May 26, 2023
How To Put On A Dog Harness: Step
Published on 10/11/2022 at 4:40 PM Whether you’re putting a harness on your dog for the first time or simply upgrading him to a different piece of gear, there are definitely some steps you need to
Published on 10/11/2022 at 4:40 PM
Whether you’re putting a harness on your dog for the first time or simply upgrading him to a different piece of gear, there are definitely some steps you need to take to do it right.
We spoke with Joseph Ryan, a general manager of enrichment and training at Patrick’s Pet Care in Washington, D.C., to find out how to put on a dog harness.
There are a few common types of dog harnesses, all with similar — but slightly different — methods for putting them on:
Here are a few steps for putting on your dog’s harness.
Before buying a dog harness, you should take your pup’s measurements so you know the straps won’t be too tight or loose.
To do this, you’ll need to note your dog’s chest and neck measurements with a soft measuring tape you can easily shape around his body. (Sometimes you may need his weight, too, but the physical measurements will be the most useful ones for finding the right size.)
“We want to make sure the harness is tight enough so the dog can't slip out, but also loose enough so they can move about freely,” Ryan told The Dodo. “It's important to have the correct size for safety reasons.”
Finding the perfect fit might take some trial and error, so please be patient.
When you’re ready to actually put on your dog’s harness, make sure your BFF is nice and calm (like after nap time). If he’s not, it could be difficult to get it on properly, and you don’t want all the commotion to stress him out.
There are a few different ways to do this, depending on which kind of dog harness you’re using.
For a standard harness, pull it over your pup’s head and make sure the D-ring (which is the metal ring that clips onto his leash) is in the right position. On standard harnesses, this will be on your dog’s back. On front-clip harnesses, this will be in the front.
For a step-in harness, lay it flat on the ground in front of your dog. Place his paws in the holes and lift the harness up to his chest.
As you’re buckling the straps on your dog’s harness, make sure his front legs are in the proper holes to ensure that the harness is on correctly.
Once you’ve put on your dog’s harness, it’s crucial to adjust the straps so it’s the right fit. That means not too tight and not too loose.
“You should be able to fit two fingers under each strap,” Ryan said.
To get your dog to feel good about his harness (as opposed to being afraid of it!), you’ll want to use a combination of desensitization (getting him used to something new gradually and in stages) and counterconditioning (using rewards, like treats, to build positive associations).
“[Introduce] the harness to the dog by holding the harness and letting them sniff it,” Ryan said. “Immediately give a treat when they do.”
Once your dog’s fully comfortable investigating his harness, have the harness touching him while you shower him with treats. If your pup stays calm, you can progress to actually putting it on.
“When the dog starts to get excited about the harness approaching, you can then place it around their neck,” Ryan said. “Give them a treat, then take the harness off.”
After your pup’s mastered having the harness around his neck, the last stage of counterconditioning involves actually clipping the buckles. And just like every other step, make sure to give your dog plenty of treats until he’s fully used to it.
The one thing you should never do when putting a harness on your dog is force him inside of it.
“Any negative interaction can be seen as a punishment and hurt the dog's association with the harness even more,” Ryan said. “If the dog is unsure of the harness, use counterconditioning to create a positive association with the harness.”
When you’re figuring out how to put on a dog harness, the actual act of getting it on is pretty straightforward. But getting your pup used to and comfortable with the new piece of gear is going to take a bit more time and patience. But with both, soon enough you’ll be putting a harness on your pup with ease!Types of dog harnessesHere’s how to put on a dog harness step by step1. Make sure your dog’s harness is the right size2. Have your dog sit or stand calmly3. Put the harness around your dog’s chest4. Buckle the harness5. Adjust the strapsHow to get your dog to like his harnessWhat not to do when putting a harness on a dog