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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

A perfect harness should…

leave out the shoulder blade so that it does not affect movement.
…leave the armpit area free. Leave about one hand wide between the armpit area and the chest strap so that it does not rub under the armpit.
…have the backrest firmly sewn together so that it does not slip.
…have buckles on the left and right that can be opened to make it easier to put them on comfortably.
…have straps that are wide enough not to be tied up.
…be adjustable. Ideally it is made to measure, but your darling can still have a few grams more or less on the ribs, then it should be possible to adjust the harness.
…fit well, but do not constrict or scrub. You should get one or two fingers in between.
…be padded. This increases the wearing comfort considerably.
…lie in front of the last ribcage when pulling.
…do not press on the neck region.
…be as light as possible, especially for small dogs.
…be comfortable for your darling.


H harness

A very popular harness, which is easily adjustable and therefore, especially with puppies, grows with time. The two buckles on the belly strap make it very easy to put on.

Y harness

This is a variation of the H-gear, because the neck goes a little diagonally backwards. This distributes the pressure differently. It should fit perfectly because it fits tightly, which has the advantage that slipping out is hardly possible. A well-fitting Y harness has a high wearing comfort.

Norwegian harness

The quick putting on and the practical grip at the top also makes this variant popular, but there is a hook. The dog’s natural forward movement is prevented by the cross belt over the chest and shoulder blade. In addition, there are hardly any adjustment possibilities, which is why it often rubs under the armpit. Furthermore, dogs can easily free themselves by chiseling backwards against it.

Saddle harness

It is similar to the Norwegian harness, but it has a saddle (plate) on the back. This type of harness restricts the natural movement as well as the Norwegian harness and has few possibilities to adapt. Furthermore, dogs can easily get out of it by chiselling backwards. The plate on the back is not only unpleasant for many dogs, it can also accumulate heat and moisture underneath.

Step-In harness

The dog can get into this harness like a pair of trousers. It is then closed at the back, so you don’t have to pull anything over his head, but also climbing into the loops can be difficult. The fit is hardly suitable for a dog, since it cannot be adapted and usually constricts in the armpit area and restricts in the movement.

Safety harness

The construction is the same as the harness, but with a chest strap in the waist more. This makes it almost impossible for even the best escape artists to slip out of the harness. Easy to put on due to buckles and good adjustment possibilities. Many models also have a handle on the back, which enables support and intervention in emergency situations. Especially recommended for insecure and anxious dogs.

Towing gear

For sports such as canicross, sled dogs or other situations where the dog has to pull shear loads. It should be ergonomically well adapted to the dog, so that the pressure is well distributed and both the respiratory tract and the locomotor system are not restricted. Further special harnesses are e.g. the mantrailing harness, therapy dog harness, climbing harness, trekking harness or harness.

dog harness that fits your dog


Some dogs are sceptical about something new at first, but with a few steps your dog learns to appreciate the harness.

1, put the harness on the floor and spread treats around it. This is how your darling comes into contact with it and connects it positively.

2, Close the buckles and reward your dog. If you have a very anxious dog, put a blanket over it to dampen the click noise or ask someone in the next room to close the buckles.

3, Squat down and hold the harness up on the back bridge so that the head hole hangs freely down. ATTENTION: Please do not try to catch your dog with it and do not try to bend over it, as almost all dogs find this very threatening.

4, Your dog should now put its head through the loop on his own. Click every movement that he makes with his head to the harness. He may pull his head back at any time, if he wants. Give him the time he needs. You will see patience is worth it, because once your dog has understood that putting on is not unpleasant you will have an easy game in the future. However, if he has a negative experience he will need longer to lose the scepticism again. Tip: Stand sideways to your dog (leaning over it from the front is scary for sensitive animals) and take care not to pinch fur or skin. Try not to lure him through with a treat, as this puts him in a predicament. He wants to go to the treat, but is actually overwhelmed and connects the situation only more unpleasant.

5, Now you can put on and close the harness as in step 4. Let your dog eat treats at the front (sniffer carpet is suitable here, for example). Steer him with a funny game or give him his food, then take off the harness again. Your darling learns that he always gets something great when the dishes come into play.

6, Last but not least, start with exciting walks! If you need more help, please contact a trainer.

How long you need for each step and when you can go to the next, depends entirely on your dog. Some need a few days others only a few minutes to hours. Depending on what experiences he has made so far and how characterful he is. If your darling is not a fan of the harness, it is usually because it does not fit well, or he has had bad experiences with it (bending over, catching, skin/skin pinched).


  • He never really got used to it.
  • He was “caught” with the harness, so it was simply pulled over him, regardless of whether he might find it scary.
  • It fits badly and is therefore uncomfortable (causes pressure points or restricts movement).
  • Hair or even skin was once unintentionally caught when closing the harness.
  • He is afraid of the “clicking noise”.
  • You’re bent over him, which is scary for him.
  • He is in pain.

Choose a suitable chest harness and practice putting it on as described above. If it does not work, consult a trainer or a veterinarian.


Find a harness that adapts well to the body shape of your dog. Make sure it doesn’t pinch or obstruct anywhere and slowly get your dog used to it. You’ll see how quickly you’ve dressed him, with a little practice, and how you’re protecting his health while walking.