*Please note we haven’t had the harness long or used it on a walk due to rain, so these are my initial thoughts – I’ll give an update in a week or so once we’ve used the harness on walks to include that too!*
What? Nervous dog vest harness from Friendly Dog Collars
Price: £9 – 13, please note if you order from amazon Prime the price is cheaper on smaller sizes, whereas if you order from the company’s site they’re all £13
There is definitely a gap in the market in the UK for harnesses that ask other dogs / people to stay away.
In America there are various places you can find a selection of wonderful harnesses with messages, but in the UK we seem to only have leads, sleeves, or vests that are worn over or under a harness. For a dog that is already anxious about having harnesses put on, I didn’t think it was fair to put a harness AND vest on her!
We had some issues regarding the sizing of the harnesses, and when I contacted the company asking which size we should order they were very unhelpful – they said we should order the size that Pixie is almost already too small for, and didn’t reply when I called them out on this.
We ordered the XS size, which is the smallest vest harness they sell, and which would fit Pixie’s girth but according to them not fit Pixie’s head – they give two maximum head sizes (9 inches and 10 inches) and Pixie’s apple-shaped head measured 10.5 inches 😀
Nevertheless I’d seen other Chihuahuas and Dachshund-type dogs wearing the XS, so we just went ahead and ordered it, with the intention of returning if it didn’t fit.
Evidently they have gotten their sizing for the head hole slightly wrong 😉
It’s a snug fit when taking it off, but it doesn’t present a problem even for Pixie.
The harness itself doesn’t feel particularly comfortable or well made. I don’t mean from a durability stand point as obviously it’s too early days to tell, but from a comfort for the dog standpoint.
The inside of the harness is padded, but the strap that goes behind the front legs is very thin, tough, sharp nylon. I don’t think (/am hoping) this will not be an issue for Pixie, as she doesn’t pull on lead and is small so on the rare occasions when she might pull there isn’t much strength behind it.
However for larger dogs that pulled and especially short-haired breeds I’d be concerned.
The neck hole is also needlessly small.
This was evidenced by the fact that the harness flat-out didn’t fit a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, it almost doesn’t fit a Chihuahua x Dachshund, and I’ve read several other customers who have bought it where it does fit over their dogs’ head but is stupidly tight around the dogs’ neck.
Again this isn’t an issue with Pixie, but for others thinking of buying this harness it’s something to be aware of.
To fasten the harness you need to slip it over the dogs’ head and then either manually lift their left leg through a loop or, if you’ve undone the strap from the loop behind the D clip (directly under ‘Dexil’ in the picture below), you’ll need to thread it through and fasten it to the buckle on the dogs’ right hand side.
The harness does sit very close behind Pixie’s legs, especially when she is lying or sitting. Whilst I again don’t think this will be an issue with Pixie, I am more concerned than I would be as the strap is so stiff and not at all padded.
We will be watching closely for signs of rubbing.
There are two D clips on this harness, one on the front and one on the back.
Both the clips sit very high up and close to the dogs’ neck, which renders this harness more like a collar than many other harnesses. Something to be aware of if your dog’s a puller or if they’re a breed with delicate necks or breathing issues.
- A harness that has a clear message on it and is colour coded
- Available with various messages eg. in training, blind, service dog etc.
- The vest part is padded
- The head hole is smaller than some, eg. CosyDogs, which means there’s less of an escape risk
- Cheap harness
- Front D clip as well as rear
- Whilst the harness is very well priced, I would rather pay more for a nervous dog harness that had a better design
- Head hole is ridiculously small and something dog owners need to be aware of
- Neck hole can’t be adjusted in terms of size
- Bit of a pain to get on as there’s only one buckle
- Rear strap sits close to the front legs and are very tough and unforgiving, not at all padded
- Front D clip is very high up on throat
- Rear D clip is closer to the neck rather than lower down on the harness, which means the harness functions more like a collar than most harnesses do
- The red version of this harness reads’CAUTION’, which is why we went for the nervous one – caution implies Pixie is a bite risk and makes her seem dangerous; we’d have much prefer one that said ‘NEED SPACE’, ‘KEEP AWAY’, ‘FEARFUL, ‘VERY SCARED’ etc.
In conclusion we rate this harness: 1.5 out of 4 paws!
I felt one was too low as it does fill a niche and it’s not a truly dreadful harness, but I didn’t feel it deserved a two as there are a lot of design flaws and on top of that customer service is nowhere near what it could be.