December 21, 2020

Best Dog Rappelling Harnesses and Safety Tips

by Roger

Do you need help with choosing the best dog rappelling harnesses? Are you worried about dog behavior and safety concerns? If so, here's everything about rappelling with your dog.

For me, rappelling was quite challenging to learn myself. It involved numerous scruffs, occasional failures, and a couple of injuries over the years. Thankfully, I didn't incur serious injuries when learning to climb and rappel. Yet, I could understand the magnitude of the situation if I had a dog with me.

I wished I knew a few crucial things before rappelling with a four-legged buddy by my side. That's the main reason why I'm writing this post. Anyone who faced difficulties like me might find this post helpful.

In my opinion, rappelling with your dog is an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it can be demanding and risky, depending on your level of expertise.

Your Most Important Gear: Dog Rappelling Harness

Rappelling with your dog is effortless. Strap your puppy into a top-quality dog rappelling harness. Make sure you rappel with it as you'd do with a person. A heavy gear bag might work as an alternative for a dog harness.

Just clip the pet into the exact point of the harness. Despite the alternative, I choose a rappelling harness specially meant for dogs. Why? That's a more secure option, in my view.

For rappelling, you may use a dog climbing harness. Luckily, you'll find a ton of options. However, a few options work better. The FrontPet Heavy Duty Dog Rappelling Harness and the Ruffwear DoubleBack Rappelling Harness for Dogs are a special mention in this respect. I'll throw light on each of these options. You may figure out which one works best for you.

Ruffwear DoubleBack Dog Rappelling Harness

Dog climbing and rappelling circles endorse Ruffwear's DoubleBack as the best dog rappelling harness. Some users even assert that they'd only use Ruffwear for this type of activity.

Here, the product was specially designed to lower or lift the dog with a rope. So, the endorsement by so many people stands convincing.

Although more traditional harnesses for dog rappelling exist, you may finish up risking your pet.

For this reason, I don't recommend them. I've searched offline and online platforms for Ruffwear alternatives. However, the DoubleBack is a better bet unless you're ready to shell out a grand for a military-grade product.

That doesn't mean that Ruffwear's DoubleBack is cheap. Its current price may keep your eyes wide open. Yet, I think it's worth every penny. Most pet owners choose harnesses because their dogs are ill, suffer from spinal issues, or need extra support. 

Some folks even buy a harness just to carry their pet effortlessly without getting tired. A quick look at the product shows that it includes a handle on the top to carry your pet conveniently.

Ruffwear DoubleBack Dog Belay-Rappelling Harness

Let's get back to the matter in question - rappelling. As far as DoubleBack's durability is concerned, it's strong enough to support pets weighing 2,000 lbf/8.9KN. That suits even the most decadent dogs today. 

The primary tie-in point of the product (located at the center-back area) ensures a hassle-free attachment. For enhanced stability, you'll find various loops throughout the harness.

Other perks include anodized aluminum buckles and 7 points of adjustments. As far as comfort is concerned, the belly area comes padded for enhanced support.

Plus, the leg pools present equitable load distribution. If your pet needs extra mobility, you can do so by tucking the leg loops.

When it boils down to sizes, Ruffwear offers x-small (extra small), small, medium, and large sizes. As a reference, the medium model measures 13.6x11.6x0.2 inches and weighs around 1 pound.

Let's Focus on Traditional Dog Harnesses Now

As mentioned earlier, I only recommend the Ruffwear DoubleBack for dog rappelling. However, that's my personal opinion. If you wish to cherish a skiing trip, a casual hike, or a snowboarding adventure, you have a slew of options. There are also harnesses for a conventional walk with your dog.

Just to be safe, I checked multiple venues to find the best for your four-legged buddy. I, fortunately, stumbled upon a reliable and formidable search and rescue harness. It can suit any occasions I stated above.

Also, if you believe that you'll encounter difficult-to-traverse sections or have to lift your puppy up to key accessing points, then this mountaineering vest for dogs should be on your watch-list.

Web Master Pro: Ruffwear's Search and Rescue Harness

Finding an ideal vest for dogs isn't as easy as it appears. The product should fit perfectly and render the much-sought comfort. In addition to this, it must be versatile enough, especially on the trail.

Obviously, you don't want your dog equipped with a cheap, flimsy product. Your pet deserves better.

Ruffwear's Web Master Pro stands as the best hiking harness you may order for your dog currently. Note that this product isn't a belaying harness for dogs. It's actually a harness meant for added support.

It can additionally become a lifting harness just in case the terrain turns tricky. The holding mechanisms of the product are robust. They work as desired in almost any weather condition, even in the chilling cold.

As far as the security system goes, it mimics a regular climbing harness. When you put it on, it'll stay on the dog under all circumstances. Officially, the Ruffwear's Web Master Pro was crafted for search and rescue operations and professional avalanches.

That's the reason why it features reflective trims and a safety light loop. In total, you'll find four points of adjustments. All the hardware is engineered out of metal. The product doesn't include any flimsy plastic of any kind.

The sturdy top handle is probably the main highlight of the product. That makes lowering and lifting of the dog simple and safe. For added comfort, the straps include a foam lining.

To render flexibility, there are two low-profile zippered stash pockets. You may use them for essentials.

In brief, the Ruffwear DoubleBack makes an ideal choice for dog rappelling. The Ruffwear Web Master Pro, on the other side, is perfect for casual walks, hikes, and camping trips.

RUFFWEAR - Web Master Pro Dog Harness, Search and Rescue

Tips on Rappelling with Your Dog

As told before, rappelling with your puppy isn't incredibly complicated or difficult. Also, it isn't a dangerous tenure provided you do everything correctly. Despite this fact, pets could be highly unpredictable, even if we feel we know everything.

When rappelling with a dog, be mindful of your pet and watch its reactions closely. Human beings communicate easily, even under challenging scenarios. However, pets have difficulties expressing their message, especially when anxiety or fear strikes.

Watch the body language of the dog during undesirable situations. You could tell a lot just by monitoring its bodily movements. Look at the tail. If it's wriggling, then it's fine.

On the other hand, a dog tucking its tail between its legs indicates that it is frightened. Better get prepared for unusual circumstances. You never know what may turn up at any time. A bird flying too close can startle you and your pet all of a sudden.

Similarly, a stray rock coming down from above can easily wrench your plans. Obviously, such scenes could turn up even if you're rappelling yourself. However, accompanying your dog should make you extra cautious.

That doesn't mean that rappelling with your pet should become a stressful tenure. It would help if you stayed calm no matter what.

Why? Dogs keep a close watch on your body language and act accordingly. Most of them get influenced by your emotions and mood. So, watch out for your movements when you're out with the dog.

Try to reassure your puppy to the best of your ability, especially during any descend. If you're watchful and enjoy yourself, your relationship with the dog will help it have a good time too.

1) How to teach a dog to climb and rappel

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In case you've made up your mind to teach your pet how to climb and rappel for the first time, I may help you with some indicating pointers. There's no need to hire an expert trainer to attain success.

However, you should learn slowly and enjoy the rappelling experience together. If you follow these easy tips, dog climbing could be rewarding and effortless for you and your pet.

Try to leverage play

The situation of each dog is unique. Each one has different attention spans. Some dogs respond quickly when learning new tricks. On the flip side, others may give poor responses when you teach them something new.

If your pet is naturally-attentive and likes to learn and experience new things, you can be lucky. Yet, some pets warrant frequent time-outs. So, include short and meaningful play sessions/breaks whenever you feel it.

Also, tasty treats could be useful on the trail. They ease anxiety and avoid boredom. Bring some tasty snacks for you as well. After all, you too want to rappel and climb with your pet.

Stay in proximity

Dogs and other animals get frightened at strange locations, especially if they feel alone. However, you may allay their fears by staying close. This holds if you and your pet have a close relationship.

If your dog understands your gestures and acts accordingly, it'll feel comfortable. So, use appropriate signals and words to comfort and reassure your pet.

When rappelling, hold the dog on your leg or let it hang loosely on your lap. It all depends on the level of trust and bond you two have developed over some time. Holding the dog on your lap may limit your flexibility and movements.

On the other side, your pet might hit the ground before you and incur injuries in case it hangs below you. Just assess your situation and take suitable actions.

Best Dog Rappelling Harness [Rappelling with Dog Safety Tips]

Stalk the land before rappelling with your dog

You might put on a bunch of protective equipment to encounter possible hazards. However, your pet might be left with nothing else than a harness. The good news is dogs are resilient creatures and quickly adapt to hazardous situations. However, slippery rocks can pose dangers as they can't tackle wet surfaces.

Plus, dogs, unlike cats, don't always fall on their feet. As such, a fall could quickly become a tragic incident. Take a closer look at the terrain. Avoid waterfall rappelling or rappelling during the rainy season.

I hope this article might help you enjoy a better trip with your dog when rappelling around. Also, the risks mentioned and ways to handle them could ease your tenure.

I'll reiterate that rappelling with a dog need not be a stressful experience, even though rappelling alone seems much safer. A loving companion should boost your rappelling time.

I'd better advise you to go slow when rappelling with your pet. Better try rappelling once and figure out how the venture goes.

Fix possible issues that you encounter on your first trip. In case you and your pet enjoyed rappelling, chances are you two will hang out again and again. If anything unexpected turns up, just try to cheer your companion from top to bottom and make it feel at ease.

Finishing Thoughts

Rappelling with your dog can be fun and adventurous no matter the terrain and weather. However, it would help if you got handy with outdoor ventures beforehand; otherwise, you and your companion might encounter a nightmarish trip.

You may keep all such scenes at bay by learning how to climb and rappel with your dog. Walkthrough the above advice and enjoy hassle-free trips with your four-legged buddy.

Choosing the right gear for dog rappelling can be quite a task, thanks to many products out there. You might get lost in the varied choices. Plus, a ton of considerations goes into picking the right item.

However, you may ease your legwork and save time by exercising prudence. Just check the above rappelling products in light of your specifics. With reliable info on your side, choosing an ideal item becomes easy without putting too much effort.

The rankings on are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 


Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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