Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Product Review: Holt Control Harness

The Holt Control Harness, currently available from Coastal Pet Products, is a slightly different version of the no-pull string harness. This one-piece design slips over the head and then both front feet are stepped into the harness and the toggle is tightened up. The Holt harness allows total freedom of motion, and does not rub under the armpits. It is available in three sizes to fit dogs with necks 8-26" around, and chests up to 36" around.
Holt no-pull solution
Photo by Erin Koski

The Holt Harness was originally sold by the Canadian company Pet Valu. Coastal Pet Products acquired them in 2009. There don't seem to be a lot of Holt-branded products out there, but this is definitely the most recognizable and unique. It uses rounded cords to concentrate pressure like the Sporn Halter and the Yuppy Puppy Anti-Pull Harness. However, it does not run the cords through the dog's armpits.

This is one of the few no-pull harnesses that allows total freedom of motion. It does not block the motion of the shoulder or upper arm at all, and it sits well clear of the armpits so it will not rub. The round cords also disappear into the dog's coat, making this harness less likely to contribute to matting on hairy dogs.
Holt no-pull harness
Photo by Erin Koski

Like the other string harnesses we've tried, this one is not strongly aversive. At least, Sisci did not mind towing me over to a tennis ball in it. You can see it sort of riding into her armpits in the pulling picture, but it is actually very adjustable and I could make those cords sit much further back. Like the Balance Harness, the top section on this one can be adjusted so it can be made to fit all sorts of weird body shapes.

My only complaint about this harness is that, like most string harnesses, it tightens down with a toggle for a secure fit, leaving any extra length of cord to dangle. This means a smaller dog in the size range could have a foot or more of extra cord hanging around, while a larger dog may not have any. I don't like having the leash clip swinging around in my dog's face, and I also don't like having a big floppy bit hanging off the harness when my dog is off leash.

Pros: Rounded cords slide into long coats. Seriously adjustable in every dimension. Likely most effective on larger dogs. Allows freedom of movement and stays out of the armpits. Does not choke.

Cons: Toggle fitting system leaves a big length of cord swinging around, needs a leash attached to prevent leash ring from hitting a running dog. May seem a bit complicated for newbs to put on. Requires a bit of flexibility to get into as the dog must step over cords.

Bottom Line: Simple and kind of classy. A minimalist no-pull solution.

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