Labrador puppy wearing a harness

The Best Puppy Harness Australia -
The Overview

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

Dog Nation Ultra Light No Pull Dog Harness

  • Lightweight but strong
  • Front and back lead attachments
  • Reflective strips increase visibility
  • Fully adjustable
  • Good value for money

Looking for the best harness possible for your new puppy? It can be a hard choice, especially when it’s the first harness you are getting for your new canine companion to learn about their new world. 

How can you introduce and train a pup to walk on a lead in the most gentle way possible? This guide is here to help you with everything you need to know about a puppy harness.


What to Look for in a Harness for Puppies?

English Bulldog puppy waiting for her harness to be put on

Comfort

If it’s your puppy’s first harness, it’s crucial to find one that’s comfortable. If the first harness a dog uses is restricting and uncomfortable, it will be much harder to get them to accept using it. For puppies, it’s best to choose lightweight harnesses that are either made of softer materials or have lots of padding. This way, they might even end up liking the harness.

Safety and Adjustability

The primary purpose of a harness is to keep the dog safely on the lead. To achieve that, a harness must fit right. Not too tight but not too loose either. If the harness is too loose, it could be easy for the dog to wiggle out (when they want to). Moreover, harnesses that don’t fit well can even be dangerous.

“If a harness doesn’t fit well and a dog pulls hard on his leash, there is some potential for a chest injury.” - Susan C. Nelson, DVM, for PetMD.

If you get an adjustable harness, you’ll make the task easier for yourself. If you choose a harness where each strap is adjustable, you’ll be able to get the fit just right (there are plenty of options like this on the list below). An additional benefit of an adjustable harness is that it can grow with your puppy, at least to an extent.

Shape

Most dog harnesses fall into one of these 2 categories: H-shaped harnesses and step-in harnesses. The “H” shape is the most common. These harnesses usually have one strap that goes over the chest and one over the belly. They are fairly secure and functional and they work great for walks and all forms of exercise. However, you do usually need to pull the harness over your dog’s head when putting it on. It’s not too difficult, but there are easier options.

With step-in harnesses, your dog literally steps into the harness. You then just lift the harness and clip the buckle on the back. Some pet parents use exclusively step-in harnesses, but not everyone loves them. Depending on the model and your dog’s body shape, these harnesses can fit a bit awkward and be easy to escape from.

Control

The role of the harness is to give you control over your puppies movements. The way this is achieved will depend on where the lead is attached to the harness. The lead attachment on the back is the most common, and it tends to work well for dogs who have completed leash training. However, with some energetic and stubborn canines, this goal can be difficult to achieve.

“Some dogs pull strongly on the lead no matter how much training you put in, and some owners are unable to invest the necessary time to teach their dogs loose-lead walking with a collar and lead. The most appropriate management tool in these instances for most dogs is a front-attach harness.” - RSPCA

A front-attach harness will have the lead attachment loop on the chest. This way, your dog will gently be brought back to you when they try to pull. While it is a great tool for training, the front attachment is usually not a permanent solution. This is why we recommend picking a harness that offers both front and back options for lead attachment.


Best Puppy Harness Australia: Our Top Picks

  • Lightweight but strong
  • Front and back lead attachments
  • Reflective strips increase visibility
  • Fully adjustable
  • Good value for money

Puppies need time to get used to harnesses. This is why you want to start them with something that is not too heavy and cumbersome. You need a harness that is lightweight and comfortable, but also secure at the same time. After all, you don’t want the pup running away during the first walk outside.

This harness from dog nation offers all that! The chest and back panels are made of Cordura fabric which offers the perfect balance between weight and durability. Hint: it’s lightweight, and very strong. In addition to this, the panels are padded so the only thing your puppy will feel against the skin is softness.

In addition to this, this harness is equipped with strong nylon straps and metal hardware to ensure it always stays in place. Speaking about hardware, you’ll find two lead attachments on this harness - one at the front and one on the back. This is great because it offers a lot of flexibility when lead training your pup.

Another great feature of this Dog Nation harness is that it’s fully adjustable. Each of the 4 straps comes with an adjustment mechanism. Thanks to this feature, it’s not only possible to achieve the perfect fit, but the harness can grow with your puppy too - at least to an extent.

This is also our number 1 small dog harness choice!

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight but strong
  • Not too many colours to choose from
  • Front and back lead attachments
  • List Element
  • Reflective strips increase visibility
Cell
  • Fully adjustable
Cell
  • Good value for money
Cell

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Adjustable chest strap
  • 8 colours to choose from
  • Easy to clean

This True Love harness is a great choice if your puppy is gonna be wearing a harness for the first time. The harness is extra lightweight and soft. If you are trying to get a dog used to wearing a harness, this is what you need to start with.

The body of this harness is made of mesh fabric. The wide strip of mesh nylon gently wraps around the dog’s neck and goes down the chest. The shape of the mesh piece ensures that there are no edges cutting into your pup’s skin. In addition to this, the weight is equally distributed across the chest when the dog pulls instead of cutting into the neck. The fabric is also very breathable, so any chance of discomfort is eliminated.

The soft mesh part goes behind the front legs. The part made of soft fabric also covers this sensitive area. Behind the front legs, a sturdy adjustable is attached to the soft mesh piece. The strap wraps around the dog’s back, which makes the harness relatively escape-proof too.

Another cute thing about this True Love harness is that you get to choose from 8 colour options. If you are looking for a neutral colour, there is black and brown, but it also might be a good idea to choose neon yellow or orange. This way, you’ll always be able to spot your puppy, even in low visibility conditions.

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Neck not adjustable
  • Adjustable chest strap
Cell
  • 8 colours to choose from
Cell
  • Easy to clean
Cell

#3: Best Step-In Harness for Puppy: Urban Step-In Dog Harness

  • Soft and comfortable chest plate
  • Adjustable straps
  • Easy to put on
  • Reflective lining for safety

This is not a harness made specifically for puppies, but it does work great for them! There are a couple of reason for this:

First of all, this is a step-in harness. This means that there is no need to wrangle the harness over your pup’s head. All you need to do is lay the harness on the floor, put the two front legs inside the holes (hence “step in”), lift the harness up and close a single buckle on the back. With puppies who are not used to standing still to have the harness put on, this can be great.

Second, this harness is designed to be really comfortable. It features a large chest plate made of soft and breathable fabric. The wide chest piece ensures that the straps don’t dig into your dog’s skin - which is just what puppies need.

In addition to this, the chest piece lies low due to the shape of the harness. It distributes the weight evenly and keeps the harness away from the throat. This feature makes the Urban Step-In Dog Harness a good choice for brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs.

Overall, this is a great harness. It’s easy to put on, it’s adjustable and comfortable. The colour schemes are cute too and there are even reflective strips along the edges to make your pooch more visible during night walks!

Pros

Cons

  • Soft and comfortable chest plate
  • The smallest size could still be too large for puppies of tiny breeds
  • Adjustable straps
Cell
  • Easy to put on
Cell
  • Reflective lining for safety
Cell

#4: Best No-Pull Harness for Puppies: True Love No-Pull Dog Harness Adjustable Reflective

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • High-quality durable materials
  • Easy to put on
  • Front and back lead attachment

This harness is especially great for outdoor adventures with puppies! Once they are old enough to enjoy outdoor activities, you’ll quickly notice that young dogs also never seem to run out of energy. The best thing you can do for a canine in such situations is let them get as much exercise as they need, and this harness is perfect for that.

The True Love No-Pull Harness is made from synthetic fabric that is strong and lightweight. The harness features soft padding on the inside distributed strategically to prevent chafing and discomfort. At the same time, the outside is strong and scratch-resistant, so you can rest assured this harness will last.

What makes this harness stand out among the others are the multiple options for attaching the lead. Besides the standard attachment on the back, you’ll also find this harness has a D-ring in the middle of the chest. The front lead attachment is great for energetic puppies that need a firm hand to prevent them from pulling.

 In addition to this, there is a built-in handle on the back. The handle might seem unnecessary, but it does come in handy in a variety of situations. When you need to lift your dog for whatever reason, the handle will help. Plus, it lets you quickly take control of the dog when needed.

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Could be too bulky for some puppies
  • High-quality durable materials
Cell
  • Easy to put on
Cell
  • Front and back lead attachment
Cell

  • It’s escape-proof
  • Two lead attachment points
  • 5 adjustment points
  • Well-made and durable

When your puppy belongs to a breed that is small anyways, it can be difficult to find a harness that’s small enough for them while they are still a puppy. Well, in that case, this harness could be a solution. The smallest size will fit dogs with a chest girth of 23 centimetres, which is quite tiny. No need to worry if your new canine companion is large, though. This harness comes in a variety of sizes, up to extra large.

So, this harness comes in appropriate sizes for virtually every dog, but this is not its main selling point. What makes it special is the fact that it’s escape-proof. This is possible because the harness is shaped differently than most other options. This one has two belly straps, in addition to the chest strap. Imagine a standard H-shaped harness, and then an additional belly strap in the back. This additional strap doesn’t change anything in terms of the comfort of the harness, but it makes it impossible to wiggle out from!

This harness is a bit more expensive than most other options, but it is well worth it. The higher price comes from the quality of materials used. The padding on the chest and back pieces is made of breathable microfiber, while the exterior is made of strong and water-resistant Cordura fabric. This is all completed with strong nylon webbing and quality buckles.

Pros

Cons

  • It’s escape-proof
  • A bit complicated to put on
  • Two lead attachment points
Cell
  • 5 adjustment points
Cell
  • Well-made and durable
Cell

#6: Best Puppy Car Harness: Dog Nation Car Harness Seat Belt Set

  • Designed for car rides
  • Doubles as a walking harness
  • Dog seat belt included
  • Easy setup

Car safety for dogs is a serious issue. The rules prescribed by law are often vague, so it’s up to the owner to ensure the safety of their pet. There is one thing everyone can agree on, though: it is safest to have the dog restrained while driving. A dog car harness like this one will ensure your dog is safely restrained and comfortable at the same time.

This harness from Dog Nation has a wide padded chest panel at the front. This ensures that the harness doesn’t hurt your dog's body even if you were to break suddenly or (hopefully not) an accident would happen. Just like with a regular harness, there is a chest strap and a belly strap that meet at the back.

There is a lead attachment on the back, just like on a regular harness, so you can use it for walks too. However, the main purpose of this harness is to attach a seatbelt to it (included). The doggie seat belt attaches to the harness just like a leash, but on the other end it includes a seat belt attachment that clips right into your existing seat belt sockets.

Pros

Cons

  • Designed for car rides
  • Only 3 sizes available
  • Doubles as a walking harness
Cell
  • Dog seat belt included
Cell
  • Easy setup
Cell

Final Verdict

What harness should you buy for your puppy? If you want a quick answer, we have two suggestions for you. Dog Nation Ultra Light No Pull Dog Harness is a perfect everyday harness for a puppy. It is lightweight but it can handle some serious wear & tear. Plus, you can use the front lead attachment when necessary.

However, if this seems like a bit too much for a pup’s first harness, go with the True Love Breathable Mesh Nylon Dog Harness. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable, so the puppy will not feel over-encumbered!

FAQ

When can a puppy start wearing a harness?

Technically, puppies are never too young to start wearing a harness. However, there is usually no need to trouble them with this before 8 weeks of age. It’s a good idea to introduce the harness early, even before you plan on going for walks outdoors. Puppies often need time to get used to wearing a harness.

Is a harness or a collar better for puppies?

There are advantages to both options. There is nothing wrong with a puppy wearing a collar, and it is nice when they can wear a name tag on the collar with your contact info - just in case. However, when teaching a puppy to walk on lead, a harness is definitely the gentle option. If a puppy pulls, the collar can press into their throat in a very uncomfortable and possibly dangerous way. The harness is a much more comfortable and safer alternative.

What size harness should I get for my puppy?

When first-time pet parents start getting prepared to welcome a puppy into their home, they usually try hard to be prepared. This includes having a harness ready before the puppy arrives. However, it can be difficult to choose a harness without knowing the exact measurements. If you don’t have those, you could try an estimate based on the weight. If unsure, either wait until you can take the pup’s measurement, or go with the larger size when in doubt. The larger harness might not fit at first, but the puppy will surely grow into it!

At what age should you start lead training a puppy?

Veterinarians and dog trainers usually recommend starting to train your puppy as early as possible. Since puppies usually move to a new home around 8 weeks of age, this is a good time to start lead training too. Start the training with short sessions indoors to get the puppy used to the lead and the harness/collar (3).

References
  1. McCarthy, C.Surprising Dog Harness Dangers to Avoid”. PetMD. Retrieved March 2, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/surprising-dog-harness-dangers-avoid
  2. “What equipment should I use when teaching my dog or puppy to walk on a lead?”. RSPCA. Retrieved March 1, 2021.  https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-equipment-should-i-use-when-teaching-my-dog-or-puppy-to-walk-on-a-lead/
  3. Loos, Shelby. July 30, 2020. “How to Start Training Your Puppy”. PetMD. Retrieved March 2, 2021.  https://www.petmd.com/dog/training/when-start-training-puppy
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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