The Zero DC Short harness is one of the most popular options for canicross, bikejor and scootering because it is easy to fit on your dog with two clips on the adjustable rib straps. In this short blog I will point out the things to look for in fit to make sure you get your dog in the correct sized harness.
1. The Neck: The most important part to get fitted correctly on any harness, the neck should be snug around the dog’s lower neck area and not sit high enough to pull into the throat. Ideally you should be able to get about 3 fingers in the neck when the harness is pulled tight. The material of the neck should also not restrict the shoulders in any way, if the material covers the point of the shoulder at the front then it may prevent the dog from striding out in the harness.
2. The Ribs: The middle section of the harness should be roomy when the dog is standing around and may even look ‘baggy’ when the dog isn’t pulling into it. The harness should clear the front legs easily and sit behind with enough clearance to allow the dog to fully stretch their legs backwards. The harness should fit snug against the side of the dog when it is pulled tight and the dog is leaning down into it, although you should still be able to fit your hands down either side to allow for the lungs to expand when the dog is working and breathing hard.
3. The Length: The ring of the harness where the line attaches to may come to just behind the shoulder blades of your dog or extend dog along your dogs’ back to mid way down the back. The exact position of the ring will depend on your dogs’ breed and the harness will work just as well on a short backed dog as one with a longer back. The fact the ring has material padding underneath it, means the clip will not bang on the back of your dog wherever the harness comes to on the back.
Fitting notes: The Zero DC Short harness is easy to put on your dog because of the two side clips on the rib straps which means there is no need to lift your dogs’ legs, however the neck may be snug to get on and off over your dogs’ head and this is perfectly normal. A common question I get asked is about tightening the rib straps as they don’t look like they can be made very tight. The straps can be tightened right down into the sleeves of the harness and by pushing the sliding adjustment pieces down into these sleeves it can be made almost as small as the neck on the harness, although to make it this tight is a little fiddly!
Once you’ve got your dog in the correctly fitting Zero DC Short harness you can expect your dog to pull freely and enjoy your sports.
For more information on the different sizes of harness or to buy please visit: http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/euro-short-zero-dc-sports-harness.html