Friday, July 29, 2005

Harness comparison

The harnesses below were all created for a specific job. Although there are other types of harnesses, I'll focus on the ones I choose to use personally. Always make sure you have a well fitting harness. The proper size will allow your dog to work most efficiently and reduce risk of injury.

Standard walking harness



The standard walking harness can be found in any local pet store unlike the other harnesses which have to be ordered through specialty shops. It's a light weight harness that is not meant for heavy pulling. The nylon is thin and there is no padding. Both the neck and the chest straps are adjustable so it can be used for multiple dogs.

Purpose:
- Biking with a bike attachment (no pulling)
- Walking
- Light tracking
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The Guard Harness, also known as the Urban Trails or the Distance harness



If you compare the Guard harness with your standard walking harness, you'll notice the nylon is thicker and it's padded through the shoulders. The chest strap is adjustable, but the neck is not, therefore a custom fit is required. The neck must fit properly for the dog's safety. (Consult your dealer for proper sizing instructions.) This harness is prefered over the X-back by some bikejorers, skijorers and scooterers. They feel that with the higher angle of the tug line, the Guard harness cannot lift off the dogs back as an X-back would, making it more efficient and comfortable for the dog.

Purpose:
- Bikejoring
- Scootering
- Skijoring
- Sledding
- Tracking
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The X-back harness



The X-back harness is the harness most often seen on sled dogs. The large "X" evenly distributes pulling weight. The neck is padded with a thick front strap extending between the front legs, designed for hard, comfortable pulling over long distances. The "X" should extend to the base of the tail. Consult your dealer for proper fit.

Purpose:
- Sledding
- Bikejoring
- Scootering
- Skijoring
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The Weight pull, or Freight harness



The Freight harness is designed for heavy weight pulling. It's similar to the X-back harness with the padded neck and the "X" design on the back, but the side straps are much longer, extending along the dogs body to beyond the back legs. You'll notice a spreader bar a few inches behind the dogs body. This keeps the pressure off the dogs spine and rear legs, letting the dog dig in and pull with it's chest comfortably and safely. A competition harness has thicker nylon straps designed to pull even more weight (hundreds of pounds or more). Unless you have competition plans the harness below is suitable for most dogs.
This harness can also be used for carting with the addition of shaft holders. The spreader bar takes the place of the tree, but because it's always attached to the harness it rest on the dogs legs when not in use, making it uncomfortable for long time wear.

Purpose:
- Weight pulling
- Carting
- Wheel dog
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The Siwash harness



The Siwash harness is designed mainly for carting. It has an adjustable chest strap with loops for holding the shafts up in place. The two traces attach from the o-rings on the harness to the tree on the cart, keeping the pulling weight off the dogs back legs in the same way the spreader bar does in the Freight harness. It's possible to purchase traces with a spreader bar designed for weight pulling, making this a versatile harness. It's got the same padded neck design that you see in the Freight , the X-back and the Guard harness. This design keeps pressure off the dogs shoulders, letting them lean in and pull with full force and freedom of movement.

Purpose:
- Carting
- Weight pulling

2 comments:

Red Wolf said...

Where did you get that Siwash?

K9-CRAZY said...

I got her siwash harness from Nordkyn Outfitters: http://nordkyn.com

Their website is a little confusing, to find the harnesses you click on equipment, accessories and then harnesses. The service was good when I ordered from them and that harness fit Ceilidh well.

Bullet's siwash harness came from http://www.wilczekwoodworks.com/harnesses.php I recommend them as well.