Leash training a curious and independent Shiba Inu like Lzzy Lou has proven to be a challenge. Her neck fluff makes regular collars almost useless for walks. She can pop them off super easy with a little backwards tug and flip of her neck. We were not comfortable with how tight a collar had to be around her neck to make her new stunt move impossible. Additionally, if she sees anything (a leaf, a squirrel, a piece of dust highlighted by the sun) she is off to catch it. She rung her neck pretty good a few times and it broke our hearts. We also became fearful she would pop her color off one day and disappear on a chase never to return. In order to have a safer walk, we began the process of choosing a dog harness.
Harnesses offer 3 styles of leash connections. You can choose top connecting, front connecting and side connecting. Some harnesses have a combination of connections to give you option that grow with your dogs leash behavior. The top clip protects your pet’s neck more than a traditional collar but still lets your pet leap towards those pesky squirrels. A front clip, illustrated on the Barkbay No Pull Dog Harness, will curb the pull and leaping habits that dogs often get by gently pulling them to the side when they lunge. Combined with proper training, front connections are great for dogs who pull. Side connections offer the same benefit as the front connection, however, instead of turning the dog when they pull, they help to guide and keep forward momentum on your walks.
When choosing a dog harness, it is important to make sure you select one that fits your pup’s lifestyle. Is your dog taking early morning runs or leisurely afternoon strolls as a fashionista sidekick? Many harnesses have padding to relieve pressure points and avoid hotspots from developing on long walks. Depending on the harness you may have 1 to 4 sites of adjustment. These adjustment points can be clips, Velcro or a combination of both. Be sure to do a fit check every week while you pup is in their growing year so the harness stays comfortable.
Harnesses come in a variety of colors and fabrics. What used to be a blah necessity in the past has now become a fashionable safety accessory. In addition to varying colors, you can also choose breathable and reflective fabrics to keep your pooch cool and visible. Some harnesses even come with pockets to tuck in doody bags, treats or portable water devices on long walks. Our vet noted if we chose a harness like the Outward Hound Daypak for Lzzy Lou, to never put more than 10% of her weight in them.
We ended up choosing the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness for Lzzy Lou for the following reasons:
- Multiple points of adjustment for a secure fit
- Areas that may rub are padded under the connection straps
- Both top and front connections made out of metal
- Easy grip handle for additional control
- Reflective lining for early morning or late evening safety
Choosing a dog harness was overwhelming in the beginning but we couldn’t be happier with our decision. Walk time has become more fun for Lzzy and less worrisome for us and that is everything we wanted. Do you use a dog harness? What pro tips do you have readers? Let us know in the comment section or Lzzy Lou’s Facebook.