Gear Advice

  • There's a road, keeps on calling me! The DOGtrace X20 Dog GPS Tracker

    It's always difficult to know how your dog is going to react to different training styles. Inuk the Shepsky, German Shepherd cross Husky seemed to keep a safe distance to me and be constantly checking where I was. I crossed my fingers and hoped German Shepherd traits would override the rumours you hear about huskies wandering off. I continued to walk her off the lead, mainly down the enclosed canal tow path since I had her at 8 weeks.

    Training was confined to a small space about 20m x 7m but with an open end where she could get to the canal and road and she did know what was beyond that imaginary line due to the walks. With a firm command as she approached this line and armed with the treats in my pocket she had no interest in stepping one foot further. We'd even pop out to this spot for toilet (off the lead) and she'd come straight back in doors on cue!

    It was around 6 to 8 months I noticed a change in her behaviour. She'd always been a scavenger which drew her further afield but the instinct to chase, cats, pigeons, ducks and squirrels. As she began to understand the difference between good and bad behaviour, if she knew she'd been bad, not come back on cue, chased something and gone near a road, the husky kicked in. Friends agreed you could see it in her eyes, she's thinking 'why would I come back to be told off' it was then I realised the difference in positive and negative training techniques and different breeds (more on that another time) this happened one or two times but as I continued the daily routine she quickly forgot this behaviour in these locations.

    And so, the icing on the cake! An unfortunate sequence of events. One afternoon while at the farm where I run a business, she picked up a road kill rabbit, with meat exposed she ran off into the field with it. Surprisingly when I caught up with her she gave it up and recalled quite well ...but not too long after on a walk down a disused railway track she caught and killed another rabbit. Not uncommon I later found in many breeds! This scenario was different, every time I got close she'd pick up and run away, each time with a little less on the rabbit. When it was finally gone there was no recall, not sit, no stay, nothing. As I had before tricked her back into the lead with treats this time I called a friend and his dog. If you switch her back into play mode and the most lifts from her eyes she'd recall straight away. But each time she'd grow wise to the tricks.

    Back on the farm the draw of rabbits, and waste food had become a problem. Where I could usually have her off the lead and under control. If she stepped beyond the circle of control you'd see the most ...and then she was off. It wouldn't be a problem as I know where she goes but they don't like it on the farm so I could not continue any routine. If the doors were open she was penned in or on a tether. But this meant, at the slightest opportunity she'd be off.

    The DOGtrace X20

    DOGtrace X20There's no worse feeling than you thinking you might have lost your dog, she might have wondered to the busy road or evening someone's made off with her. All these things run through your mind during the search. When you know where she is it's different! There's some element of cornering or ushering away from danger. I'd looked at many tracking devices, all with the need for a data connection to transmit the gps and of course reliant on phone signal. All great but the locations you are most likely to be in this situation is usually remote.Armed with the Dog Trace X20 I headed down to East Head on the West Wittering Estate. I have no problem recalling here, only the farm! But I know there's rabbits in the dunes and bramble bushes so as we walk on the inland side off the peninsula she'd be off on the hunt. With the collar and handset paired and full GPS signal we set off. The handset is fairly simple with 4 buttons and a simple, hold the 2 components together to turn the collar on system. The range is up to a massive 20km but we wouldn't be getting to test that today. While she's close the handset signals this so I sent her off into the dunes for a hunt. Very accurately the device tells you the dogs direction and distance so I continued the walk her down, not looking back and not with the usual occasional recall. At times she was 80m away, out of sight but I knew exactly which bush she was patrolling

    DOGtrace X20

    The system comes with lots of other functions including beeper, fence and can even monitor up to 9 dogs. It's waterproof and for me this means sand proof which is great for down the beach.

    In my opinion, keeping you dog on the lead at times they should be able to roam is not the solution to the wandering dog problem. I managed to correct this behaviour in locations where I still had some element of control. But it's piece of mind you need in order to remain in the correct state of mind yourself to deal with the issue and train it out.

    Find out more here: http://www.innerwolf.co.uk/dogtrace-dog-gps-x20-tracker.html

  • Fitting A Dog Harness

    Fitting a harness.

    It’s not as difficult as it might seem but there a large variety of harnesses available which can make fitting a dog harness seem like a daunting task. The key is measurements. Below we have listed the types of harness that we would recommend for different activities, hopefully making it a little easier.

    When fitting a harness it is essential to take the measurements, not rely soley on ‘breed guides’, that’s why we don’t use them.

    The key measurements are the neck and the dog’s girth. It is also useful to know the dogs weight. Then depending on the type of harness you may also need the length of the dogs back.

    Activity

    Walking

    Ruffwear Webmaster, Hurtta Y-Harness, Fleece Lined Harness, EzyDog QuickFit, EzyDog Chest Plate Harness, Ezydog Convert Harness, Hurtta Outdoor Padded Active Harness

    Hiking and Trekking

    Ruffwear Webmaster, Fleece Lined Harness, Kurgo Tru-Fit, Ezydog Convert Harness, Hurtta Outdoor Padded Active Harness

    Canicross

    Nome X-Back, Howling Dog Second Skin Harness, Non-Stop Free Motion, Non-Stop Line harness, Howling Dog Tough Skin

    Bikejoring

    Nome X-Back, Howling Dog Second Skin Harness, Non-Stop Free Motion, Non-Stop Line harness, Howling Dog Tough Skin

    Scootering/Rigs

    Nome X-Back, Howling Dog Second Skin Harness, Non-Stop Free Motion, Non-Stop Line harness, Howling Dog Tough Skin

    Tracking

    Ruffwear Webmaster, Non-Stop Line harness, Howling Dog Second Skin Harness, Hurtta Y-Harness, Ezydog Convert Harness, Hurtta Outdoor Padded Active Harness

    Agility/Flyball

    Hurtta Y-Harness, Fleece Lined Harness, Non-Stop Line harness, Howling Dog Second Skin Harness,Ezydog Convert Harness, Hurtta Outdoor Padded Active Harness

    Mountain Work

    Ruffwear Webmaster, Ruffwear Double Back
    Training/No Pull Buster Dog Halter
    Car Safety Kurgo Tru-Fit, EzyDog Chestplate Harness

     

    You will also see that on the website under Dog Harnesses we have set subcategories for different activities to help make the choice easier.

    Fitting a working harness.

    This is often different than fitting a standard everyday walking harness.

    You might be surprised just how many times we hear, “What size harness do I need for a Lab?” or “What harness will fit a pointer?” Unfortunately there is no clear standard in dog sizes and also no standard in the size of equipment. So a medium harness by one manufacturer might be considerably larger that a medium in another. Also the size on the label doesn’t relate to the size of the dog. A small doesn’t mean it is for a small dog, a large for a larger dog etc. The key to getting the right size is taking the measurements.

    The main measurements you will need for fitting a harness are the neck size, this is often taken closer to the shoulders that you would when measuring for a collar. The girth, this is the measurement around the deepest part of the chest. The length of the back, from the base of the neck to the base of the tail (keeping the tape measure straight, not following the curve of the back) and the dog’s weight.

    Neck Fitting

    When fitting a working harness the neck will generally be tighter than you are used to when fitting a collar (the two finger rule does not apply) so don’t be alarmed if it feels a little more snug than expected. This ensures that the dog is taking the force on the strongest part of their shoulders and keeping the harness away from their shoulder joints. If it is too loose around the shoulder the straps will start to press on the shoulder joint itself and impinge movement becoming uncomfortable for the dog.

    If you are fitting the harness for a dog with a heavy coat or a lot of lose skin around the scruff then you will need to pull some of this through to ensure neck of the harness sits correctly on the dog.

    Length Fitting

    This can differ depending on whether you are fitting a short shoulder pull harness or a long harness. The key aspect to look at when fitting the length, if it is the longer harness like and x-back, is that the open V at the base cannot be pulled down over the dog rear and fall behind the legs. This is too long. The V or attachment point should sit just at the base of the tail.

    Girth Fitting

    This is the one that may ultimately affect your dog’s performance the most. If you don’t get this right and the harness is too tight your dog will not be able to breath well. If the dog starts to feel short of breath then this will put them in the most discomfort and ultimately they won’t perform. Also because of the way the dog moves when running then it could start to rub.

    Essentially the message here is to measure you dog well. If need be take the measurement several times and take the average. Don’t 'guess-timate'. With any working harness it needs to be comfortable for the dog. If the harness doesn’t fit properly then it will essentially discourage the dog from pulling well and changing to a well fitted harness makes a noticeable difference.

  • Dog Coats – Getting the right size.

    It’s that time of year again when the nights are drawing in and the weather is starting get colder and wetter and many dog owners are now looking to buy a new dog coat. After several years of supplying dog coats and trying to give as much instruction online to measure a dog for the right size coat, we still have numerous coats returned to exchange to another size. Not that we mind doing it, but I’m sure people would be happier to get the correct sized coat first time. Every year it is surprising how many people try to guesstimate the dog coat size, nine times out of ten this will be wrong. So here are a few tips to getting the right sized coat for your dog.

    • When measuring the dog, measure from the base of the neck (near the
      Dog Coat Size Guide

      Dog

      collar) to the base of the tail. This measurement must to be a staight line, the tape measure tought, NOT following the curve of the dogs back.
    • Try to get your dog to remain standing when you are measuring. A sitting dog will add a few inches to the measurement.
    • Measure the dog 3 times and take an average. This will give a better measurement.

    There are some breeds that are not easy to measure for due to them having a long body in comparison their chest size. Dachshunds or Dandie Dinmonts for example are not easy to fit a coat and may require a specially made coat or take them along so they can be fitted. Some style of coats increase in sizes differently to other styles so you may

    Hurtta Winter Dog Coat - Modelled by Enzo

    Hurtta

     not be able to get one that is exactly, to the cenimetre, the right size. But with coats ranging from 24cm/10inches to 85cm/33inches to fit even the largest Great Dane there will be a coat to fit. Ideally, for the best fit bring the dog along for a fitting.

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