Xtra Dog® Fleece Walking Harness
It is a common myth that attaching a lead to a dog’s collar is the best way to walk them.
Whilst a collar can look very nice on the dog and is ideal for hanging their ID tag, attaching a lead to it can put pressure on the neck and windpipe of the dog and can encourage them to pull on the lead. Walking your dog on a harness takes pressure off the neck because the lead connection is closer to the dog’s centre of gravity.
Harnesses can help to stop dogs pulling on the lead which reduces lead frustration.
Many dog trainers and competitors, as well as pet owners, use and recommend the use of harnesses, including vet behaviourist Dr. Tom Mitchell (Behavet /Absolute Dogs)
Certain dogs are more receptive to being walked with a two-point contact; using a double-ended lead attaching one connection to the front ring of the harness and the other end to the top ring of the harness. This method, developed by Tellington TTouch*, is ideal for a dog that pulls and eliminates the need for equipment such as choke chains, slip leads or pinch collars. Xtra Dog actively condemns the use of these so-called punitive methods of dog management and training.
Our fleece harnesses are designed by Tellington TTouch Instructor Marie Miller who is also a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and, inspired by Mel Fishback Riley’s x-back harness designs of the 1950s. Mel was the first person to use padding regularly in the manufacture of dog harnesses.
All of our fleece walking harnesses have a front ring as well as a top ring so that you can attach a double-ended lead, putting your dog into balance and helping to prevent pulling on the lead. Leash pulling is a major issue for so many owners. The Xtra Dog fleece walking harness is the only fleece harness where the front ring is incorporated into the original designed, rather than having been added on at a later stage from the original design as other manufacturers have. The position of the front ring is also paramount to the effectiveness in using a balancing harness and we have designed the front ring of the Xtra Dog harness to sit on the sternum bone, so the front of the harness does not pull round. Other manufacturers of this style of harness have added front rings to previous designs, but due to the shape of the harness the front ring sits too low, often between the dog’s legs, and do not have the same benefits
To Correctly size your dog, measure them behind the front legs around the rib cage and neck (Start at POINT OF BREASTBONE and pull tape snugly around base of the neck and back to POINT OF BREASTBONE. Go all the way around neck and back. THIS IS NOT A COLLAR MEASUREMENT, if you are unsure where to measure please watch the video below. Your harness should fit snugly but not tight. Allow two finger width all of the way around. The legs are adjustable left and right.
Watch the video below.
Watch this video to see how to measure your dog for a harness
Our Head of Training and Tellington TTouch practitioner, Alex Wilson has put this short video together explaining how a harness can help to stop a dog from pulling when combined with the Xtra Dog Training Lead.
Our walking harness uses O-rings rather than D-rings so that there is less wear on the webbing, prolonging the life of the harness. We can also make a custom-fit harness for any dog that does not fit into a standard fit.
This harness is currently offered in 11 standard fit sizes with a choice of colour. These harnesses can be machine washed at a low temperature. We advise against tumble drying as this can cause the fabric to ‘pill’ or shrink. Our fleece range of walking harnesses are British made near Manchester by a talented team of sewers.
Please note these harnesses are designed for dual connection, ie front and back (Tellington TTouch leading techniques) or to be used solely from the back (i.e. on the dogs shoulder). The Xtra Dog harness is not designed as a front leading harness.
When adjusting your Xtra Dog Fleece Walking Harness, remember that the sliders pass through the retaining straps on the girth piece. However, it may be a tight squeeze and you might even have to turn the slider 90 degrees to the side in order to slide it through. This is normal and using a little force (no tools please!!) isn’t going to damage the harness. We find a minority of dogs experience twisting on the fleece side straps (this is dependent on the dog’s gait, size, activity level, how good the harness fit is and where it is adjusted to). For most dogs this isn’t a problem and they don’t even notice, but if you find it to be a problem for your dog, it’s easy enough just to add in a stitch once you have adjusted the harness to the correct size and that will keep the strap fixed in place (depending on where you add the stitch, you might have to unstitch and restitch if you dog changes size and needs the harness adjusted so we definitely don’t recommend this for growing (or dieting!) dogs.
Our harness is designed to be snug however, you should be able to get two fingers clearance under the harness at all points. Here are some other fitting points to consider when deciding if you have the right size: The front ring should sit on the dog’s breastbone (sternum) The chest straps shouldn’t be digging into the dog’s ‘armpits’ even when they’re moving The harness should be snug, but not too tight or too loose – there shouldn’t be much movement of the harness when the dog moves The harness should not impede the dog’s front legs
ONLY BUY GENUINE XTRA DOG® HARNESSES
The Xtra Dog harnesses is a registered design, protected by law. Only genuine Xtra Dog harnesses and leads bare the Xtra Dog logo and design registration number 001999392, as illustrated above, (we recently updated our branding, both versions are genuine products). Sadly there are some companies who have chosen to copy our design badly who are using very old Xtra Dog measurements. As a company we carefully check our measurements every 24 months to make sure that we achieve the best fit for most breeds and cross-breeds of dogs based on current breed standards and trends, we also pride ourselves on very strict quality control. If you should buy a copy then it may not work in the same way as the Xtra Dog harness and will not be backed by a company with a heritage in the dog training world. Also these harnesses are not sewn to our own high standards. Choose the best, choose Xtra Dog.
ONLY BUY GENUINE XTRA DOG HARNESSES
Read our endorsements...
Used and recommended by:
Captain Team GB Agility
Head Trainer Devon Dogs
Head Trainer Absolute Dogs
Co-Founder Pro Dog Trainer Programme
Dr. Tom Michell BSc BVSc MRCVS
Vet Behavourist Behavet
Head Trainer Absolute Dogs
Co-Founder Pro Dog Trainer Programme
Proud to have sponsored...
Team GB Agility 2015 and 2016
Featured in Dogs Today Magazine
Dogs Today included us in their ‘Stop Dogs Pulling’ feature in the July 201. We were contacted by the then Commercial Director, Liz Dixon as she was having a problem stopping her young German Shepherd, Ferris, from pulling on the lead.
Xtra Dog’s head of training, Alex Wilson, travelled to Richmond Park in London armed with a an Xtra Dog walking harness, a double-ended training lead and some Tellington TTouch groundwork equipment to see what he could do to help. The results were incredible – using Tellington TTouch leading techniques, and the Xtra Dog harness we had Ferris walking in balance very quickly.
Liz explains: “At first, this was a constant interaction. pull and release or melt away … but gradually, Ferris started to slow down and respond to the gentle pressure, eventually walking to heel without any intervention from me at all“
The Xtra Dog Fleece Walking Harnesses put to the test by Dogs Today’s Liz Dixon
At the end of their tether! Ferris is now 16 weeks old! He is a lovely puppy – really eager to please, easygoing and obedient (most of the time!) apart from when we go out and he is on the lead. He walks beautifully on it (and indeed off it) in the garden – trotting along by my side quite happily. He is even pretty good outside in the lane. BUT, as soon as he sees another person or dog, or in fact anything remotely interesting, he starts to pull towards it and despite my best efforts – treats, changing direction, squeaky toy etc. I cannot seem to overcome the problem. I have recently been advised to continue to train him in the garden and not go out into the real world until he is ‘bomb proof’, however, I don’t see how he can learn to not do something unless he is encountering it. I seem to have experienced a whole raft of different training suggestions in the last few weeks and nothing seems to work. My only other experience of this ‘problem’ was with my last GSD – 14 years ago – and I confess that the favoured training method of checking the dog with a sharp tug did actually work!! Clearly this method is now deemed unreasonable but I am at a loss to know what to do for the best. Liz Dixon
… and what happened?…
Pulling on the lead – a Dog’s Today, Think Tank casebook. Here is a special report from Liz Dixon, Commercial Director of Dogs Today…
“Office dog Ferris is a young German Shepherd Dog, just over a year old – a happy, healthy boy with a fantastic temperament and a lovely disposition.He is my second GSD – I had a boy before – Jack – but this one is different in so many ways not least his desire to jump into every lake and river he encounters! A joy to walk off the lead, his exuberance and sheer delight at all he encounters is in turns entertaining and hilarious but the minute he goes back, or even starts on the lead, the trouble begins!He leans into the lead like a plough horse – his objective seemingly to pull me as quickly as possible to the nearest field, tree, friend or foe and, at times, to try to dislocate my shoulder or his neck!It had got to the point where I dreaded taking him anywhere on a lead and had restricted his walks to the fields opposite my house – boring for both of us, but essential for the well-being of my back. Working for Dogs Today Magazine has afforded me the opportunity to read about and talk to various experts about lead training. To say I had been blinded by science was probably an understatement and I was getting desperate for a cure. Christine, in the office, suggested we offered Ferris’s behaviour as a challenge with a view to seeing if we could find a cure and it was while talking about this to Alex Wilson at Xtra Dog, he offered to be the first to try to cure my hauling hound.”.
Xtra Dog specialise in and promote Tellington Touch, including Tellington TTouch groundwork which creates balance and harmony in a dog’s posture ensuring that it walks comfortably alongside its owner rather than pulling. Alex first demonstrated the concept with his own dog – Arapahoe (a beautiful Siberian Husky) and then it was Ferris’s turn. We had chosen to meet at Richmond Park, so a more distracting place could not have been found – we were contending with deer and their seemingly very entrancing droppings, rabbits and their equally diverting contribution, other dogs, walkers, bikers and a whole myriad of smells. Ferris was in seventh heaven and he was off like a rocket. We gave Alex a very clear demonstration of how well Ferris pulled – he would make a great sled dog!The next thing was to fit Ferris into one of Xtra Dog’s special harnesses. I had sent over his measurements prior to meeting Alex and so, we were pretty much spot on first time.
These harnesses have a ring on the breastbone and also in the middle of the shoulders, which allows for the double-ended lead to be attached. This lead, also, is special as its connectors are different sizes – the front (chest) one being smaller so as not to irritate the dog. Once fitted, we set off with me holding the lead, hands up and apart with my right hand slightly in front of Ferris’s head. The idea is to pull gently and equally and then, as the dog gets into the correct position, gently ‘melt away’ the contact. At first, this was a constant interaction – pull and release (or ‘melt away’), pull and release – but gradually, Ferris started to slow down and respond to the gentle pressure, gradually walking to heel without any intervention from me at all! We carried out some simple exercises designed to make the dog concentrate and slow down, and despite the many distractions, Ferris responded well to these tasks and did very well. The first one involved creating a ‘labyrinth’ on the ground through which we had to walk slowly, pausing at each turn for Ferris to sit and the second one was a series of lines over which we had to step which meant that he had to be careful about where he was putting his feet. I have to say that Alex’s ingenuity was impressive – he used long and narrow plastic pipes to designate both the maze and the ladder, which worked very well! Lastly, Alex demonstrated a calming and attention-grabbing method of stroking the lead upwards and away from the dog, pulling it towards you and ensuring any loss of concentration is quickly regained. I was convinced! “
Ferris was actually walking to heel and I was actually enjoying the experience! Hurrah! But, I couldn’t help worry, what would happen the next day when I took him out for his normal constitutional? Well, I am pleased to report, I needn’t have worried… If anything, he was even better in his own neighbourhood, and didn’t pull at all. He now walks beautifully on the harness and lead – I even got to try it with one hand and it worked! I know that I’ll have to keep up the ‘training’ and exercises, as I cannot expect a year’s bad habits to disappear totally in one day, but, so far, so VERY GOOD! Thank you Alex and Xtra Dog – you have made my back and my dog very happy!”
Liz Dixon, Dogs Today
CHOOSE THE BEST, CHOOSE XTRA DOG HARNESSES
Thank you ever so much for our lovely harness bought at Crufts! My favourite kind of harnesses, and this one fits her perfectly. Also got one for one of my clients who is a bit of a puller, along with a double ended lead. Works fantastically, highly recommend! Bethan O’Brien