April 2021 Newsletter

Is Your Dog’s Harness Safe?

What if I told you there is a big difference between a high-quality harness and an inexpensive one when it comes to the safety of your active dog?

Seems logical. Professional handlers use high quality gear for their working dogs to keep them safe.  We use the Alpine Outfitters Urban Trail Adjustable Harness for our dogs when out on adventures because it is a premium quality harness that is safe, comfortable and versatile.  This harness is also VETERINARIAN RECOMMENDED.  Click the link below to learn more about all the features and for the month of April we are offering 10% off to all our subscribers.  Enter code APRIL10 at checkout (this is good on all products – one coupon per customer).

URBAN TRAIL® ADJUSTABLE HARNESS – multiple sizes & colors – Northwest Working Dog Supply

I learned the hard way, with a lesson that almost ended tragically, why investing in a quality harness is the way to go. 

A few years ago, I was living in Colorado, where hiking in the wilderness was a regular occurrence for me and my dogs.  My dogs always wear collars with contact information and, when we are hiking, they also wear harnesses for those times they need to be leashed up.  One sunny day we were hiking up to an alpine lake in early spring.  There was a little snow still present at the higher altitudes and on this one trail there was a waterfall that had completely snowed over because of the spray from the dropping water.  I had seen the bottom of the waterfall at the beginning of the hike at the lower altitude, but forgot about it at the top because it was covered in snow.

We played around the lake for a couple hours, then later that afternoon we started our decent.  By this point it was warm enough to shed some outer layers and the dogs were starting to pant.  If your dog is like mine, that is when a good roll in the snow feels especially good!  My dog Stella attempted to do just that and diverted off the trail to what appeared to be a snowy field to roll, then disappeared.  She had fallen into what looked like a five-foot crevasse where the snow was beginning to break away on the snow over the waterfall.

I quickly scrambled out onto the snow to attempt to rescue Stella.  When I got to her location, I saw she was posting out her legs to keep from slipping further down.  It was a scary sight and I was not sure I was going to be able to get her out.  Straddling the crevasse, I reached down and grabbed her by the harness, as I knew that would be my best option over using her collar.

The harness was an el cheapo walk-in type that was ill fitting and it started to slip over her shoulders immediately when I grabbed it. 

That is when I started whispering a prayer, “Please, please, please just hold long enough for me to get her out”.  I ever so slowly started inching her out.  Stella remained completely calm, understanding that I was trying to help her.  I know her calmness is what saved her life.  Should she have panicked and squirmed around, that el cheapo harness would have slipped right off.  We got lucky…it was a happy ending.

The point of this story is quality gear is critical….for you and your dog.  It is usually a bit more expensive, but well worth it.  Not all dog harnesses are designed to be lifesaving, but high-quality gear increases the chances over low-quality gear.  Fit is also vital.  Quality gear will not do much good if it does not fit property. 

Here are some pointers on how to measure your dog so its harness will fit properly.

  • 1. Use a flexible fabric measuring tape.
  • 2. Be sure your dog is standing straight and level with head up, looking forward and legs square. Your dog should not be hunched over, in a crouching position or sitting down.
  • 3. Measure the dog, not the fur. Be sure to pull the measuring tape snug against your dog’s body, particularly with dogs with heavy coats.
  • 4. Take neck and girth measurements:
    1. Neck – Point A to Point B. Measure from top of breastbone in front (Point A), to the point of the withers at the base of neck (Point B).  Measure one side only and double it for the most accurate measurement.
    1. Girth – Point C to Point C. Measure around the widest part of your dog’s mid-section (Point C).  Depending on the breed, sometimes this will be close to its front leg pits.

(PC:  Alpine Outfitters)

Let us know how we can help with your canine needs.  Northwest Working Dog Supply is committed to supporting owners and handlers of workings dogs (those with jobs and those without) by offering quality products from trusted brands so that both human and canine elements can perform their duties effectively.

Until next time, be safe out there!

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