Friday, March 7, 2014

Product Review: Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure Harness

The Go-Tech Adventure Harness by Kurgo is a nylon harness with back leash ring, a front leash ring, and a handle on the back. It comes in three colors and has a unique style of buckle. Each harness comes with a car tether strap.

This is intended to be a safety harness for active dogs, but I primarily use it as a mobility harness for Josie due to that convenient handle on the back. It's not quite as effective as the Ruffwear Webmaster harness at lifting the entire dog, but it's a lot cheaper. I found it in the clearance bin at Petco for $15.

The harness helps me hoist Josie's front end into the car, lets me haul her up to join me on the furniture, and works a lot better at steering her than grabbing her collar. It seems to be very comfortable for her to wear 24/7, and doesn't bother her fur or rub marks on her anywhere. The part of the harness that goes down her chest between her front legs is very wide, so it distributes the weight well. All three of my dogs have very long backs though, and if I could change this harness design slightly I would make it longer with the handle further back.

Something I particularly like about this harness is the metal nesting buckles. I've had several plastic buckles fail and ruin an otherwise beloved piece of equipment. These are elegant in their simplicity, just slide the small plate through the slot in the big plate, and then the small plate just rotates and sits flat on top of the big plate. It sounds too simple, but Josie has been wearing it nonstop for weeks, rolling around on the ground, wrestling with other dogs, and it has yet to come undone. Buckling and unbuckling doesn't require squeezing anything, which is really nice when my hands hurt. Josie has a large harness, and Brisbane has a medium that has slightly smaller buckles. The medium fits Briz well, and he has an unusually wide chest that can make him difficult to fit with harnesses that have few adjustment options.

I like that this is a quiet harness, even though the buckles are metal-on-metal, they don't jingle. There is a front ring where I could attach tags, or a leash if I had a dog that needed a front-clip harness. (Little-known fact: You can clip a leash to any harness with a front ring, most standard Roman harnesses had that option way before front-clip harnesses were a thing.) It's also worth mentioning that I've seen a dog wearing one of these with the front ring ripped out. I don't know the exact circumstances behind the damage, whether it was chewed or broke under strain, but it gives me some slight nagging doubts about the attachment of that particular piece of hardware.

Kurgo advertises this as a vehicle-safety harness, but it's important to know that it only prevents driver distraction by keeping your dog tethered. The Go-Tech Adventure Harness it NOT a crash-protection harness. Check out the Center for Pet Safety's harness testing to see what happens to distraction-prevention harnesses during a collision. Most seat belt harnesses on the market would fail miserably in an actual crash, and some can do more harm than good. If you're looking for something to use as a crash-protection device, this isn't it.

Pros: Sturdy, easy to put on, all metal hardware, possibly arthritis-friendly buckles. Nice big rings for easy leash attachment. Comes in three colors and five sizes, and has a handle on the back. Comfortable for extended wear, and fits my weird-shaped dog ok. Makes a decent mobility harness for a large elderly dog.

Cons: Hardware may be tricky for those who aren't familiar with the nesting buckles, or have squirmy dogs. Only adjustment is around the chest strap which could cause fitting issues for some dogs. The wide chest area could rub the insides of a dog's legs if the fit was bad. Does not provide crash protection but claims to be a vehicle safety harness.

Bottom Line: It's sturdy enough and different enough to be worth trying even if you have other styles of harness. If your dog has a long back, it's only good for lifting the front end of them.

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