Apart from having a good sniff at everything in sight, one of the most enjoyable aspects of any walk for your dog is being able to pick up the pace with a run. After all, it's important to get those dog legs thoroughly stretched after being curled up in a basket dreaming of their next meal for hours on end.
You may have found traditional leads quite restrictive, not to mention troublesome when it comes to your dog being able to extend beyond you and go for a run, while still being attached to you. Therefore, a tailored dog harness for running is an ideal accessory, and will greatly improve the quality of your outings.
We take a look at three of the best dog harnesses for running below.
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The first priority with a running harness for dogs is fit; naturally different harnesses fit different dogs. You don't want your harness to be uncomfortably tight on your dog, but equally, you don't want something too loose that could potentially allow them to slip out into oncoming traffic if you walk your dog in an urban area.
Most companies clearly display the sizing and which breeds will fit each harness, although ideally you should look for one that's also adjustable to allow for the best fit as your dog grows.
To decide which size your dog needs, you'll need to measure the girth of the largest part of your dog’s rib cage. Once you have this you'll need to find a corresponding fit from the size guide provided by most companies.
A helpful tip is to ensure the harness doesn't ride up into the dog’s throat, but also ensure any straps going across the torso have plenty of clearance between the dog’s leg and the torso.
Then comes the design of the harness itself. Would an upside down T-shape design that fits securely across the front, or one which slips over the neck securing more of the torso be more appropriate?
This may depend on how your dog is on a lead such as do they pull, and how difficult they are to control, as well as the size and weight of the dog.
Not only do you want your dog to be comfortable and have their weight distributed so you can control them, you also want to make sure they won't choke or become injured from using the harness; therefore, fit is very important.
Depending on the character of your dog and how excitable they get when it's time for a walk, you may also want to consider ease of use, especially when it comes to putting the harness on in the first place.
Try to find something which easily slips over the dog’s head and body, and that easily secures and fastens into place while remaining easy to adjust should you notice it's a little tight or loose.
Some harnesses require adjustment prior to and after placing on your dog, so it also depends how well your dog will sit for you to complete this so they are safe and secure.
In essence, your dog’s running harness needs to fit their breed and also temperament. If the harness doesn't fit very well and your dog doesn't feel comfortable in it, chances are it's not going to work and you could run into problems such as an injury from it sitting too tightly etc.
It's important to know exactly what size your dog is and understand which style and fit would be most appropriate.
You should also give some thought as to where you plan to take your dog and the kind of activities, not to mention the weather you will be facing, should the material of the harness be made from something less than satisfactory. Your final choice needs to withstand everything your dog and your walks can throw at it.
Available in 5 different sizes from XX-Small right through to X-Large, this harness by Ruffwear is designed for everyday use as well for outdoor pursuits.
This lightweight harness offers users 2 secure leash attachment points, one being an aluminum V-ring on the dog's back for everyday walks, as well as reinforced webbing on the dog's chest for training or additional control.
This dual feature makes it ideal for versatile use including regular walks as well as more challenging terrain, whereby your dog might want to pick up the pace a little.
There are also four points of adjustment, meaning not only can you control where the lead connects to but also how the harness itself fits your dog. This is ideal if you dog is still growing and you are perhaps between sizes.
The advice with this is to check if you can feel some space when you run your hand under it between you and the dog, so that it doesn't sit too tightly but also meaning they can't escape out of it.
Another cool feature with this harness is an I.D. pocket where your dog’s I.D. can always be conveniently stored, even without a collar.
This is ideal if you are looking to take your dog off-lead anywhere in an open space, for example, as they can always be identified. In some areas, it is a legal requirement to have your dog identifiable at all times, so this takes care of that in a way which is sleekly designed.
Comfort wise, this harness has additional padding so that it is less likely to chafe and create sore spots for your dog, such as the legs and neck. Your dog will more likely enjoy and wearing it, not to mention added comfort when they are out for a run, when possible chafing is most likely to occur on leads and harnesses if they are ill-fitting.
While the materials have been designed for hiking and other outdoor activities, one possible issue to note is the nylon straps which are prone to wear over time. Some owners with more livelier breeds have even reported the straps wearing down and snapping.
In addition to this, warranty information can only be obtained directly from the manufacturer so this may cause you some hassle if you do have a problem with it.
Overall though, this harness is extremely well rated among the majority of owners across all breeds. It's easy to slip onto the dog and adjust, and they can walk (and run) around comfortably for hours in it without any discomfort.
A great all-round harness with lots of options to customize not only the visual style, but the practicalities of how you want to use it too. This harness will allow your dog to grow with it, and can adapt to the change of pace to ensure your dog is kept comfortable and safe.
With an easy on-off design, this harness from Rabbitgoo is suitable for a wide range of activities including training and hunting, as well as daily walks.
It has an upside-down T-shaped design, so that it fits comfortably around the dog’s lower neck and over the torso, which gives an even distribution of weight if your dog is prone to pulling. There are also front and back rings for attaching the leash, which gives you room to adjust depending on your dog’s size.
This is in addition to straps which can adjust the fit to make sure your dog is snug, but that it's not tight, or too loose for them to wriggle out of it.
Like similar models, this harness also has reflective straps, meaning peace of mind when out walking in the winter time or at night. However, unlike the Ruffwear harness, this only comes in four sizes and three colors; however, considering this is the only issue aside from larger dogs breaking the straps in some instances, it's pretty good product.
This harness will provide great support for your dog, not to mention equal distribution and less issues with pulling. However, when compared to the Ruffwear which is a very similar concept the design is perhaps not as strong and there are fewer options when it comes to size and color.
On the whole though, it is an acceptable harness for walking a variety of breeds and is even ideal for night walks as the design is reflective, so people and traffic will always be able to spot your dog.
The Urpower harness follows a much more traditional harness design, and in terms of walking and running on a lead, to provide a pleasant experience for both dog and owner.
First of all, it's easy to slip on, and doesn't require complex adjustment any different to how you'd extend or decrease the length of your leash. As the design isn't bulky, this gives your dog something which is easy to adjust to if they are only used to a normal leash.
Although it doesn't contain extra padding like other leashes, it will provide additional support and comfort as they tug.
Material wise. the hooks are made from rain-resistant stainless steel, although is mostly made from denim so it is not chew resistant.
In addition to this, it costs less compared to other leashes, which would suggest the overall quality is not built to last, especially given some owners, particularly with larger dogs, have reported breakage issues due to the materials used.
Choosing the Urpower over more padded, ergonomic harnesses really depends on your dog and how they would adapt to the different leash styles. If they are prone to pulling or if they are a larger breed, you may wish to consider something a little more fitted, especially given these will correct your dog if they try and pull.
The design of the Urpower also means it goes over the dog’s back instead of using padding to attach them more at the front of the body.
On the one hand, this helps to distribute the weight in the absence of padding, but otherwise, this means more of your dog is restricted. It really depends on the temperament of your dog as if they are aggressive on the leash for example, then having more control over them might be a benefit.
Though, in terms of being able to run freely, you might prefer something a little more relaxed yet still secure such as the Ruffwear harness.
Choosing the Urpower harness really depends on the size and character of your dog. The supplied leash is only 4’ which on the one hand is great for training, though wouldn't allow them to extend off for running ahead.
It also doesn't contain extra padding or reflective elements like other leashes, and you'd need to keep a collar on or some form of I.D., whereas other brands have both of these features taken care off as standard.
As a basic running leash, it will do the job, though perhaps it isn't as well thought out as other products, and might not be built to last either... especially if your dog chews it to bits!