09/02/2022 - Equipment
Working out what harness or collar best suits your dog may seem simple, but with a myriad of information and choices out there – it can be quite confusing! Especially when some products claim to cure all kinds of training issues.
So what is a pet dog owner to do?
This blog is intended to be a useful starting block to help you make an informed choice for your individual dog. Please note that any products and companies mentioned are my personal choices and go-to local businesses (ie I don’t receive commission!).
First up, no piece of equipment will replace good quality training. If you need help with leash pulling, call a qualified IMDT trainer (I happen to know a couple who work right here at The Doggy Lady!)
Collars and harnesses are important but should be chosen with your dog’s comfort and health at the forefront of your mind.
So, where do we start?
Most dogs need a flat collar to wear which hold their details and registration tags.
However, before attaching a lead, understand that any collar can cause damage to your dog if they pull. Collars that have a slip mechanism, such as a “check” chain, or prong collars can cause even more damage but even a flat collar can be harmful if too much pressure is put on it (why I always tell owners to only ever attach a long lead onto a harness).
If you would like to know more, please look at this article:
Pretty much, collars are to hold tags or for dogs who have been trained to walk beautifully on lead. You can choose some beautiful locally made ones at Native Collars - make a fashion statement! (www.nativecollars.com)
I advocate for a well-fitted harness for walking. And well-fitted and well-designed are the key words here. A badly designed or fitted harness can also cause damage.
So, what should you look for in a harness?
I look for three things –
Range of motion - do they impede your dog’s shoulders or can your dog move freely?
Where is the pressure felt if your dog pulls? (I want it on chest).
Lastly, check that it doesn’t cut into your dog’s armpits. I had quite some time finding a harness that didn’t do this to my own Labrador.
I find the “H Style” harnesses suit most dogs and meet these criteria. What is a H style Harness? Have a look at the images on this page (above, Native Collars and below a Haqihana)
My own wears a Haqihana harness. It fits him best. They can be pricey but are amazing quality. I have had mine for many years. You can get locally at Clever Creatures www.clevercreatures.com.au) or Lets Walk based in Busselton (they ship!) (www.letswalk.net.au)
However, I usually recommend the Blue9 Balance harness to clients. Designed by a canine fitness guru, she knows dogs’ bodies! It is economical, fully adjustable and has front and back clip (I prefer back clip, again, to look after a dog’s bodies). You can even have them fitted at Morley Vetcentre
Perfect Fit and Copenhagen are also nice brands. I particularly like the Copenhagen for dog’s who like a lighter harness.
Oh, and local company Native Collars are now offering a biothane harness in this style – with added benefits of being waterproof, hand made here in WA and you can even add your dog’s name!
A nice article on collars and harnesses for more reading is here:
If you are a Doggy Lady client, we are always happy to check your harness for you and help adjust if need be.
If you have a dog that doesn’t like to wear a harness we can also help you with conditioning them to really love wearing one or by teaching them to walk nicely on a loose lead. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope that helps you choosing a harness, HAPPY TRAINING!