Buying A Harness For A Small Dog
A harness is designed to surround the torso of your dog with connecting straps, which will normally provide an equal distribution of force. This force will vary depending on the type and quality of the purchased harness.
Some harnesses will still have a strap around the front of the neck and others will cover the top part of the dog's chest. Your overall circumstances and the size of your dog will determine the type of harness you buy and how much of the upper body it will cover. There are two questions to ask yourself before you purchase a harness for your small dog.
- Does my dog pull excessively?
- How large is my dog?
Dogs that wear collars and pull excessively are more prone to neck injuries over time. Of course the very best way to stop your dog from pulling is to use simple training techniques to reward your dog when it is not pulling and walking by your side. If you can reinforce good behaviour early on then you may never have a problem with your dog pulling at all. However, if getting your dog not to pull is proving difficult then you can probably make life a little easier (and more comfortable for your dog) by using a harness.
There is no doubt that some smaller dog breeds can be more delicate and vulnerable to injuries and depending on your circumstances, a harness might be a good option for you. This is not to say that small dogs should be wrapped in cotton wool as this is absolutely not the case.
But to get the best harness, you should assess your dog's personality and how it reacts to things being put on them. Ideally, you don't want to buy a harness that is too heavy as this will potentially cause irritation and act as a distraction when you walk.
When you are buying a dog harness for a small dog, the general rule is that it should be soft, light and strong. This will ensure that your dog harnesses is not only comfortable to wear but will also keep your dog safe and secure. They should also be easy to fit, adjustable around the girth or chest and ideally be an unrestricted style so that your dog is able to walk freely at all times.
Back-clip harnessesWhen it comes to small dogs a back-clip harness might be a good option as they are easy to fit and the ring for the dog lead is located at the top of the dog's back. The advantages in using this style is the ease of fitting and the fact that the lead is a fair distance away from the legs of the dog - this stops the lead from getting tangled. However, this particular design does very little to discourage pulling, so if your dog pulls a lot you may want to look at a different type of harness.
Front-clip harnessesYou'll often see dog trainers use harnesses of this type as they attach to the front of the dog's chest area and they will usually give more control over pulling on the lead. Some harnesses will also have an attachment at the top and the front so you can choose which one to attach the lead to. It is also worth mentioning that harnesses with two attachments can be used together - one at the top to control backwards and forwards (acts as the brake) and the chest fixing to control left and right movement.
Large saddle harnessYou will also see these heavy duty harnesses on larger dogs, although they make them for smaller breeds too. They do offer a larger coverage and tend to be well padded - this can help to distribute pulling forces. However, if you have a small dog this type of harness might be a little on the heavy side so a back-clip harness will usually suffice.
Remember that dogs can get very excited on their daily strolls. They will run, jump and even scratch themselves, especially when they are wearing something for the first time. Therefore, if the harness consists of buckles and straps make sure it is a good fit around the neck and chest. This will be more comfortable for the dog, allow you to control it easier and will also make sure that any tangles are kept to a minimum.
Take a look at our harness for small dog range here.
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