I recently fell in love with a Dog Harness, I believe it is the best piece of equipment I’ve ever used on a dog. It comes from the JuliusK9 line of harnesses. I purchased one for my Chihuahua Bruce on the advice of our agility trainer.
Little dogs can’t wear collars with a tab like a big dog can, so when you are teaching them the different pieces of equipment it is tough to help them along with nothing to get a hold of. Our agility trainers Jenn Crank and Susan Crank of IncrediPaws use them on all their dogs, big and small alike, as they have a convenient handle on the top of the harness. Jenn had a tiny harness she used as a sample, which fit little Bruce perfectly. I still think it is one of the best engineered harnesses I’ve ever seen, slide the saddle over the dog’s head and clip the belly strap, all can be done with one hand. Best of all Bruce actually likes wearing it, and he hates wearing collars and harnesses of any kind. It took me a year to get him to wear a collar without trying to get it off. And harnesses, no way, he would fuss and refuse to move, especially if they were the least bit snug. I call him rigor mortis dog if he doesn’t like something. It’s great, we use the harness all the time, even for our trips to the mailbox, in the car it clips to his safety seat, while before I was always changing from one thing to another. Now his harness is at the ready all the time, and he wants me to put it on. If he pulls a little bit I just gently lift his front end off the ground and he stops pulling. And it is much safer to use on him than a collar.
And of course, being a Chihuahua I had to spiff it up. I mean what is the point in having a little dog if you can’t add a little bling. So I got logos for his harness on the left is his name Bruce Lee, and on the right is Chi-Warrior (a joke from Beverly Hills Chihuahua). So little Bruce loves to sport his harness around, and people love to laugh at his logos on the side.
We recently got one for our 45lb bulldog mix Lola, the main reason, easier to get on than the car harness we had, that was like a new adventure in confusion and chaos each time we tried to put it on her. But, we discovered some side benefits to the JuliusK9 that I’ve been thrilled with. 1st she doesn’t pull (and believe me in a collar she can pull you down), if she starts to we just gently pull straight up on the leash, she stops pulling immediately. Even better, when she wears it, it has the same effect as her Thundershirt. She is not as anxious, and is much more relaxed. We got the seat belt adapter for it, which snaps right into the seat belt clip, and then snaps to the harness, no complexity and she is safely tied down on those long car rides to the agility trials or to agility practice.
The JuliusK9 harness is widely used in Europe for Working Dogs, Service Dogs, and Police Dogs. They have become very popular in the United States in Agility circles, partly because of the handle on top. Before using them on Lola I had always believed that a harness made dogs pull more, but after learning a little about how to use the harness correctly to teach them not to pull, I’ve been very impressed with what a multi-use tool they really are. I’ve begun my own little quest to find out if harnesses are really better for a dog than a collar. Certainly for little dogs they are much safer, than collapsing their trachea, but what about for big dogs. Well turns out, there are a lot of dogs that should not be using collars either. Which is pretty much any of the smaller breeds and surprise the bull breeds. Dogs with Chiari Malformation, Wobbler Syndrome, Chondrodystrophic dogs, or Hydrocephalic dogs.
I know train your dog and it won’t pull, and that is true. But let’s face it, a lot of well-trained dogs will pull, if they get excited, or sometimes just think they can get away with it. Our lovely Lola, doesn’t pull when I have her on the leash. But she does pull a lot when she is with my partner who has MS.
My favorite reason for loving this harness; is my older dog Huckleberry. He’s an old Whippet mix, that has arthritis from a broken knee. He has a few other old injuries from his wild and crazy days that are catching up with him too. I feel his pain. Again, the JuliusK9 harness to the rescue, and that great handle on top of the saddle. Doesn’t matter whether it’s stairs, or the car, anytime he needs a little extra help and support I can grab the handle and help him along.
So ask yourself if a JuliusK9 harness might be a better multi-use tool than the traditional collar or harness.
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