Friday, March 30, 2012

Dog harnesses: One big problem pug people should know about

Liam the pug in his harness is preparing to run
Preparing to bolt to the right....
Most veterinarians ask pug owners to use harnesses on their dogs. Pugs have very shallow eye sockets, meaning that those little eyeballs are barely held in there by muscles and tendons. It's possible that pugs could pop their eyes right out of the sockets if they wear collars and get a bit too much pressure on their necks. In addition, pugs already have difficulty breathing due to their short muzzles, so placing a restriction on their airways isn't a great idea.

Being a good dog owner who tries to follow the rules is sometimes hard.

A harness, as one of my veterinarian friends told me, is designed to let a dog pull comfortably. The dog feels no pain while pulling, and has no impediment to do so. A collar, by contrast, isn't comfortable when it's too tight, so dogs that pull on a collar have an incentive to stop. Since I don't use a collar, Liam has no incentive not to pull.

I've tried all sorts of harnesses to try and stop the pulling issue, but nothing has worked thus far. Some are designed to keep a dog from pulling you forward; the dog whips back around when the pull gets too strong. This would be fine if Liam always pulled from the front. Since he sometimes digs in behind, this harness does me no good. I can't seem to find a multi-directional, no-pull harness.

In the past, I've just complained about this and then moved on about my business. But, we're reaching crisis proportions now. A sudden dart off to my right the other morning, pulling my arm back, down and to the side, has resulted in a nasty back injury. It's time to take the gloves off.

Anyone have suggestions?