Now reviewing a toy this week but something very dear to my heart all the same: harnesses.
Sometimes I hate the internet for all its information, which then turns out to be disappointing or misleading.
About a week ago, against my better judgement, I logged on to CleanRun’s free shipping section, measured Lumen, and clicked ‘buy’ on a ComfortFlex Sport Harness. Now, as you’ll be able to tell from the review, I’m certainly not being sponsored to write this post, and am not affiliated with ComfortFlex or CleanRun in any way.
I’d read heaps of positive reviews. Only one negative review that complained that although the girth fit the dog, the chest was way too big. Well, your dog is weird, I thought. I’d even read reviews from someone who had very touch-sensitive rescues who were quite happy with this harness. That’s promising!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here yet but Lumen is a cat. Her Mum is very flighty when it comes to putting things on her, over her head, etc, and Lumen is exactly the same. And I promise you, this is not through a lack of socialisation as a pup because she loves cuddles and pats, everywhere. But, drape a lead over her back and she’ll crab-walk to avoid it. Put a lead in her path and she can’t bring herself to push under it, and does a big song and dance about going around it. Then, there’s harnesses. Every harness I’ve ever tried on her (bar one, and it’s not this one), results in a frozen, awkward, crab-like dog who walks with a stiff tail and can’t move faster than a weird walk, and won’t play with toys. Not exactly conducive if you want her to be doing full-on running in the harness. So, for whatever reason, I thought maybe this one would be different.
It arrived quickly- a week after I’d ordered, folded up in a little parcel. I opened it and it felt a bit stiff. I did some clicker training with Lu, getting her to nose-touch the harness, and then gradually to put her head through the head hole. The hole was generous, meaning that, amazingly, she was actually happy to stick her head through. As always, she baulked a little the moment it sat on her back, but she was ok with it.
I did the harness up, and she seemed ok. Once we’d played around with it initially like this, I did it up – the medium size girth was too big for her, despite her having a 24 inch girth, which falls into the medium size I bought- as she’s only 7 months old, I didn’t want to order the next size down incase she still had filling out to do, since the maximum size of the Small/Medium was 25 inches. So, I couldn’t really do up the girth tight enough and also do the buckle up… it was either velcro by itself and tight enough, or too loose with the buckle. Hmm. Also, the chest strap was huge. I’m talking it stuck out off Lumen’s body by a good 4 inches. I know she’s a baby but she’s a female- I don’t think she’s going to be getting that big of a chest any time soon.
Harness done up, I pulled against it, and felt her resist – that was nice, and a nicer feeling than her other harness that I don’t think pulls on her as comfortably. I threw a treat forward and….
Tail frozen… awkward crab walk.
Look, possibly I could spend the next few weeks trying to clicker-train her into liking this harness on her but I honestly don’t know if it’s going to happen. She’s pretty strongly hard-wired to hate anything on her (thanks, Lumen’s mum, for that) and doesn’t ever relax enough for me to reward her for wearing the harness and being normal. The thing is, she’ll let me put it on, and do it up, but try and get her moving and you can forget about it. If anyone has any bright ideas, please let me know. I’ve borrowed one harness from a friend and it’s the only harness in existence so far that she moves normally in once it’s on, so it can be done! Just this particular harness doesn’t work for my dog.
So, to all those positive reviews out there, I’m sure the harness works well for you, but I’m in the category of having a weird dog with a small chest, who hates wearing harnesses, even nice, soft comfortable ones that would be really fun to do agility in.
Unfortunately, I think I’ll be sending this one back to America.