Collars for dogs are all pretty much the same. They consist of a single strap that goes around the neck and fastens with a clip. You get a D-ring to which you can attach a leash. But what about the dog harness? It turns out that there isn’t just one kind.
A dog harness is designed to be worn around the animal’s shoulders and mid-section rather than just the neck. There are different designs for different purposes. Choosing the right harness for your dog is about understanding its anatomy in determining what your goals are.
Many harnesses offered by the likes of Voyager Harness are considered step-in, back-clip designs. Indeed, the folk at Voyager Harness think a step-in harness is the most functional for most needs. With that in mind, here are the most common dog harness types:
1. Step-in, Back-Clip
This first type of dog harness is so common that you can find it just about anywhere pet supplies are sold. They come in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes. Their two primary characteristics give them away:
- Step-In – This first characteristic is so named because it implies how you get the harness on your dog. You place the dog’s front legs through the loops and pull the harness up over the shoulders.
- Back-Clip – The harness fastens in the back and should adjust to fit snugly. The back is also where you will find the D-ring (or clip) for your leash.
This particular harness is ideal for smaller breeds. It is also a good choice for calm dogs. Larger breeds and more active dogs may need a different type of harness.
The front-clip harness fits over the top of your dog’s back. It generally consists of two loops with a strap between them. The D-ring for the leash is on the front side, which offers a completely different kind of control.
With a front-clip harness, gently tugging on the leash will redirect the dog toward you. For this reason, the front-clip design is a particularly good tool for training. It trains your dog to stay closer to you and follow your direction.
Next up is the dual-clip leash. As its name suggests, you get clips on both the back and front. Why would you want two leashes attached to two clips? To increase control. The back clip makes for better direction while the front clip can lessen your dog’s tendency to pull. Using both clips in tandem makes it easier for you to teach your dog how to closely pay attention to your lead as you walk.
4. Tightening Harness
Dogs that have a tendency to pull or go their own way may do better with a tightening harness, at least initially. A tightening harness is designed to gently constrict as the dog pulls, creating a slight discomfort that encourages your pet to ease up.
Tightening harnesses are intended to be training tools. Provided your dog responds to the training, you should be able to transition to a different harness after a short while.
5. Head Halter
A head halter harness consists of a standard neck collar along with a loop that goes over the dog’s snout. The clip for your leash is positioned under the neck. Though this particular harness may seem uncomfortable, it’s not when used properly. It is designed to teach your dog to keep his attention forward as you walk, thus minimizing distractions.
Bear in mind that each type of dog harness is best used with a particular technique. By learning those techniques, you and your dog will enjoy your walks a lot more.