View Full Version : Advice about a harness

28th January 2013, 11:55 AM
Hi everyone, new to this forum. I have a one year old tri-colour who loves to go out running. The problem is finding a suitable harness that does not cause friction against his skin ultimately leaving him with sores poor wee thing. He is now out of action until he heals and we can find a suitable harness. We have tried 2 different types but they have caused - first one rubbing against his leg and second one which was padded causing damage and swelling in his armpits. He is really missing going out and is sulking lol If anyone can suggest anything they have used as I do not want to put him through trial and error (may cause more pain) if someone can suggest one. Thank you

28th January 2013, 03:51 PM
It sounds like the harnesses aren't adjusted to him. You shouldn't be having these kinds of problems with any harness.

Is he a puller? That would make pressure points worse. Try to find a qualified trainer in your area, I forget the certifying agencies but they've been listed in numerous puppy and training posts.

28th January 2013, 04:54 PM
I prefer the Easy-walk harness for a puller but if you're having trouble with friction that one is a thin nylon harness so it may not be the best.
The Puppia harnesses are made of a soft mesh material that, I think, would cause the least amount of friction due to the bigger surface area and soft fabric - but as a back-clip are not good for a dog that pulls.

But like Soushiruiuma says, this doesn't sound like a normal issue though - there may be some underlying problems.

28th January 2013, 05:53 PM
I agree about fit or something but....I started out using the Puppia ones I think the surface area mesh thing helps. Fletcher is a puller and I use an EZ walk and hw still pulls!!!! My crazy little dog does not seem to understand why his harness its so comfortible when he pulls and I stop...........if he could talk, I think he'd say "what happened" everytime :)

I suggest you either try finding a local pet shop hopefully with a person who can help you find a harness to fit right or maybe a training club for advice.

28th January 2013, 06:03 PM
He is a puller on a collar but he is ok on a harness. The harnesses are fine and cause no problem if he is out normal walking but he likes to accompany me when I'm out running and this is when the problem starts. The harnesses have been to my knowledge fitted correctly. I have taken him over to the local shop on both occasions to ensure a proper fitting harness which cause no problems when walking only when he is out long distance running. Does the EZ walk harness stay at the belly or does it travel down to the armpit area?? lol It took me an hour to work out how to reply before I noticed I wasn't logged in haha

28th January 2013, 06:39 PM
Oh -- I thought the question was about running when playing but now see it is for actually *running*. In this case, before I suggest a harness, I'd note a serious caveat: cavaliers because they are flatter-faced can easily overheat and get seriously ill if out running any distance. Generally a cavalier would not really be a running companion breed and I'd be concerned if he was running anything over perhaps a mile if even that nonstop. Generally a dog will not indicate to its owner that it is getting distressed if out running; it will just keep going. There are also serious questions of joint damage with younger dogs (eg before growth plates close which usually happens around a year and a half -- puppies younger than that should never be out jogging for long distances. :thmbsup:

Most harnesses will chafe if used for a running dog -- many brands state the harnesses should be removed for play and activity as they are really intended for walking. There is one type that is designed to avoid this -- I note vet Dr Sophia Yin has mentioned it on her blog before; it's the harness she recommends. Maybe this would work for you? I'll see if I can find it. :) But I'd really be cautious about jogging any distance with a cavalier -- they are well able for active walks or for agility for example but brachycephalic (flat and flatter-faced) dogs are generally not advised as dogs to be ever used as running friends, I'm afraid.

On running with dogs:

This is from the ASPCA website and is also on the WebMD pet section: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-articles/exercise-for-dogs:

Before You Start Your Dog’s Exercise Program
Check with your dog’s veterinarian before starting an exercise program. He or she can check your dog for any health issues that may be aggravated by exercise and suggest safe activities. Some size, breed and age considerations are:

*Breeds with short or flat noses (brachycephalic breeds) can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously, especially in warmer climates.

*Exercise is great for energetic young dogs, but sustained jogging or running is not recommended for young dogs (under 18 months) whose bones haven’t finished growing.

And this article from a dog trainer, on whether it is safe to jog with a dog (cavaliers are both a toy breed and brachycephalic): http://www.dogtrainingblogger.com/is-it-safe-to-jog-with-my-dog.html

What breed is your dog? If you have a medium or large sporting breed or one of the medium or large herding, working or hound breeds, then it’s likely that your dog will have no trouble keeping up with you as you jog. Some of these breeds may have a high energy level, such as the Border Collie, while other breeds may have been bred to run, such as the Greyhound and the Whippet. These dogs will probably love going jogging with you. However, if you have a toy dog or a smaller breed, one of the dwarf breeds or a brachycephalic breed (short-muzzled), then jogging is not a good idea.

Also see this AKC research article on the issue: http://www.akcchf.org/news-events/library/articles/brachycephalic-research-shows.html

28th January 2013, 06:48 PM
Here you go, about halfway down Dr Yin (vet) discusses some of the "Freedom" and other front clip harnesses that do not hinder movement as much as harnesses intended for walking:


28th January 2013, 06:49 PM
Hi Karlin, thank you very much for your input. Do you know the name of the harness she refers to? He started running when he turned one beginning of January. I consulted with my vet and he feels that Patch is in great condition he does 5 miles 6 days a week and he is doing more of a fast walk than a run although I am running lol He comes back into the house full of energy and ready to play. At the moment the weather here is rather cold but he will not be running in hotter weather although we very rarely see that anyway.

28th January 2013, 06:58 PM
She names the harnesses and compares them at the link posted. :) The In-Synch one is the one she seems to most recommend but she compares that and the Freedom on her blog post linked to.

Hmmm. How familiar is your vet with cavaliers? They are not a really common breed outside the UK/Ireland and maybe vets are sometimes not clear on the breathing obstructions they can have and how serious they can be (see www.cavalierhealth.org) -- or that the breed is classified as brachycephalic. I also can only say the general advice from vets is that dogs should not be doing hard running or agility before 18 months because they are at risk of damaging joints. Most agility classes will not accept dogs before they are 18 months for anything other than gentle fun pre-agility activities (eg little tiny jumps). You can find the 18-month recommendation quite widely on vet advice sites and trainer sites. :)

Personally I would never bring a cavalier on a 5-6 mile run. Walk, definitely! We've done 12 miles before. :D But never a run. Especially not in an area with warm to hot temps in summer. Cockers and Springers are spaniels well able for a long run, by contrast -- they have normal muzzle lengths.

28th January 2013, 07:21 PM
The vet is very familiar with the breed however I will consult another vet to ensure that he is ok to do this. My father has had sporting dogs all his life and this is why we waited until a year old before starting him as a running companion. He is in great condition at the moment no health concerns at all but he is our pride and joy and would not want to do anything to harm him.

28th January 2013, 09:22 PM
Perhaps some others here are familiar with the issue and have a perspective too. :) The breed officially is not a sporting breed, it is a toy/companion breed and hence a slightly different role. All cavaliers are different though! :) and some may be OK for some short distance running -- but still cannot think cavaliers are the best choice for running generally, as the breed does have a higher likelihood than many others for joint problems like luxating patella (common in all toy breeds) and hip dysplasia. And their soft palate and sinuses are affected by the fact that their nose is so short, meaning they have a harder time breathing and therefore, cooling themselves down by panting or in some cases, getting enough air during hard exertion -- it is why so many snore and they commonly get the 'cavalier snort' -- and some can have a quite serious airway obstruction problem. A distance of 5-6 miles seems really long to me for a cavalier to be running constantly; maybe that's mostly because I would find that hard to run myself. :lol:.

I had a look as I know this issue has come up in the past, and back in 2007 I posted this for someone with a similar question:

This should be helpful! :) :


Directly related to your question, see below (note cavaliers are short nosed breeds so that is one caution, as is their shorter legs on many dogs, and the fact that a given dog could be prone to either hip dysplasia or patella problems and long distance running especially on pavement could exacerbate these. So a full vet checkup is a good idea before starting jogging or any exercise regime. The other is that usually as with people you need to work up to any distance very slowly, over time, to develop stamina -- I'd think many weeks to go from one mile to even three would be needed):


Humans are better suited to jogging or running for long periods nonstop than are canines, who tend to engage in short, intense bursts of running with intermittent stops to sniff around, piddle and absorb the scenery.


Avoid overexertion:

Remember, dogs will usually try to keep up with their people just because it is their nature to do so. This can mask fatigue and overshadow signs that the dog is overdoing it. So be vigilant and do not push your dog too hard.


Breed considerations:

Keep your dog's breed in mind when planning your exercise routine. Small dogs with short legs usually don't need to ... or should not ...be walked or jogged as long as larger dogs.

Breeds with short noses may have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously. Short-snouters range from little pugs to bulldogs to boxers and many others.

And don't assume that racing breeds such as Greyhounds and whippets can run marathons. While they are built to run, they were not breed to run for long distances.

And for young pups and big breeds of any age, sustained jogging or running is too hard on their joints.

28th January 2013, 11:18 PM
Maybe a skijoring harness would work?


That's an awful long run, you sure couldn't get me to do that.

4th February 2013, 07:57 PM
I'm new here and this is a wonderful forum for anyone with a Cavalier. Many thanks for this thread and your comments. We are using a Gentel Leader Easy Walk harness. It stopped or 11 mo. old from pulling immediately. We are still trying to get it adjusted right so that the belly strap does not rub behind her front legs. This harness was recommended by a trainer. You can see one here:


5th February 2013, 05:57 AM
This is the harness we ended up getting for Rose (a high energy Cav): http://www.shop.dachshunddelights.com/products/Hug_A_Dog_Harness_in_mesh-1-1.html

They are custom made to fit your dog (you send in the measurements). We had a hard time finding one that fit her correctly, but this one fits her great! We got white mess with brown edging. It hasn't rubbed any spots on her, even in the saltwater and sand at the beach (she is a sandcrab huntress extraordinaire- or so she thinks, haha), so she is running and jumping and diving and darting (and hitting the end of her 16 foot lead) the whole time we are on the beach ;) .

You may also consider making a "sheepskin"/wooly padding cover for the gentle leader to go around the harness straps to help cut down on the rubbing.

6th February 2013, 12:12 AM
We keep fine tuning the Easy Walk harness and we're very close to having it adjusted properly. She was walking next to us today and there were no rubbing problems. We are still in a little doubt about this being the best harness for a Cavalier. It certainly stopped the pulling though.

6th February 2013, 03:28 PM
Some cavaliers must just have more sensitive skin than others. And I'm sure the length of time wearing it and the type of activity makes a difference, too. Lady has been using the Easy Walk since August and she's never had any issues with rubbing irritation. She only wears it for about an hour a day during our brisk walks, and I take it off immediately once we get home. She also has very thin fur compared to Gracie so there's not much padding to protect her.

6th February 2013, 08:55 PM
Some cavaliers must just have more sensitive skin than others. And I'm sure the length of time wearing it and the type of activity makes a difference, too. Lady has been using the Easy Walk since August and she's never had any issues with rubbing irritation. She only wears it for about an hour a day during our brisk walks, and I take it off immediately once we get home. She also has very thin fur compared to Gracie so there's not much padding to protect her.

If you are writing the dob with the day first, your tri is just 1 day older than our tri dob = Feb 10, 2012