Can A Harness Calm A Dog? [5 Reasons + How To Keep Them Calm]

can a harness calm a dog

When taking our pet dog for an evening walk, using a harness is often the best choice. Many dog owners wonder if a harness has a calming effect on their dog. In this article, we’ll explore the truth behind this question.

A dog may become calm when wearing a harness due to the comfort, safety, carefulness, treat-driven behavior, positive reinforcement, and recognizing the differences between a harness and collar. However, some dogs may become hyper due to skin issues, inappropriate material, unfitness, environmental factors, or health problems.

It’s important to understand the reasons behind this calming effect and the circumstances in which dogs may dislike wearing a harness. By doing so, you can maintain your dog’s calmness on a regular basis.

Can a harness really calm a dog?

A harness is something more consoling for our dog than wearing a collar along with a leash.

But first, the dog must be practiced wearing a harness. Otherwise, it will be a menace to us, just like the dog too.

A right-fitting, comfy harness makes our dog active, and it will enjoy the moment and make it more active. In general, we can say that a harness will calm a dog.

But is this true in every instance? Let’s discuss the issues we must focus on in this matter.

Why are some dogs calmer with a harness on?

Dogs get excited for many reasons. But the situation becomes more dreadful when it sees another dog or a person across a street or outside.

But, habituating our dog to a harness will decrease its effect. Let’s see why our dog calms with a harness on it?

1. It Works As a Thundershirt

A harness can work as a kind of Thundershirt that calms dogs down with pressure on their torso.

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As well as it makes our dog more comfortable because it reduces the pressure caused when pulling the leash. Instead of a painful leash, a harness is a better remedy for feeling safe.

Also, puppies like it more as they want to be swaddled in their small age, the same as how human babies like to be swaddled. So the dog remains calm.

2. The harness is associated with positive things.

Canines are smart creatures. If your dog finds the things associated with the harness are positive and rewarding, the dog is inclined to exhibit a sudden and strange calmness whenever the harness is on. 

The dog wore it every time he trained for certain activities. Because when training, it is a form of mental stimulation for the dog while receiving really yummy treats.

Moreover, the dog might have learned that putting the harness = it’s walking time!

As every dog parent knows, canines are so excited to walk the neighborhood, which means your dog has a lot to see, a lot to scent, hang with other dogs, and an excellent pleasure time.

3. The dog has experienced the difference between a collar and a harness.

Dogs don’t freeze during walking sessions, not just because of their stubbornness but also because of the awkward collars that put extra and unbearable pressure on the neck.

So, if your dog also used to walk on a leash with a collar and recently switched to using a harness, certainly the dog has experienced some sort of comfortableness from the harness, resulting in unbelievable calmness when the harness is on. 

4. Carefulness of the dog

The dog can understand that he might get injured or embarrassed if triggered while wearing the harness. So the doggo does not show much excited behavior and remains in a calm mood.

5. It loves treats! 

The pet dog always loves the treats and affection it gets when it wears the harness, so he remains calm. So we can often use this method to calm our crazy dog.

A harness is a safer and more protective way of controlling our dog during a sudden movement without hurting it. But the harness may worsen in some cases when the dog refuses it or when the dog becomes ruder. 

Let’s see!

Why do some dogs become hyper after putting a harness on?

We put a harness on our dog’s back for its comfort as well as for our own ease. But there are some instances where dogs become hyper with the harness.

1. It may cause skin difficulties

The harness can cause chafing and irritation, sometimes swelling on the dog’s skin with the continuous rubbing of the dog’s neck, arms, belly, or wherever with the harness.

It can cause painful sores in our dog’s skin too. The dog becomes hyper due to the pain of this.

2. The material of the harness is not suitable for the dog.

The material of the harness also directly affects the condition of the dog. We must select a lightweight, strong, comfortable harness for our dog. 

Unsuitable harness materials can cause allergies and cause skin rashes too.

Sometimes they spread all over the body and become worst. So it is compulsory to select the most suitable harness for our dog. Otherwise, it discomforts our pet.

3. Size of the harness is not well fitted for the dog.

If the harness is too tight or too loose, it makes the dog anxious. A tight harness can cause chafing and disturbs the movements of the dog too.

As well as a loose harness also feels like an extra burden for the dog. When considering puppies, with their growth, the size of the harness must be changed often.

As well, front clip harnesses are also not much suitable for our dog as they can harm the throat of our pet.

4. They might not like rides or going outside

When we are ready to go outside, we put a harness on our dog. So, what if he refuses it without any other physical reason?

That’s because he is not ready for an outside walk. The dog may be tired or not feel like walking at this moment. Those will be the reasons for that.  Rarely, some dogs never like to go outside, leaving their comfort zone.

Then they also become hyper when we are trying to put harnesses on them.

5. Environmental and health factors.

Our dog can ignore the harness mainly in summer. Because the increased temperature discomforts him and he can not wear a harness as he is sweating.

Double-coat dogs are highly affected by this.  As well as, if he is not well, suffering from any kind of fever will direct him to refuse the harness because of the increased body temperature.

If itching and scratching is a habit of our dog, then he rejects the harness as he cannot do so. If there are fleas and ticks in his body, then the harness disturbs our dog to scratch his body. So he will get excited by wearing a harness.

6. The dog feels harness as an strange thing.

If we put a harness on our dog at once, it actually shocks him. The dog feels the harness as an intrusive object which discomforts him.

Sometimes it feels like extra weight for him. So the dog becomes rude. But we can adapt him to his new harness. For this, the dog must be slowly trained to wear the harness.

7. It doesn’t like external objects on his torso

Here, the dog refuses all the external things put on him. It’s a kind of nature within some dogs.

If we touch him with any extra thing, he gets panicked. Either we can hardly train our dog to wear the harness or keep him free of the harness are the only solutions for this.

8. They may experienced a bad incident with a harness

Although dogs do not recall the past cognitively, they have their own way of remembering incidents.

Sometimes the dog has met with an unpleasant incident; it may be an accident, pinching their skin, being scared by a vehicle, or whatever. So he has the memory of that. If seeing a harness recalls it, he gets triggered.

How to train a dog to be calm in a harness?

Although the harness is necessary for a safe walk with our pet, he always refuses it. We must understand why our lovely dog is rejecting it. 

If he is okay with environmental factors and in good health, we can slowly practice our dog wearing a harness. OK, let’s see the coolest ideas to make our pet comfortable and enjoy what it does with a harness.

1. Introducing the dog to harness.

At the very first moment, we can place the harness where our dog can clearly see it if you wanna keep him calm in the first place. We can make him observe the harness.

After that, we can allow our pet to sniff it and identify it. Keeping a snack on the harness, he likes most will be an added advantage. We can slowly start touching him with the harness.

Then, put it on the dog once. Keep it for a few minutes, and then we can remove it. Repeat this for some time. Then surely, he will adapt to the new harness.

2. Putting the harness on the dog

We can put the harness on our pet for a few hours at home until he gets fully confident and comfortable with his harness. It is safer inside because it’s calm when we are earlier training the dog with his harness.

If he loves walks, we can take him for a walk as soon as possible. Then he becomes more delighted with his harness as he gets the chance to go on his favorite ride.

Not only that, we can play the most preferred game of him too. It may be the chase the prey or else tug of war, whatever. He will enjoy the moments he has with the harness on him.

3. Use a “valued” and “yummy” treat

Dogs are always happy with the meals and snacks that they prefer most. So we can feed him with something he likes and then call him with lovable words.

Then the dog becomes cooler than before. So it makes it easy to put the harness on him. Instead of placing it on him at once, hold it out to him and reward him for sniffing it, then for putting his head through it.

The dog prefers to engage in this manner very much. As well, we can offer him something as a gift for accepting his harness calmly. We can appreciate it with affection.

We can praise him. Those tricks always make our dog calm, and he loves those praises. So it is not harder to make our dog feel special by wearing a harness.

Actually, this process is much cooler with a puppy! Within a few days, the dog will get used to it. So no worries! The dog is very comfortable.

Things to be aware of.

Now you are aware of how to handle a harness on a pet dog. But there are certain things that you really want to consider before putting the harness on your pet partner.

  • The most important thing is not to make the dog angry in any instance. If so, the dog will refuse the harness every time and can even be very rude. 
  • If he is suffering from any disease, first take him to the vet and get him totally cured. Afterwards, we can try to put on his harness.
  • Select the best matching harness for the dog. A strong harness made with a quality, comfortable material, sometimes with padding, will be best for our pet partner. 
  • Remember to be alert about the size of the harness. If we have a growing baby dog, his harness should be changed often as he is growing. Otherwise, it discomforts him and makes it painful.
  • As well, it is not suitable to put a harness on its back all day long. Actually, wearing such a harness for a long time will make him uncomfortable. We can remove the harness from time to time, so that the dog can get some air too. 
  • Don’t let the dog sleep with a harness on his back. It is better to remove the harness if the dog is tired. Sleeping with a harness can harm it, causing back pain while damaging the backbone.
  • Don’t take him to a public place at once while putting on the harness. Sometimes it makes him anxious. After he becomes familiar with the harness, he is ready to go anywhere.
  • You can use an accessory like a belt or something, if the dog feels anxious anymore.
  • However, there shouldn’t be any tight pulling. It is actually painful for our dog and makes it more aggressive.

A happy dog is always a mood-fixer! So take care of the pet dog every time.


Dog owners are always curious about the needs of their pet dogs. However, dogs have different habits and their own ways of responding to other things. Here, we have discussed how a harness affects the calmness as well as the aggressiveness of dogs. How can we train him to put on his harness and take care of our pet with love while the harness is on? So, hope you find this article very useful. Keep in touch with us to discuss more doggy questions.

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