and its benefits for your pet and yourself.
(Source: Bullltus: 93708024/ 123rf.com)

Is a collar the same as a dog harness?

While they are designed to fulfil the same function, these two accessories are not the same. Both allow you take your dog for a walk in complete safety. Used with a lead, they also prevent your animal from straying too far and running onto the road. You can control their movements and avoid them getting too close to a dog with whom they might fight.

A harness with the corresponding hook is necessary when travelling by car, while a collar cannot be used in that case. It would cause greater harm to your dog in case of an accident or 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 minimises the potential harm caused to your pet.

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

Collars have generally been used more frequently than harnesses to walk our pets. However, in recent years many experts have talked about the problems of using collars whilst others still stand by it. 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 on, 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 your dog, which is a very delicate part of its body.
Harness Pulling won’t harm your pet since the weight of the lead 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 lead?

How you bring up your dog ultimately determines its attitude when you go out for walks together. Some will constantly pull on their lead, which can lead to an unenjoyable walk for their owners. Trying to control a dog who pulls a lot could even cause injury to yourself, you may experience back, shoulder or wrist pain trying to get it to follow the right path or in an attempt to ensure it walks slowly.

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

two happy dogs with owner sitting on grass in the park

Harnesses usually have a ring on the chest and another on the back so you can choose where to tie the leash.
(Source: Damedeeso: 32728237/ 123rf.com)

If your dog pulls more than it should, stop until it calms down before continuing your walk. If you can’t get it to obey, simply change direction to reconnect and capture their attention. Keep in mind that you should always be calm, if you are nervous your dog will sense this and and will be nervous too.

Are harnesses suitable for dogs of all weights and sizes?

From our product selection, you may have noticed that most of the harnesses shown here and on the market come in a variety of sizes to fit every dog so you will be able find the right harness for your pet, whether it’s a small Chihuahua or a Great Dane. That being said, you should pay particular attention to the overall quality, seams and resistance of the product if your dog is very big.

Very small dogs are lighter and easier to control, so a harness is more of a nice 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 can and cannot do ensuring you are in control.

Can harnesses make my dog pull more?

Some people believe that the harness can lead to dogs pulling more on the lead. The reason behind this reasoning is that this accessory was originally created and used for dogs pulling sledges or carts. That being said, this market has developed very much 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 lead. 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 due to the overall weight distribution being more even.

Owner cleaning up after the dog with plastic bag

Having a harness for your dog will make walks much easier.
(Source: Monika Wisniewska: 58817628/ 123rf.com)

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

Going out is the best time for your animal, and we encourage you to respect its tastes. However, you’ll still need to follow your own rules. This is why it is recommended to start your outing by heading to a place where your dog can be completely free, like a 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 it to smell or mark its territory from time to time, but you don’t want this to be so frequent that you can’t walk.

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You also need to respect this and not stop too frequently to window shop or check your phone, as this will lead to anxiety for your dog.

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

It is not advisable under any circumstances to take your dog out just so it can relieve itself. This will make your dog think that it has to hurry every time you go out, and its main focus will be to mark its territory, it will not want to move forward or do anything else. This means that your dog’s only goal will be to urinate as many times as possible before going back home.

Taking your dog out just to go to the toilet will impact on future walks. When you decide to go out for longer, your dog will struggle to keep up with you, thinking he or she will be going home soon so will constantly be marking its territory making the walk very difficult and tiresome. Remember this isn’t your pet’s fault, but rather what you’ve been teaching it every day.

Girl and Husky dog, Rovaniemi, winter Finnish forest of Lapland

Dogs, especially large breeds, can drag us along as they please by pulling on the leash during walks.
(Source: Roman Babakin: 104216348/ 123rf.com)

How long should I walk my dog for?

When you’re about to add a canine member to your family and if you live in an apartment, you have to know that you will need to dedicate several hours a day to entertain it. Dogs must go out to do their business, play and socialise 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 to get their minds working. If you always go out for a good 20 to 30 minutes of walking every time, your canine friend will know that it has the time to do everything it wants. 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.

Can I take my puppy out with a harness?

If you adopt your dog when it is still a puppy, it’s very important to wait until all vaccinations are completed and it is safe to let them explore the outside world. This generally means that your puppy cannot go outside 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 outing.

Working Parson Jack Russell Terrier wearing red harness and bell

Dogs need to discover new smells and interact with dogs and people alike to get their minds working.
(Source: Helen Hotson: 29421727/ 123rf.com)

What 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 give it any missing ones before heading out for your first walk. That way, your new pet won’t be at risk of contracting diseases. In the UK, the recommended vaccinations DHPP will protect your dog from canine distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. If taking your dog on holiday abroad, it must have a rabies jab and tick prevention jab.  Many day care and boarding kennels will not accept dogs without the kennel cough vaccination.

  • The first round of vaccines is given between 10-12 weeks of life.
  • The final vaccineis not given until your dog turns sixteen weeks.
  • Your puppy will be ready for the street after you check one last time with your vet.
  • It is now UK law to chip your dog before going for the first walk, in case it gets lost, escapes or is involved in an accident.

Do all harnesses prevent my dog from pulling?

All harnesses allow you to better control your dog and where it wants to go. However, not all models are designed to prevent pulling. In fact, the majority are simply made to take your dog out on a walk. This is why you’ll need to pay attention to whether the harness you want to 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 or still learning to follow your orders. These specifically-designed models will slightly close up on your dog and restrain its legs if it pulls on the lead. In that case, the lead is attached to the animal’s thorax.

Dog-harness

All harnesses allow you to better control your dog and where it wants to go.
(Source: Yuval Helfman: 13736498/ 123rf.com)

How should I use a no-pull harness with my dog?

Dogs, especially large breeds, can drag us along as they please by pulling on the lead during walks. Nowadays, you have access to models tailored to educate your dog to respect 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 suits your use best.

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Did you know that many harnesses have a short grip to restrain your dog in case it 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 to understand what we want from them. The first few times you go out together, the outside world will offer many 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 short periods of time.

You are advised not to force your dog on its first walks, or expose it to the outside world for long if it is not comfortable. Let your pet smell around and find its own rhythm while getting accustomed to the surroundings. Don’t force it to interact with other dogs or people. Your animal needs to do what it wants to gain confidence.

Training of working dog outdoors

Dog harnesses come in different shapes and designs, each performing specific functions.
(Source: serezniy: 109480900/ 123rf.com)

Should I also muzzle my dog?

While having your dog harnessed may be mandatory in some public places, the muzzle generally depends on your dogs behaviour, dogs that have shown signs of aggressive behaviour, or that may potentially be aggressive, should be muzzled for extra safety.

Shopping Criteria

Dog harnesses aren’t only useful to make walking your pet more comfortable, it is likely you will need one of these accessories t some time and you want to buy one that is fit for both you and your dog. To help you make the right decision, we’ve discussed the following key criteria in the next section:

Size

It is very important that you measure the size of the harness so that it fits your dog’s head without disturbing it. This is also true for the lower part of the harness, which goes around the thorax. If it’s loose, it may chafe its body while walking, and your dog will 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 UK 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.

 portrait of a woman and a large group of chihuahuas

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 it out.
(Source: Bonzami Emmanuel: 14486825/ 123rf.com)

Materials

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

During the summer months, or if your dog enjoys a swim, you may want to opt for a mesh model. It will help your dog to breathe and will dry quickly. Nylon webbing products are also useful for the heat. In winter, a padded or fleece model may be preferable to help keep your dog warm.

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

Design

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

  • Y-harness:Made with nylon straps, it generally wraps the chest and 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 learnt to walk without pulling on the lead. 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 make your pet feel more protected.
  • Training harness: Also known as no-pull harnesses, these accessories are designed for you to stop your dog from pulling on the lead. They have a ring to hook the lead in the centre of the chest, and sometimes another 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-K9products has made them very trendy. You can also use them for summer if they made from light mesh. Fearful animals feel more protected with these models, and it allows you to better control your pet.
 beagle dog on the scent. green grass.

Regardless of your dog’s size, you will always 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 torch.
  • 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 have to take your dog out several times a day. These animals needs to stretch their legs, have fun and do their business. Harnesses 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 realise 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 rate it 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.

(Source of featured image: Jaromir Chalabala: 32461779/ 123rf.com)

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