A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of attending a fascinating talk by Els Vidts about the anatomy of the neck and the negative impact collar use has. I also learned that despite my best intentions, my own dog’s harness didn’t actually fit her that well. I left with a great determination to make sure my own dogs wear better fitting harnesses, and that I’m clearer with clients about the sorts of harness they need. As Els pointed out, a lot of harnesses are actually just collars with extra bits of material- pressure from the dog pulling or being pulled still is still focused on the neck.
So my top tips for harnesses now are:
- there should be no pressure on the dog’s neck- pressure should be distributed across the thorax;
- There should be 5 cm clearance between the dog’s front legs and the rear strap of the harness;
- Shoulders should still be free to move.
As well as saving the dog from physical damage, the right harness can also go a long way to helping with behaviour problems such as pulling and even reactivity.
Below is Els’s flyer. This can also be downloaded from her website http://www.freedogz.be in many different languages, so no excuse for not spreading the word far and wide! This is a really simple thing that we can get right for our dogs, so I’m hoping you’ll join me on the bandwagon!