Dog harnesses are ideal due to the ease and simplicity it affords both the dog and the dog owner. However, dog harness might be difficult to put on a dog, especially when you have very minimal knowledge/idea on how to go about it.

In some cases, it happens that the dog is fidgety and unfamiliar with the entire process. This is why we will be listing out easy practical steps on how to put on your dog harness successfully.

In this article, we will be considering the two most common types of dog harness as well as their individual methods of putting them on a dog. Learn how to put on a dog harness with these easy step by step guidelines:

Step-Into Dog Harness

The step-into dog harness requires maximum cooperation from your dog. You can train your dog to stand still by giving it a special treat. This can help the dog lose every sense of fidgety and get it used to the process. Follow the guidelines below for a successful way to put on the step-in harness.

1. Check the harness

The initial step to take is to check the harness to determine which loop is on the left and which one is on the right. It can be marked for both sides but if that’s not the case for yours, ensure that each leg gets into the fitted hole.

2. Prepare the harness

The next step is to prepare the harness by unbuckling the harness and laying it flat on a plane ground.

3. Guide your dog

After you must have prepared your harness on the ground, carefully lead your dog to the same spot with the harness. Afterwards, guide your dog to stand over the harness. With their legs right above the harness, place each paw right above the corresponding holes like they normally should.

4. Put on the harness

The next step is to put on the harness on your dog. This can be carried out by putting it up over the chest of your dog and buckling the strap over the back or the side (depending on where the buckle is on the harness) to ensure that it stays firm.

If the harness is loose, your dog could slip out of it. It can’t be too tight as well to prevent chaffing or harness cutting into your dog’s skin. A tight harness could also restrict the movement of your dog by any means.

Over-the-head Dog Harness

Most dog owners prefer this type of harness. It is easier to put on simpler to use. The following steps demonstrate how to put on this type on your dog.

1. Check the harness

This applies to this type of harness as well. You need to check the harness to determine where your dog’s head will fit into. You can make use of the manufacturer’s guide to check for the manufacturer’s instructions on this step.

Most of the over-the-head harness commonly used mostly have the same features. However, there might be slight changes in the designs because some manufacturers prefer to use their ideas. After checking the harness, be sure to unbuckle it carefully.

2. Prepare the D-string

The next step is to prepare the D-string before you put it on. This might be a bit tricky, but you only need to know the positioning which can either be on the dog’s chest or its back.

3. Put on the harness

This step is slightly different from the initial one for the step-in harness. However, it much easier to undergo. The first thing to do is to slip the loop under onto your dog’s neck. Afterwards, pull the bottom straps beneath your dog’s belly and then top strap over your dog’s back. Ensure that you buckle it back to keep it firm on the dog.

Dog harnesses come in different sizes, both big and small. Have a good idea of what will fit your dog best and choose right. If possible, let your dog try on a few options before making a purchase.

When choosing a harness for your dog, ensure that the clip hangs a little higher up on your dog’s chest. Do not over tighten it, so it doesn’t give you problems while you’re buckling it and so it doesn’t make the dog uncomfortable. It also might not help control the forward movement of the dog when it dangles too low, so ensure there that you balance it out.

Note: Check out the type and style of harness you purchased. There are several adjusting points for each type and style of the harness, but it varies depending on the harness you possess. The common ones have 2, 3, 4 or even more adjusting points that can be used.

It is important that you adjust all the necessary points, and it certainly wouldn’t be just one or two. During adjustment, ensure that you adjust the straps tightly enough.

You should be able to slide in two fingers conveniently through the straps in between your dog’s body and the harness. This is to make sure it’s not too tight, but just the perfect fit for your dog. The manufacturer guide can help you with this.


On a final note, learning this entire process and applying it successfully might be a little tedious, however with time and frequent successive trials, you’ll be much better at it.

When putting it on your dog remain cool, calm and relaxed so your dog can trust the entire process and remain calm as well. Always double check the strap to make sure it hasn’t gotten loose and that it still fits perfectly.

About the Author James S

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