How to Make a Dog Harness

Updated February 21, 2017

Dog harnesses are a safer and more humane alternative to a regular dog leash that attaches to the collar of the dog. You get better control over the dog, and there is much less risk of choking the dog. However, store-bought harnesses can be very expensive. You can make your own dog harness at home that will work just as well for much less. This project should take around two hours, depending on how cooperative your dog is.

Take the tape measure and measure around the neck of your dog. You will want to make sure that the collar is a little loose, so that it does not choke the dog. Measure around the body of the dog, and then add 8 inches to that measurement.

Take a butter knife, and heat the blade until it is hot enough to melt the webbing. Hold the handle end of the knife with a pot holder. Press the blade against a piece of webbing that is as long as the measurements that you made earlier. Press the knife down until the webbing melts apart. Let cool.

Sew 8" of Velcro to each end of the collar piece (make sure to sew the soft end on one side, and a rough end on the other side). Sew 8" of soft Velcro to one end of the chest piece. Sew the buckle onto the other end of the webbing.

Put the chest piece around the dog again. Slide the Velcroed end of the chest piece through the buckle. Mark on the chest piece where the Velcro hits the other side of the chest piece. Sew the rough end of the Velcro onto this marked spot after taking it off your dog.

Put the collar and the chest piece on your dog. Measure the length between the two harness pieces, and cut the webbing 2-3" longer than the double of that measurement. On one end of the shoulder piece, make a 1-inch loop that will slide over the chest piece. Sew into place. Now, you need to fold the piece in half. Sew the end without the loop together, two inches from the bottom. Slide the D-ring onto one side of the webbing. Leave about ½" for the ring to move a little, and sew the remaining webbing together. Make sure not to sew the top and bottom loops closed.

Slide the top loop of the middle piece through the collar. Align with the middle of the collar. Slide the other loop through the chest piece. Place the harness on your dog and adjust until it fits snuggly.


If you do not want to heat a butter knife, you can cut the webbing with scissors and then melt the ends closed with a lighter.


Never touch a heated butter knife with your hands!

Things You'll Need

  • Climbing webbing
  • 1 D-ring
  • Non-stick Velcro
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Buckle
  • Butter knife
  • Heat source
  • Cloth tape measure
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About the Author

Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.