Author of the article: Lyubov Ilyina (veterinarian).
A dog harness is a restraining device that is worn on an animal and connected to a leash. They are walking, riding, for training, guard and search work, medical, with a heater from the cold or a weighting agent for muscle training.
Devices differ in size depending on the size of the dog: the minimum is XXS, the largest is XL. They are determined by the girth of the chest of the animal. This indicator, as well as the length of the back, the circumference of the neck are needed for self-production of the harness. But it is better to buy a finished product from Ferplast, Ruffwear, Haqihana. They are made of hypoallergenic synthetic materials, with strong latches, and you can choose a fixture depending on the purpose of use.
Dog harness: what is it, what is it for?
A harness for different breeds of dogs is a device that can replace a collar on a walk or during training, only more convenient and safer. It looks like a harness covering the chest, the part of the abdomen close to it, the sides, and fastening on the back in the area of the front paws. The device may consist only of intersecting straps with clasps or a bib, blankets, straps connecting them, clamps. A dog harness is needed to:
- The pet remained under the control of the owner, moreover, it did not injure its cervical spine, throat during sudden movements;
- Walk animals recovering from damage to their hind legs or old ones that have problems with their limbs;
- To accustom a dog that did not know training to obedience during a walk, wearing a leash;
- Use an animal in a harness or for protection, search, as a guide;
- Provide muscle strengthening during a walk (models with weights).
There are many varieties of harnesses, but each should be comfortable for the dog, not squeeze the body, not hang out. Fasteners are also important, strong and do not interfere with the animal, as well as the materials used. The latter should be durable, moderately elastic, easy to wash, comfortable to wear.
It is also important to choose the right size. There are several of them, and they depend on the size of the dog, the circumference of its chest:
- Xl for the largest breeds with a volume of 90-130 cm;
- L for those that are smaller, with the same indicator of 70-100 cm;
- M for animals slightly larger than average, with a girth of 60-80 cm;
- S for dogs of medium size, with an indicator of 50-70 cm;
- Xs for small, with a girth of 40-55 cm;
- Xxs for indoor decorative with a volume of 33-45 cm.
We recommend reading about how to train a dog to a leash. From the article you will learn about the age at which it is better to accustom to a leash, the rules of the owner's behavior during training, organizing walks without a leash.
And here is more about how to choose / sew a protective collar for dogs.
Which is better – harness or collar?
The collar for dogs, which is put on through the paws, in comparison with the usual one, has both pluses and minuses. To choose between it and a harness, you need to take into account the breed, size and nature of the animal, the appropriateness of wearing an accessory:
|Collar||Comfort with the right choice of model in accordance with the size||Risk for restless dogs to injure the spine|
|Hygiene and practicality||The appearance of scuffs on the neck, the deterioration of the quality of wool with the wrong choice of size|
|Large selection, the presence of models that can also decorate the dog||Squeezing of the throat when jerking the animal|
|harness||The ability to choose an accessory in accordance with the size of the dog's neck, even when its girth is larger than the head||Can't be worn all the time|
|More even load on the animal's spine||Harder to put on a moving pet, especially when it resists|
|Less likely that the animal is injured when jerking||Model selection will require more time and measurements than a collar|
|Less chance of it breaking out of its owner's control||higher price|
|The possibility of training muscles and the musculoskeletal system when using a weighted model||For shaggy dogs, there is a risk of thinning of the coat in places of contact with the straps, which spoils the exterior.|
A harness is a device that dogs do not wear at home, but it can help get used to the collar, behave calmer on a walk, and obey the owner.
The following types of dog harnesses are known and used:
- With weight;
- Soft walking;
- Riding or for a team;
- Designed for guard animals, guards, searchers;
- Insulated or vest;
- To ease the load on the hind legs.
A holding device with weights is useful for an animal:
In the first two cases, walking and exercising in ammunition will make the dog feel a greater load in movement, which helps to reduce body weight and strengthen muscles. In the latter, a weighted harness, on the contrary, reduces the participation of the diseased paw in walking, as it will not allow the animal to be too active.
Soft ammunition is made of genuine leather, fabric, sometimes with additional inserts and is more suitable for small dogs or animals with an accommodating disposition. The device will provide comfort and allow you to control your pet during walks. Harnesses made of soft material are distinguished by a variety of shapes:
They have not too wide straps to hold the dog, but not cause him discomfort.
Harness, driving, traction
A harness device, or riding harness, exists for dogs that participate in competitions, being harnessed to a sled, or are used on the farm, for example, among northern peoples. These are Malamutes, Huskies, that is, quite large animals. But convenience and health preservation are also important for them, so the traction harness should have:
- Strong belts, so they are made of canvas or nylon;
- Ergonomic design, so that during the movement in the harness the load is distributed evenly, there are no scuffs;
- Be light in weight so as not to burden the animal additionally.
For ZKS, trace work
The device for the ZKS (protective guard service) is quite voluminous, as it is intended for large dogs. Usually this is a triangle for the chest and a blanket on the back, connected by straps, which are secured with rings for reliability. The first two parts are soft, and the lines are wide and strong. This harness is also suitable for tracking work, training. It will not allow the animal to break loose, but it will not cause inconvenience when executing commands.
Harness for ZKS
Collar-harness, or walking
The walking harness is made of soft material (leather, nylon fabric), has a minimum of belts. It is convenient for the animal to walk or run in it, without jumping and sharp jerks to the side, so the device is not suitable, for example, for training. The peculiarity of the collar-harness in the fit on the body: it should fit, but not hold down.
For dog's hind legs
A supporting device for the rear paws of the dog is necessary if there are problems with them: joint weakness due to old age, rehabilitation after an injury or surgery. It allows you to limit the load on them during movement. The device can be:
- A lining wrapped around the waist, and there should be free holes for the limbs and tail;
- A mix of traditional harness and the same device for the back of the animal’s body that looks like harness;
- A corset, covering the back, sides and stomach of a pet, connected to a conventional harness.
The device in the form of a vest not only allows you to reliably hold the animal, but also warms it, as it closes a significant part of the body. It is necessary mainly to small dogs related to the category of indoor or decorative, with short wool. The device is also suitable for a weakened animal, in need of reducing the load on the hind legs when moving. The sheet can be leather with artificial fur or of dense fabric.