When is a puppy harness useful?
Puppies love to play and romp and would love nothing and no one to stop them. But they also have to learn to walk on a leash. As soon as the animal roommate has moved in, you can start getting him used to a leash. It is important to learn how to walk on a leash as a puppy so that the adult dog doesn't walk all over you later on.
Whether a puppy collar or a puppy harness is more suitable for the puppy is an individual decision and depends on the dog. Puppies that can already be led well on a leash or can run around outside without a leash have a lot of freedom of movement with a collar.
A puppy harness offers many advantages, especially for particularly agile puppies and young dogs that pull and jump on the leash a lot:
- A puppy harness prevents problems with the neck muscles, the larynx or the cervical spine, which can be caused by sudden pressure and too much strain.
- With the harness, the pressure is taken off the neck and distributed over the dog's body, relieving the neck area as much as possible.
- The puppy is freer in its movements and yet cannot slip out so easily.
By the way: Both a puppy collar or a puppy harness and a suitable leash are part of a puppy's initial equipment.
What types of puppy harnesses are there?
Depending on the construction of the puppy harness, a distinction is made between:
- Lead harness: The lead harness can be easily adjusted and is therefore particularly suitable for dogs that are still growing. A distinction is made between an H-harness and a Y-harness:
- H-harness: The H-harness consists of a back bar with two loops that go around the dog's neck and chest and are connected between the front legs. Due to this construction and the adjustability, this is a growing dog harness that adapts to the growth of the puppy and offers wearing comfort and freedom of movement.
- Y-harness: The Y-harness has a tighter fit and forms a padded Y at the chest. The growing puppy harness is slipped over the head and the fasteners on both sides are closed at the chest.
- Norwegian harness: The Norwegian harness is characteristically simple in construction. Here the chest strap is attached to both sides with a torso strap and there is no strap between the front legs that could be perceived as annoying or constricting. There is a loop on the back to hold the puppy comfortably. The Norwegian harness also has the advantage of shifting all pressure to the chest and protecting sensitive areas such as the larynx. However, the Norwegian harness has fewer adjustment options.
- Step-in harness: For puppies and adult dogs who don't like having something pulled over their head, the step-in harness is suitable. The two loops are simply pulled up over the dog's front legs and connected at the shoulders. This harness is less suitable for large dog breeds, but small, light breeds like Chihuahuas and co. do well with it.
Buying a puppy harness: What should you look out for?
When buying a puppy harness, the following criteria are important:
The right size: Size recommendations on the puppy harness offer an initial orientation, but whether the harness fits comfortably and appropriately can only be measured individually. Use a tape measure to determine the chest and neck circumference of the puppy. To do this, start behind the front legs and run the tape measure once around the back back to the starting point. For the neck circumference, measure the place where the collar would normally sit. There should be a finger's width of space between the tape measure and the dog's neck. Other measurement points that can be considered are the waist circumference, the back length and the shoulder height.
Tip: If the measured value lies between two sizes, the larger one should be chosen.
- Material: Puppies love to be comfortable and want to be able to move around. After all, nothing should chafe or hurt, even during prolonged use. So the chest harness should be soft, flexible and well padded. For example, hard-wearing nylon or tear-resistant polyester is suitable, as it is easy to clean and weather-resistant. In addition, polyester is air-permeable and breathable and is well suited for puppies that are in motion a lot. A padding of cosy fleece makes the puppy harness soft. Well-padded straps are gentle on the coat, bones and skin.
- Good workmanship: Strong and multi-stitched seams and secure fasteners are important.
- Adjustability: The puppy harness should be easily adjustable. A harness that grows with the puppy is a worthwhile purchase, as it will last longer. Since the body shape of a growing puppy changes quickly, the fit should be checked and adjusted regularly.
- Reflectors: Reflective harnesses offer safety during evening walks, so that your little darling is also safe in the dark. During the day, bright colours ensure good visibility.
How should the puppy harness fit?
Especially when the puppy harness is put on for the first time, it requires patience and time. The puppy should have the opportunity to familiarise itself with the harness, to sniff it and to inspect it.
The way the harness is put on differs depending on the model: Dog owners should therefore first familiarise themselves with the buckles and straps of the harness. It is best not to place yourself directly in front of the puppy, but to the side or behind it and carefully put the harness on.
If it can be adjusted so that it fits comfortably against the dog's body, it is optimal. The puppy harness fits correctly when it is not too tight, but also does not fall too loosely. The straps should not cut into the dog's body and the harness should not press into the puppy's armpits, otherwise it will chafe uncomfortably when the dog is walking.
It should also not sit too high up, as it could then constrict the airways when pulled; but it should also not be too far back, where it could press against the soft tissues.