My dog Radar is challenging on walks. He loves the cats he lives with, but he wants to eat cats we pass on the street. He loves his canine sister Ralph, but he barks at dogs he meets on-leash. He loves every human male who enters our home, but on walks…well, you get the picture.
Radar is fearful and leash-reactive, and often lunges on-leash. Although we’ve been through lots of training, I still have to be very careful with him on walks. I’m not only worried about negative encounters with other animals and people (though of course, I never want him to harm anyone or anything). I’m also worried about the stress of leash-pulling on Radar’s now-elderly joints.
Over the years. we’ve tried every training harness and collar on the market: no-pull head halters, front-clip harnesses, even a prong collar. They all provided temporary relief from Radar’s pulling, and for a while, the front-control Halti harness was a great fit. But as he got older and developed arthritis, he needed something more.
At 11 years old, Radar is still a cannonball at the end of the leash, but his joints are increasingly weak. Sometimes, he steps wrong on the hardwood floor and his legs go out from under him. On walks, he’ll lunge towards a tasty gutter snack and wipe out completely, landing on his side or back. In these situations, a plain collar or no-pull harness is too harsh on his old man joints.
The fact is, after all these years, Radar is going to pull on leash. I don’t need an anti-pull device; I need a pro-Radar device. My veterinarian suggested buying a harness that would:
- Distribute pressure evenly throughout Radar’s body
- Offer me more control
- Be extra-visible so people would see us coming, night or day
I also wanted something with plenty of padding and an adjustable fit so Radar would be comfortable wearing it all day long.
It took a lot of web-searching and review-reading. I even ordered and returned a few harnesses that didn’t make the cut. But finally, I found it: the RuffWear WebMaster Secure Harness.
I chose red, but it comes in a few different color options: from $37.95 on Amazon. Pro tip: click around through different colors and size combos to find a variety of prices.
- An anatomical design that provides load dispersion (in other words, when Radar pulls at the leash, the pressure is distributed across his chest and back rather than his neck and joints)
- A handle for controlled, balanced lifting in situations where I need to just pick him up and move past an obstacle, or help him get up into the car
- A customizable fit with adjustable straps (especially useful as Radar’s weight fluctuates in old age)
- Foam-padded chest and belly straps for a comfortable fit
- Two secure leash attachment points
- Reflective trim for visibility and safety in low-light environments
It took a little time for Radar to get used to wearing his WebMaster Secure. But after some in-home practice, short training walks, and lots of treats, he was a harness-wearing pro. Now, he can’t wait for me to slip the harness over his head, pull his leg through the front loop, and buckle the clasps.
Even though the WebMaster Secure isn’t designed as an anti-pull device, it has made a huge difference in Radar’s leash manners. Because the leash attaches at the back, and distributes pressure evenly across his body, his pulling isn’t as jarring to him (or to my arm). I have greater control over him, which makes it a lot easier to steer him past cats, dogs, people, paper bags blowing in the wind…you get the picture.
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