Harness Woes. Any Suggestions?

sassymomma

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Shamas is a hard to fit dog. I’ve tried a few harnesses and can’t find a good fit
I’m hoping that someone can suggest a harness that will work for us. A front clip is a must, as he’s reactive, fear-aggressive with dogs on leashes, and a puller. I don’t believe that he was trained at all before I got him, and he’s made progress but I don’t trust him enough to give home freedom to stray

His measurements are

Neck 13
Girth 27
From collarbone to girth 9-10

He’s thin and muscular and I find that most harnesses rub his armpits.

Here are a few that we’ve tried that don’t fitwell enough for daily use( the ones we still have) not including the prong collar, martingale and gentle leader that were rejected and the fleece harness that was bought big to fit over winter wear

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easy walk. Medium was too small, the large too big. It causes blisters in the chest and sits too close under his armpits causing chafing and hair loss. I had to sew the back strap to make it small enough to wear, but it still shifts if he drops his head to sniff
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Vestharness seatbelt harness. A strong harness, crash tested, its comfortable to wear....except that in order to stop his legs from both going through one side I must make the neck very snug. When walking, I have 0control. I can hold the leash...that’s it. He drags me down the street from start to finish and menaces other dogs and cats. My husband tried to walk him on this $50 harness and had so much hassle that he told me to throw it out. If you’re local to me, shoot me a message, you can have it
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Top Paw cheap harness and Halti combo
This is what I have been using recently this is the best so far and still not a good fit...but at least I can clip the lead to the ring where the straps connect at the chest, for a little more control. The Halti is used near roads or in places where he might bolt on me, to keep him under control when he’d rather panic and run into the road, or attack a random dog
 

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I recommend BuddyBelts My French Bulldog loves his, it fits very comfortably and doesn’t squeeze at all. I would check it out
 

Bogart16

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Not sure if this will help, but when I was training my dog, I got him a backpack to wear. I weighed each side down with a few water bottles or soup cans. It gives them a workout since they have extra weight to carry and it gives them a "job" to do so they better while on the walk.

I can't find the exact one I purchased since it's nearly been 1o years, but is similar to it.

Edit: Amazon history to save the day. They don't make the one I have, but this is the updated version of it.
 
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sassymomma

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It does look comfortable, but lacks a front clip- he’d drag me down the street. Shamas May be thin, but he’s solid muscle from nose to tail
 

PatientStars

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sassymomma said:
It does look comfortable, but lacks a front clip- he’d drag me down the street. Shamas May be thin, but he’s solid muscle from nose to tail
I don't have personal experience with this, but I follow several people who own/work with wolf dogs, and they swear by goat halters. They work the same way as a halter for a horse, applying pressure to the back of the head and the nose. By controlling the head, you control the dog. And it's more substantial and more easily fitted than a halti or gentle leader.
 
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sassymomma

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Yes, wolf dogs would be strong and sleek too. The premise is sound- by controlling the head, you do control the body. Which is one reason that I use the Halti. However, when he gets fearful, and tries to bolt away, being in a tug-of war with his own nose isn't helping anything emotionally. So I prefer to lead him from his chest, and use the Halti to turn him or hold him securely under the chin while at crosswalks-as you said, like a horse harness
 

PatientStars

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sassymomma said:
Yes, wolf dogs would be strong and sleek too. The premise is sound- by controlling the head, you do control the body. Which is one reason that I use the Halti. However, when he gets fearful, and tries to bolt away, being in a tug-of war with his own nose isn't helping anything emotionally. So I prefer to lead him from his chest, and use the Halti to turn him or hold him securely under the chin while at crosswalks-as you said, like a horse harness
I would consider a backpack then. I see that you prefer a front clip, but hiking backpacks are made with wider straps that are much more comfortable for the dog's shoulders and elbows. It would likely remove the chance of the rubbing and hair loss you've seen with other harnesses.

Also, many backpacks have removable bags that you can choose to keep on or take off as you wish. Having small weights in the packs can help to reduce stress in anxious dogs, as it works their muscles a bit more and gives them something to concentrate on.

Their design also tends to be the most customizable fit you can find in a harness, as a hiking pack is made to ensure it stays in place on a dog that is running, jumping, and climbing over rocks. The security of the fit may also provide some anxiety relief, much like the effects of a thunder shirt.
 
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sassymomma

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I’ll take a look

My local mountain equipment coop carries ruffwear stuff so maybe there’s something there
 

PatientStars

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sassymomma said:
I’ll take a look

My local mountain equipment coop carries ruffwear stuff so maybe there’s something there
Good luck! Hope you find a comfy fit that works for your boy
 

MayaChiara

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Try the freedom no pull harness. It’s basically the better version of the easy walk but with padding under the armpits. My friend uses it for her big American Staffordshire and I have one for my pug mix. No more sore skin on our doggies!
 

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I hear ya, I have a super strong American bulldog. Our trainer had us using the prong collar, worked for a bit but I’m not comfortable using it on everyday walks. He has made great progress since puppyhood though, until he sees a dog or kid that he wants to play with. NO harness works, ever for us. I read great reviews on this one, got it yesterday and have only done one walk with it so far...and so far I really like it.
Embark Active Dog Harness, Easy On and Off with Front and Back Leash Attachments & Control Handle - No Pull Training, Size Adjustable and Non Choke (Extra Large)
 
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sassymomma

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Hey, thanks!

I ended up buying the Kurgo Journey after this thread...and it wore out after a month and a half. I love the design, except for one thing-the front clip is on basically a folded leash fabric, and Shamas pulling wore out the nylon quickly.

I had looked at the Embark harness, so I'll reconsider that
 

allllien

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Just a tip, have you tried an extra wide collar? (like the staffy/pit bull leather collars or greyhound collars etc)? The wider the better -when walking, position the collar further up the neck (not at the base). It wont stop pulling altogether but will certainly help and give you a lot more control. It also won't hurt the dogs neck like a regular collar does if the dog pulls, as the pressure is spread out evenly. 2.5" -3" wide should be the right size for your dog. Personally I would never use a harness except for a little dog, as there's just no control with a harness.
 
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sassymomma

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Wraithen said:
A prong collar and proper instruction for heeling. Youd be fixed in under a week.
Can't use prong collars on Shamas- he's prone to panic attacks. If he panics on a prong collar, he'll be traumatised. I learned this lesson near the beginning, with a construction zone, and am STILL working on reconditioning him 8 months later. I do know how to use a prong properly, but if you put a dog who has panic attacks on a prong collar, they ignore the prongs and drag you out of their perceived danger zone in spite of the pain. They then associate that scary thing with pain, and will refuse to go anywhere near the area that they associate with that trauma. Shamas flatly refuses to go within 4 blocks of where he panicked while wearing a prong collar. He will freeze, sit, lay, tuck tail, lick lips, yawn, cry, try to physically drag me in the opposite direction....if there's a fear signal, hes showing it clearly.

It's my opinion that a prong collar can be a useful tool with a confident dog, but for a fearful dog, it can cause more psychological damage than its worth for the behavior that it's being used to fix. Fearful dogs need a more gentle approach. Shamas, with his panic attacks, is exactly the type of dog who might suffer an injury from a prong collar, as he puts his entire weight into the prongs in an attempt to flee the thing that scares him.
 

lilabug4545

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Personally, I think a padded martingale would do well.

This is my personal recommendation. We use these with the scared dogs at the animal shelter I volunteer at. Strong, cheap, and yet, wide enough to not cause trauma to the neck, plus you ca have a fairly loose lead.
It DOES have a stopping point for tightening, so it will not suffocate the dog.
 
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sassymomma

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lilabug4545 said:
Personally, I think a padded martingale would do well.

This is my personal recommendation. We use these with the scared dogs at the animal shelter I volunteer at. Strong, cheap, and yet, wide enough to not cause trauma to the neck, plus you ca have a fairly loose lead.
It DOES have a stopping point for tightening, so it will not suffocate the dog.
Yes, I used a martingale for a while last spring-until he spooked and backed out of it. That particular one had a habit of loosening. I was considering a wider decorative one, like they use for the Greyhounds and whippets. Give me that head control without leting him gag himself if he does decide to lunge at a rabbit or dog. Though the dog lunging is almost gone now, he's yanked the lead out of our hands going for rabbits. Thankfully, those go in 67 different directions, so wee could pounce him as he ran by
 
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