Back in the day, the only dogs wearing harnesses were the Husky’s pulling a sled. This has led to the assumption that harnesses make dogs pull more. On the contrary, Husky’s are taught to pull in their specially designed body gear. Science and understanding has developed since then, and we are now far more conscious of the biology of a dog’s neck. Pulling on collars can cause untold damage to windpipes and vital nerves and organs, and in the extreme, spinal problems.
Picture credit – Dog Games Ltd – suppliers of Perfect Fit Harness
A harness not only takes the pressure of the neck by distribution the tension around the body, but it also helps us hold our dogs. There is no magic fix, only consistent and kind training will teach your dog to walk slowly next to you. No-pull harnesses don’t work, but some harnesses are more comfortable than others.
There are some cheap and/or fashionable harnesses that hang horizontally across the dog’s chest. These can really restrict the shoulder movement and change the dog’s natural gait. It’s like trying to do aerobics with bra straps slipped down (one for the ladies…!) and is uncomfortable. Dog’s can even get irritable with this feeling, and may try to pull ahead to try and move away from the discomfort. So they pull more!
The best harnesses are the ones that hang vertically between the dog’s front legs/chest. These are designed with movement in mind and sit around the shoulder. Perfect Fit have such harnesses. They come in 3 parts so suit almost every shape and size of dog, and because of both neck and belly clips, there is no pulling it over their heads, or lifting legs – great for those dogs with less mobility. Or dogs with big heads and small bodies (Reba…..!). The fleece lining underneath the webbing is very comfy – it’s like wearing your favourite slippers. The top part comes in a variety of colours, and they release new ones each year. Last year was teal, this year was lilac. I’ve several clients who order several top colours so their dog can be fashionable to suit the season. And yes, I have a few colours for Reba too – I couldn’t resist!
As with all the good quality harnesses, they have a front clip. A gem of an idea! Using a double ended lead, you can attach the back clip and front clip so rather than get into a pulling match with your dog, you use pressure on the front clip to gently turn your dog, so stopping the charge forward. It takes practice to use a double lead (or 2 leads), but once shown how, it is easy and you will soon be walking your dog one handed. Really…..
There are other brands that have front clips, a Y shape on the chest, and even neck clips, but I have found that Perfect Fit is my one of choice – so much so, I trained to be a fitter and stockist! Get in touch to arrange an appointment for a fitting..https://www.pippinpetsdogtraining.co.uk/get-in-touch/
The Perfect Fit is best for dogs that have finished growing (puppies can need a new harness each month!), and I’ve many a client who have seen the transformation in their ability to have lovely lead walking, and make training for even better lead walking easier. Here is just one such client, who has an adolescent Labrador who was using one of those ‘across the chest’ harnesses and this was 24 hours after the Perfect Fit harness was purchased.
“Can’t thank you enough for coming and fitting the Perfect Fit harness, we are loving that and the new double ended lead. It’s been transformative! Hugo is calmer and the walks are much more manageable. No more neck pain for me! I can’t thank you enough and if any of your clients are dithering about one, don’t! I would happy tell everyone how much of a difference it has made.” Nora and Hugo – who can now be walked by the children!