so still need a solution, the regular harness with it attached to the front loop is giving Bentley a weird uncomfortable gate, hard to explain, almost like he limps when it is there but he is fine when it's not, the past two walks I noticed it after the first couple of blocks, but we go for pretty long walks, I am going to look into what furrfoot has for her blen.
I haven't had to do it, but I think you could find a harness that fits his trunk, and then add the strap in the front with a ring on it using a sewing machine. Could also have it done at a shoe repair shop or perhaps a tailor's. Good luck. The front harnesses are great. I use one for my 70 lb Golden.
I hate to say this or cause unneeded worry: but have you had him checked very carefully for possible pain points? This kind of effect from harnesses -- yelping if touched under the 'arms' (which really should not happen at all unless he is actually being pinched and it is really too tight); and a harness causing gait issues -- may possible be signs of sensitivities due to an issue like syringomyelia. The gait issue in particular, and the difficulty in finding a harness which seems to work for him, would just raise some questions in my mind. Not necessarily something that needs to be looked into right now, but I';d be filing that away and keeping an eye out for anything else that seems odd.
I actually thought initially that you were asking about harnesses because of SM (but don;t think so?) and was going to say that Dr Clare Rusbridge says some SM dogs do better on collars rather than harnesses (not the norm, but sometimes it applies) as a harness rubbing on a syrinx or pain areas can cause pain under the arms, gait issues, scratching etc. With Puppias, the only dog I had that has ever yelped on taking them off when touched under the arms is my most affected SM cavalier).
It all may be totally innocent but it is odd -- especially a harness causing a limp-like gait -- and I'd have a talk with your vet and make sure they are aware of the issues with CM/SM in the breed, and then be sure yourself to be familiar with the wide range of potential symptoms -- this is wise just as a norm for any cavalier owner. I know it can cause unnecessary worry for some but in the balance' given the high incidence of the condition in the breed, it is better to err on the side of making sure a dog gets diagnosis and treatment when needed because an owner is alert to unusual signs.
I'd have a vet try some of the more obvious potential pain points next time you are in for another reason -- this tends to be 'armpits', neck, spine, ear/head areas -- and let them know about the various harness problems. As advised for most cavalier owners (excepting those perhaps with multiple cavaliers), if Bentley isn;t insured yet, I'd definitely get insurance before such a vet checkup just for comfort and because this is a wise step in general . And I'd just keep an eye out for anything that might crop up.
All of us hope we never have issues with SM, but statistically most of us will eventually have cavaliers that do have it, though thankfully far fewer are ever symptomatic. It just makes good owner sense to be alert because of those statistics.
Separate to that -- have you taken the Sensible harness to the place you bought it to have it properly fitted? It can be tricky to just use the pictures but really, as long as they are not snug -- they need some give as they do tighten across the back when a dog sits -- they work well even without being exactly to the perfect adjustment. I use them for all four cavaliers and my trainer friends have fitted them for every possible size of dog (though they do gradually come 'loose' and need to be adjusted on a regular basis, I find -- for the cavaliers and my partner's GSD too!). They are really great harnesses (and I find they work really well for SM dogs -- I have three with SM and they seem to be far more comfortable than many other types including Puppias for my most affected SM cavalier).
Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
In memory: Lucy
Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com
He does have insurance, I can ask the vet to check him for SM but I don't think that is the issue, I think I just need to find a front lead that fits properly. I ordered the sensible, and the people who sell the easy walks honestly were awful when it came to helping with fit.
ack of course Bentley just scratched behind his ear and I freaked out. (normal he had an itch though) I am sure we will have a health issue to deal with with Bentley, I just hope it isn't for a long time.
As Karlin says we don't like causing unnecessary worry but we do all need to be aware of SM and all the other issues affecting our Cavaliers. Sadly they are prone to many health conditions, but we can still enjoy every day with them and just be aware of what to look for.
This might help http://www.softouchconcepts.com/how-to/how-to-fit
Introduction to the SENSE-ation ® & SENSE-ible ® Dog Harnesses http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJyg17iPke4
I will discuss it with the vet at his next visit, His parents and grandparents were SM free, But it is always something to be aware of, I watch the sm cav videos a lot, and Bentley doesn't show any of those behaviors but it is something I constantly worry about. Maybe we could get a test could put my mind at ease, or worst case confirm it so we know what to do for him so he is not in pain when it progresses.
But the arm pit thing is definitely just the ill fitting harness, I can tell it is pinching and rubbing him. we pick him up under his arms all the time with out him caring. (except at 6 months when he fractured his rib jumping after the cat off of DH's shoulder, the fracture was right near his under arm so of course that was painful for him.)
I just really want a front lead that fits Sheesh is that so hard to ask? lol
It's brilliant that you are so aware about SM - but don't forget to enjoy him too
It sounds like your harness is too big that's bad that they didn't fit it for you - and have sold you the wrong size.
My boy is in the small, he is 8.8kg but he is only just into the small, it also fit my boy who was 11.4kg in the past. However I walk him and Lauren in the ezydog harnesses - but they don't have a front fastening ring http://cavalier-gift-shop.org/cavali.../prod_216.html
My girls are around 7.3 to 7.5kg and they fit the extra small, it's perfect for them and does actually adjust just about enough to fit Tommy. [but they have girly colours LOL]
If you download the fitting instructions from that page they are really helpful. The top strap over the back does need to be quite short - Dog Training Ireland [whom Karlin is talking about] recommend it to be quite short on Cavaliers, so that it sits quite high up above the elbow, they find this works best.
Mine don't like the mesh harnesses as they don't like them being pulled over their heads, these are loose enough that it is not a problem