When should I buy my dog a harness?

When should I buy my dog a harness?

Have you ever found yourself being dragged through the neighborhood by an overly enthusiastic pup, or maybe you’re just looking to upgrade your dog-walking game? If you’re wondering, “When should I buy my dog a harness?” you’re ready to step into the world of better control and comfort for both you and your dog. As an expert in pet products with a focus on safety and functionality, I’m here to guide you through this essential pet parenting decision.

Harnesses are crucial for puppies starting leash training, specific breeds prone to injuries from collars, and for certain activities like hiking or running.

Let’s break down the ideal times to introduce a harness into your dog’s life, ensuring it aligns with their developmental stages, specific needs, and your shared activities. Whether it’s for a sprightly puppy or a seasoned pooch, knowing when to switch from a collar to a harness can significantly enhance your walks and training sessions.

When Exactly Should You Harness the Power of a Harness?

A harness serves as a pivotal tool for enhancing control during walks and ensuring your dog’s comfort during various activities. Here’s when you should consider introducing a harness to your four-legged friend:

1. Puppies: Starting on the Right Paw

  • Puppyhood: Introduce a harness as soon as your puppy begins leash training, usually around 8 weeks old. A harness is safer for their delicate necks and provides you with better control to manage their youthful exuberance.
  • Socialization and Training: A harness is ideal for guiding your puppy safely through new environments and crowded places, ensuring they stay close and secure.

2. Specific Dog Types: Breeds and Needs

  • Small and Brachycephalic Breeds: Dogs with short snouts or small breeds prone to tracheal collapse, like Pugs and Chihuahuas, should wear harnesses to avoid respiratory strain.
  • Strong Pullers and Large Breeds: Harnesses distribute pulling force across a larger area, making it easier to handle powerful dogs without risking injury to them or yourself.

3. Suitable Activities: From Pavement to Path

  • Daily Walks: If your routine includes bustling city streets or peaceful park trails, a harness can help keep your dog secure and comfortable, no matter the setting.
  • Outdoor Adventures: For more vigorous activities like hiking or running, a harness offers additional security and control, making sure your dog enjoys the great outdoors safely.

Harnessing for Specific Activities

Harnesses are not just for daily walks; they’re also ideal for various activities.

1. Adventurous Outings:

  • Hiking and Jogging: A harness can provide better control and security on uneven terrain and is particularly useful for high-energy activities where your dog might be more inclined to pull or run.

2. Car Travel:

  • Safety First: Some harnesses are designed to double as car restraint systems, ensuring your dog stays secure and safe during rides.

Health and Comfort: The Deciding Factors

Ultimately, the decision to switch to a harness should be guided by considerations of health and comfort.

  • Veterinary Advice: Always consider any advice from your vet regarding the best type of walking aid for your dog, especially if there are underlying health concerns.

When to Avoid Harnesses

While harnesses are beneficial in many scenarios, there are times when a collar might be more appropriate.

Short and Safe Outings

  • Quick Trips: For quick bathroom breaks or in secure, enclosed spaces, a simple collar may be more convenient.
  • Well-Trained Dogs: Dogs that have mastered leash manners and do not pull might only need a collar, especially in controlled environments.


Harnesses are invaluable tools that can greatly improve the safety and enjoyment of walks and activities with your dog. By identifying the right time to start using a harness based on your dog’s age, breed, and your usual activities, you can enhance your dog’s well-being and your peace of mind during outdoor adventures.

QQPETS is the leading wholesale dog harness manufacturer of adjustable harnesses for dogs and other items that people may use when walking their dogs. Our goal is to make dog walking easy for pet owners by providing valuable accessories. We offer a variety of customization services including custom logos, custom graphics, custom products and more. If you want to start your dog products business, check out our website and contact us today.

FAQ about dog

How Do I Know If My Dog Needs a Harness?

A harness might be a better choice for your dog if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Pulling Behavior: If your dog pulls on the leash during walks, a harness can provide better control and reduce strain on your dog’s neck.
  • Respiratory or Tracheal Issues: Dogs with respiratory problems or predispositions to conditions like a collapsed trachea benefit from harnesses that distribute pressure away from the neck.
  • Safety and Security: Harnesses are harder to escape from than collars; if your dog is an escape artist or gets easily spooked and tries to run, a harness can provide additional security.
  • Training Needs: If you’re training a puppy or an adult dog in leash manners, a harness can be a useful tool to manage and guide their movements more gently than a collar.

When Should a Dog Start Wearing a Harness?

Dogs can start wearing a harness at any age, but it’s particularly beneficial to start during puppyhood as soon as you begin leash training. This can help in establishing good habits early on. Make sure:

  • The harness fits properly, with room for adjustment as your puppy grows.
  • You introduce the harness in a positive way, using treats and praise to create a pleasant association with wearing it.

Is It Better to Walk a Dog with a Harness or Collar?

Whether it’s better to walk your dog with a harness or collar depends largely on your dog’s behavior, health, and the specifics of your walking routines:

  • Harnesses are often better for dogs that pull or have neck issues, as they distribute pressure across the body, reducing the risk of injury and providing better overall control.
  • Collars might be sufficient for well-trained dogs who don’t pull, lunge, or have any neck sensitivity. They are also simpler for attaching ID tags and are generally less cumbersome.

Do Dog Trainers Recommend Harnesses?

Many dog trainers do recommend harnesses, especially for:

  • Training purposes: They allow for safer control during leash training, particularly with front-clip harnesses that help manage pulling by redirecting the dog towards the handler.
  • Young puppies: To prevent developing strain on the neck and encourage good leash habits.
  • Specific breeds: Particularly those prone to respiratory or tracheal issues, like pugs or bulldogs, where pulling on a collar could exacerbate health problems.

Article by

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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