There are few things better for the body and soul than going for a run with your dog.
Whether you’re just starting to jog or are a seasoned runner, dogs make great running companions and personal trainers if you pick the right harnesses for them.
Smaller breeds may not have the build or stamina for running, but most medium to large dogs love to go for a good run, and will encourage you to get in your fitness, too.
If you plan on taking your dog running with you (and you should!), you first want to purchase a quality leash and harness to keep him safe.
Dog Harnesses vs Collars
Some dog owners prefer harnesses over collars, but if you plan on running with your dog, owning a harness is an absolute necessity, since running with a collar can be dangerous.
Harnesses can prevent damage to your dog’s throat, neck, back, and shoulders if for any reason he decides to pull on his leash.
Note: Even the most well-trained and obedient dogs may pull on their leash at some point.
During runs, dogs may stop suddenly if they sense a predator, like a snake or another dog, while others may want to dart after a squirrel.
If fact, even if you have a small dog that you don’t plan on running with, a harness is still a good idea for walks to avoid trachea damage.
Below are some of the best dog harnesses for running, along with a quick guide on how to select the right one for your good boy.
What Are the Best Dog Harnesses for Running?
1. Canine Equipment Ultimate Pulling Dog Harness
This dog harness is lined with fleece, and it’s also designed to take the pressure off his throat and back when he pulls, which is safer and better for his health.
It’s also adjustable and has anti-slip technology to keep your pup from being able to wiggle the adjusters on his own while wearing it.
A lot of harnesses are designed in a way that constricts the dog’s neck or shoulders if they pull on the leash, but not this one.
It’s a great choice for active dogs, as it will protect them from strain or injury during walks. Additionally, it has reflective piping for night walks and a handle on the back for extra control.
Unfortunately, the harness doesn’t come in a variety of colors, and it uses reflective piping instead of panels, making it less reflective than other brands.
2. Chai’s Choice Best Outdoor Adventure Dog Harness
Owned by a retired US Navy veteran, this thin dog harness is lightweight and designed with a soft spongy material on the inside.
The straps are very easy for you to take on and off, and it has a handle designed for attaching a belt in the car so your dog can ride safely. On top of that, there are leash clips on the front and back.
The harness comes in a wide selection of colors and sizes, and it has reflective piping to make your dog visible at night. That said, it may not be the best option for frequent pullers or rowdy dogs.
3. Kurgo Dog Harness
This harness rocks a sporty, unique design, and is perfectly padded for your dog’s comfort. It’s also adjustable and has two leash clips and a handle on the back for grabbing or for buckling with a seatbelt into a car.
Unlike many products, this one comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects, so any damages not caused by you, your dog, or normal wear should be covered.
The harness also offers different colors and sizes, and has a handle on the back for extra safety. The only downside is that it doesn’t seem to have any reflective material.
4. RUFFWEAR – Front Range, Everyday No Pull Dog Harness
This attractive dog harness has foam padding across the chest and stomach to provide comfort while running.
Easy to use, there are two leash attachment points, a metal ring on the back, and a fabric loop in the front. Also, it has four adjustment points to get the best fit for your dog.
Since this harness comes in a wide variety of sizes (XXS, XS, S, M, and L/XL), there are options for even the tiniest of puppies or toy breeds, which can be difficult to find.
It also has an unusual, but useful feature of a pocket for your dog’s tags, which you don’t see on many harnesses. The bright colors selections and reflective trim make this harness safe for night walking as well.
5. RUFFWEAR – Web Master, Multi-Use Support Dog Harness
This is a high-quality specialty harness that’s suitable for all dogs, including service dogs and amputees.
It’s designed for durability and rough terrain and has five adjustment points, two leash attachment points, and foam-padded straps.
It also has a padded and reinforced handle on the back to help your dog over obstacles without pulling his neck or shoulders.
This harness is intelligently designed for your dog’s comfort, and the style is also a little different from most dog harnesses you see on the market.
In addition, it comes in various sizes, so there’s sure to be a size that fits your furry friend perfectly.
6. Tuff Mutt Easy On/Easy Off Dog Harness
This harness has a strong buckle that makes it easy for you to remove it, but not for your dog.
In addition, it has reflective trim and stitching for safe night walking, and extra padding at the chest and stomach for your dog’s comfort.
Other than that, there’s a leash attachment ring on the back and a fabric ring on the front, as well as four adjustment points to get the best fit for your pup.
This harness is designed specifically for medium and large-sized dogs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach many other dog harness brands use.
And although it comes in a bright green color for extra visibility and safety, there are only two color options. Additionally, it doesn’t have a handle like most harnesses.
What to Look for in a Dog Harness for Running?
When you go to purchase a harness for your dog, there are a few things you should look for:
Adjustability in a harness is extremely important because a good fit is key to your dog’s comfort, as well as safety.
A harness that’s too tight can injure your dog and restrict his movement, while a harness that’s too loose can slip off and allow your him to run away.
Like humans, all dogs have different body types and builds, so you want a harness with multiple adjustment points to get the best fit.
This also leaves enough room for your dog to gain or lose a little weight (dogs fluctuate too!).
Just make sure the adjustment points don’t have overly bulky fasteners or straps that may cause your dog discomfort.
Although the harness should be adjustable at multiple points, you still won’t get the most comfortable and safest fit if you purchase the incorrect size for your dog.
Most dog harnesses come in various sizes ranging from XXS-XL, but keep in mind that the sizes aren’t standardized.
If you’re purchasing from a pet store, bring your dog with you and try different sizes of harnesses on your dog, adjusting for the best fit (maybe ask a sales associate for help).
If you’re purchasing from an online retailer, sizes are usually listed with corresponding measurements and instructions on where to measure your dog.
Be sure you match the measurements to the size chart of the brand of harness you want to purchase, as different brands may have different size charts.
There are many different types of harnesses with varying levels of comfort. A comfortable harness is also a matter of safety since uncomfortable cord-like harnesses could potentially choke your dog.
On the other hand, harnesses with too thick of material can cause overheating while running or walking.
The best harnesses for dogs will have some kind of padding at the chest and belly to prevent friction, and have a breathable material to keep your dog cool while running.
If you plan to run or walk at night, you absolutely need some reflective touches on your dog’s harness.
Look for a harness that has reflective fabric, lining, or stitching. This will help your dog be more visible in the dark or dim lighting situations.
That said, if you find a harness you love that’s not reflective, you can simply add some reflective tape to areas that can be clearly seen.
Although not absolutely necessary, choosing a harness in a bright color can help with this, too.
Harnesses should have at least one ring for leash attachment, and the placement of this ring or loop is important for your dog’s comfort and safety as well.
Low-quality harnesses place the ring too close to the neck or in another position that still causes pulling on the throat, back, or shoulders.
Always make sure the harness doesn’t cause your dog any discomfort when it’s attached to the leash.
You can test this at the store by attaching your leash to the harness and taking a little test walk. If you’re purchasing online, you should be able to see the construction in the pictures.
When can I start running with my dog?
It depends on the dog, but most puppies can start running once they reach 8-12 months of age. However, for very large breed dogs, you may want to wait until they’re closer to 18 months old.
Either way, you don’t want to start running your dog too early because his bones are still growing, and running could cause him serious injury.
How can I get my dog to run with me?
First, you must leash train your dog to walk with you. Take treats on walks, and when your dog pulls at the leash, stop walking. When he walks with you, give him treats.
This will teach him to keep pace with you and not tug on his leash. Once you’ve mastered walking, the transition to running should be simple.
How far should I run with my dog?
The distance you can safely run with your dog depends on factors like his breed, physical characteristics (such as short or long legs), level of fitness, age, and weight.
Talk to your vet to determine how far you should run with your canine buddy, and gradually work your way up to the safest distance.
How do I train my dog to run faster?
Training a dog to run faster is similar to training a human to run faster. The pace your dog starts at isn’t necessarily the fastest he will ever run.
Take him for gradually longer and faster runs to improve his speed and stamina. Also, carry treats and reward him as he matches your pace. But be careful not to overwork your him.
Is it OK to keep a harness on a dog?
You can, but for most dogs wearing a collar full-time and a harness only for walks and runs is best.
If your dog wears a harness all the time, make sure it fits perfectly for maximum comfort and safety. Additionally, if his harness is ever wet, remove it and dry it for a while to prevent skin infections.