When it comes to taking your pooch for a walk, a dog harness seems safer than a collar. After all, it doesn’t choke the throat and cannot slip over the head. While it’s certainly not a choker, it’s a myth that a harness cannot slip off. Many owners had had their eyes shocked open to the truth. One moment they’re happily strolling along, then the leash goes slack. They turn around and find their dog missing. A second and more common scenario occurs when dogs fight their harness. They’ll buck like broncos and reverse, causing the gear to pull over their shoulders and head. Free as a bird. Drat.
If you’re lucky, the dog goes nowhere or you can rugby-tackle the runners. However, too many owners have walked in areas with roads and their dogs got hit by cars after pulling loose. You can also imagine the dangers a dog might face after bolting into a forest or wilderness trail. This slippage is the number one, and sometimes life-threatening risk, of a canine harness. What to do?
There’s plenty you can do to firmly secure your pooch.
1. Avoid generic harnesses
Generic harnesses look good, come at a good price and are easily available at stores. However, they’re not designed with this risk in mind. Nearly all dogs that escape wear the generic type, which was created only for general body size, looks, and mass sales.
2. Look for escape-proof jackets
Luckily, the pet market is a booming industry with every niche imaginable. Believe it or not, but there are harnesses designed specifically for escape artist canines. You can find those online with a quick search. The best thing about these jackets is that they look amazing. There are even varieties based on the combat gear worn by military service dogs.
3. Read your dog
A calm dog is a low flight risk. But pets that hate walking, dislike harnesses or have a nervous, or high-energy nature are more likely to fight their restraints. Even a calm dog being walked for the first time with a harness should be treated with caution. Watch out for signs like sudden stops, bucking, biting at the harness or lead, or the dog showing a heightened awareness of the harness. Pets with a history of pulling a Houdini should definitely receive extra precautions and a specialty jacket.
4. Use a collar as a precaution
Why not walk your dog with two leashes? One is attached to a collar, the other secures the harness. Having both options in place makes escape more difficult. If anything, a collar that stays after the dog bucks can give you that vital window of a few seconds to stop the animal from completely escaping.
5. The T-Shirt Hack
Here’s a weird trick. Several people have reported success after dressing their escape-prone dogs in a T-Shirt. The clothing is worn over the harness and a tiny cut is sometimes made to accommodate the point where the leash attaches to the harness.
Finally, when putting the harness on, make sure that all the buckles and clips are properly connected. Tighten the straps that allow for size reduction, so that you can slip two fingers in between the jacket and the dog’s fur. Stay safety conscious, check your dog’s gear and behavior, and walking will once again be a joyful activity to share with your pet.