Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • halfone
    • By halfone 29th Aug 17, 4:18 PM
    • 98Posts
    • 108Thanks
    halfone
    Houdini dog - fireworks, harnesses.
    • #1
    • 29th Aug 17, 4:18 PM
    Houdini dog - fireworks, harnesses. 29th Aug 17 at 4:18 PM
    My dog is a 17 month old beagle pug cross – I've had him for just over 4 months now. He's a friendly little lad, loves his cuddles. He was naughty and wilful quite a lot of the time at the start but with routine and training is making slow but steady improvement; he's doing so well.

    (TLDR: recommendations for keeping a dog calm on fireworks night and escape proof harnesses, please).

    Details...

    We were out walking on Sunday when someone had fireworks in their garden and he went into an absolute blind panic; I did manage to calm him down a bit and get him walking again but then more fireworks went off and he crouched down low and tugged/wiggled backwards out of his harness then ran off. (The harness was securely fitted but he's strong and persistent). It was horrible to see how scared he was, so I'd like advice on a couple of things, please:

    1) I know it's only two months till bonfire night but I'd like to do what I can to try to lessen his distress when he hears fireworks. Obviously we'll be in the house rather than outside (I think part of the problem the other day was that he could see the fireworks as well as hear them) so they'll be a bit quieter, but just in case they do frighten him I'd like to be prepared. There seems to be quite a lot of different sorts of advice on this and I'm not sure where to start, so any hints/links would be much appreciated.

    2) He learnt this backwards wiggle escape method with his first harness (dogs trust harness), so we got his current one (ezydog chest plate harness) which has been fantastic for the past three months until the night of the fireworks. Now he knows he can get out of it, he has tried to quite a few times since (not out of terror; more like situations where he sees a dog and wants to go and play with them). I've just about managed to keep him in it but was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a harness which is harder to escape from. He is barrel shaped around his chest, with shortish legs. I was thinking of something that would loop round his hind legs, but I'm not sure if such a thing exists or if it's even safe. Again, if anyone has any recommendations I'd be grateful.

    I'd ultimately like to use the harness less, but he came to me with virtually no recall at all and if he sees another dog, or a person, or a bird etc he just wants to run over and chase/play; we have been working hard on this and now I am able to let him off for a run about to do his own thing in some situations (when he's with a doggy mate, for example, or in quiet fields) – but on harness he can go from being a calm relaxed dog to twirling madness in half a second, so I really need to be able to control him properly when that happens.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by halfone; 29-08-2017 at 4:45 PM.
Page 1
    • doglover86
    • By doglover86 29th Aug 17, 5:11 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 295 Thanks
    doglover86
    • #2
    • 29th Aug 17, 5:11 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Aug 17, 5:11 PM
    Have you thought about a Gencon instead of a harness? They're really good for keeping dogs under control without hurting them as long as they're used properly (I wasn't fully convinced until I was at last resort point with a German Shep who thinks that horses are the best playmates, but they're great).

    If you have specific worries for bonfire night, a Thundershirt or some kind of herbal calming remedy could be a big help. I'd consider something like this, a de-stressing diffuser, that you can plug in in the room your dog spends most of his time and leave plugged in through the bonfire night period (should leave you covered from blind panic attacks through the whole bonfire weekend).
    • halfone
    • By halfone 29th Aug 17, 5:30 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    • #3
    • 29th Aug 17, 5:30 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Aug 17, 5:30 PM
    Thankyou doglover86 – I hadn't come across the gencon before – like you say, it does look a bit alarming! Would it stay on him if he reversed really quickly with his head down, as that seems to be his preferred method of escape? His neck is really thick. The ezy dog one I have at the moment is great if he lunges forward etc. but not when he goes backwards.

    That diffuser looks like it might be really helpful– I want to get him calm and relaxed that night just in case. I'm not sure how he will react in the house yet – the thundershirt might be good if he gets properly freaked out but I'm hoping to avoid that if I prepare properly.

    Thank you again – much appreciated.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 29th Aug 17, 5:59 PM
    • 9,614 Posts
    • 7,613 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #4
    • 29th Aug 17, 5:59 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Aug 17, 5:59 PM
    Bonfire Night??

    I think a more appropriate term is Firework Fortnight, because for a week before and for a week after Nov 5, fireworks are being let off. If there is more than one organised display in the area, there bound to be held on different nights.
    • doglover86
    • By doglover86 29th Aug 17, 6:10 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 295 Thanks
    doglover86
    • #5
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:10 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:10 PM
    No problem at all Halfone!

    If he's particularly enjoying bolting out of the harnesses backwards, I'd say get a clip to collar one rather than an all in one - a clip to collar works the same way, but beacuse it attaches to his collar it does give extra security for reverse escape attempts and he should have no way out. They do look alarming and I was a bit reluctant at first but they're well designed and the pack comes with instructions and there's videos online to fit them properly, and I've never had a dog in a Gencon that's been unhappy in it.

    The diffuser is probably the first thing I'd try - hope he's not too freaked out for you though, like lincroft1710 said, it does turn in to Firework Fortnight - then you have all the fun of New Years Eve in December too!
    • halfone
    • By halfone 29th Aug 17, 6:12 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    • #6
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:12 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:12 PM
    Yes, lincroft1710 'Firework Fortnight' is probably a more accurate description. At least this year 5th November is on a Sunday so hopefully most people will choose the Saturday night for their displays.
    • halfone
    • By halfone 29th Aug 17, 6:21 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    • #7
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:21 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:21 PM
    doglover86 The clip to collar version seems like a really good idea - an added thing to make it harder to escape might be just what I need. At the very least it would give me a bit longer to get his rope lead on him (I usually carry one of those with me specifically for those sorts of situations). Cheers
    • doglover86
    • By doglover86 29th Aug 17, 6:33 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 295 Thanks
    doglover86
    • #8
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:33 PM
    • #8
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:33 PM
    No bother at all, hope you can sort one out and that it helps!
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 29th Aug 17, 6:35 PM
    • 3,566 Posts
    • 2,654 Thanks
    sheramber
    • #9
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:35 PM
    • #9
    • 29th Aug 17, 6:35 PM
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Walk-r-Cise-Nylon-Harness-Medium-Black/dp/B004S6ZAES/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1427047285&sr=8-2&keywords=walk+r+cise+harness

    A member of another forum with a houdini dog uses these. It is the only harness the dog has not escaped from.
    • mtbbuxton
    • By mtbbuxton 29th Aug 17, 9:15 PM
    • 291 Posts
    • 324 Thanks
    mtbbuxton
    The very best escape proof harness you'll ever buy is the Ruffwear Webmaster http://www.ruffwear.co.uk/dog-gear/harnesses/web-master-harness-ss17 They're expensive, but you'll never need to buy another harness as it'll last for years and years - I know people who have been using the same one on reactive hounds for 15+ years.
    The 2nd strap fits around the narrower waist of your dog and means they physically can't back out. Shop around to get the best price, but if you haven't shopped with Fetch before, they have a code for 15% off your first order https://fetch.co.uk/ruffwear-webmaster-harness-twilight-grey-376562011

    M x
    Save
    • Katiehound
    • By Katiehound 29th Aug 17, 9:20 PM
    • 3,605 Posts
    • 36,222 Thanks
    Katiehound
    You can also try a CD which replicates the noises of fireworks, guns etc- just google it- several Cds available.
    I can't say it worked for mine but some people swear by them making the dogs less sensitive.
    Being polite and pleasant doesn't cost anything!

    If you found my posting helpful please hit the "Thanks" button!
    Thank You
    • halfone
    • By halfone 31st Aug 17, 9:50 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    (link)
    A member of another forum with a houdini dog uses these. It is the only harness the dog has not escaped from.
    Originally posted by sheramber
    Thanks sheramber this looks interesting although it does seem to loop round the dog in the same places as his current harness - he seems to have found a knack of tucking his 'elbows' tight into his body as he reverses out of the harness; I might have to do that harness up a bit too tight for comfort to stop that happening. I'll have a further look into it...
    • halfone
    • By halfone 31st Aug 17, 9:58 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    The very best escape proof harness you'll ever buy is the Ruffwear Webmaster

    (post clipped)

    M x
    Save
    Originally posted by mtbbuxton
    mtbbuxton thank you - this looks really promising, especially the extra strap at the rear; he's relatively narrow (for a stocky dog) in that bit between the hips and belly, so it probably would work effectively as an anchor. I haven't shopped with fetch before so the 15 percent off tip is also appreciated
    • halfone
    • By halfone 31st Aug 17, 10:02 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    You can also try a CD which replicates the noises of fireworks, guns etc
    Originally posted by Katiehound
    (rest of post clipped)

    Katiehound yes - I have heard of these Although he's not bothered by guns or sharp noises etc. on the tv it can't hurt to try this. If I play it a bit each night presumably he'd get used to those sorts of sounds then not be so alarmed when the 'real' ones happen.
    Thankyou!
    • tiz
    • By tiz 31st Aug 17, 10:20 AM
    • 75 Posts
    • 96 Thanks
    tiz
    You've got two months to de-sensitise him so it might be worth chatting to a behaviourist. Check your pet insurance - sometimes they cover this. Make sure they are properly trained and using positive reinforcement: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/findabehaviourist

    The Dogs Trust have a sound program (including fireworks) here: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets that you could also work through.
    • halfone
    • By halfone 31st Aug 17, 10:41 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    Cheers for those links tiz - I'm keen to get on with this, get him as well prepared as I can in as calm and gradual way as possible so these are really helpful. Hopefully two months is long enough to make some good headway.

    I do occasionally encounter dog trainers/behavourists in my line of work...one in particular has an excellent reputation locally (and has given me some good advice previously); I'm not sure why I didn't think of giving her a call - thanks for the nudge.

    I am a big fan of the dogs trust, I didn't know they did things like that - I will put the downloads on my phone a bit later and give it a gentle try over the weekend
    • catkins
    • By catkins 31st Aug 17, 10:57 AM
    • 5,417 Posts
    • 11,451 Thanks
    catkins
    I have a dog that was not scared of fireworks in the slightest until some went off very close by when I was walking him. Really annoying as it was nowhere near fireworks night and was only just starting to get dark.

    He is not as scared of them as some of my friends' dogs but as soon as he hears them he shoots into his crate and is reluctant to come out.

    Where I live fireworks seem to be let off year round. There were some one evening last week. Last year they were every night from the 29th October to 12th November. Drives me mad

    I just turn the tv up or put music on. I cover the top of his crate also.

    Those cd's are pretty good. My dog's breeder had used one as she lives in the middle of nowhere so the puppies never heard much noise. I then got one too when I first got my pup. He was never scared of anything - hoover, motorbikes etc and is only scared of fireworks now thanks to some idiot
    The world is over 4 billion years old and yet you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie
    • halfone
    • By halfone 31st Aug 17, 11:23 AM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    Sounds like exactly the same situation catkins...it wasn't even properly dark. We were at the end of our walk - only about 50m from home and in sight of my house; unfortunately he ran off in the opposite direction and is now apprehensive about coming back home that same way, although he met one of his doggy friends there yesterday which was a very good distraction.

    It sounds like you've got good coping strategies for him, though, so well done. Although it is a shame it's necessary. Horrible to see them like that

    That's another vote for the audio recordings; definitely worth trying - thankyou.
    • krlyr
    • By krlyr 4th Sep 17, 7:55 PM
    • 5,776 Posts
    • 11,911 Thanks
    krlyr
    The very best escape proof harness you'll ever buy is the Ruffwear Webmaster http://www.ruffwear.co.uk/dog-gear/harnesses/web-master-harness-ss17 They're expensive, but you'll never need to buy another harness as it'll last for years and years - I know people who have been using the same one on reactive hounds for 15+ years.
    The 2nd strap fits around the narrower waist of your dog and means they physically can't back out. Shop around to get the best price, but if you haven't shopped with Fetch before, they have a code for 15% off your first order https://fetch.co.uk/ruffwear-webmaster-harness-twilight-grey-376562011

    M x
    Save
    Originally posted by mtbbuxton
    I can personally recommend these, my boy has escaped every harness except his Ruffwear, and the two I have are still going strong after 9 years or so now.

    As above, the third strap goes around the belly area, meaning it can't come up and over the chest/ribs (my boy has learnt to squeeze his shoulders in and back out of other designs)



    • halfone
    • By halfone 14th Sep 17, 5:27 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    halfone
    I can personally recommend these, my boy has escaped every harness except his Ruffwear, and the two I have are still going strong after 9 years or so now.

    As above, the third strap goes around the belly area, meaning it can't come up and over the chest/ribs (my boy has learnt to squeeze his shoulders in and back out of other designs)
    Originally posted by krlyr
    Many thanks krlyr - I did get one of these ruffwear ones in the end, had it since Monday and it's looking good so far (I do have to check the straps as they seem to work themselves a bit loose if he's excessively 'pully'). It's really interesting to see the photos you've posted as it looks a lot smaller compared to the size of dog on your dogs' backs. I followed the sizing guide and got a 'small' but my lad is very short bodied so it covers quite a bit more of his back. The 'belly' strap seems to be doing its job as intended so a good result I hope.

    Just in case anyone's reading and interested in the pros and cons of various harnesses I had one of these temporarily - although it does have the 3 straps, unfortunately they are wide, and the position of the third one made it impossible for him to wee. It might work well on a longer bodied or female dog though. Would be good at keeping them dry too.
    Last edited by halfone; 14-09-2017 at 6:06 PM.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,897Posts Today

7,934Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Shana tova umetuka - a sweet Jewish New Year to all celebrating. I won't be online the rest of t'week, as I take the time to be with family

  • Dear Steve. Please note doing a poll to ask people's opinion does not in itself imply an opinion! https://t.co/UGvWlMURxy

  • Luciana is on the advisory board of @mmhpi (we have MPs from most parties) https://t.co/n99NAxGAAQ

  • Follow Martin