Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Put on an Easy Walk Dog Harness: 6 Simple Steps

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

cropped woman running on a trail in the woods with her energetic dog on harness and leash

How to Put on an Easy Walk Dog Harness: 6 Simple Steps

Ready to take your dog on a walk, but the darn harness doesn’t fit? An easy walk dog harness teaches your dog not to pull during a walk while maintaining safety. However, there’s a slight learning curve to fitting the harness. It’s not much, so a couple of tries will do the trick. Here’s how you do it:


Before You Begin

Fitting a dog harness is like buying a new belt. You can pull and pull all you won’t, but it won’t work unless you start with the right size.

An unfit harness is frustrating to deal with, and your dog could escape from the harness if you’re not careful. Ideally, this should be done before purchasing the harness. If you didn’t, that’s okay, but you’ll need the right size before adventuring the neighborhood.

Refer to the chart to choose the most accurate harness size. Keep in mind the weight ranges are only approximate. If your dog fits into two weight classes, go one size up.

Size Chart
Size Chest (1) Girth (2) Weight
Petite 6″ to 7″ 12″ to 16″ Under 10 lbs.
Petite/Small 8″ to 9″ 13″ to 18″ 10 to 15 lbs.
Small 8.5″ to 11″ 15″ to 21″ 15 to 25 lbs.
Small/Medium 11″ to 13″ 19″ to 26″ 20 to 30 lbs.
Medium 12″ to 15″ 21″ to 32″ 25 to 50 lbs.
Medium/Large 14″ to 18″ 24.5″ to 34″ 40 to 65 lbs.
Large 16″ to 21″ 27″ to 40″ 65 to 95 lbs.
Extra Large 17.5″ to 23.5″ 32″ to 50″ 90+ lbs.

*chart from PetSafe.netdivider-dog paw

How to Put on an Easy Walk Dog Harness

1. Identify the Straps

An easy walk harness has three straps: the chest, belly, and shoulder straps.

The chest strap has the Martingale loop. Unlike other leashes, the D-ring on the Martingale loops rests on the chest instead of the spine.

The belly strap rests on the belly, behind the front legs. It will typically be a different color than the other straps.

The shoulder strap is the top strap. It will rest across the dog’s shoulders.

dog standing on the meadow while owner adjusting the harness
Image Credit: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz, Shutterstock

2. Fit the Shoulder Strap

Place the harness on your dog. Adjust the shoulder strap so the two O-rings rest above and behind your dog’s shoulders.

3. Fit the Belly Strap

Adjust the belly strap so the harness fits snugly against your dog. The harness should be tight but not dig into the armpit area. Two fingers should stick between the strap and your dog comfortably.

pitbull dog wearing a harness in the mountain
Image Credit: marekuliasz, Shutterstock

4. Check the Fit

Check that the chest and shoulder straps stay put while your dog walks. If they rotate, tighten the harness until they stop.

5. Fit the Chest Strap

Check that the chest strap rests low on your dog’s chest and not across the throat. This strap will feel looser than the other straps and should rest horizontally across the breastbone with the D-ring in the center for the best fit. There are two adjusters on the chest strap to make this possible.

6. Check the Final Fit

Once you’ve modified the harness to fit your dog, look at the final fit. The harness should look like a sideways T.

If the harness resembles a sideways Y, try to adjust it until it looks more like a T. Odds are, you can loosen the chest strap. However, the harness is likely too small if you can’t loosen the chest strap.

dog wearing harness outdoors
Image By: Pixabay

divider-dog paw

Fitting & Chafing Tips

  • Dogs sometimes tense their bodies during a fitting, so check the adjustments one more time after a walk.
  • A heavy leash could cause the harness to drag. A 4 to 6-foot leash with a lightweight clasp is best.
  • Do not use a retractable leash- the tension can cause the dog to pull and wear down the chest strap.
  • Do not use a coupler dog leash- the tension from the other dog can confuse your dog.



An easy walk dog harness differs from other harnesses, so adjusting the straps will take a couple of tries before you get the hang of it, but it won’t take long. Pretty soon, you and your dog will be exploring the great outdoors.

Featured Image Credit: knelson20, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.