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How to harness train your dog

Ped M4 - DogHarness - Rajesh Kavasseri

Photo by Rajesh Kavasseri on Unsplash

If you're tired of your furry friend pulling on the lead when walking them on a regular collar, harness training may be the solution. While a harness is no substitute for proper training, it can be a big help during your dog’s walkies, as it provides more support and control for both of you. There are different types of harnesses to choose from, so it’s good to do your research to find one that suits what you’re after. It may take a while to get your pooch used to wearing one, so be prepared to give them the support they need while they adapt.

The benefits of using a harness

There are a few benefits of using a harness rather than just a regular collar. One main reason is that it can help prevent injury, as collars can put a lot of pressure on a dog’s neck and throat when they pull. A harness distributes the pressure more evenly throughout your dog's body, reducing the risk of hurting them. Harnesses also provide you with more control as you walk your dog, making it easier to guide them on walks and in other situations. All this said, it’s still important that your dog is wearing an ID tag when out in public, so you may want to keep their collar on as well or find a form of ID that can attach to the harness itself.

Choosing the right harness

When choosing the right harness, there are different styles to pick from, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Front-clip harnesses can be great for dogs who pull, as they give you better control over their direction. Back-clip harnesses are easy to put on and take off but may not be as effective for controlling a strong or reactive dog. And dual-clip harnesses offer the best of both worlds but can be more expensive.

Make sure you get the right fit

Once you've chosen a harness, it's important to make sure you get the right fit. To do this, you'll need to take a few measurements, including their chest girth and neck circumference. Be sure to check the manufacturer's sizing guide before you buy, as different brands may use slightly different measurements. A poorly fitting harness can be uncomfortable for your pooch and may not provide the support and control you need.

Getting a puppy used to a harness

If you’ve recently got a new puppy, it's best to get them used to wearing a harness early on. Puppies are generally more accepting of new experiences than older dogs, so it's a good time to introduce them. Start by letting them sniff the harness and rewarding them with treats when they show interest. Gradually introduce them to wearing it for short periods, increasing the duration over time.

Getting an older dog used to a harness

If you have an older dog who's never worn a harness before, it may take a bit more time and patience to get them used to it. Again, start by letting them sniff the harness, before gradually introducing them to wearing it for short periods of time, rewarding them with treats and praise. You may need to go at a slower pace, depending on your dog's temperament and previous experiences.

Troubleshooting any problems during the training process

Like with any type of training, there may be some hiccups along the way. If your dog seems uncomfortable or unhappy with the harness, try adjusting the fit or trying a different type. If they’re pulling or resisting the harness, it may be a sign that they need more time or training to get used to it. Be patient, offer plenty of rewards and praise, and seek the help of a professional trainer if needed. Harness training can be incredibly beneficial for both you and your dog. By choosing the right harness and taking the time to get your dog used to wearing it, you and your furry friend can enjoy stress-free walks and a happier, healthier life together. For more training tips and other pet-care advice, check out our Help Hub.

© 2023 Mars or Affiliates.

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