What Is A Step-In Harness For Dogs

What Is A Step-In Harness For Dogs

About the Author: Nettie Finley, the Professional Dog Trainer at MyPetDoggie. Specializing in behavior rehabilitation, Nettie leads our team with her effective training techniques. As a certified canine behaviorist, she brings transformative change to challenging behavior cases. Her experience and expertise elevate our content, providing practical, insightful training advice for our readers. Also, she loves her Cavapoo!

What Is A Step-In Harness For Dogs? Well, step-in harnesses are not only easy to put on, but they also distribute the pressure evenly across your dog’s body, making it more comfortable for them.

Picture this – a harness that is as easy to put on as slipping into the pair of shoes you love. That is exactly what a step-in harness feels like! Designed while keeping simplicity in mind, these harnesses have two loops that your dog can easily step into, eliminating the problem of wrestling with straps and buckles. Whether you are an old dog owner or a beginner, a step-in harness is a game changer when it comes to comfort and safety at the same time!

But it’s not just about the one benefit, “ease of use”. steps in harnesses also prioritize your dog’s ease. Made from soft and breathable materials, these harnesses provide a snug and secure fit without causing any problems related to discomfort or chafing. 

With adjustable straps, you can easily customize the fit to ensure the comfort of your pup during walks or playtime. Additionally, the step-in harness design helps disperse the pressure evenly across your dog’s body, reducing strain on their neck and making sure that you and your pup have a safer walking experience.

Being a dog owner, their safety is always the first priority, and steps in harness have got us covered. While researching I found out that the secure and sturdy making of these harnesses helps prevent your dog from slipping out or escaping during walks, unlike traditional collars. The D-ring attachment provides a reliable anchor point for leash connection, giving you the peace of mind of knowing that your dog-best friend is secure and protected. So, whether you have an energetic pup or a curious explorer, a step-in harness is a reliable tool to keep them safe and beside yourself. 

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of step-in harnesses, get ready to embark on a journey of discovering it in much detail. From what it is, how to put it on, its advantages, disadvantages to much more! 

What Is A Step-In Harness For Dogs?

A step harness for dogs is one of the simplest harnesses which is created to be used regularly. It is the best choice so far due to its great functionality.

It mainly consists of two loops that go around the dog’s front legs for them to step into them and a strap that goes around the dog’s back that is to be buckled, Since it is as simple as it sounds, that is what makes it the most popular dog harness.

Eco-Friendly Materials (1)
A dog lying down wearing a step-in harness

Some dogs are unwilling to accept a harness on them and it gets hard to make them feel comfortable with it. Apart from the other harnesses which are troublesome and may require a great amount of energy to put on the dogs who are repellent to harnesses, the step-in harness is known for its comfort abilities and problem-free application. It is not only the best option for a dog to have, but it saves the dog owner’s energy and also from serious frustration.

In addition to it being easy to put on, it is very comfortable for the dog. Especially for dogs who do not know walking etiquette, step-in harnesses make it easy for the owner to control the pet well in public areas for an extended period of time without getting embarrassed. It is a perfect tool for owners to train their dogs to learn walking manners since it does not hurt the dog in any way due to the simple design of the harness which distributes the pressure evenly throughout the dog’s chest.

How To Put Step-In Harness On Your Dog

Step harnesses, as the name suggests, are put on by stepping into its loops. They are designed to be worn easily without any hassle and there are a number of things you need to do to put them on, Let’s discuss each of them individually!

hat Is A Step in Harness For Dog
A dog goes outside wearing a step-in harness

Choose the Right Size:

This is the most important thing to keep in consideration when getting a harness because the wrong size will give your dog a hard time enjoying its routine walks. Most of the time, the measurement instructions book is provided by the manufacturer but if it is not, you can measure your dog’s chest with a measuring tape and get the harness accordingly. 

Prepare the Harness:

To get the harness ready to put on, first, lay it flat on the ground. Then, open the harness and adjust the straps to be a perfect fit for your dog’s size. Make sure that the attachment point- the D-ring is at the back. Now, you are all set to put it on your pup! 

Unbuckle or Unclip the Harness:

Start by loosening all the buckles or if there are clips on the harness, unclip them ensuring that it is fully ready to be put on your dog. 

Encourage Your Dog to Step in

Gently guide your dog’s front limbs through the loops (designated openings in the harness) encouraging them to carefully step into it. If they are not confident in putting their legs in the openings themselves, help them with it by gently holding their limbs and putting them in the holes. 

Lift the Harness Up:

Position the harness nicely on your dog’s back. Make sure that the straps are not twisted and they remain straight allowing you to make their fit comfortable. 

Secure the Harness:

This is also the most crucial part. Securing the harness is highly important because it gives you the peace of mind that your dog is safe by your side. Put the buckles together and clip all the clips on the harness together. Adjust the harness in such a way that it is snug and not too tight for the dog to avoid escaping while also ensuring their comfort.

Check Leash Attachment:

Double-check the leash connecting point, making sure that it is perfectly aligned, secured, and located on the back of the harness. This will provide the needed control and prevent any unnecessary force on your dog’s neck.

Reward and Positive Association:

To create a positive interrelationship with your dog by wearing the harness, reward them with praise, treats, or their favorite toy. This will make them inevitably associate the harness with positive experiences. This will make the harness easier and more fun for future use.

Now that you have got the hang of putting on the step-in harness, let’s dive into why it is the perfect choice for your pup! Get ready to discover the awesome perks of using a step-in harness. 

Advantages Of A Step-In Harness

As I mentioned earlier, a step-in harness comes with a lot of benefits. it is also the most common type used by dog owners.

Advantages Of A Step in Harness (1)
A dog wearing a step-in harness

To get a better idea of the advantages, let’s dig deeper into them individually and find out why they can be the perfect solution to your daily dog walking needs.

Ease of Use:

When I say putting on a step-in harness is a breeze, I’m not joking! With its utmost simplicity and decent design, you can easily make your dog’s legs get through the openings and fasten them securely. No more wars with the hard-to-handle buckles or clips!

Comfortable Fit:

Step-in harnesses are designed specially with your dog’s comfort in mind. The straps pass around the pressure evenly across their chest and shoulders, preventing any potential discomfort or chafing that can occur with the traditional collars.

No Pressure on the Neck:

Unlike the common collars, step-in harnesses do not put any kind of pressure on your dog’s neck. This is especially advantageous for dogs with delicate throats or those who are likely to get tracheal issues. It helps in protecting their airways and ensures a comfortable and more enjoyable walking experience.

Minimal Matting and Hair Loss:

The step-in harnesses are designed typically to minimize the risk of matting and hair loss. They fit on your dog’s body comfortably, reducing the high chances of tangling or pulling on their fur. This is especially beneficial for long-haired breeds or dogs with sensitive skin.

Wide Range of Sizes and Styles:

The step-in harnesses come in a wide range of sizes and designs, catering to dogs of all kinds of body types and breeds. Whether you have a tiny Chihuahua or a large Labrador, you can easily find a step-in harness that fits nicely and suits your dog’s specific body type perfectly.

Less Escape Risk:

Step-in harnesses provide a safer fit compared to traditional collars. The harness comfortably wraps around your dog’s body, making it almost impossible for them to slip out or escape during walks. This is particularly helpful for dog owners whose dogs tend to be more adventurous or feel inclined to pull.

Ideal for Dogs Sensitive to Collars:

A few dogs may have some sort of sensitivity or discomfort around their neck area. Step-in harnesses offer a safer and alternative option for those by provide a comfortable and safe fit without putting any force on their neck while pulling. It is a great choice for dogs with sensitive neck areas or those recovering from injuries.

Suitable for Dogs with Tracheal Issues:

Tracheal issues in dogs such as a collapsing trachea need careful assistance to deal with them. Dogs with this problem get great advantages from using a step-in harness. By avoiding any unnecessary pressure on the neck, the harness helps to alleviate strain on the trachea and reduce the risk of it getting further complicated.

Travis Arndt DVM, director of the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America stated that, since the harnesses fasten over the dog’s chest area and not around the neck, they do not put pressure on the trachea. This is what makes them ideal for dogs with collapsing trachea. 

Prevents Pulling:

Step-in harnesses are highly effective in discouraging pulling behavior. The specific design of the harness allows you to have much better control over your dog’s range of movement, making it easier to redirect their attention when they tend to pull and discourage the act overall. This promotes safer and more fun walking experiences for both you and your dog.

But, nothing comes without its side effects, right? Let’s dig into the potential drawbacks you have to face with a step-in harness!

Disadvantages Of A Step-In Harness

The dog wearing a step-in harness and sits next to his parent

A step-in harness is known for a lot of its benefits but, here are some potential risks/ drawbacks it brings along: 

Limited Control for Strong Pullers:

The step-in harnesses may not allow you to have as much control over your dog who tends to pull strongly on the leash. If you want to stick to using a harness, consider using a different type of harness or training method for a better grip.

Possible Movement Restrictions:

The steps in harness designs may result in restricting a dog’s required range of motion and its necessary movement, especially in the shoulder area. Make sure you get your hands only on a harness that properly allows your dog to move comfortably.

Proper Fit is Crucial: Step-in harnesses:

Require a proper fit to ensure the utmost stability and comfort. If the harness is not fitted correctly and is too loose or too tight, it may cause discomfort to the dog’s skin or even chafing. Keep a regular check and adjust the fit as your dog grows or shifts shape.

Adjustment Challenges:

The step-in harnesses can seem more challenging to adjust correctly compared to other types of harnesses. It may take some practice to find the right fit and make adjustments according to your dog’s needs, but remember that it is a crucial part of every other harness. Your dog’s comfort and safety should always come first!

Not Ideal for Dogs with Mobility Issues:

Step-in harnesses may not be the best choice to make for dogs with mobility issues or physical limitations. It is recommended to consult with your veterinarian for guidance on the most suitable harness option so you do not end up making your dog uncomfortable with the wrong fit.

May Encourage Pulling:

Depending on the design and fit, the step-in harness may end up encouraging the pulling behavior in some dogs. To prevent any of these potential problems, consider using training techniques to discourage pulling while using any kind of step-in harness.

Limited Customization:

Attaching additional accessories or modifying the harness is hard in step-in harnesses because of the limited options. If customization and decorating your dog’s harness matter to you, you should look for other options for dog harnesses.

Is A Step-In Dog Harness Right For Your Dog?

A step-in harness is absolutely the right fit for your dog. However, when deciding on a harness, it is highly important to consider your dog’s behavior, pulling tendencies, neck sensitivity, mobility issues, training goals, as well as their comfort and fit.

Is A step in Dog Harness Right F
A dog wearing a step-in harness and lying on the ground

Let’s explore each of these points in more detail:

Consider Your Dog’s Behavior:

Take note of how your dog behaves on walks. If they keep pulling or have a strong pulling instinct, you definitely need a harness to control them better. 

Pulling Behavior:

If your dog is still learning walking manners and is prone to pulling a no-pull or front clip harness may be the better choice. These alternatives will help a lot more in discouraging the pulling behavior.

Neck Sensitivity:

Some dogs tend to have sensitive necks or health problems such as tracheal issues. In those specific cases, a step-in harness that distributes the pressure across the chest and back can be a much safer option than a traditional collar.

Mobility Issues:  

If your dog has any kind of mobility issues or struggles with their range of movement on a leash, a step-in harness may not be the most suitable choice for them. Consider harnesses that provide additional stability and support or are designed specifically for dogs with mobility challenges.

Training Goals:

If your dog is currently getting trained and you need a harness that is effective for training sessions, you should consider some other type because they can be more effective than a step-in harness. You should contact a veterinarian or a professional to help you decide the correct type. 

Comfort and Fit:

Like any other harness, a step-in harness is super comfortable and comes in different sizes to help fit your dog perfectly. It is also super easy to put on and take off. Remember that a well-fitting harness allows for natural movement and does not cause any discomfort or chafing. 

Keep in mind that each dog is unique and has their own specific preferences and needs. What may be a perfect fit for your dog may not be the right one for the other. It is always recommended to take suggestions from a veterinarian or a professional about the right choice for your dog according to its breed, age, and size. 

Now, are you ready to find the perfect step-in harness for your furry friend? Let’s dive in and discover which brands make this type of harness!

Which Brands Make This Type of Harness?

Puppia (1)
A tinny dog wearing a step-in harness and sitting down on the wooden floor

There are several brands that make step-in harnesses. Here are some you should check:


Known for their stylish and comfortable harnesses, you will find a variety of different designs and colors to choose from. They also have different sizes to fit all the dog body types!


Gooby specializes in small dog harnesses, including the step-in styles. They focus primarily on providing a safe, easy, and comfortable fit for the smaller breeds which are often overlooked during harness making. 


Kurgo is a well-named brand that sells a lot of dog accessories and products, including our very own step-in harness! These harnesses are crafted and designed keeping durability and functionality in mind. 


Known for their reflective and adjustable harnesses, they prioritize safety and visibility during walks, making them a well-known choice in the dog owners’ community. 


Sporn offers step-in harnesses that are primarily designed to discourage pulling behavior. The harnesses they make feature a unique front-attachment design for better and more efficient control. 


This store with comfortable and affordable step-in harness! Voyager focuses on providing a secure and comfortable fit that is easy to use for both the dog owner and its pup.

Blueberry Pet:

Blueberry Pet offers a wide range of options in step-in harnesses that are stylish and colorful. This store prioritizes both functionality and fashion, making it a well-known brand for harnesses.

Each brand has its own unique style and material so it is best to explore their different ideas and offerings to find the perfect fit for your dog. These are just some examples of famous brands that are a popular choice for dog owners. 

Step-In Dog Harnesses or Vest-Based Harnesses?

When it comes to choosing between two different types of harness, it ultimately comes down to which one is a better fit for your dog’s personal needs and preferences. step harnesses are designed to be easy to put on and take off, as your dog just steps into the harness and you secure it around their body. 

Step in Dog Harnesses or Vest-Ba
A dog wearing his step-in harness and waiting for his parent to grab his leash

Step harnesses are great for dogs who do not like anything to go over their heads or those who have neck sensitivity and injuries. On the other hand, a vest-based harness gives more stability, support, and coverage, distributing the pressure across your dog’s body. They are a great fit for dogs who tend to pull on leash or have respiratory problems.

Step-in harnesses are lightweight and less restrictive, allowing for more freedom to move around. They are also generally easy to adjust and fit snugly on your dog. Vest-based harnesses tend to provide more control and grip when the dog pulls with force or just has a lot of energy on walks. This type of harness also usually comes with additional features such as restrictive strips for visibility in low light. 

In the end, the choice of whether you want a vest-based harness or the step-in-one depends on your dog’s personal needs, size, breed, and walking patterns. It is always a good idea to try out different types of harnesses and find out which one works best for your canine best friend. Always remember that the most important thing is to ensure that your dog’s harness fits properly and is comfortable for them during walks and other outdoor/indoor activities.

Common Question:

Which is the safest dog harness?

It is extremely important to select a harness that is the safest for your dog. While there isn’t any definitive answer to which harness is the absolute safest for dogs, there are a few features that you need to look for in harnesses to make sure they keep your dog safe and comfortable.

Opt for harnesses with sturdy construction, secure buckles or closures, and strong materials.

In addition to this, I think that the front clip harness provides better control and discourages the pulling behavior which makes it the better option amongst so many.

What are the 5 points of a harness?

A harness typically consists of the main five points: the neck opening, the chest strap, the girth strap, the back strap, and the closure or the buckle.

The neck opening should be wide enough for your dog’s head to easily go through. The chest straps go across the chest area while the girth straps are located at the widest part of the dog’s torso. The back strap connects the girth and chest straps and the closures or buckles secure the fit of the dog.

Is a harness better than a collar?

The choice of a harness or collar again depends on your dog’s specific needs and preferences. Harnesses are generally considered better and safer for dogs but they too, come with their own drawbacks.

Dog owners who have dogs who are prone to pulling or have neck injuries and respiratory issues are often recommended to get a harness and completely avoid the use of traditional collars.

Harnesses distribute pressure across the dog’s chest and shoulders evenly so that any kind of neck injuries should be avoided. Collars, on the other hand, are more suitable for dogs who know the manners of walking and do not pull excessively. It is important to choose the option that seems better for your furry friend.

How tight should a step-in harness be?

A step-in harness should fit with a balance between snugness and tightness. You should adjust the harness in such a way that your dog should not be able to escape but their comfort also does not get sacrificed.

You should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between the harness and your dog’s body. This ensures a safe fit without causing discomfort or restricting the dog’s movement.

Also, remember that it is important to keep a check on the harness’s adjustment from time to time to make sure you loosen it as your dog grows.

Wrapping Up

Step harnesses are a great choice for dog owners because of their specific benefits. Not only does it distribute pressure across the dog’s back and chest evenly, but it is also super convenient for daily walks as you can put it on and take it off super easily.

Just lay it on the ground, have your dog slide its two front legs through the loops, pull it up, and secure it with buckles! However, it also has some drawbacks that I discussed earlier. Like restricting movement and limited control for strong pullers. 

Harnesses are much better for dogs compared to traditional collars because a traditional collar has the potential risks of neck injuries and unnecessary pressure on the neck.

Many veterinarians suggest the use of harnesses to avoid health issues for our furry best friends so it is important to consider their recommendations. If you are still unsure about getting a harness, you should consult a professional or veterinarian to help you in making the decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like