Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Put on a Petco Mesh Harness

I get quite a few page views from people looking for step-by-step instructions for putting on the Petco Mesh Harness. While a have a product review, I didn't include a graphic step-by-step breakdown of how to make sense of this harness on there. Clearly this is an oversight I need to rectify.

Photo by Erin Koski
The Petco Mesh Harness is a Roman-style harness designed to take pressure off the dog's neck and distribute it across the chest. This is a choke-free harness, it is not a no-pull harness and will not discourage a dog from pulling on the leash. In fact, a comfortable harness like this could actually encourage pulling by making leash pressure more comfortable.

This harness is a good choice for people who want to avoid putting pressure on their dog's neck or throat. It is great for dogs who tend to back out of collars, and is also good for visibility because it comes in bright colors and bold patterns. This harness should not rub or chafe, and may be a good choice for dogs with sensitive skin.

One thing that makes the Petco Mesh Harness different from other mesh harnesses  is that the neck can be adjusted. This is accomplished via a pair of plastic ratchet straps that look like they were stolen off a pair of ski boots. The fact that these can be completely unbuckled is why I suspect this harness confuses so many people.

Photo by Erin Koski

Step One: Find the Ratchet Straps
To make sense out of this harness, I first need to find the plastic ratchet straps. These may be buckled or unbuckled. They are made from ridged plastic, and connect to a strap at a right angle. They may be buckled into the ratchet buckles or unbuckled.

If the ratchet straps are buckled into the wrong sides of the harness, the whole thing will be a giant twisted mess. When I can't untangle one of these, I start by unbuckling the ratchet buckles completely. This is accomplished by pushing down on the tab of the buckle and sliding the ratchet strap all the way out of it. Then I can hold the ratchet straps up and let the rest of the harness dangle and untwist. If the side-release buckle is still fastened, I will also unbuckle that one.

The Petco Mesh Harness comes with yellow stickers on the ratchet buckles, making them easier to find on a brand new harness. The buckles on the pink harness in these pictures still have their yellow stickers.

Which Strap Goes Where?

To figure out which ratchet buckle goes to which strap, I can lay the totally unbuckled harness out flat with the rubber Petco label facing up and each strap out straight. When laid out this way, the black ratchet strap on the right goes into the closest ratchet buckle.

Laid out flat like this, we can see the top of the top and the bottom of the bottom of the harness. These are the surfaces that will not be touching the dog when he is wearing the harness.

I pay close attention to this little ring because it's easy for the straps to get confusing. The leash ring is on a little tab, and when the side straps are adjusted like this, the leash ring strap can rotate around the ring and pass through the other strap. It's supposed to be on the opposite side of the ring from the strap with the rubber Petco label.

If the harness looks like this, I need to pull the leash ring strap through the side strap loop so it's opposite the rubber Petco label.

Photo by Erin Koski

Step Two: Buckle the Ratchet Straps
Once I know which ratchet strap goes into which buckle, I can fasten the ratchet buckles to make a loop for Brisbane's head. It's easier to fasten these buckles before putting on the harness, but some dogs really don't like having things pulled over their heads. For these dogs I fasten one ratchet buckle before putting the harness on, and do the second ratchet buckle to buckle the harness around their neck.

Photo by Erin Koski

Photo by Erin Koski

Photo by Erin Koski

Step Three: Put the Dog's Head Through
When the harness goes on the dog, the printed mesh panel should be on the bottom, and the rubber Petco label should be on the top.

Photo by Erin Koski

Photo by Erin Kosk

Step Four: Put the Dog's Leg Through
To put this harness on, I need to lift up Brisbane's right leg and put it through the loop formed by the side strap and mesh panel.

Photo by Erin Koski

Step Five: Buckle the Harness
The large side-release buckle is fastened on Brisbane's left side.

Photo by Erin Koski

Step Six: Strike a Pose!
Look at that fancy harness!

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