5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Harness for your Dog

Stephanie Wan Editorial Date:

Walking with our dogs is one of the best bonding experiences we share. As much as we love watching them run free, using a leash and harness is important for keeping our dogs safe, whether walking in the city, or while still practicing recall. Choose the right harness to make walks enjoyable for both dog and human!

A good harness is comfortable, easy to put on, and difficult to accidentally slip out of. They protect the delicate nerves and organs in your dog’s neck, which is why they are recommended by dog professionals. But with so many different types of harnesses to choose from, which is the best for your dog?

What harness is best for your dog
What harness is best for your dog?

Check the proper fit

No matter which harness you choose, make sure that it is the correct size and fit for your dog. Every dog’s body shape is different, so harnesses with multiple adjustment points make sure it can be properly fitted. The straps should be snug but not too tight, and you should be able to fit two fingers under the straps. Position the girth strap approximately 2-3 finger widths behind your dog’s elbows, so there is no chafing of the armpits.

Correctly fitted harness

A Y-shaped harness is most recommended by dog professionals

As stated in the name, this type of harness forms a Y-shape on the dog’s chest and back. It is also called a non-restrictive harness, because it allows for free shoulder movement. When fitted properly, this harness sits on the dog’s sternum and rib cage instead of any soft tissue or muscle, so your dog’s body is protected. Y-shaped harnesses usually have a clip on the dog’s back, which is the most comfortable place to clip the leash, and also a clip on their chest, for dogs that tend to pull. Popular Y-harnesses with a dual clip include the Ruffwear Front Range Harness and the High5Dogs Rope Walker Harness. For small dogs, there is also the Puppia Soft Mesh Dog Harness, which is a highly breathable harness with a back clip.

Front clip harnesses help with dogs that pull

Harnesses such as the Pet Safe Easy Walk have a clip on the dog’s chest that can help pawrents manage dogs that pull. The front clip allows the human to redirect their dogs to the side when they are pulling forwards, so that they have better control. This also helps the dog bring their focus back to their human. The Easy Walk harness has multiple buckles, allowing you to put it on your dog without having to slip it over their head. For some dogs with short fur, the Easy Walk may cause chafing in the armpit area. If this is the case a Y-shape harness may be a better option.

senior dog Diamond in a front clip harness

Senior dog Diamond in a front clip harness.

Norwegian harnesses are quick to put on

An Easy Walk is a type of Norwegian harness, and an advantage of these harnesses is that they are simple to put on and easily adjustable. They distribute the weight of the leash across the dog’s body and do not put pressure on their neck. However the chest strap goes across the dog’s shoulder blades, and can inhibit their gait when walking.

The EzyDog Quick Fit harness and EzyDog Convert harness are Norwegian harnesses with a built-in handle for you to grab and keep your dog close to you when needed. They are comfortable to wear and the Convert harness also has accessories you can add, such as a customizable side badge. They have a back clip but no front clip, therefore are more suitable for dogs who do not pull on the leash.  

Use a safety clip or safety strap for added security

If fitted properly, it should be difficult for your dog to slip out of their harness, but some dogs can be little escape artists! Use a collar and a dog tag with your information on it in case your dog gets lost. You can also use a carabiner to add a safety clip connecting the harness to the collar, or use a safety strap which is an extra connection from the leash to the collar. In both these cases the main point of contact is still the harness so your dog’s neck is protected, but if they manage to slip out of the harness or if the harness breaks, you will still be attached to their collar.

You can use a harness and a collar for added safety

You can use a harness and a collar for added safety.


From useful tool to fashion statement, a harness is one of the most important pieces of gear you will choose for your dog. Help them learn how to walk on a loose leash while maintaining the highest level of safety and comfort. Visit Whiskers N Paws to browse more harnesses, collars, and leashes for your furry friend!