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How to Fit a Big Dog Harness
How to Fit a Big Dog Harness
Does your dog need a harness but you’re not quite sure how to find the right one? Or maybe you’re not totally sure that they need one but you still want to find out more? Well, it’s actually not as difficult as you might think to figure out how to fit a big dog harness. We can go through all of the things you need to know to make sure you’re getting your dog a harness that they can use and one that they’re actually going to like.
Why Do You Want One?
First, let’s take a look at just why you would want a harness. If you’re looking to train your dog or even just walk them around in a more comfortable way you probably want a harness rather than a collar. Now, for those who have used dog collars before this can seem strange, but if you pull your dogs leash while they’re wearing a collar it can actually cause choking and discomfort. On the other hand, pulling a leash attached to a harness distributes the weight and gives them the guidance you’re looking for without actually hurting them. This also makes sure that the leash isn’t getting tangled at all, because it’s attached where they can’t step all over it.
On top of that, there are actually a number of different types of harnesses that you can choose, so you’ll be able to find something that really fits what you need for your dog and how you can train them. A harness with a front clip is going to be more difficult for them to pull you around with, for example. Other types of harnesses can help you train your dog in other ways. Not to mention it’s going to be a lot easier to move your dog around in general with the help of a harness.
Choosing the Right Harness
When it comes to actually choosing a specific harness you want to take a closer look at some of the different features that go along with them. We’re going to look at just where you need to measure and how you need to do it in order to find the right harness as well as some of the important features that you might want to watch out for in order to learn how to fit a big dog harness. After all, you want them to be comfortable and protected.
Your American Bully is going to have a broad chest and you want to make sure the harness you get is going to fit across this area comfortably. The best way to make sure of that is to take a cloth measuring tape and start at the bottom of the rib cage. This is going to be the narrowest part of your dog. From there, wrap the tape up over the back and then come around in a full circle. This is going to be the measurement that you want to use for your harness.
The neck is another important area that you want to watch out for. You want your dog to be comfortable and a harness that’s too tight around the neck is definitely not going to help with that. So, make sure that you measure around the very thickest part of your dogs neck. This should be right over the top of the shoulders, since the harness is actually going to lay flat over the shoulders rather than around the neck like a traditional collar would.
Okay, so you want to make sure that your dogs weight actually fits the qualifications for the harness that you’re choosing as well. Even though you’re trying to keep him or her in good shape, it can happen that you end up a little bit off the mark. That means you need to pay attention to their weight to find a harness that’s going to fit properly. You’ll generally find weight guidelines in the packaging for your chosen harness, so make sure that your dog fits between those. You can put them on a scale themselves or you can weigh yourself with and without the dog and take the difference as their weight.
Some dog harnesses have a specific length to them as well. These are generally going to be for small, medium and large dogs (and up) but you might find some that have specific lengths. Keep in mind that larger and smaller dogs still need a harness that fits in a similar way and if your harness doesn’t it could be hurting your dog or it might not be applying the right pressure in the right areas, which might keep them from actually listening to you.
Compare the Chart
There are usually charts available on the packages of different harnesses or the manufacturer will send out large charts that can be posted in the area or on the website. These let you know a little better what classification your dog is in. They will generally tell you which weight and sizes or dimensions constitute different general sizes (like small, medium and large). Make sure you’re paying close attention to these and that you’re picking a harness that your dog fits into based on all of the characteristics.
What You Should Look For
When it comes to actually choosing the right harness for your dog you also want to look at some other features. Think about it, you want a harness that’s actually going to last a while, right? You want something that’s going to be high quality and durable. And you’re talking about a large and strong dog. You don’t want to give them too much freedom or too much control when they’re wearing that harness. So, you should be looking out for a few very important aspects of a harness.
The buckles on your harness should generally be made with metal. That’s because they’re going to be more durable and strong and they’re going to keep your dog more safely strapped into the harness. Now, you will need to make sure their skin is better protected from these metal buckles, especially in the heat, but you’ll get a lot of benefit from them as well. If you opt for plastic they’ll be easier to open and close but they’re not going to hold as well and they just might cause pinching of your dog’s fur.
When you’re looking to get your dog actually into the harness you want to make sure that they have a way to do so that is comfortable and easy for them. While you can find both overhead and step-in harnesses, you’re going to have an easier time of it with the overhead design. These ones don’t require your dog to really do anything, which is great when you have a more energetic dog or one who isn’t so sure about the harness. You slip it over their head and then strap it on. With the step-in kind your dog has to actually step into it for you to strap it up.
It’s definitely important that the harness you choose has some form of adjustable aspects to it. You’re going to have a very hard time finding a harness that fits perfectly with no adjustments at all, so make sure that you have plenty of ways to slim things down or expand and make sure that your dog isn’t all the way at the bottom or the top of any of the adjustment ranges. You want them to be close to the bottom, but if they’re too close it could mean that the harness doesn’t actually shrink enough to be secure or comfortable.
Do You Need a New Harness
Is your dog doing really well with their harness or do they actually need a bit more help? Maybe they aren’t doing so well or maybe there’s something wrong with the harness. No matter what it is, you want to make sure that you are paying attention to your dog and that you’re recognizing any of these signs (or any others) that they might be exhibiting because it could be a sign that their harness isn’t any good or at least isn’t good for them and you definitely don’t want to use it.
If your dog is losing fur where the harness sits that means there’s either something in the material itself or the harness is rubbing at their fur too much. Rubbing means that the harness is likely too loose and this means that it could be causing them some other problems as well. You want to pay close attention to areas where they’re losing fur and you could try to tighten up the harness to see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn’t you’re going to need to get a new harness.
Similar to losing fur, chafing is actually a sign that the harness might be too tight or rubbing too much on a certain area of the skin. It could be just plain irritation however, where your dog doesn’t do well with specific types of material or it could be that the material is too rough. The best thing you can do is try adding a little more padding, but if the chafing doesn’t change or if it looks bad you may want to swap to a different harness. You could also talk to your dogs vet to see if there’s another health issue going on.
Dog Doesn’t Want to Walk
Dogs in general like to go for walks but you know your dog pretty well. If they’ve always loved walks and now all the sudden they don’t want to go or they seem to balk as soon as you grab that harness it’s likely there’s a problem with the harness. Try taking them for a walk without it (use a collar or some other form of training gear) and see if they have a problem. If they don’t then chances are your harness is hurting them in some way and even though they don’t have marks from it, they’re trying to tell you.
If your dog can get out of their harness then it’s not doing any good. That means the harness is either too big or you’re attaching it when it’s still too big and you’re not doing your dog any favors. The fact that they can break free of the harness means that they still have control and it also means that they could run off at any time and you have no way of keeping them there. You never know when something might interest or startle your dog and that could mean them breaking out and running off if you’re not careful.
If anything on your harness is rotating other than possibly the ring that your leash is attached to then it means there’s a problem. You don’t want moving pieces on your harness because they could rub different areas of your dogs fur or skin and cause them problems. If pieces of the harness are moving it could cause chafing and irritation or it could just plain startle your dog, which could cause them to react in a negative way. If the straps are rotating it means that they’re going to rub and it also means that they’re not actually protecting your dog.
Wrapping it Up
When you’re looking at how to fit a big dog harness the most important thing that you can do is measure your dog. Make sure you’re measuring all around and that you’re trying on that harness right away. If you can try them on in the store (some stores allow this) that’s the best way. If you order online it’s best to try it on the day it arrives at your door. No matter what, you want to make sure that you have a good fit before you keep it too long.