Whenever Sadie and I are leaving the house, I signal to her that we are going out by getting her collar. I typically put on her collar and jacket or harness dress and then go get my jacket and shoes on. Sadie has invented a game during that brief window of time that she finds very amusing. It’s not very funny to me, especially when we’re running late. I call it her “Get It Off Me” game.
The Get It Off Me Game begins when I close the last Velcro strap, buckle, or zipper of Sadie’s jacket or harness dress. She doesn’t start the game when her collar goes on – that would be too soon. But as soon as that jacket or harness is on, Sadie runs to one of a variety of cushioned objects. Sometime she runs to the couch, sometimes it’s my bed, sometimes it’s her dog house, or just a dog bed. Regardless of which she chooses, Sadie runs full speed and then leaps onto the convenient cushion. Then she rolls around trying to get the jacket or harness off of her. Sometimes she is able to undo the Velcro against the side of the couch or bed. Sometimes she gets one leg or her head out of her outfit. She’s even ripped off buttons and decorative flowers from her dresses or jackets during this game.
All of this occurs only in the time it takes me to get my shoes and jacket on. If I’m ready to leave and open the door, then I’ve won the game and Sadie happily accepts her defeat and heads down the stairs. If she doesn’t come to me when I open the door, then I’ve lost the game. Sadie has won by at least partially removing her outerwear. I then have to put down my purse and whatever else I’m inevitably carrying and resecure Sadie’s jacket or harness so we can safely leave the house.
Sadie’s got a new specialty harness we’ve been working with lately – the Xtreme Pet Products No-Pull Harness. Now you may be asking why in the world I need a harness to stop pulling when Sadie is a pretty small dog. She usually seems well behaved too. But what you don’t know is that in certain circumstances, Sadie does have a tendency to pull. She’s not a big, strong dog, so it’s not a dangerous problem, but it’s still an issue I thought it was time to address. Hence our testing of the Xtreme Pet Products No-Pull Harness.
When I first received this harness, I was a little confused about how to use it. Don’t be embarrassed if you look at a harness and just see a bunch of strings with no idea where they go, because that’s how I feel at first too. But the Xtreme Pet Products website has a nice PDF file that you can save or print to show you exactly how to put your dog into the No-Pull harness (click here to view the PDF instructions). There are two loops that go around your dog and you just need to slip both over your dog’s head with the larger loop going on first.
Now Sadie’s main issue with pulling relates to avoidance. She is not comfortable with other dogs, so she tries to pull me away from them. This sometimes happens with people or strange/noisy objects as well. This behavior can sometimes be embarrassing for me, like in the sponsor room at the BlogPaws conference when Sadie got tangled under a vendor table trying to avoid probably the most well behaved dog I’ve ever seen. So I decided to take Sadie to some pet stores so we could encounter other dogs and see if this harness could really stop the pulling. There was definitely a difference in Sadie’s behavior. With any old harness, Sadie would be straining at the end of her leash and halfway into the next aisle if I went near another dog. With the Xtreme No-Pull Harness, Sadie would attempt one pull and then just stop and look at me. So far this harness test is a success.
I also took some video of Sadie and I on a walk using the Xtreme Pet Products No-Pull Harness. The video was taken towards the end of our walk, when we are about half a block from our house. At this point in the walk Sadie is normally rushing as fast as she can, trying to drag me down the street to our house. She typically looks like a little sled dog trying to mush me home. But with this harness on, Sadie acted completely different. As you can see in the video, Sadie is just walking along normally, occasionally looking back at me. Instead of pulling harder when she reached the end of the leash, Sadie just glanced over her shoulder, as if waiting for instructions or waiting for me to catch up.
The No-Pull Harness from Xtreme Pet Products comes in 21 different colors. Many of the colors contain reflective threads to help increase the visibility of your dog. Ours is pink, of course, with silvery white reflective threads. It’s made in the USA from a shock absorbent material that stretches when you apply pressure, which helps to lessen the strain placed on your dog. The No-Pull Harness is only for dogs 10 pounds and larger. You actually order the harness by picking your dog’s weight from the list, ensuring you receive the best size. You can get your own for $30-$37.
Thanks for liking us! Sadie and I really appreciate the love!
Here’s my little pup wearing her first harness dress. I absolutely love harness dresses! Since Sadie is a small dog with a delicate neck, attaching a leash directly to her collar isn’t safe for her. That means Sadie needs to wear a harness to attach a leash to. While there are many utilitarian harnesses with just the necessary straps to keep the dog in and the leash attached, I prefer something more stylish for my Sadie. That’s when I discovered harness dresses. They usually attach around the dog’s stomach and neck with Velcro or buckles (not meant for powerful pullers) and have a d-ring on the back for attaching a leash. Most importantly, they look adorable. And for those of you who feel guilty making their dogs wear clothing, the harness dress is a perfect compromise. Your small dog needs to wear some type of harness, so it might as well be in the form of an adorable dress.