Monday, December 15, 2014

Product Review: SENSE-ation Harness by Softouch Concepts

The Softouch Concepts SENSE-ation harness is a front clip harness designed to discourage pulling and promote good leash walking skills. It features a simple three-strap design with a single buckle and a bottom strap made from soft non-abrasive webbing. The SENSE-ation is available in five colors and nine different sizes to fit dogs with chests 13-50" around.
Photo by Erin Koski

While it may look a lot like the Premier Easy Walk harness, the SENSE-ation harness is in my opinion a superior product. With one fewer buckle, it's easier to put on and less likely to baffle the uninitiated. More importantly=, it does not have that obnoxious tightening martingale loop in the front.

While the Easy Walk harness is supposed to tighten across the shoulders to make pulling difficult, the SENSE-ation harness just changes the leash attachment point from the front to the back. The fixed strap gives a much better fit and is far more ergonomic while being just as effective. The issue with the Easy Walk harness is that the martingale loop doesn't actually tighten the harness, it just pulls the top and bottom straps forward and into the dog's armpits.

The SENSE-ation harness is also fitted differently than the Easy Walk, and since acquiring mine I have changed the way I fit dogs with Easy Walk harnesses. Premier tells users that the top and bottom straps should be vertical, and the front strap should sit horizontal and level with the point of the chest. The guys at my local pet store call this the "mythical T-shape" because it just can't be achieved on a real dog. The get the front strap to sit at the point of the chest, it has to be tightened until the top and bottom straps are pulled into the dog's elbows.

The SENSE-ation harness is fitted with the chest trap adjusted a bit higher. When gravity and physics and the laws of nature take their course, the front strap ends up right at the breastbone where it belongs. Unlike the Easy Walk harness, which instructs users to tighten the vertical straps so tight that the front strap stays up, the SENSE-ation harness instructs users to keep things loose enough to be comfortable and allow for natural movement.

Pros: A far more comfortable and easier to use front clip harness that the most popular one on the market. Discourages pulling without impeding normal movement.

Cons: Not Dr Zink-approved because the horizontal strap lays across the shoulder, though this is more a concern for canine athletes and less for average pet dogs. The pink ones I've seen have faded badly even though they haven't been in the sun.

Bottom Line: I feel like this harness was designed by people who actually used it long enough to improve the design and fitting instructions. It's what the Easy Walk harness would be if a team of dog-loving engineers got to work on it. While it hasn't replaced the Freedom harness as my favorite no-pull solution, it's a lot better than the more popular Easy Walk.

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