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A puppy harness offers you more control, which is ideal for puppies who are often prone to pulling and lunging. For especially small dogs, using a harness (as opposed to a collar) also helps to protect a puppy’s neck and back from potential injury caused by a leash pulling on a collar.
In this article, we’ll briefly explore the basics of harness training your puppy, and then outline our recommendations for the best puppy harnesses for 2020.
Puppy Harness Training 101
Puppies can begin basic training and loose leash walking in your home or yard as young as 8 weeks old.
When using a puppy harness for the first time, it’s a good idea to start out slowly by letting him wear it for short periods of time indoors to help him become used to how it feels. This slow and steady approach—with treats and praise for encouragement—helps your puppy make positive associations with the harness.
Then, before attempting a walk outdoors, practice going for a walk inside your home where there are fewer distractions. After your puppy has a full round of puppy vaccinations and deworming you’ll be ready to introduce him to the outdoors and other dogs.
How to Find the Best Puppy Harness
Finding a harness that fits your pet’s growing body can be a challenge for pet parents, but there are a few features you can look for in a harness to help make shopping easier:
- Adjustable: Ideally, a good puppy harness will allow you to adjust the fit so that they can be made bigger as your puppy grows.
- Chew-resistant material: If your puppy is teething or just likes to chew on everything, you may want to consider the material that a potential harness is made of. Even the most well-behaved puppy may end up gnawing on the front part of their harnesses when you’re not looking.
- Affordability: Since most young dogs will eventually grow out of their harness, selecting a quality but affordable puppy harness is a great idea.
Lastly, don’t forget to measure your dog before ordering a harness. If you find that your pet is in between sizes, opt for the larger size, since your puppy will get bigger as the months go by.
Best Puppy Harness Picks for 2020
As you begin your puppy‘s walking and socialization training, here are the best puppy harnesses to consider. (For information about leashes and other puppy training essentials, see our guide, The Best Dog Training Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes).
This over-the-head harness from Copatchy features lightweight mesh material with reflective stripes, as well as two straps around the chest and torso that allow plenty of room for adjustment. Some reviewers rave about the handle on the top of the harness that enables them to better redirect an unfocused puppy while on a walk or to pick them up in an emergency situation.
Available sizes: XS to XLShop on Amazon Shop on Chewy
A recommendation from the American Kennel Club, this back-clip harness is a good choice for puppies and small breed dogs. Because it’s a back-clip harness, it’s probably best if your puppy can handle loose-leash walking and isn’t prone to pulling. The reflective strip (for night walks) and full padding are great features, and a choice of 10 sizes helps you get the exact right fit for your dog.
Available sizes: P to XLFind at Comfortflex
A basic puppy harness with a back clip, this is a solid, affordable choice for a growing dog. Select from multiple sizes and colors—it’s also available in prints.
Available sizes: S to LShop at Chewy
This Juxzh harness is another choice that has two leash attachment rings, including one on the front that helps you curb your puppy’s pulling when you take them walking. Available in nine cheerful colors, this over-the-head style harness is made of sturdy material with reflective nylon webbing to make your dog more visible in low-light conditions. A handle on the back plus two adjustable straps make this harness a good value as your pup grows in to walking on leash.
Available sizes: XS to XLBuy Now on Amazon
The Easy Walk is a front-hook harness that helps you gently steer your dog back towards you when they pull, helping to train them for a lifetime of enjoyable walks for both of you. One strap rests across your dog’s chest and buckles around their torso.
Available sizes: P to XLFind on Chewy
This over-the-head puppy harness from Pupteck is both stylish and functional. It’s made of a soft polyester mesh material and has a back strap that can be adjusted to better fit your dog. Best of all, it’s machine-washable, making it easy to clean for those spontaneous puppy explorations.
Available sizes: XS to XL
Another suggestion from the American Kennel Club, this harness offers a clip in the front as well as on the back. This means it’s a great puppy harness option if your little one tries to pull on the leash and you are training her out of that behavior. Select from four sizes and six colors.
Available sizes: S to XLFind on Amazon
Available in 16 different colors, this Best Pet Supplies Voyager harness is made of soft, padded mesh that won’t chafe or rub against your puppy’s skin. It doesn’t need to go over your dog’s head to be put on; instead, put it on over your pup’s legs, wrap it around their chest and secure with the velcro and buckle closure on top. Hook the leash to the two D-rings and take a stroll.
Since the velcro closure only allows for a small amount of adjustment, you’ll want to make sure you order the correct size in order to ensure your puppy harness fits great.
Available sizes: XS to XLShop on Amazon Shop Now on Chewy
If your puppy likes to charge forward on leash, this over-the-head PoyPet dog harness might be a good fit, featuring a leash attachment ring on both the front and back—the front ring is the best one to use if you want to cut down on pulling.
The harness is made of strong, scratch-resistant nylon on the outside with a mesh padding interior. It also boasts four adjustable straps and a handle on the backside.
Available sizes: XS to XLBuy Now on Amazon
The American Kennel Club points pet parents to a variety of harnesses made by the Finnish company Hurtta. The neoprene padding on this model adds comfort, which might make it easier for your pup to get used to wearing a harness. Reflectors built into the webbing are a safety plus for your nighttime strolls.
Available in eight sizesShop on Amazon
Now that you have the right harness for your puppy, we hope you enjoy many long walks with your furry family member.
For more information about puppies, training, and other dog gear, check out one of the articles below.