11 DIY Dog Harness Ideas You Can Make Today!

Globally, approximately 57% of consumers have pets, and 33% of those own dogs, making them the most popular pet in the world.1 This statistic also means that the production industry for dogs must accommodate all these owners and their pups.

There are dozens of different kinds of dog harnesses that vary in color, form, and function. They are meant to suit a wide range of dogs. However, sometimes you might find that the harnesses you have access to simply aren’t right for you and your special pup.

In that case, the next best thing is to make your own. Crafting a DIY dog harness doesn’t have to be complicated. Some designs vary according to skill and materials. If you haven’t found an option that you can buy, you can make your own.Divider 1

Reasons to Make Your Own Dog Harness

There are plenty of reasons that it might suit you better to make a dog harness. It might be that something you make is more likely to suit your dog’s needs or simply that you want to give it a try. Other reasons might include the following.

  • Your dog has an unusual body shape.

Not all dogs are the same, even those of the same breed. You can think of every dog like a snowflake. Some look similar, but they all vary in temperament, personality, and size.

Your dog might have a deeper chest and a thinner waistline when it comes to their size or shape. You should first get them checked by the vet to ensure their health if they aren’t average sized, but if that is simply the way they are or if they are recovering from surgery or poor nutrition, a dog harness to suit their body shape is the best plan.

  • You are trying to save money.

Owning a pet can be expensive. Perhaps you had the right budget when you first adopted your dog, but now they are eating through your savings. Sometimes, making your own gear for them can help you save precious dollars.

  • They chew through expensive harnesses.

If your dog chews through all the expensive harnesses that you invest in, you might want to make a harness out of cheaper materials to suit them. This will help you save money too. It can be frustrating to invest in high-quality gear only to have it chewed to bits shortly after purchasing.

  • Your pup has unique needs.

Some dogs might have physical or mental disabilities or challenges that a typical store-bought harness will not accommodate. Many dogs have spinal or hip issues, so having a harness that doesn’t put pressure on painful spots for them and that has a handle will be the best for them.

  • You want a specific pattern or color.

For some of us, dressing up our dog is as much fun as going on a walk or getting cuddles. A harness can be a part of this process. When you make your own harness, you can select the colors you like, as well as the design, features, and material.

  • You like doing things yourself.

Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that bring us the most satisfaction. If you simply like to put your hand to the sewing machine or a couple of pieces of paracord, then making a harness will likely be fun for you — and your dog.

Factors to Consider When Constructing a Dog Harness

Making a dog harness isn’t all about the way that it looks. There are plenty of factors that go into a good design, or it will likely fall apart or not work the way that you want it to. While selecting a design for your dog’s new harness, consider these aspects.

Make It Personal to Their Size

A dog harness that doesn’t fit is going to be ineffective and useless. If it is too big, your dog will be able to slip out. If it is too small, it can restrict their breathing or pinch their skin when they move.

Don’t Set the Bar Too High

Some DIY designs are incredibly simple and more suited to make a temporary replacement harness if your dog has previously ruined theirs. If you don’t know how to sew or do leatherworking, you might want to scale back and look for something that suits your skill level.

Remember Their Comfort

A harness is not all about controlling your dog. They also need to feel comfortable in it. While some harnesses are bare-bones straps around your dog’s chest and legs, others have padding on the front to keep it from wearing at their skin and fur.

Use Strong Materials

A harness is essential for dogs that are erratic on their leashes. If you need more control over your dog on a walk, it is often easier to use a harness. You will need to use the right kind of materials so it doesn’t stretch or tear while you are out.

Test It Out Inside

To ensure that you have made the dog harness correctly and with satisfactory materials, it is best to test it inside the house or in an otherwise enclosed area. Put it on your dog to test its fit and strength.

If you have any doubts, test it in a dog park or other, larger enclosed area that encourages your dog to act how they usually would on a walk.

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11 DIY Dog Harness Ideas

1. No-Choke Comfort Harness

The design of each harness is different. Some of them circle your dog’s neck, similar to a collar, so if they pull, it will cause a momentary choking effect. If that is not the way that you prefer to train your dog, use a design like this to keep the harness material on their chest and away from their neck.

The other benefit of this design is that it incorporates fleece lining on all the straps and parts that will be rubbing against your dog’s body as they move. It is a more intensive design, requiring skill with a sewing machine.


2. Nylon Webbing Dog Harness

Nylon webbing is the material often used for hammock straps to hold people while they dangle in the air, as well as other robust outdoor equipment. If you need an extra-strong and durable harness, then nylon webbing is a good material to select. This harness requires few materials but necessitates you to have a bit of sewing skill.


3. Body Jacket Harness

A body jacket harness is more about comfort and temperature control than about handling your dog as they walk. It still allows you to maneuver with your dog if they are adamantly moving toward something they shouldn’t be. These jackets are often more comfortable than rope or single-ply harnesses because they disperse the weight more evenly across their bodies as tension on the leash increases.

Body jacket harnesses are excellent choices for dogs that quickly get cold outside. These include Italian Greyhounds, French Bulldogs, and senior dogs in general.


4. Simple Paracord Harness

Paracord is a lightweight nylon rope that manufacturers use for the suspension lines in parachutes. This material has been gaining a great deal of traction in the outdoor scene, though, and you can frequently find paracord bracelets or belts in such stores.

Using paracord to make your dog harness practically guarantees a strong material. It is more resistant to abrasion as well, making it harder for your dog to chew through.


5. Kimono Dog Harness

Talk about a fashion choice! This kimono dog harness is one of the cutest options on our list. It doesn’t fasten together incredibly tightly, so if you have a larger dog that pulls hard, this isn’t the best option for you. However, smaller dog breeds will enjoy this harness, and it will be more than enough to keep them in check on a walk.


6. Comfort Paracord Harness

This harness is a mixed-material option. On the front, where a dog is most likely to chew, is paracord. This also gives the harness a bit of stretch and comfort. Around the chest, stomach, and sides are webbing lined with fleece to make it more comfortable for your dog as they explore.


7. Jean Pocket Harness

Upcycling your jeans to make a dog harness is an interesting option! It’s the cotton stitching in jeans that makes them strong, hence why they can last for years.

If you have a favorite pair of jeans that is wearing out, but you don’t have the heart to throw it away, consider using it to make a dog harness. You can line the inside with fleece to make it more comfortable and help keep your dog warm in cold weather.


8. Leather Harness

Leather is a durable material choice that makes a fashion statement, especially on a Doberman or Rottweiler dog. Leather harnesses can be made in various styles, but they do require finesse and skill with leatherworking tools. If this sounds like you, then add this to your list of considerations.


9. Sled Dog Harness

Sometimes, the point isn’t to get your dog to stop pulling. If you have a sled dog that you want to pull materials for you or to get good exercise, then you can design a harness to help streamline their pulling action instead of restrict it.


10. Around-the-House Pet Harness

At times, all we really need is a quick replacement harness to walk our dogs before we can get to the pet store. This kind of design is also handy if you haven’t tried a harness before and want to test to see if it would be a viable option for your pup.

To give it a try, design a harness using things that you can commonly find around your house or that you might already have for your dog.


11. Fanciful Crochet Dog Harness

Crotchet harnesses generally work best for small dogs because most crochet patterns will allow for plenty of stretch if they have enough strength to pull. They are adorable and can be suitable for those with a mastery over crochet or even for beginners wanting to try their hand at something practical.


Featured image credit: Bobby Bradley, Shutterstock