How to Put On a Dog Harness – The Step By Step Guide

Putting on a dog harness might seem like a piece of cake. But those who have been through knows that it is absolutely not!

Firstly, to decide what harness is perfect for your dog is already a tricky task and then such hardships to fit it rightly can be overwhelming.

An improperly fitted harness is a waste of money. It does not only make your dog look hilarious but also makes him susceptible to injuries.

A harness too tight might not let your dog breath easily. If too tight, it can cause cuts and bruises around the area where it comes in contact with your dog’s body.

Also, it will not allow enough airflow near the dog’s skin hence the sweat will get trapped between the skin and the harness. Encouraging the bacterias and germs to develop.

However, even a loosely fitted harness is also useless and can bruise the skin area near the joints.


How to Put On a Dog Harness

kurgo dog harness seatbelt tether

Mainly, there are 2 types of dog harness designs available in the market. Most products fall within these two only.

Let us take a look at these two designs and see how to put them on your dog’s body perfectly.

1. Step-In Harness

step in harness front legs

A step in harness comes with openings to fit the dog’s front legs. This is a basic design for the dog harnesses. It can be easily fit on the dog’s body.

i. Position

  • Loosen up all the belts and buckles of the harness.
  • See if there is any direction written on the harness to determine the left or right side.
  • Then lay the harness on the ground such that you can see the two rings in which you can fit your dog’s paws.
  • Lastly, make your pup stand over the harness with each of its paws into the two rings.

ii. Secure

  • Let your pup be still and pull the harness all the way up to the dog’s body.
  • Then hold the straps and fix them together.
  • Ideally, there will only be a single pair of open straps.

iii. Adjust

  • The last step will be to adjust the straps properly.
  • Most probably, there will be two adjustable buckles on the clipping strap.
  • However, some brands provide an adjustment unit on the girth of the dog’s neck too.
  • Make sure to keep a two finger gap between the harness and the dog’s skin.
  • Also, centralize the harness on the dog’s body.

2. Overhead Harness

overhead harness pulling over the dog's head

An overhead harness as the name suggests has to be put on by pulling it over the dog’s head. It’s a bit different than the step-in harness because of the adjustment settings.

i. Position

  • Loosen up all the belts and buckles of the harness.
  • Further, see if there is any direction written on the harness to determine the left or right side.
  • Sit behind the dog and slip the harness over the dog’s head. Make sure your dog is calm while performing this step.
  • Do this when the dog is in a standing position and not in haste. Otherwise, it may get hurt by any of the sharp endings of the harness.

ii. Secure

  • Now that you have pulled the harness over the dog’s head, there will be an opening for one of the leg.
  • Hold your pup’s leg firmly and clip the straps together.
  • Afterward, there will be another pair of straps near the dog’s other leg. Now, pull these straps together and clip it to fit around the other leg.

iii. Adjust

  • The next step will be to adjust the straps so that it fits on the dog’s body perfectly.
  • Check the chest area to make sure it’s not too loose. Else the dog may slip right through and make an escape.
  • Make sure to keep a 2 finger gap between the harness and the dog’s body.
  • Once you adjust the belly straps, make sure to adjust the straps on the girth of the neck.
  • Lastly, centralize the harness on the dog’s body and make sure that there is even spacing on both the sides.


Lastly, make sure you do not get restless while putting the dog harness on. This task requires a little bit of self-assurance as well. If you keep up with the calmly-and-gently method, you will surely find the right fit for your pup.

Also, make sure that you purchase the right size of dog harness in order to make it fit correctly. And make sure to read the user manual for the brand specific fitting instructions which will help you while putting the harness on.

So this was our how-to guide on How to Put On a Dog Harness. We hope that it helps you to find the right fit for your pet. Be a little self-assured and find a snug fit for your fluffy little pup so that it remains calm and safe.

Lastly, if you have any queries regarding this article, do ask us. Because at petlovesbest, we are always happy to help you!

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