Do You Know How To Properly Put A Dog Harness On?

Do you know how to properly put a dog harness on?

I do not.

I have struggled with dog harnesses for years.

When we would have to take a dog harness off of a dog that came into the vet for a variety of reasons, many of the techs, including me, would struggle for several minutes trying to figure out how the heck to get the harness back on the dog.

Here we would be getting a heart rate, drawing blood, or giving injections to a dog, all procedures that take some skill, but yet we could not get a simple harness to go back on a dog the way that it came off.


Because a dog harness is a foreign object to someone who does not regularly use one.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against dog harnesses, I think they are great product and protect dog’s from certain injuries, but they are just foreign to me because I don’t currently use one on Sherman and Leroy and I struggle getting them on other people’s dogs.

Your leg goes through here and your head goes through here.

No, no. That’s wrong.

Your head goes here and your leg goes here.

That’s not right either.

Just forget it.

I can’t tell you how many times I handed the dog and the harness back to the owner and told them we were done several minutes ago but I couldn’t get the harness back on your dog because I’m harness challenged.

Luckily, our friends over at Kurgo came up with two great infographics for people like me.

There is one for overhead dog harnesses:


And one for step-in dog harnesses



Where have these been the last 8 years of my life?

These make it look super easy.

So easy that I might actually be able to do it if I print these off and keep them in my pocket for a few days. :)

Now, if only Kurgo could make me a pretty infographic showing me how to put the carting harness on Sherman and Leroy in 3 easy steps.

Looking for a great over the head harness for small to medium dogs? Check out the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness with Quick Release Buckles.

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So how about you? Do you use a dog harness on your dog? Do you like it? Is it easy to get on?

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34 Comments on Do You Know How To Properly Put A Dog Harness On?

  1. SirenOfIce
    February 19, 2014 at 1:41 am (2 years ago)

    My husband puts the harness on my dog for me, so l don’t have to. l know l’ll probably have to do it myself someday, if he’s not home or what not, plus she fights us getting it on her too.

  2. M. K. Clinton
    February 19, 2014 at 2:03 am (2 years ago)

    I saved those photos for future reference. Bentley’s neck is so sensitive that he has to wear a harness. I just got him a new one and haven’t attempted it yet.Your infographs will be a huge help!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Ready for Mardi PawMy Profile

  3. Daisy
    February 19, 2014 at 2:37 am (2 years ago)

    SHE always had trouble with the directions. Those directions are CLEAR! Thanks for sharing.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  4. Lauranne
    February 19, 2014 at 5:23 am (2 years ago)

    We use a harness on BD because he is too powerful for me – he once pulled me into the road to get at something. It is amazing the difference it has made. You would love it. As the lead clips onto it in two different places :0)
    Lauranne recently posted…I’m not counting, but….My Profile

  5. Leslie
    February 19, 2014 at 8:14 am (2 years ago)

    LOL – this is great! Bella uses a harness and I have always struggled with them the first few times we try a new one on.

    On the bright side, at least now when she gets handed off to vet techs, they don’t have to worry about putting it back on her: Bella knows how to do that for herself! All we do is hold the harness up for her and she steps right in.
    Leslie recently posted…That awkward moment when…My Profile

  6. Stella Rose
    February 19, 2014 at 9:28 am (2 years ago)

    we wear vests cos our momma is a dummy.
    stella rose

  7. Mandy
    February 19, 2014 at 9:32 am (2 years ago)

    OMG, I thought it was just us! It’s one of those things, I have never felt stupider. It has almost brought me to tears a few times. Bear would be so patient and just sit there and then if it took longer he would just flop back down on the floor and roll his eyes at me!

  8. Mandy
    February 19, 2014 at 9:33 am (2 years ago)

    Oh and also I am terrified to even touch the Siwash carting harness. We are going to order it soon but I am already having nightmares Lol!

  9. HoundDogMom
    February 19, 2014 at 9:50 am (2 years ago)

    We use the first style of harness and I actually keep one side hooked so I can just slip over head and place one leg in the side that is hooked and the hook the other side. I always had trouble with that second harness type you listed. We love our harnessess with the bassets and use them all the time.
    HoundDogMom recently posted…MERRY CHRISTMASMy Profile

  10. Kelly Welsh
    February 19, 2014 at 9:57 am (2 years ago)

    When I used to work at the local SPCA we called the step-in harnesses “Bra Harnesses”. It made it easier for the staff to remember how to put them on (an all female staff lol). Instead of boobs, you put their front legs in the holes and clip at the back!
    Kelly Welsh recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – 02/12My Profile

  11. Jo
    February 19, 2014 at 10:12 am (2 years ago)

    As a fellow member of the harness-dyslexia brigade, thank you for posting this.

    I have spent painful hours in increasing frustration and helplessness in pet supply stores trying to fit one of the damned things to my dog, sticking his ever-patient head in every available hole and STILL not being able to end up with a dog in a harness. Even after helpful staff show me, I still cannot make the vision of harness-off-the-dog translate to harness-on-the-dog.

    I eventually ended up with the Comfort Flex harness (which is great for other reasons), simply because it is the only one I can reliably figure out how to put on the dog.

  12. Jill
    February 19, 2014 at 10:13 am (2 years ago)

    I resorted to a harness a few years ago for my 100 lab that likes to pull. I probably put it on him wrong for the first year. I swore it was defective since it always seemed to be twisted. But one day, I finally decided that it had to be fixable. And sure enough, it was. Was even able to train my husband how to use it. However, the pet sitter, that’s another story. :)

  13. Jodi
    February 19, 2014 at 10:24 am (2 years ago)

    Delilah wears a harness and if I don’t use it in a while I forget which way it goes on. How I do it is I try to remember where I unclipped it. If I can remember that, than I can get it back on her, otherwise it gets handed off to Hubby.

  14. Two French Bulldogs
    February 19, 2014 at 11:37 am (2 years ago)

    This is so funny because when I go to put my second foot in I take the other one out BOL

  15. Mango Momma
    February 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve preferred harnesses to buckle collars for some time now. I primarily use the step in kind and Dexter has learned to lift and place his feet into the harness. I keep a couple of harnesses in the rotation since I need one that is sized a bit larger to put over Dexter’s reflective vest for night walking.

    Mango Momma

  16. SchipAlong
    February 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Too funny! I need this for J because he always puts Suki’s harness on upside down, even though I leave the lead clipped to the back lol.
    SchipAlong recently posted…And We’re BackMy Profile

  17. Blueberry's human
    February 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm (2 years ago)

    The harness I use on B is by far one of the easiest I have ever encountered. She actually makes the job easier for me because she knows her head goes through the hole and all I have to do is clip the harness under her legs. Easy peasy. After being harnessed challenged for many years, I am glad to find one that is so easy to put on.
    Blueberry’s human recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  18. Ruby
    February 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Ma says I am uncontrollable without a harness! I have four harnesses! One for the truck, one for walking with Ma, one for walking with Gpa, and a spare…Sometimes Ma forgets how to put some of them on too!
    Ruby ♥
    Ruby recently posted…Black and White SundayMy Profile

  19. Tenacious Little Terrier
    February 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm (2 years ago)

    Between the two dogs, we probably have every style of harness there is. I’ve never really had a problem but the groomer always puts on Mr. N’s harness backwards when they’re finished grooming him.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #25 – Keeping WarmMy Profile

  20. Dawn
    February 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve gotten very adept at putting different car harnesses on Maya and Pierson. The Kurgo is one of the easiest, for sure. I love their new metal nesting buckles, too. They are so much easier (and better) than the plastic ones.
    Dawn recently posted…Help! My Dog Keeps Getting Out of His Dog Car HarnessMy Profile

  21. Dachshund Nola and her Mom
    February 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Prior to Nola, I had never used a harness on my dogs. After getting Nola and a harness (since they’re safer on the delicate neck), I’d spend a good 10 minutes trying to get it on, coupled with lots of: “how in the sam hell do you get this piece of shit on?!”. Now I can put on a harness with my eyes closed, even her Ruffwear Webmaster!
    Dachshund Nola and her Mom recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Long Dog ProblemsMy Profile

  22. KB
    February 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm (2 years ago)

    We’ve never used harnesses a lot until Shyla. Shyla gets scared, and she can back out of a collar. So, we use a harness when we’re in town. You should see the ridiculous ways the vet techs put it back on her!!!!! So, your post really made me laugh!
    KB recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – The LabraDuoMy Profile

  23. Jessica
    February 19, 2014 at 10:44 pm (2 years ago)

    The trick is to find the leash hook and work from there. Although with so many front clips on the market these days, that might be less help.
    Jessica recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: BellyMy Profile

  24. Jana Rade
    February 20, 2014 at 2:26 am (2 years ago)

    I remember how we all struggled when we got Jasmine’s first harness. A total brain teaser. And she was trying to help so hard, sticking her head in any ol’ hole that was available. Since then, we became harness experts, though :-)
    Jana Rade recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Jump, They SayMy Profile

  25. D. K. Wall & The Thundering Herd
    February 20, 2014 at 9:12 am (2 years ago)

    We only use seat belt harnesses. When we are leaving the house, the seat belts go on inside the house and then the dogs – 6 Siberian Huskies – are loaded in the car. But when we are out hiking, that means the seat belts are fitted while the dogs have already jumped in the car.

    The seat belts are the step-in type like you have noted above, but, importantly, there is a front and a back. There is a large, metal ring that must be to the back of the harness or it will not fit correctly. To remember the direction, I long ago inserted into my brain the phrase “Rings to the Rear.”

    So, yes, I have had people see the dogs, walk up to the Jeep to meet them, and hear me muttering over and over, “Rings to the rear. Rings to the rear. Rings to the rear.”
    D. K. Wall & The Thundering Herd recently posted…Frankie’s TableMy Profile

  26. Bailey
    February 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve never had problems with Bailey’s. However, when we rescued Katy the only ones we could find for her at the time required an ability to solve logic puzzles that still is beyond me today. So I always put Bailey’s on and DH has to harness up Katy.
    Bailey recently posted…Mom and Dad Have Been Under the WeatherMy Profile

  27. Dana
    May 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm (2 years ago)

    I just bought the 1st type today. We went for a walk earlier, and this helped me see that I put it on backward


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