A vest-style harness for a dog is better than a collar for attaching a leash because it’s nowhere near as likely to cause harm to a dog’s neck. It also makes it much easier to control a dog because the chest attachment point enables you to turn the dog’s body instead of just its head. Also, a vest harness spans more of a dog’s body than a standard harness, spreading out pressure and making it more comfortable. Vest harnesses also offer several other features, depending on the type. But you need to be comfortable using the vest harness, too.

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Some dogs just don’t like to be manipulated to wear a harness, and some owners don’t want a harness that feels like they’re suiting a dog for a multi-day excursion. If that’s your case, look for a step-in harness. These have only one closure, on the dog’s back, so you don’t have to fuss with side buckles and clips. Look for a step-in harness that comes in multiple sizes so you can choose the perfect size for your dog’s proportions.


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Dogs don’t just vary in size, but in body proportions. A big chest on a small dog, or a narrow chest on a big dog, can make it difficult to fit a vest harness properly unless it has multiple adjustment points. The investment in time spent fitting the vest harness to the dog will result in a perfect fit.


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Hunting dogs, service dogs, active dogs—these are the pets that need a harness made for heavy-duty use. That’s also the case for any dog (or owner) that’s very active. If you take your dog on runs or long hikes, look for one with a leash clip at the top of the back to make it easier for the dog to keep up with you and prevent the dog’s legs from tangling in the leash.