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How To Put On A Dog Harness

October 07, 2022 | 3 min read

Updated October 07, 2022

By Sarah Milton

Published: October 9, 2022
Updated: May 11, 2023

Summary: If you’re wondering how to put a harness on a dog, in this blog we’ll learn exactly that; how to put on a dog harness!  


Some dogs pull on their leashes, and a body harness can help discourage pulling as they help prevent doggos from moving as far forward when they pull. Harnesses can also help give you more control, particularly in busy areas like cities and in crowds, but also over larger breeds as it takes less of a toll on your arm and back strength. Harnesses are also considered safer, as they disperse pressure over a larger area of your pooch’s body, which reduces the amount of strain exerted on their neck. But, how do you put on a dog harness...? 

How To Put A Harness On A Dog 

The Standard Dog Harness 

1 x loop around the neck, 1 x loop around the ribs, 1 x D-ring on the dog’s back for the leash to be clipped to  

  1. Make sure your dog is calm, and then slip the harness over your dog’s head – wider ring first, narrower one second - with the D-ring positioned on their back.  
  2. Slip one leg through the first leg hole of the harness – this should now mean your pup’s leg is between the loop that goes around the neck and the loop that goes around their ribs.  
  3. Buckle the harness so the other leg matches the first. If the buckle doesn’t reach, you’ll need to loosen the harness’s strap.  
  4. Then adjust the harness so it fits properly.  

PetLab Co. Pro Tip: A harness should fit tightly, but not too snug once adjusted - just like their collar. You should be able to fit two fingers under the harness at any point of their body, under any strap but not to the point that they can slip out of it. 

A brown French Bulldog stands on a wooden bridge, with grey, spaced out wire for a barrier behind them over looking a blue sea against a shoreline. They wear a pink standard dog harness which is being pulled by their black leash

The Front Clip Dog Harness 

1 x leash clip positioned on the dog’s chest, 1 x loop that goes around the ribs, 1 x single strap across the chest. No divider between dog’s legs 
Note: Some front clip harnesses are shaped like a standard harness, so you should follow those instructions instead if that’s the case of yours 

  1. Kneel to your dog’s right side when they are calm. 
  2. Put the loop of the harness over their head. The harness label should sit on their left shoulder. The metal ring for their leash should sit at chest center.  
  3. Under their belly, fasten the strap.  
  4. Adjust the harness so it fits properly. It should be able to come up over their head.  

The Step-In Dog Harness 

2 x loop around the legs, 1 x strap dividing the legs down the chest, 2 x D-rings on the dog’s back for the leash to be clipped to – similar to a standard dog harness but instead of rectangle shapes around your dog’s legs, triangle shapes are formed instead 

  1. Lay the harness on the ground. You should see the two triangular shapes clearly and the buckles should be on top of the D-rings. 
  2. Place your dog’s feet in the front two triangles. It may be easier to do this from behind them.  
  3. Take the two ends of the harness and clip them together over and around your dog’s back.  
  4. Adjust the harness so it fits properly.  


Whatever harness you’ve opted to try should come with instructions of their own. The most important thing when it comes to the harness though is it’s fit; if it’s too tight it can lead to discomfort when moving and even cause sores. If it’s too loose, it can cause injuries if they pull on their leash. 

Not every harness will suit every dog, so be prepared for some trial and error when it comes to finding the perfect harness for your dog.  

Now, read our blog on How To Fit A Dog Harness And Collar here.


Author Ripley, Katherine “How To Put On A Dog Harness” American Kennel Club, Mar 06. 2019  

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Sarah Milton

Authored By

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!




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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022