Product Type: Hi-Craft dog accessories
Newest Review: ... stops so your dog can get a little exercise and go to the toilet if he needs to. I have to give this Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness 5 stars bec... more
There Are Better Canine Car Harnesses Out There
Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness
Member Name: OscarsWilderness
Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness
Advantages: Fairly inexpensive
Disadvantages: Ineffective for active dogs; not particularly durable
The Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness was the first canine car harness I used for my Jack Russell cross and it's a brilliant concept. The dog wears the harness, which, once adjusted, simply clips together around the neck and chest, and the other end attaches to the seatbelt, thus holding the dog in place and using the seatbelt's mechanism to protect him in the event of heavy braking.
The harness fitted well and was easily adjusted, and because the loose end (the part that attaches to the seatbelt) can be clipped together when your dog is outside of the car, you can also use it as a walking harness by simply attaching a lead. My dog was happy enough to wear it and he jumped into the car ready for the journey. I could tell straight away that he had plenty of room for movement and could sit down or lie down as he wished. All was well.
Unfortunately, as most Jack Russell owners will know, these are not "sit down and do nothing" dogs. They don't "have a rest" because there's nothing much else happening. They find something to do. I was suddenly aware that my dog seemed to be up to something in the back of the car. I pulled over and found him standing in the rear footwell, still wearing his harness and still attached to the seatbelt. He had somehow managed to extend the seatbelt slowly to its full capacity and then use the slack to give himself the freedom to get down to the floor. I was worried that he could injure himself in this position, so I hoped it was somehow a fluke. After putting him back in place, we set off again.
Shortly afterwards, I heard shuffling from the back of the car. After pulling over again, I found that my dog had managed to - as the product description advertises - turn around... and around... and tangle himself up in knots around the seatbelt, and the only way to release him was to completely remove the harness. I said we should give it one more shot. He agreed. Off we went.
After lots of whining and singing from the back seat, it suddenly went quiet. I was forced to pull the car over a third time. Now the harness was still securely attached to the seatbelt - minus dog. This time, he had managed to back out of the harness completely, leaving it inside out on the back seat. He was now totally loose in the car, and a complete distraction. This third option became his default method of escape and he implemented it on many occasions.
I tried tightening the harness as far as possible without hurting my dog, but alas, this didn't work either. He was soon free and patrolling the vehicle again. This was a huge disappointment as I really wanted him to be safe on car journeys. Incidentally, I kept hold of this harness and tried it on my other dog a few years later with better results. She's the sort of dog that just lies down on long journeys, so there were no breaks for freedom, but even so, I would say the harness functioned adequately at best. The problem with the other dog is that she has fine fur and quite delicate skin and this time the harness rubbed in all the wrong places.
Whilst it's a great idea, I'm afraid I don't really like the design or fit of this canine car harness. One useful aspect of this type of harness is that you can attach a lead and get the dog straight out of the car without having to remove it and put a separate lead on. However, sadly I didn't find it very good in this respect either. If the dog pulls at all, the harness doesn't do much to reduce this and it also tends to rub in hot weather.
My final criticism of this harness is that after a while - and I did persist with it until I found a replacement - the stitching started to come undone on the strap that attaches to the seatbelt. Perhaps this was a result of my dog's high level of back-seat activity.
In conclusion, I can't really recommend this product, particularly as I have since found a much better one, the Canine Equipment 3-in-1 Vest Harness, that fits differently so it doesn't rub, and completely secures my hyperactive Jack Russell (I have also reviewed this product). Fortunately, he is now content - and still - in the back of the car. Perhaps the Hi-Craft harness would be sufficient for a quiet and well behaved dog that doesn't like to move about too much - and has a thick coat!
Summary: If your dog's safety in the car is important, I'd recommend spending a bit more.
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