"My dog is really sensitive whenever I try and put a harness over her head. She either turns her head away, tries to bite the harness or mouth at me! I don't want to just attach a lead to the collar and want to use the Mekuti to help stop her pulling on the lead.
So, what can I do?"
This version of the Mekuti Balance Harness has an extra clip on one of the shoulder straps, which allows the harness to be put on without it going over the head at all. Instead, the harness is put on like a necklace and the dog feels less anxious by the more gentle approach.
The Mekuti Harness with Neck Clip can be an invaluable tool in specialised dog training, particularly with nervous dogs 'in rescue', or therapeutically for dogs in rehabilitation after surgery.
To stop pulling and promote the benefits of balanced walking, the Mekuti Balance Harness must be used with an appropriate double-ended lead which can be fed through the ring at the front of the harness. So, if you already have a suitable double-ended lead, the Mekuti Harness can be bought by itself.
|Std Lead (length x width)
|LONG 3m Lead (length x width)
|2.5m x 19mm (3/4")
|3m x 19mm (3/4")
|2m x 19mm (3/4")
|3m x 19mm (3/4")
|2m x 25mm (1")
|3m x 25mm (1")
|2m x 25mm (1")
|3m x 25mm (1")
Mekuti Balance Harness with Double-Ended Lead uses the dog's response to gentle changes in its balance to help stop the dog pulling. The handler uses the double-ended lead in a very gentle way to make this happen. We try to think of it as helping the dog walk nicely, rather than trying to stop the dog pulling.
The Mekuti Balance Harness system is a positive and gentle way to help with dog walking.
The method does not require the handler to be stronger than the dog because the more gentle and subtle the use of the lead, the better and more positive response from the dog. We are not engaging in a battle of wills or strength. We are being cooperative, kind, gentle, and going for a walk!
With this Neck Clip version, please become familiar with the IMPORTANT: Safety guidelines section below
Because putting and inspecting a tape measure around a dog can be stressful for the dog and produce wrong reading, it is easier to use a piece of tape/string or ribbon,
Circle it around the rib-cage, at least a couple of inches away from the front legs, (not too loose, not too tight, think of Goldilocks). Pinch the two ends between thumb and forefinger and measure the length in between.
|Harness & Lead Width
|17" - 23"
|43 - 59 cm
|20" - 30"
|50 - 76 cm
|25" - 35"
|64 - 90 cm
|30" - 46"
|76 - 115 cm
* The Mini size is not available with the Neck Clip
Where to measure?
Imagine the area where you might lift your dog with one hand and that will be the centre of mass or balance on your dog (please don't try and lift your dog this way, for obvious reasons). Ideally, that is where the side straps of the harness will be.
In practice, the harness often slips a bit further forwards of this point, but the closer it is to that area, the less effort is used to bring the dog's awareness to its balance. Always make sure the side straps are away from just behind the front legs (arm pits).
The clip on the shoulder certainly helps to avoid putting the harness over the dog's head at all, but there are also the benefit of the direction and method of approach that the neck clip version encourages, that is coming towards the dog from the side and at more or less the same height.
A common approach when putting a harness on a dog is from the front and then bringing the harness down over the head. This puts the dog on alert, they will often back up and turn their head away. Putting a harness on then becomes a negative experience, even though the dog still wants to go out.
Approaching from the side and lifting the harness up and over the dog's head from below is more likely the make the dog lower the head towards it and actually help the harness go on.
Hold pressing that add to basket button!
If this way works, it may be better to choose a standard Mekuti Harness may be more suitable than the Neck Clip version, because the standard version has a few advantages:
• it is lighter
• less bulky
• esier to fit and adjust
• comes in the full range of available colours
• and it is cheaper!
In this version of the Mekuti Balance Harness the decision is made for you and easy. In the words of the car maker, Henry Ford:
You can have any colour you like, as long as it's Black!
Using the double-ended lead as guided, gives the dog the sensation of a gentle change in its balance position and it therefore makes and adjustment to its body position in response.
The Mekuti Balance Harness is purposefully designed to be lightweight to enable as little effort or tension on the lead to bring the dog's attention to its balance.
Constant tension in one direction creates constant resistance in the opposite direction, whether it comes from the dog or the handler -- this is dog pulling to us, and handler pulling to the dog!
So, use the lead to make the contact with the dog (i.e. bring a small amount of tension to the lead) and then release it soon afterwards.
The dog will respond to its change in balance when the tension starts, and also when the tension is released. By making these contacts to the side or back of the harness, the dog keeps responding accordingly in equal and opposite directions. This is why the tension once applied is then released very soon afterwards, perhaps a second or two.
Repeat the manoeuvre after a few seconds, and keep changing the end of the lead being used, and the length of time the contact is being made. The dog should not be able to anticipate what is going to happen.
The contacts also help to draw the dog's attention from the usual attractive happenings, but still allow your dog to engage with its surroundings.
The more gentle and subtle the handler uses the lead to do this, the more more effective is the response. It is difficult to notice for an observer, which is why videos do not show it very well -- the contacts of tension are noticeable, then they are probably a bit too much.
Perhaps it is easier to think of the contact as creating pressure more than as bringing tension. The action with the lead is not a tug, jolt, pull, yank or jerk -- these will always indicate too much effort or force is being used.
Some simple psychology!
Well, it is not always to do any of the above if there is an excited and bouncy dog on the other end of the lead, so just keep things as gentle and supportive for the dog as possible.
Remember a bit of psychology: we all like to be allowed to do something, rather than be stopped from doing something. So, perhaps it is best to think of 'helping the dog walk nicely' rather than 'trying to stop the dog pulling'.
Fistly, we urgently need to talk about
The Puppy In The Room!
The harness is made from a webbing material and can be bitten through, particularly by young dogs with their sharp teeth. They can also bite through the lead fairly easily and almost unbelievably quickly. We have some picture which show some example of damage by teeth in our 'Rogues Gallery'.
Mekuti equipment is guaranteed for two years covering failure of the manufacturer's stitching, rings and trigger hooks.
However, wear, the breaking or snapping of materials, or damage to plastic attaching clips is not covered by guarantee.
Some dogs have harnesses that last years, but for some dogs, the equipment can only last a few months if the pulling behaviour continues and tension of the material on the rings on the harness continues, especially at the beginning of training. For instance, a 'first' harness may only last a few months but once they have become accustomed to the system, a 'second' harness can last for a number of years.
Particularly soon after purchasing, the harnesses and leads can appear to have broken or snapped. There is usually an 'innocent looking pup' close by which got curious. We understand this can be most frustrating, but Mekuti is not here to profit from people's misfortune, so do contact us for how we can help, though broken equipment cannot be replaced for free.
These things do not happen through an owner's neglect and there is no fault attached, but it is the sort of things that pups can do, even when we think they are being supervised, and 'never chew'.
How to get more life out of your equipment.
The Mekuti Balance Harness is easily washed and quickly dried, so they can conveniently washed regularly. Keeping the harness material clean will reduce wear over time, and keep the material softer and more comfortable for the dog.
The metal fixings can become corroded, especially when being used in salty conditions nearby the sea. For this reason it is more important to rinse and dry the harness after use. Hanging it up will help it dry out before the next trip out.
It is also useful to use a mineral oil on the metal fixings to keep them clean and offer some protection from damp and wet conditions. We recommend 'Ballistol Universal Oil' as it is food safe and more kind to animals than WD40, but something is better than nothing. A quick wipe every so often will help.
Remember, looking after the material and metalwork on your harness and lead will make them last years.
The Mekuti Harness IS NOT a 'car safety harness', and should not be attached to seat belts or straps to be used improvised as one.
CAUTION for dogs which lunge
The neck clip on the shoulder strap does introduce a potential detachment point should a dog lunge suddenly.
The chance of this happening can be greatly reduced by using and attaching the double-ended lead as guided in the Instructions:
One end of the lead should be across the front of the dog's chest ... fed throught the front ring ... and attached to the ring on the far side of the harness.This effectively reduces pressure on the shoulder strap with the extra neck clip, making it less likely to inadvertantly come apart.
Your dog will still be able to run freely with a Mekuti harness on, without a lead. Each dog is different, however, and some take the opportunity to hide behind bushes and bite through it or manage to unclip it somehow. Not every dog that disappears with a harness on comes back with it!
Ideally, the dog should not be left unattended with a Mekuti Balance Harness on. Both the harness material and lead can be bitten through, so the equipment is not designed for be used for tethering or restraint. Always be in a position to observe your dog to see how they are responding to wearing the harness, and remove it if they seem irritated or uncomfortable. An indication of this might be the dog trying to get its mouth on the strap between the legs.