Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

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jennageit
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Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by jennageit » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:33 am

Hi guys,

Recently I started putting all my years of dog training to use and started helping out people with their "problem" dogs. I'm not a qualified trainer, it's just something I've been doing for close to 30 years. I read, watch, study, read some more etc etc on every method of training that I can get my hands on, and then (like I did with the horses), I do what works, throw out what doesn't, and modify everything to suit the individual dog, then handler.

Before I go any further, I just want to have a little brag. In the last 6 weeks, I've helped 11 people stop feeling the need to re-home, surrender (or worse still) put their dogs down because of so-called bad behaviour. All dogs and family members are doing particularly well, but all are still a work in progress. I even got a card from one beautiful little 7 year old girl thanking me for helping them with their dog because now she's not afraid of her anymore, and her mummy said they can keep her! How beautiful is that?!

Anyway, I'm a BIG, HUGE fan of the no-pull harnesses. I'm using one on my Border Collie girl, and because of it, I can walk her without worry of her reefing on me and hurting my back. She no-longer pulls because it doesn't get her anywhere, and in the last week she's been walking off the collar only and staying by my leg.

The problem I'm having is this: Most of my clients have large breed/solid dogs. We're talking, Bernese Mountain Dogs, American Bulldogs, American Staffies, Bullmastiffs and everything in between. No matter where I look, or how much I'm prepared to spend, I cannot find harnesses in Australia that are big enough for these dogs! The Large size only just fits my BC girl, and she's not particularly big. The XL will fit a German Shepherd, but only if adjusted out as far as possible.

If you're in Australia, do you know of anyhwere where I could get bigger sizes?

If not, do the ones that Victoria promotes adjust out far enough for large breed dogs?

As I'm getting busier and busier with the training, I'm finding that I'm going to have to keep more of these in stock. I gave my Large sized harness to a lady so that she could walk her dog. She could afford the lessons (not expensive), but had other bills to pay and couldn't afford to pay for the harness from me. I paid $AUD45.00 for it, was going to sell it to her for the same price but she couldn't stretch that far at the time. She has told me she'll pay me back for it, and in the meantime, has sent another 8 people to me for help with their dogs. I told her it's a gift from me to her.

Now, the reason I'm looking for these harnesses in larger sizes, and at a reasonable price is because I have volunteered my services to a couple of the rescue shelters in the surrounding areas. They have quite a few institutionalised dogs that are not being chosen for adoption because they have no training, no manners etc etc. It doesn't cost me anything but time, and if it saves just one dog from being put down, or helps one dog to get a forever home, it's worth my time. I want to use the no-pull harnesses on these dogs especially as they work so well, and i've found that in very little time, the dogs learn all by themselves that walking calmly on a lead opens up a big wide world to them.

Can anyone on here suggest somewhere to get them from? Can I buy them from Victoria's "shop" and have them sent to Australia?

Any advice would be fantastic. Thanks in advance guys

Jenna
Kids, dogs, family, writing, coffee and chocolate. What more is there in life?
Oh yeah, updating my blog daily, there's always that too!

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Nettle
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Re: Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by Nettle » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:03 am

Do you have a saddler nearby who could make them for you, using the pattern of one you have but scaling up for size as necessary? Doesn't have to be all leather (expensive) but maybe they would be willing to use some leather and some fabric. Failing that, what about a crafts group?
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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Erica
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Re: Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by Erica » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:31 pm

If you're using front-clip harnesses, I find I get similar if not better results from using a standard Roman harness and a double ended leash, one end clipped to the front ring of the harness (where all the other straps come together) and one on the normal back clip. The front ring isn't really meant for this purpose but it works well when the harness is fitted properly!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

jennageit
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:51 pm
Location: Victoria, Australia
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Re: Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by jennageit » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:00 pm

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the advice.

I have some of the materials to make my own harnesses, but nothing to sew them up with (apparently my sewing machine isn't quite up to the job). I approached one saddler who asked for the letter stating that I had permission from the designer to make them. No help there.

I'll look into the Roman harness side of things.

By the way, it's standard for me to use either two leads or a double ended lead, especially training, in case there is a failure of equipment. Also, when training, I always "ask" with the collar, demand with the harness if it comes to that. I believe in giving the dog every opportunity to get it right. I've managed to get one dog (Husky X Shar Pei X Staffy - and you can see all 3 breeds in her) to listen to my footsteps when walking. If I scuff a little, she now slows down. She's no-longer pulling her owner all over the countryside and is heeling nicely by your leg.

Thanks again guys

Jenna
Kids, dogs, family, writing, coffee and chocolate. What more is there in life?
Oh yeah, updating my blog daily, there's always that too!

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Nettle
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Re: Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by Nettle » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:36 am

Have you contacted the harness company with your request? Might be as simple as asking them to make bigger sizes.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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Ari_RR
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Re: Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by Ari_RR » Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:23 pm

Great accomplishments!

As for no-pull harnesses....
The ones I've seen work by tightening when the dog pulls. I have to say - they were all, without exception, uncomfortable for my 110 lb boy. Especially so the very popular EasyWalk....Poorly fitting, and I suspect potentially can lead to injuries.

We use a 50 feet long leash a lot, so he has to wear a harness for that, but it's a regular one, with a front clip... Fits a lot better, doesn't obstruct movement.

Hope you'll find what you are looking for, though.

jennageit
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:51 pm
Location: Victoria, Australia
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Re: Need help with harness (long post) + a little success story!

Post by jennageit » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:25 am

Hi Guys,

So I found a lady who could make up a harness to suit one of my "beefy" clients. We tried it out this evening and it worked beautifully. The dog took to it really quickly, and although she still wants to pull a little, she's no-where near as bad. She doesn't cough and splutter like she used to with the collar, and you could see her waiting to see if it bit into her neck. Honestly, she's a little Rhino, and has been dragging her owners all over the countryside for coming on 4 years, so it isn't something that is going to be stopped overnight. In saying that, when they used to walk her on a collar, he tail was always down, almost between her legs. Today, her tail was flapping around in the breeze and didn't hold still the whole time, even when she got corrected.

I showed the results to the lady who made the harness for us, and she's agreed to make more when I need them. She made this one up in 3 days, and it was perfect.

Also, the other dog belonging to the same owner has also stopped pulling. I put her on a correction chain, and all it took was a jingle on the chain and she stopped pulling. She back onto a collar (chain was on for maybe 30 seconds - put on because dog was originally taught on a chain rather than a collar), and leading beautifully.

I put her to the test tonight (painfully for me) by going for a short run with the dog. She didn't go past my leg the whole time, even when I stopped (I slowed down first to give her a chance to stop without hitting the end of the lead) and she looked very pleased with herself for doing good. I told her owner not to bother with the correction chain as I don't believe the dog needs it. Also, the owner hasn't had any experience with a correction chain, and there's too much chance of her unwittingly hurting the dog.
We also had a big win with this girl today. Previously she would lunge at any dog she saw. She wasn't aggressive, but her lunging would bring out the defensiveness of other dogs, causing stress for all concerned.
Today, we introduced my dog into the equation. I handed my dog over to the owner, and I took the client dog. Within ten minutes, we were walking our own dogs side by side, swapping so that I was in front, then she was, with neither dog reacting. I used my male because he is non-reactive. He can have a dog going ballistic at him and as long as I don't react, well, all is right with the world.

So we had a very successful training session, everyone is a little tired, but best of all, the owner is so proud of her dogs, and how quickly they are learning. She's also ectastic by the change in the household. Her dogs are listening to her, behaving themselves, and are no-longer counter surfing or trying to climb on the bed. They go onto their mats and bedtime and stay there.

Sorry for the long post, but I'm so pleased for her, and her dogs!

Jenna
Kids, dogs, family, writing, coffee and chocolate. What more is there in life?
Oh yeah, updating my blog daily, there's always that too!

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