How to Choose the Best Harness for Small Dogs


Small dogs are simply adorable, but sometimes they can be hard to handle. Ideally, you must have already experienced this at least once, for example, when trying to put the leash on your puppy or taking her out of the car. The easiest way is to use a harness because it will keep the dog safe and secure while attaching the leash.

Harnesses are also great if your small dog has sensitive skin or any other condition that may irritate her. Even if your pup does not have any health issues, using a harness might still be the best decision because it reduces pressure around their neck area, which causes less choking effect.

Here are the main benefits of buying harnesses for small dogs:

  • Keeps your dog safe and secure: when attaching the leash, you will have more control over your dog.
  • Reduces choking effect: pressure is distributed throughout the body, which minimizes neck strain.
  • Helps with a sensitive skin condition or any other health issue that may irritate your pup’s skin when wearing a collar.

Practical tips on how to choose the best harness for small dogs: What to Consider 

There are several harnesses on the web but they are not made the same. If you wish to get the perfect harness for your furry friend, there are six simple things that you should keep in mind. They include;

  • The Size: Measurement is key when choosing the right harness for your small dog. The harness must be snug enough so it does not slide off but still loose enough to let your small dog move around freely in all four legs. A good idea would also be to look for a harness that goes around their belly, too, because this one usually stays put and doesn’t get in the way of movements! Plus, your life will surely become easier if you use one with a special compartment for poop bags.
  • Material: Get a harness that is made out of breathable material because you wouldn’t want your dog to be over-heated when going for a walk in the summer! Plus, the moisture from her fur will dry much faster if she’s not wearing a waterproof one.
  • Comfort: Comfortable straps are essential if your furry friend doesn’t feel comfortable, then there’s no point in buying a harness in the first place. You may even end up seeing some behavioral changes such as aggression or anxiety, which come from discomfort and inappropriate positioning of straps.
  • For small dogs sub 10 pounds, do not use a standard harness designed for much bigger dogs, even if it seems like it would do the trick (it won’t). Their delicate skin needs specific treatment, which means no choking effect or anything that can irritate their skin during long walks.
  • Design: There are different kinds of harnesses, but it would be best if you get one with dual attachment rings since they make wearing a leash much easier! Some good options would be front ring harnesses, adjustable ones, etc.

What are the basic types of harness to choose from?

We get it. If you’re shopping for a harness for the first time, it can get really complicated knowing the best type of harness for your pup. Now, there are three main types of harnesses you choose from; the H-style harness, Figure-8 or V-style harness, and the No-pull style harness. We describe each of them below;

  • H-Style: This one is best for dogs with narrow bodies because it wraps around their chest, so there’s no way the leash can slide off towards their legs. This type also offers a lower risk of choking effect, which means your pup will feel much more comfortable. It provides better balance and control over the dog during walks and distributes weight evenly through the body.
  • Figure 8 or V-Style: Your small doggo will surely benefit from this as well, but as you may have already guessed, it doesn’t go around the front body area like the H-style, which makes it a much better option for pups with wide and long bodies. It’s also great because there is no risk of choking or anything that can irritate your dog’s skin during walks.
  • No-Pull Style: This harness will make walking your small pup much easier as it reduces pulling effects. It works by applying pressure on the trachea (the part in their neck), which eventually forces them to stop pulling forward if they want to take a breath! Just be aware that it may not work well with all dogs, so you’ve got to try to see what works best for your small dog.

Do Dogs pull more with a Harness?

Now, one of the most confusing questions we’ve heard from dog owners is if their dog will pull more with a harness on. If this is your concern then the answer is; No, your dog will not pull more if it a harness on. Some people think that something pulling them back will make them easier to control or walk, but this is not the case since it actually takes away their natural desire to follow you (but not all of them!). The main problem here is that if your small pup loves playing and running around, you might end up getting dragged all over the place!

How To Get Your Dog Used To A Harness: Step by Step Guide

If you’re struggling to get your furry friend get used to the harness, here is a simple step by step guide you may find helpful.

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Step 1:

Take off collar and leash and then put on the harness (don’t attach leash yet). Leave your pup alone for a while so he can start getting used to his new accessory. If possible, leave him wearing it for about 10-15 minutes at first and gradually increase the time.

Step 2:

Once your pup is okay with it, the practice goes with a leash attached to a pole or a door for better control over what’s going on. Make sure you have something they’re interested in, such as a toy, so that when they start playing around, just take off the harness and attach the leash instead, then call them towards you for some praise every time they come back! Keep doing this until your dog gets used to walks wearing his new accessory.

Step 3:

The next step is going outside, so choose a quiet place where there aren’t any distractions because you can bet your little fur baby will be much more excited than usual and might not want to listen. If he does follow, make sure you give him a lot of treats and praise! If it doesn’t go as planned, repeat the previous step at least two times a day until he gets used to walks outside wearing his harness.

Step 4:

Once your pup is okay with the idea of going for a walk outside wearing his harness, leaving from inside to outside will be much easier because you’ve already worked it out without any distractions.

Step 5:

The next step is taking him outside when there are other dogs around or things that might excite him because this will make it way harder for your dog to pay attention to what’s going on and eventually follow your lead! Practice this until they get used to walks while being surrounded by distractions such as other dogs passing by, kids playing in the park, etc…

Once your dog is okay with walking around while being surrounded by distractions, you can now finally attach the leash to his new accessory and go for a walk! If he starts pulling, try to gently put some slack on the leash or slow down until he comes back towards you. 

Always make sure to give him lots of treats for listening. If you find yourself pressed with other commitments that make it complicated to get time for training your pup, it would be best to seek help. 

Is it Safe to Leave the Harness on the Dog all the time?

Harnesses are designed to be used during walks only, but some people use them as a permanent collar replacement because it’s more comfortable for the dog to wear since there are no metal parts or sharp edges. However, it may not be a good idea to leave the harness on your pup while indoors because they can get tangled up in it if they decide to move around! So, it is not safe to leave the harness on your dog all the time.


With this article, we hope you’re able to rekindle the fire inside of you to go outside more often with your dear pup and maybe even take him along to new and exciting places! From this point on, you can now decide whether or not to let your pup wear his harness all the time. Either way, just be prepared to give lots of love and attention to your little one because that’s what they want the most!

About the author

Eun Rockwell is a blogger and academic writer from the UK who has worked with various essay writing service agencies. She likes trying new subjects, so it’s no surprise that she regularly proves her worth in challenging areas like creative writing or ghostwriting for clients around the world. Her hobbies? Reading books to learn more about different cultures while also traveling wherever possible! You can reach Eun through Twitter at @rockwell_eun_.

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