Updated April 13, 2021
Not long ago I published a survey of top Australian dog trainers about their favourite harnesses.
One particular harness stood out from the rest: the Perfect Fit®. At the time, I had not heard of it, and it was hard to purchase due to the need for a custom fitting. Then, an existing Adelaide importer asked me if I could start to stock it.
You see, the problem with selling Perfect Fit harnesses is that you need to keep many individual pieces in order to be able to fit it correctly to any dog that comes in. That is very hard unless you have a large storefront.
Well, I thought, life’s not already complicated enough, so why not?
Why A Perfect Fit Harness?
The Perfect Fit harness is a modular, custom fitted harness unlike any other available in Australia. It:
- Avoids pressure points, soft tissues and the throat/neck area
- Gives the dog full range of shoulder movement to run, swim and jump
- Cannot easily be pulled over the dog’s head if fitted correctly
- Is covered in thick padded fleece to prevent chafing and slipping
Additional benefits include:
- Its modular design allows it to fit virtually any size or shape of dog
- It does not have to go over the head of anxious dogs
- It’s great for uniquely shaped dogs like sight hounds, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Bull Dogs, and giant breeds.
- There are 2 attachment points front and back
- It’s machine washable
- It is probably the best fitting harness for 3-legged dogs
- Each piece can be purchased individually as they grow without full replacement*
* Generally, from the age of 20 weeks the top piece tends to stay the same but the front and girth will need replacing over the coming months.
Cost Of Perfect Fit Harnesses
The biggest disadvantage of Perfect Fit harnesses is their cost. Here are some guide prices. The exact price will depend on which fittings are used.
- 15 mm clips: $90
- 20 mm clips: $95
- 40 mm clips: $120
We hope that once you see one in action you will see the value of these special harnesses. My experience with my own dog Loki (pictured) is that he’s gone from pulling hard in a poorly fitting harness to walking on a loose lead even when I only use the back attachment. Note, too the freedom in his shoulder as he runs.
Getting The Right Fit
To choose the right combination of pieces for a perfectly custom fitted harness, you will need to bring your dog into the clinic. If you are not an existing client, it’s a good idea to ring ahead to make sure one of our experienced fitters will be available when you arrive.
You can view some of the specialised fitting instructions for Perfect Fit harnesses here. Please note that we only stock a limited range of colours, but special orders can be made with enough notice.
Putting The Harness On
There is no question that the Perfect Fit harness can be very confusing for the beginner. Most dog owners develop their own special way, but here is a good starting guide.
- Connect the Perfect Fit Harness by one clip at the front only, as shown in the diagram
- Put the top piece on the dog’s back and clip the Y shaped front piece around the throat area like you’re putting on a collar
- The rest of the harness goes between the dog’s front legs and then clips up either side of the chest behind the front legs
If you live in Adelaide, and you want what I believe is the best available dog harness, please get in touch. For residents outside of Adelaide, we apologise that we probably can’t provide an adequate service without a custom fitting. You are welcome to come in with your dog trainer too (a new harness is a great time to start positive dog training!).
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By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These articles are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story!