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Large Dog Harnesses for Long Walks: Ensuring Your Dog's Comfort

By Canada Pooch on Oct 3, 2023

Selecting the right harness for your large dog isn't just about control but comfort and safety as well. Whether it's for regular walks or great outdoor adventures, understanding the purpose and benefits of a dog harness and making the right choice for your pup is paramount. As choosing can be a daunting task with the plethora of harnesses available in the market, this article aims to decipher the complexities, explain the differences between collars and harnesses, and provide insight into the selection, use, and maintenance of a harness. Specific harness products will also be analyzed for a more well-rounded understanding. 

Dog Harness for Long Walks 

Many pet parents overlook the significance of large dog harnesses for their pups on long walks. Unlike a conventional collar, a large dog harness distributes pressure evenly across the chest area and shoulder, reducing the risks of injury and discomfort. 

Especially for large dogs, a reliable dog harness is not just a luxury but a necessity to ensure their comfort and safety. 

It's extremely important to ensure your dog's comfort in their harness when going on long walks for several key reasons: 

  • Promotes safety - A harness that makes a dog anxious or agitated can lead to panicked behavior like bolting or resisting movement. This makes control and safety difficult. 
  • Allows enjoyment - A comfortable dog is a happy dog! The right harness allows pups to focus on fun instead of discomfort so they can enjoy walks more. 
  • Builds trust - If a harness repeatedly causes irritation, dogs associate that pain with walks and the owner. This erodes the bond of trust. Comfort keeps the association positive. 

The bottom line is that a comfortable, customized fit harness removes distractions and lets your dog happily focus on your bonding time together. 

Difference Between Collars and Harnesses 

Dog owners have two main options when it comes to walking and training aids - collars and harnesses. While both provide control and a way to identify your pet, there are several key differences between these tools. 

A collar simply encircles a dog's neck and attaches to a leash. The limited collar area concentrates pressure from pulling or restraining directly on the delicate throat region. This can cause strain, choking, or trachea damage, especially in larger dogs who are stronger pullers. 

In contrast, a properly fitted dog harness envelops the chest and shoulders to disperse pressure evenly across the torso. Harnesses give owners much greater control over high-energy large breeds prone to pulling without pressure on the neck. 

Importantly, harnesses offer adjustable straps and multiple points to clip on a leash. Front-clip harnesses redirect a dog's momentum back toward the owner if they pull. Back-clip styles allow for more freedom of movement. This versatility makes training easier. 

Benefits of Using a Dog Harness 

Harnesses offer several advantages that make them ideal for managing and enjoying time with large-breed dogs: 

  • Disperses pressure across the chest instead of the throat when restrained or pulling, reducing strain and risk of trachea collapse. 
  • Dual leash attachment points on most harnesses provide control flexibility - clip to the front to deter pulling and the back for casual walking. 
  • Reflective trim and handles offer improved visibility and ways to restrain a powerful or fearful dog. 
  • Comfortable fit aids training by reducing frustration and distraction in dogs that dislike collars. 
  • Makes walks and hiking fun by reducing pulling and letting dogs focus on outdoor exploration instead of neck discomfort. 
  • Adjustable design accommodates seasonal weight fluctuations and activity levels as dogs age and change. 
  • Attachment rings properly distribute pulling force from carts or weighted dog packs across the body instead of the neck. 

The right harness matched to your large dog's size and temperament provides comfort, control, and versatility for both pet owners and pups. Harnesses allow dogs to enjoy walks, training, and adventures safely. 

Selecting the Right Harness for Your Large Dog 

When selecting a large dog harness for long walks, consideration should be given to the dog's size and breed, harness features, and durability. To ensure the perfect fit, ensure you check your dog's measurements and weight against the manufacturers size guide. 

Consider adjustable straps and multiple adjustment points to enhance comfort. Features like padded chest and belly straps can prevent discomfort. Furthermore, inspecting the entire selection of dog harnesses helps in choosing the best one suitable for your pet's needs. 

For instance, the Complete Control Harness from Canada Pooch is ideal for large dogs. Designed with adjustment points on both the top and, on the chest, this enables a perfect fit for differently built large breeds. 

Pet parents should also consider the function of each type of harness. For example, a front attachment or front clip harness is great for dogs that pull, redirecting their forward motion toward the owner. On the other hand, the backlink or clip harness, with its leash attachment on top, is perfect for calm and well-behaved big dogs on long walks. 

Tips for a Comfortable Large Dog Harness Fit 

Finding the right harness fit for a big dog is crucial but can take some trial and error. Follow these tips to achieve the most comfortable fit that provides security without chafing or limiting movement: 

  • Measure your dog's chest behind the front legs. Refer to size charts, erring on the larger size if between two. 
  • Look for adjustable straps that include a wide range of sizing within a single harness. These accommodate growth. 
  • Start with straps on the looser side, then gradually tighten evenly until snug. You should be able to slide two fingers under each strap. 
  • Check for equal tension on all straps so pressure doesn't concentrate in vulnerable spots like the armpits. 
  • Observe your dog walking and sitting normally wearing the harness fully fastened. Make sure range of motion isn't impeded. 
  • If chafing occurs, stop to re-adjust immediately. You may need to size up as the seasons change your dog's coat density. 
  • For chronic pullers, try a front-clip harness to discourage straining against the neck when they lung forward. 
  • Regularly check the harness for signs of wear, damage, or loose fit. Gradually tighten straps over time as dogs fill out. 
  • Let your dog lead the way to find their ideal pace and sniff spots so the harness doesn't force an unnatural gait. 

Finding the right tension takes practice. But with a comfortable, secure fit, your large dog will be free to focus on the adventure instead of fussing with their harness! 

Care and Maintenance of Dog Harnesses 

When it comes to large dog harnesses, pet parents might feel overwhelmed with the entire selection. From padded dog harnesses to tactical harnesses to pull dog harnesses, there is an abundance in the market catering to all kinds of large breeds. 

However, dog harnesses, while designed for durability, also require regular care and maintenance to ensure their effectiveness. This post will cover all the aspects of harness care- from cleaning, checking, and replacing to ensuring the harness remains comfortable and safe over time. 

Cleaning Your Dog Harness Regularly 

It is extremely important to regularly clean your dog's harness to maintain both hygiene and functionality. 

Over time, harnesses pick up all manner of dirt, debris, odors, and bacteria from the outdoors. This grime not only makes the harness increasingly uncomfortable for your dog to wear, but it can also lead to skin irritation, infections, and even damage to the integrity of the materials. 

By washing the harness frequently, you remove any built-up sweat, dirt, mud, and smells that may accumulate through normal use. This restores freshness and comfort for your dog while also killing any dangerous bacteria or external parasites like ticks and fleas that could be lurking in the fabric. The thorough cleaning process extends the usable life of the harness by preventing premature wear, fraying, warped shape, or broken stitching caused by caked-on gunk. 

Ultimately, making harness hygiene a priority provides peace of mind that your dog's adventure gear is clean and safe each time you head out onto the trail together.

Checking and Replacing the Harness for Wear Or Damage 

Another vital aspect of harness care is regularly checking it for any signs of wear or damage. Look out for fraying on the adjustable straps, damage to the leash attachment points, or any wear around the chest area. 

Being diligent about spotting any early signs of damage will ensure the quick replacement of the harness to prevent any unfortunate incidences during their walks. 


How do I make my dog comfortable with a harness? 

Introducing a harness gradually and making it a positive experience is key to helping your dog accept wearing one. Start by letting your dog inspect and smell the harness while giving treats and praise. Next, hold the harness up to your dog's nose, reward with a treat when they sniff it, then slip it briefly over their head without fastening it and immediately give treats and take it off. Work up to securing the harness loosely and having your dog wear it for just a few seconds before removing and rewarding. Slowly increase the time spent wearing the harness in short sessions, continuing to reward and make it a positive experience. Remain patient, progressing at your dog's pace. Soon, your dog will associate the harness with treats and attention, seeing it as a positive thing rather than something uncomfortable or restrictive. With consistent, positive training, your dog will happily accept wearing a harness. 

What is the best harness for a large dog that pulls? 

For a large dog that pulls, a front-clip harness is often recommended as the best option. A front-clip harness has a ring on the front of the dog's chest to attach the leash. When the dog pulls, the harness steers the dog back around rather than allowing it to lunge forward. This helps deter pulling by making it ineffective and redirects the dog back towards you. High-quality front-clip harnesses distribute pressure across the chest rather than on the throat when the dog pulls. This is a more humane and effective method than collars alone for strong pullers. Look for a sturdy front-clip harness made of durable material that fits properly, avoiding designs that can rub or restrict movement. Introduce the harness gradually with positive reinforcement training. With consistency, the right harness and training can help curb pulling for the safety and comfort of both large dog and owner. 

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