Product Type: Pets At Home dog accessories
Newest Review: ... control over him was far better as a light pull on the harness would get him moving the correct way unlike a normal coller were he needed a... more
This Product Is No Walk In The Park.
Pets At Home Stop Pull Harness
Member Name: Machair1
Pets At Home Stop Pull Harness
Date: 17/05/10, updated on 22/05/10 (217 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to fit
Disadvantages: Faux fur pads wander.
Regular readers of my reviews will know that I have a lovely little Shih Tzu dog called Molly. Now approaching her 10th birthday she is still as agile as she always was, and loves nothing more than a walk by the river or a trip to the park. A few weeks ago I noticed that her long serving harness was wearing slightly, and the thought of her escaping in pursuit of a duck or a sheep was not a pretty thought, and so I decided to look around for a suitable replacement.
Why I Wanted A Harness.
Now I know some dogs are really well behaved and simply have a lead attached to their collar - some even walk side by side with their owners without a lead, but none of these options would suit Molly. Shih Tzus are highly intelligent dogs, and are very independent and curious, and although I have trained her well there is no doubt in my mind that a once in a lifetime temptation would lure her into danger, and so I opt for a full harness to which I attach her lead. I have seen many very well behaved Shih Tzus, some even walking beside busy roads without leads. However, the stories I have heard from my daughter who is a vet about the sad consequences suffered by dogs not adequately restrained is absolutely heart breaking, and many of these incidents happened to dogs that prior to that had flawless obedience histories. For this reason I prefer a harness.
Molly Goes To Pets At Home.
I toyed with the idea of mail order, but decided that I would rather see the choice in a store, and so off we went to Pets At Home where we had purchased the first harness almost a decade ago. This is one shop where dogs are allowed, and although Molly doesn't mind going there, she always feels there must be a better option - the park maybe, or the riverside. As it turned out we were over an hour in there trying on different options, so she was ready for lunch and a trip to the country after that ordeal. It was essential though to spend this time because although the size categories recommended for harnesses in Pets At Home for different breeds was very easy to see, as it was clearly displayed, in our case it wasn't accurate. "Extra Small" was the recommended size for Shih Tzus, and Molly is average for the breed and normal weight, but the options in "Extra Small" were thin and unsubstantial and a very tight fit. I thought they were more suited to dinky little breeds, and I did point this out to an assistant who said that it is just a guide and that fitting is more important on an individual basis.
I was also looking for ease of fitting as Molly gets a tad excited at the prospect of going out, and eagerly assists in the process by lifting paws up and so on, but some of the harnesses were so complicated I dismissed them immediately. I wanted simplicity, comfort, and above all safety, and moreover I wanted to make sure that the harness was a correct fit. These harnesses sit round the ribcage, and as the dog pulls exert pressure so they have to be a proper fit to ensure the force is evenly distributed. A really correct fitting harness, as my old one was, ensures comfort for the dog and peace of mind for the owner.
The Product and Fitting
The Pets At Home Stop Pull Harness is one of their more expensive products in the range at £14.95. It is black and has two fur pads designed to protect the rib area from chafing. It is fully adjustable allowing you to obtain the correct fit within the range you have chosen. To fit you simply slide the adjustment buckle which is on the end of the harness to open it as much as possible, and then after positioning the harness correctly on the dog you can tighten this to make the harness secure.
I thought it was lightweight and easy to put on as the faux fur pads made sure that you knew which way round to proceed, and once in position I called as assistant to verify that the fit was absolutely correct. I was pleased with the attitude of the assistant who took great care to make sure the fit was spot on, and she assured me that this was indeed a perfect fit. I have to be honest and say this was my last choice from the range. I wasn't really that keen on faux fur pads, I just wanted a red simple harness with no frills, but there simply wasn't a product there to purchase in her size. Almost in desperation I decided to buy it as it was the correct fit, and I thought if I found another one in another pet shop locally I could keep this as a spare. After an hour of trying on almost the entire range I was exhausted and so was Molly! I had also by this time made at least 4 new friends, as other dog owners with their pets collected in the lead aisle to discuss their harness problems as the morning progressed slowly into the afternoon!
So to the test! Well many walks later I can tell you that this product has a serious design fault which will only come to light if you take your dog on extended walks. A quick trip round the block will probably leave you feeling as if you have purchased an excellent harness. However if you like a morning sauntering round a local boot sale or maybe an afternoon by the riverbank, then what happens is that the fur pads gradually wander until they are on top of the dog and not in their correct place! This means that you have to stop and readjust them, which is not only annoying but if you don't notice may be hurting the dog. The fault can be remedied by stitching them in place, but I feel they should have had Velcro to secure them at the manufacturing stage. This is disappointing in the extreme for me, as although it is a perfect fit, it isn't much good recommending you to purchase it as without the stitching it will almost certainly have this fault. I am torn between the idea of stitching the pads in place, and returning it, but I am in the process of seeking out a better alternative so I am inclined to do the latter as stitching a new product seems to me wrong. I feel returning this will highlight and reinforce this serious design fault, and ensure a better purchase for future customers.
I recently checked the reviews on the Pets At Home website, which in retrospect I should have done prior to purchase, as here there are many comments highlighting this fault. There are also references on there to the clasp being faulty, but this has not been an issue for me. Having said that there are some singing its praises but overall it only gets 3* out of a possible 5*.
So my search for the perfect harness continues. I think I have identified one on-line so will review that one soon on Dooyoo. In conclusion I can't recommend this product - I think it is true to say that there is no harness in Pets At Home to fit my Shih Tzu which does its job to perfection. Sad but true, and as this is such an integral part of owing a dog and such an important purchase I am looking elsewhere. I would certainly say that if you have a dog from many of the popular breeds then there may well be a suitable product, as they have a wide selection other than this harness to choose from. It's just no good for Molly, and this Stop Pull Harness fails miserably in my opinion.
This review will also be published on Ciao with photographs under my user name Violet1278
Summary: I can't recommend this product as it has a design fault in my opinion.