A big subject for us now at Woofs to Kittys, as the more I know the less I have been able to ignore the importance of a harness for the health and well being of our dogs.
My starting point in writing this is that as loving pet owners we all want to do what is best for our dogs, and we want our dogs to be fit and healthy for as long as possible, and my belief is that a well fitting harness is one of the factors that contributes to this.
Buying a harness is a little bit of a mine field, as there are many harnesses and also head collars that have lovely fluffy names that make you think they are nice for your dogs, that actually use pain to force your dog into submitting to your demands to walk to heel, but don’t work in the long term.
Scientific studies have shown that a dog can get all kinds of medical conditions by wearing a collar, and that a collar imposes various restrictions on your dog.
The pressure in and behind the eyes is increased considerably and could lead to problems with vision. External pressures on the thyroid gland can cause damage and hypothyroidism with symptoms like chronic stress, fatigue, as well a behavioral change.
Using a collar can also cause headaches, muscular and skeletal damage …the list goes on, a dog’s neck is absolutely no different to ours, so just imagine how it would feel if you were pulling or being yanked as some dogs are.
3 KEY POINTS FOR A HEALTHY HARNESS
1. Y shaped front so the harness doesn’t impede movement of the front legs.
2. 2 fingers space behind the front legs so the harness doesn’t chafe in your dogs armpit (for want of a better description)
3. A harness that doesn’t go over a dogs head, as many dogs absolutely hate this, and it can lead to them resisting a harness.
I have to say my little dog Boo doesn’t like clothes, jumpers or harnesses… she obviously likes to be au naturel! But the harness in my world is non negotiable, as its about her health, I’m all for giving a dog choices but not on this subject .
Harnesses that impede movement can also cause muscle damage and injury, some come across the chest and front legs impeding movement, this is not good. Others tuck right under the front legs, I’ve actually seen a dog lame as the harness was so tight around its front leg.
I find it fascinating as to how people roll their eyes when they come to our shop asking for either a harness that I know inflicts pain or discomfort to a dog or a head collar, when I suggest getting a healthy harness and going back to basics with training.
This is a whole other subject, but we live in a quick fix society…. And this applies to our dogs…. could you imagine putting something on your child that inflicts pain if they fall out of line?!? As I said a whole other subject to come.
I am not one for training my dogs within an inch of their lives AT ALL, but there are a few things that are important to me, walking nicely on a long lead, recall and stay… these are for comfort and safety. And done correctly teaching a dog to walk with you is a pleasure.
All dogs pull at some point be it if they are puppies, see something they like to chase, be it a squirrel, a cat, or a friend they see and want to get over to… and a healthy harness means there is no choking sound and you know your dog isn’t hurting itself whilst pulling.