Should your Dog have a harness instead of a collar?
I think harnesses provide excellent advantages in many ways compared to collars. Now the question of what brands are solid out there for the money, what types of dog harness are there, and which one is right for you? In this post, I will simplify the different types of dog harness into 2 main groups and how each one can work differently depending on your needs.
At the end, I will also show you the Joyride harness- which I use personally for my dog Lilou (pictured above ready for a walk 😊). I will cover how it has helped with overall training and stopped pulling on our walks immensely and this is why I give it an overall recommendation.
Present-day uses for dog harnesses
Nowadays canine harnesses are made use of for a much wider variety of functions. Needs for brand-new features are consistently emerging as pet dogs come to be extra involved in a broader series of activities.
- walking your dog (with high visibility vests for evening/night walks)-My dog is black so we have separate types of dog harness for night-very useful!
- rehab of dogs with injuries- Less pressure on sensitive areas
- Search and rescue
- swimming (floatation)
- rescue- easy to pull your dog out of situations or gain control fast when needed than pulling by only their neck
- showing signs and labels- Service animals/ESA/Military <—If interested in getting your dog certified click here!
Harnesses’ and their growing popularity over the years
The increasing appeal of different types of dog harness started to receive more recognition in the 1990s as an outcome of marketing by animal rights activists. A harness appears to be a lot comfier- and it is putting much less stress on the dog’s neck than a collar. Many of us are familiar with the term “Man’s best friend.” I know I do not like hearing my “best friend” choking by the neck when pulled, I personally would not like that as well. It doesn’t make sense, and that’s one of the main factors for the boosting popularity of dog harnesses. They are intuitively much better for a canine’s general wellness.
You will find a lot of info out there saying all these different kinds of harnesses, but I am going to simplify it to the main two “families” of dog harnesses. Of course, there are variations of each type as well
Two Main Types of dog harness–
Modern types of dog harness are inspired by horse harnesses and can be separated into 2 main kinds (there are variations of each within these 2 categories as well)
Each of these main types of dog harness is suitable for leash walking. Harnesses should not be worn for over two hours a day. This does not include daily walks.
- Y-harnesses (full collar takes advantage of a collar and connects under the dog along the spine to strap around the girth of the dog. (see picture-à)
- Chest Strap Harnesses- (or Breast Strap harnesses)- example joyride harness/ “no pull”
These harnesses are positioned in between the shoulder and the neck joints. The strap surrounding the neck permits the pet to exert its drawing force optimally, overall location of the breast, and also spine. It is no coincidence that this kind of harness is used for drawing sleds other pulling activities: it’s reliable as well as comfy.
“Y” harnesses now have been created specifically for dogs, as a derivation of the harness used for horses for many years as mentioned earlier. The best-known early examples of this type for dogs are pulling sled loads, which have actually turned into their existing more “casual” kind over centuries, and also have actually lately ended up being widely known as day-to-day pet harnesses.
Strap width- Thin vs Wide
For older dogs that are more limited, the extra cushioning on these wide straps makes harnesses much more reliable and comfortable by dispersing the pressure over a wider area.
Extra Padding For Extra Comfort
Today, in addition to pulling things, Y-harnesses are made for weight pulling such as if you want your dog to pull you on rollerblades on a Sunday afternoon. These work very well for search canines.-the a dog putting pressure in a direction constantly to guide someone or something. This extra padding, expanding under the breast and also the stomach, can either be included right into the dog harness or added later. Some with over padding tended to make my dog itch.
Variations of “Y” harness
With the “D” ring clip on their back, this provides the most comfort for your dog. You are less likely to get the leash all tangled around the dog’s legs-(we all hate this, including the dog) With the clip being away from the neck and trachea area, this is especially useful for dogs with small fragile necks.
You get a little less control if you need more directional correction. This is also ideal for those dogs that prefer to be in control of the walk or have things to pull. It does not discourage lunging and dragging as much.
Great for deterring dogs that love to pull on the harness. Many trainers use these because you have much more control over the dog. The position of the “D” ring in front makes it difficult to do what they want. The leash goes towards the owner when they stray away making this deterrent.
The front clip is more uncomfortable for your dog Being attached at the front allows the dog to potentially step over the leash and tangle himself more than the back clip. Dogs can still pull on this if they are highly motivated or aggressive. If you do not fit it correctly
As the name implies you have a clip-on both sides of the harness making this an excellent combination of the 2 types mentioned above. You can use the back clip for normal walking and the front clip for more control. Most “Y” harnesses are these currently because it is more practical. These harnesses have great weight distribution comparatively
these harnesses just like other “y” harness are harder to put on whether it is a “step in” or “over the head” If your dog is very antsy before a walk you may get frustrated putting it on and taking it off. These dual harnesses can be more expensive many times.
Y Harness Summarized
The overall benefits of Y-harnesses.
- The toughness of the spinal column and chest muscles can be utilized to the max level with this. thanks to the cradling of the neckstraps along the line where the shoulder muscles fulfill the neck.
- The dog can use its complete weight to draw in a reliable, ergonomic fashion.
- The harness can be integrated with a saddle component, which enables the add-on of high visibility markers around the dog. It can also be accompanied with compartments and can carry things if you are on a hike.
The overall drawbacks of Y-harnesses.
- They can be fiddly to put on the canine: the modification of the clasps and also side adjusters are complicated, specifically if you are not acquainted with the method they work. Some are top
- Because of the added support, this can actually encourage more pulling when going for everyday walks
- Some do not work well for dogs such as English bulldogs and other wide chested breeds. They create a pressure point if the pad is not wide enough.
- Many dogs do not like the middle strap along their neckline
Chest/Breast Strap Harness aka “No Pull”
These harnesses are my personal favorite if you are just looking to contain the speed of your dog. This also is great if your arm is pulled out of the socket EVERY time you go for a walk. As long as you have the sizing right, this type of harness is amazing to put on your dog. Very quick over the head and then buckle up. If your dog is like mine when the leash is grabbed their patience wears very thin very fast.
Sizing the Neckstrap
When selecting the correct harness for your dog, you must pay attention If you think the breast band could affect the pet dog’s movement when leaning forwards. Do not be attracted to obtain a somewhat bigger harness for a pet that is still expanding as the chest band may be able to glide down over the pet’s front legs, permitting it to run away.
Without proper install or a chest pad, the chest strap can glide down the neck, putting a hefty problem on the front legs of the dog when they pull or if they are needing to pull something for sport. If sized correctly, this is one of my favorite types of dog harness because it has a free range of motion for the dog’s comfort as well as makes them not want to pull. Perfect for walks.
Is A Chest Harness Right For Your Dog?
The inaccurate dimension of the chest strap to the main base (saddle) can trigger the buckle to rub on the arm joint of the dog as they walk. Chest harnesses are not suitable for all ranges of dog such as the smaller and more fragile sized pups. They might find the saddle (top) component as well inflexible. It may move side to side too easy or it may wrap around the whole body which would make it not as effective.
When picking a dog harness always take into consideration the size, breed, and activity to be undertaken. Viewing a size chart is imperative if you want one for a small dog. I like to go by weight- (this works most of the time). I say to make sure it fits a small dog because this type of harness prevents pulling. Small dogs under 5-10lbs do not pull very hard, to begin with so the added support of a “Y” type is usually a better path to go down.
Concerns of a Chest Harness
The major concern for a chest harness is to protect the blood vessels of the neck and throat. You also want to make sure it is going across the top of the shoulders. Numerous extra paddings are available to put on the chest strap if the surface area needs to be increased.
A chest pad attached to an upper-body harness gives a beneficial method of making the harness much safer as well as more difficult to leave. Do not limit the free movement of the canine’s joints by readjusting the bands as well snugly. It’s safest to refer to the harness directions for guidelines on fitting these harnesses correctly.
Chest harnesses have an upper strap that connects the shoulder joints flat at the degree of the chest bone. For this reason, with short-necked canine breeds, an upper-body lining or breast pad is suggested with a conventional chest harness.
To Summarize Benefits and Drawbacks of Chest Harness
Benefits of a Chest Harness
- A breast harness fits comfortably on the upper body leaving the entire neck area free for a wider range of motion.
- Easy to place on.
- Simple to readjust.
- Readily available with or without a saddle component.
- The positioning of the saddle component can be changed by simply utilizing the hook and loop bolt of the chest strap.
- Chest pads and Y-straps can be attached to the chest band when required.
- Labels can be affixed by hook or velcro as well as loop fasteners. Many service dog harnesses are a Breast harness.
Drawbacks of chest harnesses.
- Without a breast pad, sometimes the chest strap can slip down the neck to the legs. This will put a hefty problem on the front legs of the dog when pulling if needed.
- The harness can be pulled over the head with the leash if loosely fitted.
- Inaccurate dimension selection or modification can trigger the buckle to rub on the arm joint of the dog.
- With not as much body they typically are not sold as light-up harness like many “Y” harness
- Smaller sized pets might find the saddle component loose as well as inflexible.
My recommended type of harness and brand?…… Joyride Harness
The Joyride Harness– Perfect balanced for cost, comfort, and usefulness
This is a variation of the “no pull” harness and my favorite I have used thus far. Overall this has some cool modifications and comfort attributes that set it apart from others Here is a link to the company’s website and Instagram where you will find Lilou’s picture in the sea of many happy dogs with their comfy harnesses. This harness is very affordable and worth the price over and over every time we go for a walk
I used to have a “Y” shaped harness when we first got Lilou. This harness had some wool/cotton fabric on the chest plate for extra padding. Lilou would constantly be biting at it while we were walking- she did not seem to like it at all. When Lilou was a bit older we got her a new “Y” harness just because the added support was helpful for her being so small. (pictured) This worked okay, but still held back her range of motion. She also grew out of it and we needed a new one.
Notice A Difference Immediately!
I saw Joyride popping up on social media and saw excellent reviews so we gave it a shot. This product gave me instant results on our very first walk! This product gave me immediate satisfaction! It took literally seconds to put on. Watch my video of me putting it on her with one hand while the other hand holds the camera! It was quite funny for our first walk because you could notice the difference immediately. She started to pull ahead and came to the end of the leash and slowed down. It was funny because she looked a little confused as to why she was naturally slowed down, but she did haha.
For this reason, Joyride is the best type of dog harness for training. It’s so comfy for your dog and offers a larger range of motion than other “Y” harnesses of all types. The chest and body straps are very soft and wide, so they offer wider weight distribution and it does not itch. I love that the size chart is a weight range instead of you measuring your dog 3-4 different ways. It is so adjustable with both the chest and body strap. They offer a 1 year warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee. You also can get free exchanges and returns if you want a different size or color within 60 days.
Here are some key attributes that the Joyride Harness has that sets it apart
- Affordable with a great website and customer service platform.
- Many, many, many different styles, colors, and patterns to choose from.
- Unlike other “no pull” or chest strap harnesses like pictured above with a perpendicular angle, the joy ride is a more open angle at the neck so the chest strap is not going straight back and jamming the throat.
- The back of the harness has a nice reinforced handle to grab a hold of the dog if need be.
- The back of the “saddle” also has 3 different prongs. These are located on the left, middle, and right for extra control and guidance from whatever side.
- Soft durable mesh reinforced with extra stitching on the inside of the saddle for no itching
- The chest strap has adjustable velcro which helps elongate and provide a better fit if your dog is growing