I’m a dog walker, so I use a variety of available tools for walking different types of dogs. One of those options is a leash and harness.
The following are some reasons why you may want to consider a harness for your dog.
A harness is more difficult to slip out of.
Some dogs are able to slip out of their collars more easily than others. For safety reasons, you may be more comfortable walking your dog on a harness so she is more secure. You can attach tags to a harness if you’d like, or the dog can still wear her usual collar and tags. You would just attach the leash to the harness instead of the collar.
Harnesses won’t harm a dog’s throat.
The goal should always be to train the dog not to pull on the leash, but we all know this is easier said than done. Some dogs are much stronger pullers than others, and some dogs are just always going to pull in certain situations (squirrel!).
If you’re concerned all that pulling could be harmful to your dog’s neck, you could consider walking him on a no-pull harness. This type of harness is a training tool that can be used to teach the dog to walk nicely on a loose leash. You clip the leash to the front chest strap, so the dog will turn in towards you if he tries to pull.
I’ve used this type of harness on many strong pullers, and it’s very helpful for keeping the dog under control. I recommend this type of harness if you’re having trouble keeping your dog calm while walking by other dogs.
A harness can help an older dog get up.
If you have an older dog who struggles to stand up, a harness can be a very useful tool for helping her get around.
I fostered an 80-pound black Lab who had very sore joints, and I depended on her harness multiple times per day when helping her move. For example, she often needed help balancing while walking on smooth surfaces. She also had to be carried up and down stairs, and she would easily fall while trying to climb into the car. I don’t think I could’ve properly cared for her if she didn’t wear a harness.
A harness is the best option for certain dog sports.
While we often focus on teaching dogs not to pull, we have to remember that some dogs are just meant to pull things! Working dogs are often used for pulling sleds and carts, for example. And many dog owners train their dogs for competitions such as weight pulling or skijoring.
These types of sports are very beneficial for working the dog’s mind and body, building a relationship with your dog and giving your dog a job. There are certain types of harnesses for dog sports that are designed to distribute the weight evenly over the dog’s body for safety and comfort.