As dog owners, we want to ensure our dogs are comfortable, safe, and secure while on walks. However, one issue that many pet owners encounter is their dog harness rotating to the side - even when it is adjusted and fitted correctly. This may seem a minor annoyance, but it can cause discomfort, restrict sh oulder movement, and chafe the legs.
In this article, we will explore why dog harnesses rotate to the side, potential reasons behind this problem and how to avoid it.
Why does a dog harness rotate to the side?
There are a few potential causes of dog harnesses rotating to the side.
Firstly, an asymmetrical harness design, such as having only one buckle on the chest straps can result in the harness being pulled to the side by gravity, even when the dog is off-leash. The same happens when having unbalanced packs, a poop bag holder or a long line attached to the back of the harness making it rotate. This problem can be easily fixed by choosing a symmetrical harness design with buckles on both sides of the chest straps and avoid adding any extra accessories when possible.
Secondly, a lack of a wide, and rigid chest plate between the front legs can also contribute to the harness rotating to the side. Without a solid anchor point, when the harness is pulled to the side by the leash attached to the back, there is nothing to prevent it from rotating until the section between the front legs hits the inside of one leg. This can cause irritation and rubbing on the dog’s skin. It’s important to note that this happens with all harnesses to an extent, but the ones having a wider chest plate will “hit” the legs a lot sooner, so the rotation is less visible when looking at the harness from the top down.
Lastly, the material used to make the harness can also contribute to rotation. A harness made mostly of webbing/straps will lack any rigid parts that can prevent some rotation as it is pulled to the side. However, these harnesses can be great for hot summer days since they provide less covarage around the dog, they dry fast after getting wet, and they tend to be more adjustable since the rigid panels are not limiting that.
Is it bad if a harness rotates/slides on the dog? How can I prevent it?
Dog harness rotation to the side can be more than just a minor annoyance. It can restrict shoulder movement and interfere with free leg movement, which can be uncomfortable and even cause chafing on the leg. Checking if the harness is adjusted and fitted right is always a good step but this can happened even when the dog has a perfectly fitting harness.
While some of the factors that contribute to harness rotation can be trade-offs for other desirable features (like less coverage, better adjustability or less chafing for narrow dogs who have a hard time with wide chest plates between the front legs), there are steps pet owners can take to reduce the chances of harness rotation.
A symmetrical design with buckles on both sides of the chest straps is a good starting point, and avoiding adding poop bag holders or other accessories to the harness can also help. However, it’s important to remember that all harnesses will rotate somewhat when pulled by the leash until the piece between the front legs gets “stuck” on the inside of one leg.
One of the most effective ways to stabilize a harness and reduce rotation is to choose one with an ergonomically designed, somewhat rigid chest plate. This plate offers a stable foundation that can prevent the harness from rotating to the side too much.