Product Review: Vest for Reactive Dogs

There are many clients that work with me who have reactive dogs.  Many of these dogs are rescues.  They are loving and fun at home, where they feel safe, but when they get out into the big wide world, it’s a different story.  Mostly out of fear, these dogs act out when confronted with situations that make them uncomfortable.  New people, strange dogs, novel situations, can make them very uncomfortable and scared.  Well meaning people leaning over to pet the dog may become the victim of a dog bite.  No one wants this situation to occur, not the well meaning stranger, and certainly not the dog owner.  There are many, many dogs in our crowded human environments that simply need some space.  While they are working on improving the dogs’ associations and reactions, these dogs and their owners have a right to go outside, walk on leash, without being inundated with people approaching them without asking.  This vest helps these dogs and owners claim some space for themselves.  It is also a great opportunity to educate the public.  Not every dog appreciates the attention of strangers! 

 I ordered this vest and tried it on my dog, Wylie.  She is a 70 pound dog, quite trim.  I ordered size 34.  I found the material, a nice lightweight cotton, to be adequate, not heavy, which is important in the heat of a North Carolina summer.  The lettering is large, and can be easily read from a distance.  I also like the color of the lettering, purple, since it evokes neutral and calm.  The straps that go across the chest and under the belly seem to be made of a cotton ribbon-like fabric.  It is sewn to the vest on one side and has a velcro piece to attach to the other.  I found that the front strap fit very well.  However the belly strap was very loose and allowed the vest to rotate on my dog when she walked.  I knotted the strap 3 times to shorten it, and it fit fine.  I think that dogs with larger bellies (a little overweight) may need that extra length. 

There is also an option to order the vest with, or without a hole to accommodate a back attach harness.  The website also gives you the option to position the hole.  This allows great flexibility and provides for a good fit, regardless of the type of harness your are using because the distance from the base of your dog’s neck to the hole is selected by you. 

My only criticism would be that the straps are not adjustable.  Also, I think that if you had a deep chested dog, like a bulldog, the chest strap may be too short, regardless of the proper measurement of the girth.  An easy workaround for this would be to add a piece of Velcro One Wrap to suit the dog.  I would like to see wider straps on the large size vests that are adjustable, either with a buckle or longer velcro. 

I like the idea of this product very much, and I will definitely be recommending it to clients in the future!  It will hopefully make their lives just a little easier.

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Positively Expert: Dale Ward

Dale is owner of Dale's Dog Training Academy, LLC serving southeast VA and northeast NC. She is a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer, an AKC/CGC Evaluator, CBATI (Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor--in progress), and a full member of the Pet Professional Guild and APDT.