Why My Dog Doesn’t Like Harness [Top 7 Reasons]

Why My Dog Doesn't Like Harness

You keep asking yourself why my dog doesn’t like harness? after you have tried your best to let the harness stay on its neck, do not worry, as you will read the reasons here on Whitekind. A lot of dogs seem to dislike harnesses, and it’s not just those who are petite or frail. Dogs of all shapes and sizes can struggle with wearing a harness, and there are a few reasons why. In this article, we’ll outline the main reasons your dog may hate their harness and provide some tips on fixing the problem. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you’ll have a better idea of how to make your dog happy and comfortable when wearing a harness.

Why does my dog hate his harness?

So you want to know and keep asking yourself why my dog doesn’t like harness? Read on to discover the top 6 reasons.

1. It’s uncomfortable

Some dogs don’t like being put in an overhead position, and if they do, it may cause them to be uncomfortable. The harness can be worn under the collar, but some dogs feel more secure with their neck out of the way.

Many dogs dislike it when people place objects over their heads because it makes them feel uneasy. Some dogs prefer a front-attaching harness with adjustable chest and belly straps. Of course, you won’t know until you purchase the harness, so you may have to use goodies to urge them to put their head through the opening.

Even if the harness is a decent fit, the design may not be appropriate for your dog. Choosing the cheapest harness available nearly ensures that your dog will be uncomfortable. It is ideal for something with thicker, padded straps that won’t rub or dig into their skin. Mesh webbing is usually more comfortable, and you’ll want numerous points of adjustment to ensure that the harness fits your dog’s body perfectly. It would be best if you also inspected it for drooping in the breast area. The harness should scarcely move even when your dog pulls on the leash.

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2. Dislike things going over their head

If your dog has a head that’s wider than his shoulders, it might be difficult for him to put on a harness.

If you have a dog who hates going over his head, he may just run away from you and refuse to get in a harness.

Consider this: people are entirely used to putting things above their heads simply because they have to. From sweatshirts to tank tops, most of what we wear goes over our heads. For dogs, however, this is not the case.

The sense of constraint that comes with wearing a harness is unpleasant for many dogs, and the head and neck are susceptible and delicate areas. If your dog tolerates its harness once it’s on but resists slipping it over its head, you’ve likely discovered the source of the harness phobia.

If your dog is happy with wearing her harness after it’s on but resists getting it over her body, it may be because it needs to go over her head. Finding a harness that can be placed on without going over the dog’s head is a simple option. A harness that requires dogs to step into is an excellent choice.

3. They don’t like it when their front legs are raised.

If your dog’s harness needs them to put their feet through loops, they may not enjoy it if their feet are touched; it can be challenging to get these harnesses on an excited puppy, and forcing their legs through the holes might be a struggle. You can get them acclimated to you picking up their feet and handling the dog’s body from a young age by bribing them with treats, and they should be alright eventually.

4. Fear

Another reason your dog may hate a harness is that they’re afraid of it.

If your puppy is fearful of the harness and doesn’t realize that it won’t injure him, he’ll need time to become used to it before he can profit from it. If you’ve rescued a dog, they may have never worn a harness before, and let’s face it, someone approaching your head with a weird contraption could be frightening, causing them to flee.

5. They don’t like feeling constrained.

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Many puppies dislike the feel of a dog’s harness because it makes them feel restrained; while this may make some dogs feel more comfortable, it often develops a link with something they dislike, especially if the harness is heavy. If your dog flinches when you bring out the unusual foreign thing, it’s possible that they don’t like it. They’ve accumulated a lot of energy and have no way of releasing it.

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6. Previous negative association with dog harnesses

If your dog has ever had a negative experience while wearing his harness, he may have formed a negative relationship with it. Dogs do not have the same cognitive abilities as humans. Puppies remember things differently, so if they were frightened while wearing the harness, had a stressful vet visit, or were attacked by another dog, they may link the harness with these occurrences and refuse to let you put it on.

7. They refuse to go for a walk.

If your dog dislikes the rain or has a medical problem, it may not want to go for a walk. Although we consider it walks a joy for our canine companions, some dogs despise strolling in the rain. However, walks are not always enjoyable for elderly dogs or those with tight joints, and you may have difficulty convincing them to wear a harness.


Frequently asked questions on “Why my dog doesn’t like harness” and answered.

Why does my dog not like getting his harness on?

There could be a few reasons why your dog does not like getting his harness on, but he is most likely not used to it. When you first put it on him, it can be overwhelming, and he may react by pulling away or being reluctant to get it on. You can try different ways of putting it on, such as holding the leash in one hand and putting the harness on with the other. You can also try putting the harness on while he is eating or drinking so that he is more likely to cooperate.

If your dog still does not want to get his harness on, you may need to take some steps to make it more comfortable. One option is to get a soft and flexible harness so that it does not feel too tight or constrictive. You can also try using a different type of leash that is not as restrictive. Remember, patience and perseverance are essential when training your dog.

How do I stop my dog from hating the harness?

Each dog is different and may have different reactions to different types of harnesses. Some tips that may help include:

  • Wearing the harness regularly.
  • Providing positive reinforcement when the harness is worn.
  • Reducing the amount of time the dog is left alone with the harness.
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Additionally, it may be helpful to consult with a professional before starting any training program.

How can I get my dog to like his harness?

Some dogs may shy away from wearing a harness, but there are a few things that you can do to help make the experience more positive for both you and your dog. Start by providing plenty of positive reinforcement when your dog is wearing its harness, and be patient. Some dogs may take a little longer to get used to the harness, but most dogs will eventually become comfortable wearing one with patience and positive reinforcement.

If your dog is still refusing to wear the harness, you may need to try a different type of restraint. There are a few types of collars that work well with harnesses, and you can find more information on the websites of these companies. Once you have found a type of restraint that works for you and your dog, be sure to put it to use and have fun exploring new places together.

Should I force a harness on my dog?

Some dogs may love being harnessed and feel more secure, while others may react negatively. It is crucial to test the waters with your dog first and see how they react. If they seem unhappy or scared, it might be best to refrain from using the harness.

What should you do if your dog is scared of a harness?

There are a few things that you can do to help your dog get used to wearing a harness. First, try wearing the harness without your dog present. It will help them become more comfortable with the idea of wearing it. If your dog is still scared, you can try placing them in the harness while holding them. Additionally, you can try using treats to bribe them. If these tactics do not work, you may need to enlist the help of a professional. A professional trainer can help your dog get used to wearing a harness and may also recommend other behavioral techniques.


A harness is a way to go; it’s safer than a collar and provides greater control over your pet. It can be hard trying to convince your four-legged companion to accept it if they dislike anything going over their heads, aren’t used to wearing a harness, or have had a previous terrible experience.

The good news is that it is frequently treatable with patience and treats.

Always take accurate measurements of your dog, including their chest circumference, throat measurement, and, in some situations, weight. If your dog despises harnesses, we hope this article “Why my dog doesn’t like harness” has helped you prepare for your next outdoor outing together. It will make it comfier for your pet to wear it.

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