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15 DIY Dog Harness Ideas You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

black border collie wearing harness

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 dog harness.

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The 15 DIY Dog Harness Ideas

1. DIY Nylon Webbing Dog Harness – Wag swag pet supplies

Nylon Webbing Dog Harness- Wag swag pet supplies. wordpress
Image Credit: Wag swag pet supplies

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 some sewing skills.

2. Simple DIY Paracord Harness – Instructables

Simple Paracord Harness- Instructables
Image Credit: Instructables

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.

3. DIY Kimono Dog Harness – Start sewing

Kimono Dog Harness- Start sewing
Image Credit: Start sewing

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.

4. DIY Leather Harness – Instructables

Leather Harness- Instructables
Image Credit: Instructables

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.

5. DIY Sled Dog Harness – Uberpest

Sled Dog Harness- Uberpest
Image Credit: Uberpest

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. If you want learn how to make a dog harness that will work for sled dogs, this is for you!

6. DIY Around-the-House Pet Harness – Pet helpful

Around-the-House Pet Harness- Pet helpful
Image Credit: Pet helpful

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.

7. Custom DIY Dog Harness – Let’s MAKE It Academy

This custom dog harness is a fantastic way to make your puppy stand out in the park. The best part about this design is that it’s entirely customizable to your liking, allowing you to choose the pattern and material that matches your dog. It is incredibly easy to craft, and if you follow the tutorial, there shouldn’t be any problems.

8. DIY Leather Dog Harness – Tri Atelier Design Studio

While this stunning leather dog harness may be challenging to craft, it can be the perfect project for skilled DIY lovers. It requires the knowledge of using leather, but if you are willing to invest time into creating this, you will be left with a high-quality dog harness that will last you for many years.

9. Escape Proof DIY Dog Harness and Leash – Instructables

diy escape proof dog harness-leash
Image Credit: Instructables

This simple dog harness and leash design is perfect for expert escape artists. This DIY harness is quite comfortable and long lasting while being relatively easy to make. It comes with a harness and a leash all in one part, and it is incredibly easy to use and control. The best part is that it will only take an hour or two to craft it.

10. Crochet DIY Dog Harness for Small Dogs – Pixie HeartStrings

diy crocheted dog harness
Image Credit: Pixie HeartStrings

This crochet dog harness is an absolute delight, especially for smaller dogs. Following this crochet tutorial and pattern carefully will leave you with an adorable dog harness that’s fairly easy to make if you have experience with crochet. Make sure to choose the colors you’d want to see on your pet. The best thing about this harness is that it’s incredibly comfortable and will fit your dog snuggly and securely.

11. DIY Fleece Dog Harness – Cal & Pals

If you are looking for a cheap and homemade alternative to an expensive luxury dog harness, take a look at this DIY harness. It’s small and made of fleece, allowing it to sit on your dog comfortably even during hot summer days. You can match the color to your liking, and it is entirely safe to use even on large dogs that tend to pull.

12. Adorable DIY Dog Vest Harness – Downtown Tailoring

This adorable dog vest harness is an amazing way to add a bit of charm to your dog’s walks. It is not suitable for large, strong dogs as an everyday harness but can be used on special occasions to make your small dog stand out. It is easy to make by following this tutorial.

13. Easy and Quick DIY Rope Harness – CrazyDIY

If you find yourself without a harness or a leash, watch this super useful and quick dog harness tutorial. You can create an effective and comfortable dog harness using one long rope. It can securely hold even the largest dog in place and is all in one piece with a leash. It’s a unique and creative solution if you’ve forgotten to bring your dog harness.

14. Cute Sewable DIY Dog Harness – Life Of Posey

If you’ve got a sewing machine or sewing skills, and you’re willing to invest some time into creating a unique dog harness for your puppy, then this tutorial is perfect. With the simple skill of using a sewing machine, your options are endless. Once you pick out your desired pattern, you’ll be left with this adorable dog harness that is suitable mainly for smaller dogs.

15. DIY Dog Harness With Backpack – The Carpenter’s Daughter

Another amazing tutorial for a dog harness is this one that comes with an attached backpack for maximum convenience. It is incredibly creative and will sit comfortably on your dog. If you thought you couldn’t find a more effective harness than the one you own, try crafting this affordable yet convenient harness that will allow you to store all your dog’s essentials.

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The 6 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

bichon frise dog on a harness
Image Credit: Radovan Zierik, Shutterstock

3. 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.

4. Your Dog 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.

5. You Want a Specific Color or Pattern

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.

6. 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.

chocolate brown goldendoodle dog in a harness outdoors
Image Credit: MathieuLphoto, Shutterstock

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The 5 Factors to Consider When Making 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

harnessed maltese dog with open mouth outdoors
Image Credit: RitaE, Pixabay

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

basset hound with harness on a bridge
Image Credit: Daniel Myjones, Shutterstock

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If you’re an avid DIYer, or even if you’re just wanting to save some money for once, then making your own dog harness might be the project for you. All of our options come with detailed instructions, and it’s fun to be able to customize your dog’s harness in any way that you want.

Featured Image Credit: Emily-Rose Ashdown, Shutterstock

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