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January 26, 2014

PetSafe® Expert

PetSafe® Guest

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood and I –  I Took the One My Dog Dragged Me Down

By Robin Rhea, Senior Brand Manager

Robin with Finn and Buckley. Robin with Finn and Buckley.

Perseverance is to be admired, right? Not if your dog is pulling, lunging or endlessly straining while on a leash. Bulldogs were admired and bred for their fearlessness initially, and the evidence of their tenacious spirit can be seen as the broad-chested bullies drag their owners wherever they like.  

Bulldogs rank as the 5th most popular dog breed in the US by the AKC[1] , which means there is good company for those of us attempting to wrangle our bulldogs in to walking nicely on a leash.   Consider tossing the traditional collar and go for something to help you literally harness your courageous creature, whether you’re stopping by woods on a snowy evening, or just taking a turn in your cul-de-sac.

A no-pull harness that offers a front attach, such as an Easy Walk Harness, will help you direct your bully more easily. Along with having more control, a front attachment harness changes the placement of the pressure which your dog pulls against in a collar or back attachment harness.  While you are shopping for a no-pull solution for your dog, consider the following:

Measure: With bully breeds, getting the right size of harness is critical. Your dog's chest and body measurements will be much more effective than weight or even breed recommendations as your sizing guide in harnesses. Note the girth measurement, which is the deepest part of the chest, all the way around the dog just behind the front legs.  Look for harnesses with girth measurements, or carry measuring tape with you while shopping.  Get the right fit of your Easy Walk Harness! Get the right fit of your Easy Walk Harness!

Front Attachment Harness: If looking for a no –pull harness like our front attach Easy Walk Harness, you will also want to measure the length needed for the chest strap as shown in the diagram below.

Measure across the front of the dog from just behind and above the front leg joint to the same point on the other side. Because this harness is made to accommodate so many dogs, this extra measurement can help determine which of the eight sizes will give your dog the best fit.

Once you have the right size, fitting the harness to your dog effectively is key. The Easy Walk Harness features 3 adjustment points to get just the right fit everywhere.

Step 1: Fit the Shoulder strap

  • Open the quick-snap buckle on the belly strap, and place the shoulder strap over the dog’s head with the chest strap resting on the dog’s chest.
  • Adjust the shoulder strap so that the connector rings sits above and behind the dog’s shoulder.

Step 2: Fit the Belly strap

  • Connect the belly strap quick-snap buckle.  Tighten the belly strap to a comfortable, snug fit.

Once the shoulder and belly straps have been connected and adjusted they should….

  1. Resemble a vertical line – as much as possible, and should not be in the dog's sensitive armpit area.
  2. Have a snug fit – so “snug” that only a finger width can get between the nylon strap and the dog’s fur. A snug fit is important because the girth straps (shoulder and belly straps combined) create the “foundation” that keeps the harness in place, preventing the straps from moving against the dog’s fur.

Step 3:  Fit the Chest strap

  • AFTER you have the girth straps properly secured, you can begin to fit the chest strap.  Gently press your fingers on the lower front of the dog’s chest to locate the breastbone.
  • Adjust each portion of the chest strap equally to keep the D-ring centered.
  • When adjusted correctly, the chest strap will be horizontal, resting over the dog’s breastbone. The strap should not hang down, gap or choke the dog.  If this is happening, you may require a different size.
  • Attach the leash to the D-ring on the chest strap and go for a walk!

Additional harness fitting and use tips (Easy Walk or Sure Fit Harnesses)

  • You may need to remove the harness during fitting to make adjustments.
  • Check the fit again after the dog has walked in the harness for a few minutes. Readjust if needed.
  • Choose a leash with a light, but sturdy clasp. Using a leash with a heavy clasp may cause  the chest strap to sag.
  • It is also not recommended to use a flex lead, as the constant tension will cause the chest strap to loosen on its own, as well as it will encourage the dog to pull.
  • A proper fit and use will avoid having any chaffing or rubbing for dogs with sensitive skin.

If you have a stubborn bully baby in your house, you already know that you could do worse than be a lover of bulldogs. By taking the steps to measure and fit your determined dog in a harness properly, you will go a long way in making your walk with your dog an easy one. 1

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