The Best Guide on How to Harness Train a Dog: Easy and Effective Steps

how to harness train a dog

To harness train your dog, start by choosing dog harnesses that suit their size, breed, and activity level. Introduce the harness gradually, letting them explore it and associating it with positive experiences.

Practice putting it on without buckling, then with buckling, always ensuring a snug, comfortable fit. Be patient and attentive to your dog’s reactions. If your dog is pulling, consider a front-clip harness.

Reward calm behaviour with treats and praise. With consistency and patience, your dog will learn to enjoy wearing the harness. Continue to develop their confidence, and soon you’ll enjoy stress-free walks together.

How to Harness Train a Dog – Bewdogs’ Quick Take

To harness train a dog, start by letting it wear the harness indoors. Then, gradually introduce leash walking with positive reinforcement.

Key Takeaways

•          Choose the right harness that fits comfortably and suits the specific needs of your dog’s size, breed, and activity level.

•          Introduce the harness gradually using positive reinforcement with treats to ensure a comfortable and secure association.

•          Ensure a snug fit by sliding two fingers between the harness and neck and securely fastening the clips.

•          Practice loose-leash walking with distractions and address pulling, resistance, worry, or aggression with professional guidance if needed.

•          Reward calm behaviour with treats and praise to build confidence and trust during walks.

Understanding Harness Training

Why harness training is essential for your dog’s safety

Using a harness is a vital step in ensuring your dog’s safety and comfort while walking, as it reduces the risk of neck injuries associated with collars. Tension on the dog’s neck from collars can lead to potential health problems, making harnesses a safer option.

Harness training is essential for your dog’s well-being, especially for breeds prone to neck injuries.

Benefits of harness training for walks with your dog

By using a harness, you distribute the weight across your dog’s chest, removing potential pain and giving you more control over the walk. A harness evenly distributes weight across the dog’s chest to prevent health problems and discomfort.

This method is far more humane than traditional collars, which can compress the neck structures and lead to life-threatening conditions. Additionally, a harness helps with controlling dog pulling behaviour during walks.

When selecting a dog harness, consider the size and breed of your pet. Different harnesses cater to different needs, such as front clip harnesses, which are designed for pullers.

Always reward your dog during training sessions with treats and praise for calm behaviour.

Choosing the Right Dog Harness

picture of dog in harness that has been through training methods

Factors to consider when selecting a dog harness

Now that you understand the significance of training for your dog’s safety and comfort, it’s time to select the appropriate harness for their unique needs.

You need a harness that fits your dog’s size and breed best. Consider the type of activity you’ll be doing, along with the level of comfort and support your dog will need. It is crucial to choose a dog’s harness that does not restrict the dog’s movement.

Conduct thorough research and read reviews to find the best harness. Don’t compromise on size and fit, ensuring it isn’t too loose or too tight. A well-fitting harness is essential for your dog’s comfort and trust in the harness.

Preparing Your Dog for Harness Training

Getting your dog used to being touched and handled

Start by getting your dog accustomed to being touched and handled, which is essential for a smooth and stress-free training experience. Gradually introduce the harness to your dog, using treats to reassure and reward them, ensuring they are comfortable and willing to wear the harness for long periods. This helps your dog relax and trust you, making the harness introduction smoother.

Introducing the concept of wearing a harness

Introduce the concept of wearing a harness by letting your dog see and sniff it. It is important to train your dog to wear a harness for their comfort, safety, and wellbeing. Encourage your dog to be curious by placing treats on the harness.

Gradually, place the harness over their head, rewarding them for calm behaviour. Ensure a comfortable and secure fit without being too tight.

Be patient and go back a step if your dog looks stressed. Practice walking with the harness on to build your dog’s confidence.

Introducing the Harness

dog that should feel comfortable wearing harness during training session

Begin by placing the harness on the floor, encouraging your dog to sniff and explore it with a treat on the harness to make them feel more at ease. This initial exposure will help your dog grow accustomed to the harness.

Get your dog used to the harness by gradually introducing it and using positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise.

Introduce your dog’s harness in a relaxed atmosphere where they feel comfortable. To further acclimate your dog, feed them treats through the harness, making it a positive experience.

Gradually, increase your dog’s interaction with the harness to help them grow accustomed to wearing it. This harness training process will eventually lead to a comfortable fit that you and your dog can enjoy on walks.

Putting on the Harness Correctly

How to put on a dog harness properly to avoid discomfort on your dog’s neck

When you’re ready to put the harness on your dog, start by holding a treat in one hand and slowly moving it towards the front of the harness to encourage them to push their nose and mouth through it. Ensuring a comfortable fit is crucial to avoid discomfort on the dog’s neck.

Ensuring a comfortable and secure fit

Make sure your dog is comfortable and not showing signs of distress. Slip the harness over their head, ensuring the straps are adjusted for a snug but comfortable fit. Check that the clips are securely fastened.

Give your dog treats and praise for calm behaviour. With time, your dog will learn to wear their harness gladly. To confirm a good fit, slide two fingers between the harness and their neck.

Your dog is now ready to enjoy walking in style.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Resolving issues with pulling or resistance to the harness

As you work through the training process with your dog, you’ll likely encounter some challenges, from pulling and resistance to worrying or aggression, which must be addressed to guarantee a smooth and comfortable walking experience.

Dogs that tend to hurry forward and pull the leash with all their strength during walks, known as ‘pullers’, require proper harness training to manage this behaviour effectively.

Addressing common problems during harness training

To resolve these issues, always begin by observing your dog’s body language. If they show signs of worry or aggression, consult a qualified behaviourist or your vet for guidance.

For pulling, use a front-clip harness to redirect the force, and reward your dog with treats and praise for calm behaviour. If your dog backs away from the harness, reintroduce it gradually, ensuring a comfortable fit.

To overcome resistance, practice loose-leash walking, gradually increasing distractions. Clip the leash securely to the harness, and use the ‘stop-start’ technique: stop moving when your dog pulls and begin walking again when they loosen up.

This approach helps your dog understand the connection between their behaviour and your action.

Practicing Walking with the Harness

dog in a harness that has gone over the dog's head

Encouraging your dog to walk with the harness on

Start by letting your dog get accustomed to wearing the harness while you move around without walking, playing games, or doing trick training to make the process more enjoyable and engaging.

Using a harness can provide various benefits for different dogs, such as distributing weight across the dog’s chest and providing more control.

Gradually, move on to brief walks in a quiet environment. Reward your dog with treats for remaining calm and walking nicely. Make sure you’re using a well-fitting harness from a reputable pet store or manufacturer such as us here at Bew Dogs to guarantee a comfortable and trusted experience.

If you encounter any issues, go back to the previous steps or seek professional advice. Always respond to your dog’s communication to build trust.

With patience and consistency, your dog will learn to walk calmly on a harness in no time.

Advanced Harness Training Tips

Refining your dog’s walking behaviour with harness training

Now that you’ve made solid progress on practicing walking, focus on refining your dog’s walking behaviour to secure even more enjoyable strolls. It is crucial to start harness training at a young age to protect your puppy from hazards and to establish good control during walks.

To keep your pup on track, continue training in positive and gentle ways. If your dog starts pulling, bring them back to heel with a treat and a pat on the chest.

For them to truly enjoy wearing the harness, make sure it fits comfortably and isn’t too tight on their body.

Keep practicing and rewarding your dog consistently to build trust and make every walk a pleasure.

Troubleshooting common issues that arise during harness training

If persistent issues arise, don’t hesitate to consult a qualified behaviourist to help address and overcome any challenges.

Your patience and persistence will lead to a harmonious, stress-free walk.


As you bring your dog’s harness training to a close, remember that each step is like planting a seed for a blooming friendship.

You’ve nurtured trust and understanding, and now you can confidently walk with your canine companion.

Take pride in the patience and care you’ve shown – it’s essential for a journey that will be filled with comfort, safety, and shared joy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do if Dog Doesn’t Like the Feel of the Harness?

If your dog dislikes the harness feel, start by gradually introducing it with treats. Practice putting it on, taking it off, and wearing it short.

Can I Mix Different Types of Training for Better Results?

When combining different types of training, keep your dog’s comfort and confidence in mind. Consistency is key, so start with small mixed steps and reward calm behaviour. Determine what feels right for your dog and adjust accordingly.

How to Make Sure the Harness Doesn’t Interfere With Tags?

When attaching your dog’s ID tags, make sure they don’t get caught in the harness by using a clip attachment that allows easy access to the tags or by choosing a harness with a designated tag holder.

Can You Use a Harness on a Puppy?

Yes, you can use a harness on a puppy. It’s safer and provides better control than a collar. Make sure the harness fits well and is comfortable. Start using it gradually to help the puppy adjust.

How to Tell if a Dog Needs a Support Harness?

To determine if your dog needs a support harness, watch for signs of discomfort during walks like pulling or jerking and consider your dog’s breed, age, and any existing medical conditions which may require added support.

3 thoughts on “The Best Guide on How to Harness Train a Dog: Easy and Effective Steps

  1. What a great blog post on harness tips! We needed this! We love to give positive experience to our dog and this post has help us to continoue practising! Thank you team bew dogs!

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