This article is your go-to resource for tips and videos on how to safely put on a dog’s harness or collar. We’ve found these collar and harness types to be most popular among dog owners, though not all owners will use these brands or styles. Some owners won’t use a harness for their dog at all, and others may require a harness to safely handle their dog.
That’s why it’s crucial to thoroughly read each owner’s instructions and walk details, especially if there are multiple dogs who use different harnesses. If you still have questions after reading this article and watching each video, let us know! We’re happy to offer any guidance we can. It’s also always a good idea to communicate with the owner if you have specific questions because they know their dog and their dog’s gear better than anyone.
The head halter is less complex than it first appears. It works like a regular flat collar but with a large loop that fits over the dog’s muzzle and fastens securely under the chin.
- Pull the loop up through the center ring (some brands have extra padding in the part of the loop that fits over the dog’s muzzle).
- Fit loop around their snout. The metal ring should be all the way down at the bottom of this loop.
- As for the black clasp under the dog’s chin, most manufacturers recommend the owner keep this portion of the harness fitted. If it is already set, there should be no need to undo it.
- Fasten the long strap around their neck, just like a regular flat collar. This should fasten in the back.
- Clip the leash through the silver ring at the end of the strap under their snout.
- If they dog is wearing a flat collar as well, you can also fasten the leash through the ring on the harness as well as the ring on the collar for an extra safety precaution.
Pro tip: Be sure to pull the snout loop up through the center ring first, otherwise you won’t be able to secure the harness correctly.
- Slip the opening of the harness over their neck.
- Adjust it so connector rings sit above and behind the dog’s shoulder, and the D-ring is positioned in the center of the chest
- Pull the long strap under their belly behind their front legs and clip shut.
- Make sure that the harness is not inside-out and that all labels are facing outwards
- Fasten the leash to the D-ring on the front of the dog’s chest. Some brands may have two attachment rings, one in the front and one in the back. Default to the front unless the owner states otherwise.
Pro Tip: Make sure the long strap is fastened underneath their belly behind both front legs – NOT in between their legs.
- Position collar around the dog’s neck with the opening in the back and prongs facing inwards.
- Make sure the chain near the leash fastening isn’t tangled or twisted.
- Firmly squeeze the prongs and fit them into the open loops—the prongs will not fit into the loops unless you do so.
- Be sure to squeeze the prongs into the loops by inserting them from above. ALL prongs should face inward against the dog’s neck.
- The leash must be attached to the D-shaped ring on the chain in the back. The large round ring should lie flat against the back of the dog’s neck.
- Once fastened, the collar should be positioned high up on the back of the neck behind the ears, unless otherwise indicated by the owner’s instructions.
- Be sure to remove the prong collar after the walk is over to prevent injuries.
- To remove the prong collar, simply squeeze the prongs and pull them out of the open loops.
Pro Tip: It can be easy to miss, but don’t forget to squeeze the prongs together while you fit them into the loops. If you don’t squeeze them, they’ll be too far apart to fit in.
- Slip the harness loop over the dog’s head so that the vest section of the harness is resting on the dog’s chest. The D-ring is now located on dog’s back.
- Pull the rest of the vest between his front legs and clip in the straps on both sides. For some brands, there will only be a clip on one of the straps.
- Clip the leash to the D-ring on the dog’s back.
Pro Tip: There are many different styles of vest harnesses, including those that have padding on the chest and back. Be sure to put the longer section of padding on their chest, and the shorter section on their back.
- Lay the harness down in front of the dog’s front paws, making sure no straps are twisted.
- Place one front paw into each opening.
- Pull the harness up so it fits securely around the dog’s chest and shoulders, and clip the harness on the center of their back.
- The leash clips through both rings on the dog’s back.
- These rings should be positioned above the clip, not beneath it.
- Spread the collar wide and slip it over the dog’s head.
- There are no opening latches on the martingale. If it’s the appropriate size, it should be able to easily slide over the dog’s head.
- Clip leash to the ring on the adjustable portion of the collar. For some brands, the adjustable area is on a chain; for others, it’s on a fabric loop.