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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been reading up on other threads and it sounds like harness are preferred over collars for a number of different reasons. I’ve been browsing for a harness but reviews are always mixed so I’m wondering which brands (and sizes) you all like. I imagine for the first few weeks we’ll mostly “socialize” our puppy by taking them to different places while they are in their Sherpa bag however it seems like a good idea to have a harness straightaway...? Or is it better to wait until they are slightly bigger so it’s not outgrown in a matter of weeks?
 

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Owned by a Havallon
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I have tried many harnesses but love the Buddy Belt leather step in harness the best. It is so easy to put on and very sturdy. Mia wears a size 4 and she is about 11 pounds. I did not start using this harness until she was an adult so not sure how it will work for a puppy. Also, not cheap! So maybe this is something to consider for later. Note that there is a REAL leather one and a cheaper version. The real leather is what I have. I would think it would be best to be prepared with some type of harness but the puppy experts would know better than me. Note that I tried tons of harnesses before the Buddy Belt and did not like any of them. I have been very happy with it. I have to be very careful about harnesses since I have a yorkie and they are prone to trachea collapse.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I've been reading up on other threads and it sounds like harness are preferred over collars for a number of different reasons. I've been browsing for a harness but reviews are always mixed so I'm wondering which brands (and sizes) you all like. I imagine for the first few weeks we'll mostly "socialize" our puppy by taking them to different places while they are in their Sherpa bag however it seems like a good idea to have a harness straightaway...? Or is it better to wait until they are slightly bigger so it's not outgrown in a matter of weeks?
Especially since you have children, I would make sure you have a harness on the puppy any time the kids are handling the puppy. Make it a RULE that the children NEVER pick up the puppy without a hand THROUGH the harness. Puppies are quick and squirmy, and many small breed puppies get badly hurt in falls from kids arms. The BEST way to prevent this is to only allow play with the kids sitting on the floor with the puppy. but if they EVER pick the puppy up, their hand should be FIRMLY through the harness so the puppy can't fall if it squirms.

I think MOST people start with vest harnesses. Puppia is the brand I've always used. For really, REALLY tiny puppies for whom even these are too large, you can resort to kitten harnesses for the first couple of weeks. And, as far as "outgrowing" is concerned... it is, like with babies... a fact of life with small puppies. ;)
 

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I think it’s really dependent on your circumstances when you first get home, if I’m understanding your question. If you are able to get a harness reasonably quickly once he’s home and you have his measurements, I think you’ll be better off (I’m assuming size is the main issue). I don’t think you’ll be desperately stuck if you don’t have one the day he comes home, since you do have the carrier (and I think you were considering indoor potty?) but I’d plan for it early.

Socialization is a balance because it sometimes means taking him to places where dogs are allowed before his vaccinations are complete. In those kinds of places, I didn’t put mine on the ground, I used a carrier, too. However, while you are out the puppy may need to go potty. The harness wasn’t to control a slow, tiny puppy, it was for rule compliance in public places, and pulling wasn’t an issue yet. At home, even with my yard only partially fenced, I really didn’t need a leash or harness for probably a couple of weeks. But I did start introducing one around the house so he was comfortable with it before we really needed it. Well, that was the idea, haha.

It probably depends on the puppy and where they land on the size chart but mine lasted long enough and were used often enough that I don’t feel they were wasted when he did grow out of them. I really loved the Puppia for going potty and other quick things because it was so easy to put on. I think around 14-16 weeks is probably when I bought a strappy harness (easy walk I think), which was a little more expensive but really adjustable. It was perfect timing because he had just crossed into the bigger size and we were going on more walks since he had all of his shots. However, I used both styles all of the time for different things.
 

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I didn’t see what Karen wrote, that’s a good suggestion about the harness inside while the kids are playing. I really liked the Puppia and I think it would be great for that. I ended up with a different style that isn’t as popular, even with Havanese. I was considering the kitten harnesses because of his size but I looked through all of the size charts on the manufacturer’s website and found a different style to be the closest fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is all SUCH great advice. I especially appreciate the reminder to be extra extra careful with our daughter holding the puppy. She’s currently very timid with dogs so I don’t expect she will be anxious to hold the puppy right away. We will definitely have her sit on the ground with the puppy for the foreseeable future.
 

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I always have used a harness, since Boo was little. My preferred brand is Buddy Belts from Canada. They are handcrafted leather harnesses and matching leads in assorted colors, which are available in numerous sizes. They are designed to prevent strain to the trachea and spine, so important for smaller dogs. They do tend to be somewhat pricey but, in my opinion, are worth the extra cost.
 

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Desi’s Mom
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I purchased the XS harness from Amazon for Desi in the beginning and we recently graduated to the S size. He weighed a little over 2 pounds when we brought him home and weighs approximately 5.6 lbs now. It is easy to put on and take off and I really like the way it fits him.

Amazon.com : Snazzi Pet Soft Mesh Comfy Step in Dog Vest Harness for Teacups, Toys, Minis, Small Dog Breeds 2-16 lbs, Baby Pink, Sky Blue, Black, Red, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large (Sky Blue, Small) : Pet Supplies
 

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I always have used a harness, since Boo was little. My preferred brand is Buddy Belts from Canada. They are handcrafted leather harnesses and matching leads in assorted colors, which are available in numerous sizes. They are designed to prevent strain to the trachea and spine, so important for smaller dogs. They do tend to be somewhat pricey but, in my opinion, are worth the extra cost.
I looked at the Buddy Belt on Chewy. I'm not really happy with what I use on Willow. It's a tad too big. I'm just wondering if you have every had your dog slip out of the Buddy Belt?
 

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I looked at the Buddy Belt on Chewy. I'm not really happy with what I use on Willow. It's a tad too big. I'm just wondering if you have every had your dog slip out of the Buddy Belt?
I use Buddy Belts too...the real leather version...on both my dogs. I love the Buddy Belt. My dogs have never escaped from them. My yorkie has escaped from many others. I also feel that it does not put strain on the shoulders unlike many others. My yorkie has a small lipoma on his shoulder and I have to be careful with harnesses putting pressure on it. It also seems in general to allow greater shoulder movement than many others I have tried, yet still remain escape proof and protect the trachea. They are more expensive but great quality and cannot imagine them wearing out.
 

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Boo has never slipped out of his Buddy Belt. The key is to get the right size. They come in half and whole sizes. it's best if you can try one on in a pet shop. Boo is 15 pounds, and wears size 5. He has over a dozen Buddy Belts and leashes. They last forever, and we are addicted to them. His newest Buddy Belt is blue denim leather with a matching lead. Very cool.
 

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If you do not want your dog to get away from you on leash, it is best to use a leash with a trigger clip vs. a bolt clip. The bolt clips weaken over time and your dog can escape. So if you don’t want your dog to escape, please consider this also. If you want to continue to use a bolt clip, please inspect them regularly and replace them when they start acting up. Both of my dogs have gotten away from me due to bolt clips and I will never use one again.
 

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I saw that blue Jean leather color, it would look fantastic with Sundance’s coat! I think that might be my next harness. I don’t even need a harness right now but it’s a good price for leather, so it’s going on my list. I’ve come across some inexpensive rolled leather harnesses but the colors aren’t as pretty. Most of the leather harnesses that are cute are over $100 and don’t look very comfortable.
 

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I use Buddy Belts too...the real leather version...on both my dogs. I love the Buddy Belt. My dogs have never escaped from them. My yorkie has escaped from many others. I also feel that it does not put strain on the shoulders unlike many others. My yorkie has a small lipoma on his shoulder and I have to be careful with harnesses putting pressure on it. It also seems in general to allow greater shoulder movement than many others I have tried, yet still remain escape proof and protect the trachea. They are more expensive but great quality and cannot imagine them wearing out.
Boo has never slipped out of his Buddy Belt. The key is to get the right size. They come in half and whole sizes. it's best if you can try one on in a pet shop. Boo is 15 pounds, and wears size 5. He has over a dozen Buddy Belts and leashes. They last forever, and we are addicted to them. His newest Buddy Belt is blue denim leather with a matching lead. Very cool.
Thanks guys. I'm going to measure Willow as soon as she's done sleeping. She's really tiny and I have trouble finding things small enough. Going to stores is kind of out of the question for a while. :Cry:
 

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I had Otto in the XS Puppia vest, then the small but he pulls a lot so my local pet shop owner suggested the Easy Walk. It’s better but he never would have fit into it in the beginning. I would suggest finding a good local pet shop and try a few on to see what fits.
 

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I agree with taking your puppy to your local pet store and determining what fits your puppy the best. It will depend on your puppy's body structure. Right now the best fitting harness for Izzie is one that I found at Petco. She hasn't slipped out and it has V-shape so it's lower on a chest area which I like. She still pulls a lot so we are working on that.
 

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Ali
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Boo has never slipped out of his Buddy Belt. The key is to get the right size. They come in half and whole sizes. it's best if you can try one on in a pet shop. Boo is 15 pounds, and wears size 5. He has over a dozen Buddy Belts and leashes. They last forever, and we are addicted to them. His newest Buddy Belt is blue denim leather with a matching lead. Very cool.
I love the denim one! Looks so trendy.
 

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I want to thank everyone that recommended the Buddy Belt. I got one for Willow and it fits perfectly. Plus it doesn't seem to cause much matting in her long hair. I month or so ago I also started a thread asking for harness recommendations for a long coated havie. If any of you recommended the Buddy Belt on that thread, and if I ignored your recommendations, I apologize! I was having trouble finding one small enough for her and this one is perfect!
 

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I want to thank everyone that recommended the Buddy Belt. I got one for Willow and it fits perfectly. Plus it doesn't seem to cause much matting in her long hair. I month or so ago I also started a thread asking for harness recommendations for a long coated havie. If any of you recommended the Buddy Belt on that thread, and if I ignored your recommendations, I apologize! I was having trouble finding one small enough for her and this one is perfect!
Oh wow that is awesome! I am a huge fan of the Buddy Belt...glad you finally took the plunge!
 

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I want to thank everyone that recommended the Buddy Belt. I got one for Willow and it fits perfectly. Plus it doesn't seem to cause much matting in her long hair. I month or so ago I also started a thread asking for harness recommendations for a long coated havie. If any of you recommended the Buddy Belt on that thread, and if I ignored your recommendations, I apologize! I was having trouble finding one small enough for her and this one is perfect!
Glad Buddy Belt is working for Willow. I've been buying since 2003 or 2004 (first at boutiques and later directly from the company), and have never been dissapointed. In fact, I think they have o
improved the quality of the leather and hardware over the years. The company also has great customer service.
 
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