Trotz received his first BrilliantK9 harness in the mail yesterday! We are so excited to give it a go. There is a specialized harness on it’s way from my new friends at BrilliantK9, but they sent this one first.
So, here it is. The BrilliantK9 Service Dog Harness, size XLarge, in the Tribute pattern, with a strap handle.
It is very pretty. That was my first impression. Right after that, it is very light. I would say it’s less than a pound, remember, it is meant to fit Trotz, lol. The reflective strips are very bright, as is the lettering on the patch. Inside the package with it is my order sheet, a measuring/fitting guide, an ADA card, and a price list. The label on the package indicates it’s entire weight at 11 ounces, so….it’s light.
I start with examining the harness very carefully. I found it to be well put together. No loose or sloppy stitching. Strong, heavy duty material. It has a large, metal leash ring. I love that! Sometimes you order a large vest, get it, and the ring is so small and flimsy that I can’t hook his lead to it. This is a very sturdy ring with multiple uses. Your dog likes swimming in the lake? You can hook a line to this and haul him back when he starts to get to far. Attached to my ring is a special gift, an “oh shit” handle.
Being older, I remember when the ones in cars were just straps. After a discussion on how I use Trotz to get up when I fall, she attached this strap. My hands often cannot close and grip. My left hand will just go numb or will spasm open. When I fall, I try very hard not to put too much stress on Trotz while he is helping me up. I prefer he pull me upright with the weight distributed across his chest so he can lean into the pull instead of being pulled to the side. My hands cannot always grip the handle on the vest though, he pulls right out from my grip, thus causing many a face plant. The strap on the ring is really ingenious. I can slip my hand thru the loop, allowing Trotz to pull me upright by my wrist and forearm. We tried this later, the strap isn’t likely to break, lol.
Following the guide, I adjust the Velcro chest strap and slide the vest over Trotz’s big old head. I reach under for the belly band and….simply touch it to the receiver. It has a speed buckle. Not only does it have a speed buckle (closes with a magnetic clasp), it has a wide, 3 inch tab to make it quick and easy to grasp. I adjust the belly band…over his belly, not his ribs, leaving a 2 finger space for comfort, then step back and take a look.
Trotz grins at me. He really likes this harness. I take it off him, he noses it and then stands steady to have it put back on. He really likes this harness.
I take a firm hold on the soft handle and pull gently upwards, no pressure on his ribs. His chest is completely exposed, allowing unrestrictive breathing. The band pulls up on his belly, he grunts, stares at me, then goes back to posing.
The vest sits further back on him than others. It is cut to allow full range of motion instead of covering his shoulders, causing the entire vest to rock with his movement. The chest band sits just above his shoulders in the front, allowing full steps without riding up and rubbing his neck. It gives the appearance of being tilted forward, but when we tested movement, it stayed in place with no rubbing.
I double checked the chest strap with a worry. The adjustment causes the end of the strap to lay mid-chest, on the inside of the strap. This could cause rubbing, as it is made of a very rigid webbing, it could also poke at him. I run my hands along the inside. The strap is nearly flush to the Velcro. The ends are gently rounded, no poking. Again, Trotz grins his approval.
I pull off the pouches to exam them also. The patches are firmly attached with Velcro to the pouch. They will also stick directly to the harness with the pouches removed. These read “BrilliantK9” but service dog patches would stick just as well. There is room for only one patch on each pouch, which is a drawback. Sometimes we like to provide lots of info, “service dog”, “do not pet”, “do not distract”, “do not separate from handler”, and so on. Looking closely at the pouch, I see 2 loops. One attached to the flap of pouch, one attached to the top of the pouch. Easy enough to use a clip on the desired patch and just add it. Nice! The pouches are edged with a reflective strip, lined with plastic, closed with more Velcro. They are approximately 3 inches by 7 inches, enough room for what I need to put in them, but not much more than that. Think of them more like an evening purse rather than a mom purse. Since I tend to toss treats in them and sometimes the treats are disgusting, I check for easy clean. Yep, they thought of this as well. Simply turn inside out and wipe clean.
Done checking out the pouches, I moved on to the vest portion. The handle is a soft webbing, firmly attached to the top of the belly band, which wraps over the top of the vest in a full circle. Looking closely, there are elastic loops also sewn in between the handle and the pouch, a handy place to put a small flashlight and a stick. Sometimes Trotz has a hard time giving up a perfect stick, don’t judge.
I remove the pouches and take the vest off Trotz. He is still posing but doesn’t know why other than he is “what a beautiful dog”. I turn the vest to look underneath. I can’t figure out what is inside it, between the very pretty pattern and the black underside, I just can’t feel anything. No foam, no padding really. This is good. Foam is not something you want in your dog harness unless it is snowing. Even then, it’s not a happy thing. Bugs like to hide in foam, as does dirt, and mold. Unless it’s removable, it’s nearly impossible to clean. Oh, did I mention? This harness is machine washable! This is an important feature in our lives, really important. Unsure I really mean it? Please refer to my Facebook post of 2 years ago regarding the newly installed drainage field to my septic tank.
We have finally arrived at the really fun portion of the entire review. Will it help keep him cool? The material appears to be some kind of moisture wicking stuff, not sure that will really help, Trotz has no back sweat. But there is another feature, you can get it wet. Yep, wet the dang thing! I drench it with the garden hose, squeeze out the excess water, then put it back on Trotz.
It took just a moment and then he felt the cold, wet, material on his back. Annoyed is the best word to use to describe his expression. We waited to see what he would do, he thought about it awhile, then decided he could live with it. We worked with it awhile, going through basic obedience commands, running to the house and back, pulling me up, very little shifting with the harness. It remained comfortably in place, remained cool to the touch.
We worked with it today and as I write this, each time I lift the harness to refresh my memory of a particular feature, Trotz comes over to try it back on. He really this harness. For well under $100, it is a bargain. Remember, BrilliantK9 is offering a 15% discount through July 5, 2017.
This is a very customer friendly company, they are good people. The harnesses are made right here in the US, which meshes well with my belief that you should not buy anything for your dog that is made in a country where the people eat them. I’m willing to accept may just be my opinion.
Anyway, visit with the folks at BrilliantK9 and see if they have what you are looking for!