Dogs not only make excellent pets, but also are great workers. They are often used as assistants for people with physical disabilities or to help work on farms, in airports or in areas where sleds are the main form of travel. It is sometimes not appropriate to use a collar on a dog.
In this case, a Dog Safety Harness is a great alternative. Veterinarians often suggest a harness instead of a collar for dogs that have a history of collapsing trachea conditions. Additionally, they are also a necessary item for dogs that travel in cars.
Purchasing a safety harness can be done a variety of different ways. There are specialist pet shops on the high street, the vets or specific websites. eBay also offers a wide range of products. Regardless of the reason for needing a safety harness, this guide aims to show you how to buy one.
Types of Harnesses
For domestic dog owners there are two main reasons for using a safety harness – travel and walking. Safety harnesses are often used with puppies in training. The design for both of these reasons is fairly similar but has a few different requirements.
Walking or Training Harness
A Dog Walking Harness is easy to fit on your dog and to use – the harness is designed to gently stop a dog from pulling, so is great for training purposes. It fits over the front of the dog’s chest (chest strap) and behind their front legs (belly strap) clasping at the top to the lead behind the head (shoulder strap).
The size of a walk harness, ranges from small to extra large, and is fitted on a dog by measuring around the girth of the dog (the area of the dog just behind the dog’s rib cage).
The main use of a walk harness is to encourage the dog not to pull and help the owner maintain control over the animal. If the dog pulls, the harness redirects the pressure across the dog’s chest and shoulders, which serves as a gentle reminder not to do this.
Car and Travel Safety Harnesses
Animal safety is a major concern for drivers on the road. It is important that the dog is restrained whilst in the car for both the animal and passengers. This will mean fewer distractions for the driver, but more importantly the safety of the dog and humans will be ensured.
Most Dog Car Safety Harnesses will combine safety with comfort.
A car safety harness straps around the dog in a similar way to the walking harness, but has the ability to latch onto a seat adapter (similar to a child’s booster seat). If this latch is not available, it will attach to a seat beat loop buckle. This safety harness allows the dog to sit or lie in the car.
In many designs, the harness can also be attached to a lead enabling the owner to use it for walks as well car safety. This is done by taking off the car harness and replacing it with the lead. Some designs will come with additional padding on the harness for further comfort.
If the dog is still able to move around in the car while in the harness it is possible to use an additional Tether Strap to restrict this movement.
Puppy Safety Harness
A Puppy Safety Harness is essentially the same design as a full-grown dog’s, but will have a few small changes. These changes include:
- The harness is smaller to accommodate for the puppy’s weight and size.
- Additional padding for comfort.
Things to Look For When Buying a Safety Harness
- Once a decision to buy a harness has been made and the need established, the next step is to research the functionality of different harnesses.
- Points to consider and exercises to do when purchasing a safety harness are:
- Is the harness washable?
- Always check to see if the harness is the right one for your dog’s weight.
- Measure the dog’s girth to ensure the right size for the dog is purchased.
- Check to see the harness is made for the same reasons it is required.
- Unless the reason for buying the harness is to pull sleds or similar, it is advisable to avoid a design that hooks the lead on the back. A back hook harness is designed to train the dog to pull as it diverts their attention away from the owner. This could be counter-productive for the owner.
- How is the harness designed to be ‘put on’ the dog? Can it be fitted via the dog ‘stepping in’ and/or placed ‘over’ the head. This will be a personal preference for the owner. Assess the dog’s personality for the best option.
- Where possible, test the harness on the dog before purchase. It is possible that a slightly different style to the one you had in mind might be more appropriate for the dog. As it is the dog that has to wear the harness it is vital that they are a part of the decision-making and ultimately comfortable in the harness.
- Does the harness require any aesthetic improvements?
It is possible to add additional aesthetic improvements to the dogs harness. This could be purely for vain reasons, but also to assist the dog. For example, a blind assistances dog could have this job written on the harness to warn others that he is working.
Step By Step Guide To Fitting a Safety Harness on The Dog
Fitting the harness to a dog for the first time can be a scary process. It is important that the dog feels comfortable at all times to ensure he will want to wear it again in the future. Remember to repeat each of the following steps a number of times before moving onto the next one. If for whatever reason the dog appears stressed or anxious go back to the previous step. It is also important to offer a reward every time a step it completed.
Introduce the dog to the harness. This can be done by allowing the dog to ‘explore’ the harness by placing it on the floor and encouraging sniffing. Be sure to reward the dog when he has successfully sniffed the harness.
Hold the harness at eye level for the dog to see. Once done, reward with a treat.
Slowly place the harness over the dog’s head. Once this is done, stop and praise the dog as well as offer another treat.
When the dog is happy, fasten the harness. Once completed, offer another reward.
Attach the lead. Reward.
Once the dog is comfortable in the harness, remove it to repeat the steps the next day. Over time the positive association wearing the harness will mean that he will look forward to the experience.
How to Buy a Safety Harness on eBay
Purchasing a safety harness for your dog on eBay couldn’t be easier. The highly sophisticated site is logical and easy to use. There are several ways to find the product required on eBay.
The first is via the search function on every page (there is no need to back track if the desired search wasn’t fruitful) and via advance searches using categories and portals.
If at any time a more advance search is wanted, eBay will offer a series of check box questions relating to the topic in the left hand panel. By choosing what is required eBay will automatically update the search and show the list of results. In the instance of dog safety harnesses, it is possible to use these check boxes to select size and weight of your dog.
Each seller will be offered the opportunity to add a description and photo alongside their product. As a buyer on eBay it is important to look at these descriptions and photos to ensure the product is what is being sought after. Use the photo to cross reference the description. If any further questions remain, it is possible to email the seller via Ask The Seller. This will ensure that all questions are answered before a purchase is made.
When a product is chosen, eBay offer different safe and secure payment options. The most commonly used is PayPal. If at any stage there are issues with the product, eBay have a Buyer Protection Programme that ensures you are well looked after.
There are many reasons a Dog Safety Harness is necessary. It could be for travel or walking in public areas. Whatever the reason, there are many products available on eBay to fit the job description.
Always make sure to research what the best option is before buying. To make sure you know what is going on at all times when using eBay, there is a Buying Tips page. This will answer any frequently asked questions.
This will ensure the correct product is chosen and your dog will have many happy and safe years using the product.