Dispose of a harness with torn or broken components. A cracked clasp or a ripped strap can have tragic consequences.
Check fit regularly -- it's normal for harnesses to stretch over time and to shrink or expand in certain conditions. Don't hesitate to adjust the harness as necessary.
The Top Paw pet supplies brand includes adjustable harnesses in traditional multiple-piece webbing styles and in step-in styles designed for ease of use. Putting either Top Paw harness on your dog may seem daunting at first, but practice makes perfect.
Estimate proper fit and adjust the harness's front loop -- the loop that goes over the dog's head -- using the plastic sliders on either side of the loop. Slip the head loop over your dog's head and seat it so the spine strap goes down the dog's back and the chest piece hangs between the dog's front legs.
Pull the hanging strip of chest webbing backward between the front legs. Hold it with one hand behind the front legs and, with your other hand, slip one end of the unbuckled torso strap through the eye sewn into the end of the chest strap. Pull the torso webbing up one side of the dog's chest and then through the eye sewn into the spine strap.
Join the two ends of the torso strap together, making a loop. Connect the ends by snapping the squarish plastic buckle pieces together.
Adjust the plastic sliders on both sides of the neck to center the head loop and provide a proper fit. Adjust the single slider on the torso strap to ensure proper fit at the back of the harness. With a proper fit, the harness should be secure but not tight -- you should be able to slide two fingers between your dog's body and every part of the harness.
Unbuckle the step-in harness and pull the straps apart. A step-in harness has a fabric sling that hugs the chest and wraps upward before and behind the front legs. Make sure the D-ring is facing up.
Put the neck strap over the dog's head, allowing the fabric chest piece to hang in front of the dog.
Lift the dog's left leg and put it through the left side of the webbing. Pull the loose right rear corner of the harness up the dog's right side. Secure the loose strap to the top of the harness by snapping the plastic clasp pieces together.
Adjust the plastic sliders on the step-in harness's nylon straps to perfect the harness's fit. As with a traditional harness, you should be able to slide two fingers between the harness and your dog's skin everywhere they come together.