If you’re a dog owner, you may have noticed that your pet is calmer when walking with a harness instead of a collar. Have you ever wondered why? In this article, we’ll explain why your dog is calmer with a harness and give you some compelling reasons to consider switching from a collar to a harness on your next walks.

Playful dog with harness running outdoors

Your dog was hyperactive and has calmed down after putting on the harness? Many pet owners have noticed that their little friend changes to a passive attitude when using a harness. But does a harness really calm your dog? We’ll show you the answer to these questions and many other doubts next.

Why Does My Dog Calm Down When I Put the Harness on Him?

If you have a pet, you’ve probably noticed that it calms down when you put a harness on him. While this may seem strange, there are several reasons why this may occur.

Some dogs may feel uncomfortable or insecure with a collar around their neck, which can cause stress and anxiety. On the other hand, a harness is placed around the dog’s body, which can make him feel more secure and comfortable.

Dog wearing a harness while sitting calmly

In addition, the harness distributes pressure evenly throughout the dog’s body, making walking or running more comfortable. This can contribute to your pet’s sense of calm.

It’s also possible that the dog associates the use of the harness with enjoyable activities, such as walking or exercising outdoors. If your furry friend knows he’s going for a walk when you put the harness on him, he may feel excited and happy, contributing to a sense of calm and relaxation.


  1. Looking for a Y-shaped dog harness? Check out our guide on how to choose the right one for your pup.
  2. Are harnesses causing your dog to pull? Find out why in our informative article on harnesses and pulling.
  3. Wondering when your puppy can start wearing a harness? Check out our complete guide on the topic.
  4. Concerned about matting caused by dog harnesses? Read our article to find out what you can do about it.
  5. Curious about whether it’s good for your dog to sleep in a harness? Learn about the pros and cons in our article.
  6. Can dogs wear a harness all day? Get tips to keep your furry friend comfortable and safe in our article.

Why Does My Dog Calm Down with a Harness On?

It’s common for your pet to get excited when going for a walk, a feeling that increases even more when he is near other dogs or people he doesn’t know. However, many users have noticed that this behavior decreases when using a Y-shaped harness.

Wondering why a harness calms my dog? Let’s take a look at the most relevant reasons:

Your Dog Associates It with Something Positive

All dogs love to go for walks around the neighborhood, so seeing a harness may associate them with positive and rewarding activities. Therefore, whenever your pet has the harness on, he will suddenly be calm.

In case you usually reward your pet by training certain activities with the harness, it provides mental stimulation for the dog while receiving the treats. Therefore, when using the harness, he will take a calm attitude to receive rewards.

Dog eagerly awaiting meal from owner

Works as an Anti-Anxiety Jacket

The harnesses are ideally designed to provide relief to dogs by applying pressure to the torso. As it is attached to the body, it keeps your pet safe and free from any mistreatment, giving a sense of security.

It should be noted that in puppies, the harness provides greater security and comfort to your pet because the feeling of being wrapped gives them more confidence and allows them to be calmer.

Your Pet Prefers a Harness to a Collar

If your little friend often freezes during walks with a collar, you should know that it’s not due to his stubbornness but to the discomfort that the extra pressure on his neck can cause. Therefore, if you used to walk your pet with a collar and now that he uses the harness, he tends to calm down, it may be due to the comfort provided by the harness.

Why Are Some Dogs Restless After Putting On a Harness?

Although some dogs tend to calm down with a harness, some dogs get too excited. Various factors can cause hyperactivity in your pet after putting on a harness. Some of the most common reasons are explained below:

  • Lack of adaptation: Some dogs take time to get used to wearing a harness, especially if they have never worn one before. The sensation of having something in their body that limits their movement can make them feel uncomfortable and anxious, something that can manifest as hyperactivity.
  • Incorrect harness adjustment: If the harness is not adjusted correctly, it can rub against your pet’s skin and cause irritation. This may cause your furry friend to scratch, shake or be restless, which could be interpreted as hyperactivity.
  • Excess energy: Some dogs simply have too much energy and need more exercise and stimulation to feel satisfied. If your pet has not had enough physical or mental activity, he may feel more restless and nervous when harnessed.
  • Fear or anxiety: If your faithful friend has had a negative harness-related experience in the past, such as being forced to use a harness in a stressful situation, he may associate the harness with a sense of danger or threat. This could cause him to feel anxious or frightened when harnessed, making him much more hyperactive.
Dog owner adjusting harness on her pet in a pine forest

It’s important to remember that hyperactivity in dogs isn’t always a desired behavior and may be a sign that the animal needs more attention, exercise, or training.

If your little friend exhibits hyperactive behaviors after using a harness, you may need to work on adapting him to the harness or consider other training and care options to help him stay calm.

Are There Any Studies that Support the Relationship Between the Use of Harnesses and the Reduction of Anxiety in Dogs?

Are you wondering if scientific evidence supports the relationship between using harnesses and reducing anxiety in dogs? In fact, there is some limited research on this topic, where preliminary results suggest that harnesses may be a useful tool for reducing anxiety in dogs.

For example, a 2018 study found that dogs who employed harnesses during walks showed fewer signs of stress, such as panting and muscle tension, than dogs wearing collars.

A playful Labrador puppy

Another study executed in 2019 examined the effects of harnesses on dog anxiety during veterinary visits. The results indicated that dogs wearing harnesses experienced less anxiety during the visit and showed a greater willingness to interact with the Doctor.

While these studies propose a possible relationship between the use of harnesses and the reduction of anxiety in dogs, it’s important to keep in mind that more research is needed to confirm these findings and better understand how harnesses can help dogs with anxiety.

It should be noted that not all dogs respond in the same way to harnesses, and some may need other types of interventions to manage their anxiety.

Although more research is still needed, preliminary studies recommend that harnesses may be useful for reducing anxiety in dogs during walks and veterinary visits.

How Can I Teach My Dog to Accept the Use of the Harness?

Teaching your dog to accept the harness is an important process to ensure that your pet is safe and calm when going for a walk. There’s no denying that teaching your furry friend to wear a harness can be tricky, but with patience, love, and following the suggestions below, you’ll help your pet to accept the harness easily.

  • Introduce the harness gradually: Introduce the harness to your pet gradually, allowing you to sniff and explore it before using it.
  • Positive reinforcement: Positively reward your dog when he interacts with the harness. You can use treats, praise, and games to reward your dog when he approaches, sniffs, or touches the harness.
  • Introduce the harness during playing sessions: Introduce the harness during playing sessions so that your pet associates the use of the harness with fun and positive activity.
  • Try the harness without adjusting: Try the harness without adjusting the straps at first so that your dog can get used to the feeling of having it on.
  • Adjust the harness gradually: Once your dog is comfortable with the harness unadjusted, start by fitting gradually, avoiding over-tightening and allowing your dog to move freely.
  • Practice putting on and taking off the harness: Practice putting on and taking off the harness several times, positively reinforcing your dog each time you put it on or take it off.
  • Wear the harness during positive activities: Wear the harness during positive activities, such as walks or visits to the park. This way, your pet will associate it with pleasant experiences.
Woman walking her dog

Remember, teaching your pet to accept the harness can take time and patience. If your faithful friend shows signs of discomfort or anxiety, stop the process and try again at another time. With time and practice, your dog will learn to accept the harness and will perceive it as something positive and relaxing.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

1. Why does my dog get anxious during walks?

Walking can be an exciting and stimulating activity for dogs, and some dogs may feel overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells around them. If your dog tends to pull on their leash or show signs of anxiety during walks, a harness can help provide a sense of security and comfort.

2. How does a harness help with my dog’s anxiety?

A harness distributes pressure more evenly across your dog’s body, reducing the strain on their neck and throat. This can help your dog feel more comfortable and less anxious during walks, as they won’t be constantly choking or gasping for air. Additionally, the snug fit of a harness can provide a calming sensation similar to swaddling in babies.

3. Will a harness stop my dog from pulling on its leash?

While a harness won’t magically train your dog to stop pulling, it can make it easier to teach them better leash manners. By providing better control and reducing the risk of injury or discomfort, a harness can make training more effective and less frustrating for both you and your dog.

Discover the truth about harnesses and pulling – read our article ‘How Do Harnesses Encourage Pulling? Should I Use a Harness?’ to make an informed decision about your dog’s training today!

4. Can all dogs benefit from wearing a harness?

Yes, any dog can benefit from wearing a harness, regardless of their size, breed, or age. Harnesses come in a variety of styles and sizes, so you can find one that fits your dog’s specific needs and body type.

5. Is it safe to leave a harness on my dog all the time?

While it’s okay to leave a harness on your dog during walks or other outdoor activities, it’s generally not recommended to leave a harness on for extended periods of time. A harness can rub against your dog’s skin and cause irritation or chafing if worn for too long, so it’s best to remove it when your dog is resting or relaxing indoors.

Dog with harness

Make Your Dog Feel Comfortable and Relaxed with a Suitable Harness

In conclusion, no scientific data answers the popular question, “Why is my dog calmer in a harness? However, it’s no secret that many pets tend to be more relaxed and less anxious when wearing a harness attached to their body.

It can even be considered as one of the benefits that the Y or H harness can provide, being the best option to keep your pet safe and under control during walks. To provide the best experience, remember to choose a high-quality harness that fits your dog well and provides the necessary support to keep him safe and comfortable.

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