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.

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. 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. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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. :)

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

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