Before you start, make sure that the harness you’re working with is right for the size of dog you have. If it’s not sized right, then it will either be too tight or slip off over your dog’s paws.
Assuming you have the right harness, make sure that your dog is calm and then follow these simple steps.
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1. Slip Your Dog’s Head Through It
Owners of overhead padded harnesses will want to gently slip their dog’s head through the neck piece. Those who have a step-in model will want to unbuckle it and then lay it on the ground so that their dog can step over it.
Don’t pull on your dog’s head or get them excited. You don’t want them to associate an negative emotions with their harness, since this might discourage them from wearing it.
2. Put On the Bottom Straps
Pull the lowest strap down under your dog’s belly and then the top piece over his or her back. Some harnesses that have a lot of padding will be somewhat difficult to maneuver, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to get into place.
Certain types of padded harnesses indicate which loop matches up with each foot, so you’ll want to follow these if you have this kind of harness. Talk quietly with your dog while you’re doing this so they don’t get worked up and shed one of the straps off.
3. Clasp the Side Straps
Encourage your dog to step through the harness’ loop and then claps the side straps together so that the harness fits snugly but isn’t uncomfortable. Newer padded harnesses aren’t always easy to connect on both sides, so check that you haven’t inadvertently undone the harness by trying to get the other side connected.
This might take a few tries, but you don’t want to have the harness come off right after you’ve done it. Calm your dog down if they get excited during this step, because it’s really difficult to get the harness in place otherwise.
4. Adjust the Harness
Put your fingers under the front of the padding and see if there’s enough space for your dog to be able to move around in it, and adjust it if there isn’t. While padded harnesses are often more comfortable and safer than traditional ones, your dog can still get irritation under their skin if you don’t take the time to adjust it.
Slide your index and middle finger each side of the strap. If the gap doesn’t range around 2-4″, then chances are there’s a problem and your harness is either too tight for the dog or so loose that it’s going to fall off.
Uncomfortable dogs may make noise or give you a little motion that helps to show off the fact that they don’t like the way you’ve put on their harness. Never ignore these signs, since they’re quite possibility the only response you’ll get to show that something is wrong.
5. Attach a Leash
Clip your leash into place on the back of the padding and let your dog go. Most dogs will figure out that it’s time to get moving, but don’t be afraid to give yours a little encouragement if he or she doesn’t want to at first.
As weird as it might sound, some dogs might act like they’re embarrassed the first time they try on a larger hardness. This is especially true if they’ve gotten used to walking with something less substantial.
If this happens, then you’ll want to lay on the charm and get them excited to go outside. They’ll usually get the message.
How Do You Properly Put On a Padded Dog Harness?
Position the padded harness so that it sits comfortable along the rib cage and neck of your dog. It’s best to start when your dog is relaxed and either sitting or standing up at attention.
Always slip the harness over your dog’s head carefully and be sure that any D-rings face toward the back. This is how you’ll know that you have the harness oriented correctly.
Always thread the straps of your harness with the included adjuster. While it can be tempting to just move the harness back and forth until it fits, you might end up loosening it up too much in the process.
Loosen up the straps if you can’t get the buckles to sit right. Once they latch in place, you more than likely have the harness on right.
How Do You Put a Harness On a Kong Padded Dog?
Kong padded harnesses can be put on like any other step-in harness. Lay it out after unbuckling it and have your dog stand over the Kong harness.
Place one of their paws in each loop and then snap the strap buckles together as your raise the harness. It should fit comfortably in place.
Since Kong harnesses have an extra piece of padding in front, they should normally fit better than other padded harnesses. You may want to adjust it until the padded faces directly in front of your dog for maximum comfort.
How Tight Should a Padded Dog Harness Be?
A padded dog harness should be tight enough to remain on your dog while walking but not so tight that it causes discomfort. You should normally be able to slide your index and middle fingers underneath the straps on either side without too much difficulty.
If you feel a lot of resistance or aren’t able to slide your fingers in there side-by-side, then chances are that you have the harness on too tightly. Gently pull up or down on the belly strap until you have it sized correctly and your dog seems comfortable with it.
You’ll know that you have the harness on right when it’s tight on your dog’s chest by loose around the rest of his or her body.