What are the benefits of using a harness instead of a collar? I have a few really good answers to that question. Earlier this year, we had been taking Aspen to a veterinary chiropractor for various therapies. The veterinary chiropractor said that if a dog happens to pull while a leash is attached to a collar, that can lead to acute and chronic neck pain/injuries, to both the soft and hard tissues. Second, if a dog pulls hard enough, it can cause a lot of damage to the trachea and larynx, which can then lead to other problems down the road.
The third reason why we use a harness instead of a collar is because a harness allows us to have full-body control. This is extremely important when trekking along steep mountainsides or rough terrain. If Aspen were to slip, we could have some lifting capability of her body with the harness instead of strangling her by the collar. Too many times, I have seen that happen. For everyday wear, Aspen wears the KeepSafe Breakaway Collar.
With all of these things considered, we wanted a harness that would be lightweight, yet provide padded chest coverage for snowshoeing, hiking and everyday walking. The padded chest piece is very important because a harnesses made with a thin strap that runs down the center of the chest can lead to problems. The thin strap usually doesn’t stay entirely centered in the middle of the chest, as it tends to slide to the side under the armpits. That can lead to skin chaffing, and more importantly, can cause the shoulder to pull out of socket when/if the dog pulls. It does happen, which is why people should NOT loop the leash underneath a dog’s armpit to “control them.” One bad pull, and the dog’s shoulder could be severely injured.
FIT & DURABILITY: Aspen has worn her Ruffwear Front Range Harness swimming, hiking, snowshoeing and walking for three years now. The material is extremely durable and hardly shows any signs of wear from use. Plus, is super easy to put on: just place it over the head, and buckle the straps around the torso. The padded chest piece extends under the stomach, and then wraps up along each side of the torso, thus preventing armpit chaffing. On the downside, I think the straps can be a challenge to adjust. It is also important to mention that this harness fit perfectly underneath her winter jacket that she wore while snowshoeing in colder temperatures.
LEASH ATTACHMENT: There are two options: a rubber-coated nylon loop located on the front of the chest and a metal loop located on back top of the harness. We use the metal loop because you don’t want pulling friction from the side of their body, as that could lead to chiropractic misalignment.
OTHER FEATURES: The harness is available in six bright colors and has reflective trim all around the edges of the harness. But I don’t think the reflective trim is that effective, so when walking at night, we attach a blinking light to her collar or put on a separate velcro reflective collar.
We shared many wonderful adventures with Aspen. She passed away from cancer March 31, 2019, two weeks after her birthday.
Overall: Great Purchase
Price paid: $39.95
Place purchased: Amazon
Link to Ruffwear website: Ruffwear
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