Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Turn your Dog's Leash into a Harness in Under Five Minutes

As embarrassing as it is for me to admit, after the move to Portland Archie became fear aggressive. We lived with my parents over the summer in a rural area; they have some acreage, so he got to run around whenever he wanted and there was hardly ever any traffic noise or people showing up randomly or walking by. Even though we’ve been in the city for a little over a month now, he’s still not used to all the constant sounds and people.

He’s super shy and insecure. He doesn’t enjoy walking as much as he used to, which breaks my heart. He thinks he has to protect me, so he growls and barks and people and dogs, even if they’re not approaching us and are more than 20 feet away. Sometimes he lunges. He’s never bit, but his behavior makes me nervous because many families live in our complex with small children. What if one of them approached him suddenly, and out of fear he snapped at the child?

I decided I needed to enroll us in obedience school. For $109 dollars we get six weeks of courses, at one course per week. This breaks down to roughly $20 per class, which seems pretty reasonable to me. After all, we’re getting help from a professional trainer, and I'm astounded at how quickly Archie is learning.

On Sunday the trainer showed me how to turn Archie’s leash into a harness, which I am so stoked about because now I don’t have to spend $30+ on a harness that he’ll quickly out grow, and then have to buy another one for another $30+ that he might outgrow later on too. And as this blog is all about being innovative and saving money, I thought I’d show you how to do this. It's super simple and takes under five minutes too! 

You will need:
-A loose lead leash
-A flat buckle collar
-Your dog

1. Grab your dog (who should already be wearing his collar, you responsible adult). Give him a big hug.
Archie thinks the leash is a game.
2. Attach the leash to the collar like you normally would. Position the clip so it rests between his shoulder blades.

3. Then wrap the leash underneath his chest, behind his front legs where his “armpits” would be.

4. Pull the leash up on the other side, pulling it under the spot where the leash-clippy attaches to the collar. Do not pull it through the collar.

5. Adjust as needed. Archie squirms a lot, so I always have to wiggle the part that wraps under his chest a little.
What a handsome young lad.
6. Take your dog for a walk! Or potty, or whatever. LOVE HIM.
As soon as the leash is on, he's all business.
I can’t express how awesome this trick is. I feel so much better about walking Archie now, because the harness makes him much easier to manage. It doesn’t pull on his neck/windpipe either, so I don’t have to worry anymore about possibly hurting or injuring him, or about his collar slipping over his head. He seems to enjoy walking a little more now too! It also keeps him on a shorter leash, so he has to learn to walk beside me. So cool! Plus it totally fooled my neighbors. They thought he was wearing a "real" harness until I showed them. When he's full grown I'll buy him a proper harness, but for now this works nicely. 

And of course, this is incredibly cheap and easy to do. The trainer even told me, "Why buy an expensive harness when you can keep doing this and it works just as well?" 

Do you use a harness for your dog? If not, is this something you will try?

1 comment:

  1. When our dog, Hank, really hit his full size, we tried a lot of different collar/harness things to help us walk him safely. He's very sweet and friendly, but he's big and likes to bark at/chase cats and squirrels, and has VERY good eyesight. So we have a harness for him, but it's such a pain to get him into it with his long legs and his squirming...we generally just walk him with a collar and leash since he's calmed down some, but harnesses are the bomb for painless control. Glad it's working for you and Archie!


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