Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by Martins Ayotunde

How to Choose a Well-Fitting Y-Harness for Your Dog

Just like clothes, not all dog harnesses fit everyone perfectly. In fact, a lot of people make the mistake of just guessing when it comes to picking out a harness for their pup. This can lead to discomfort and even injuries down the road. So, if you’re in the market for a new Y-harness for your furry friend, read on! We’ll show you how to find the perfect one for your pup’s body type.

Why it’s important to fit the Y-harness correctly

Y-harnesses are more difficult to fit than you may think. Like office-desk-and-chair configurations, Y-harnesses should be fit in accordance with your dog’s ergonomic requirements.

If you don’t do this, your dog runs the risk of injuries just as they do when pulling away from the leash in only a collar, sans harness. Just as we want to avoid a collapsed trachea, we want a find a harness that won’t compromise your dog’s posture or chafe beneath the front legs.

Things to look out for when fitting a Y-harness

That being said, finding something that will fit to a perfect tee will be difficult. However, so long as your harness is ticking the below criteria, you should be good to go:

Image: Stylish Hound


Shoulders can be difficult to locate on a dog, but here’s a tip: those bones located either side of their chest? Those are the shoulder joints. These may be particularly difficult to pinpoint on flooffier friends, but all dogs have them! When fitting a Y-harness, the shoulder straps should sit above the shoulder.

Ensure to position the back section a cat’s whisker above the shoulders, too. This will allow your dog more comfortable neck movement. When your dog pulls on the lead, just make sure the neck straps are not covering the shoulder joints.

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Chest bone

Have a feel of your dog’s chest. That spikey bone is the chest bone, and you want the Y-harness connection centred on there. Make sure it’s not sliding up the neck lest it puts undue pressure on the trachea.


Some people refer to these as dog armpits, completely ignoring the fact that dogs don’t have arms. Henceforth, for all intents and purposes, we will be referring to those pits beneath a dog’s front legs as ‘legpits’.

When fitting a Y-harness, consider the legpits to be ‘clear zones’. You’ll need to leave space behind the legs to allow for freer movement. That being said, don’t sit the harness so far back that it puts undue pressure on the soft tissue. In fact, when Y-harnesses are positioned this way, they can slide too far up as they’re being pulled forward.

Once you’ve fitted the harness, check that you can fit two or three fingers beneath the ‘legpit’ straps—or, if you have a larger dog, three to four fingers. This is a similar principle to fitting a collar or other type of dog harness.

Space between the front legs

Ensure the Y-harness is not spread wide between the two front legs. If it is, it will rub, chafe, and affect the way Doggy walks and runs. This affected stance is not only uncomfortable, but it can also burden the shoulder joints with excessive pressure. To check if the Y-harness is too wide, play fetch with and without the harness.

Compare the way your dog retrieves the ball, stick, or toy. When fitting the harness, you should also check that it isn’t chafing against the inside of the legs.

Final notes

It’s important to note that these guidelines are not hard and fast. A lot of it will come down to your dog’s temperament. For example, if your dog never pulls, then wider neck straps positioned over their shoulder joints will not be an issue, provided their legs can move freely.

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If your dog does pull, just be sure to free the shoulders and to check the chest plate does not have too firm a grip.

Whilst some dogs will be okay with having straps close to the legpits, this will be an absolute no-no for dogs with sensitive skin. Let your dog, rather than this post, influence your final decision.

Image: Stylish Hound

Y-harnesses can be fiddly and difficult to fit, but once your dog finds their groove, they will be more comfortable and better protected from injury or choking. You will also have better control of your pooch.

For longer walks and reduced pulling, we recommend a well-fitted Y-harness for your dog.


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