Let’s Talk Seriously About Gear!

Gear. There is so much gear out there for everything under the sun including our pets. I love gear. I have used and tried a lot of gear over the years with Luke. We started out with your standard run of the mill collars and when he was a year old I got him a handcrafted custom martingale collar from https://www.handcrafteddogcollars.com. I love that collar still although it is no longer his daily use collar, we have moved on to different gear.

I’ve talked about the halti which he hated, the gentle leader which was almost the same and turned his loud WOOF into a muffled Boof, which he also hated. I tried a couple harnesses, they didn’t last long. We did the pinch, I know everyone hates those but don’t judge until you are trained to use one and you are afraid that if you can’t control your dog or stay on your feet that you will be forced to put them down. Worse then any gear was the fear that something very bad was going to happen and Luke would be destroyed. He surprisingly didn’t hate the pinch collar. He hated the pinch but he loved the control. The issue came in when he was avoiding a situation because he knew not to react and then a correction came because of how he moved. That is what triggered me to try agility and to find different gear. I didn’t want to try a shock collar although it wasn’t a shock, just an obnoxious vibrate.

I googled and I googled and I googled some more. Luke has a strong work ethic. He wants to please. He was loving agility, he has working dog breeds in him and a hyper vigilance. This is what you get when you have a gun dog mixed with a herding dog and the dreaded nanny dog. You get a protective, OCD, barking, vigilant, swimmer who has to work hard to swim because of the bully muscle weight, tail wagger. You get Luke. I decided maybe I needed to work more like a police dog. That vigilant part was not being challenged. He retrieves like a lab, was learning basic agility like a border collie, he needed the bully satisfied. I started reading about all new training commands in…German.

I didn’t want to learn German but I did learn a few tricks and tips and I started looking at tactical gear. If I could afford it I would have him custom geared out. I can’t afford that so really it started with amazon. I know. They are horrible but it fit the budget and this stuff is just not in the local pet stores or tactical shops. I wish it was in my tactical shop.

The vest was step one. We started with the onetigris power train harness with 3 pouches. I love the pouches, however because he loves to roll in clover the pouches live on me and they come in handy. Here is a link to that harness https://m.onetigris.com/dog-harness-554.html. We used that from October through the end of March. It’s black and long and Luke gets hot in the summer very quickly because of his thick coat. I love that harness, we still have it and I have plans to modify it once my mom can show me how to load my antique sewing machine with a heavy thread (I get it loaded and snap the thread so clearly I am doing something wrong!) Luke is a puller, always has been and I want his vest to hug that chest of his so there is zero strain on him. I know exactly what I want to do to it and how I will achieve that.

Enter vest number 2. The Icefang Tactical Dog Harness K9 Working Vest. No link on this one it isn’t pasting right so you can google the vest name. I love how this one fits. I love the cobra buckles. They are heavy but exactly what my dog needs. The way this fits is how I will be modifying Luke’s power train harness. The feel is like a tactical harness with the right control mixed with a thunder coat. How could this vest be better? A handle on the tail end of it. I like grab handles everywhere on Luke. We have been using this vest for a couple of months now and so far, we love it. He can feel the difference in how it goes on and although he still acts as though it pains him to have it put on (all show by the way, if you grab a clinger the act drops and he walks normal), he can move unencumbered in it.

The new daily collar! Excellent Elite Spanker took the lead on this one. http://www.excellentelitespanker.com/prod_view.aspx?TypeId=68&Id=180&FId=t3:68:3. We ordered this in a large black on amazon in the fall. The first one had a buckle failure and the company took it back and we ordered another one. No issues at all. He has been in it since November and it is brilliant. I have used the handle. No buckle issues at all. This is the first time since his first puppy collar that I have used a flat collar on Luke. Being such a pulled I have thought a flat collar would choke him, he also as a pup squirmed his head out and I have seen dogs do the same in public. Some dogs are masters of escape. I don’t feel like he can squirm out of this one. It fastens around his neck first with Velcro and then we clip that cobra buckle that I love. He doesn’t flinch when that buckle is clipped, it has a nice snick as opposed to the loud snap of those plastic buckles. It came with a random patch, Emotional Support, this makes me laugh but I put it on. He needs emotional support and sometimes so do I. I would have much preferred a DO NOT PET patch, I’m far too cheap to buy one right now, emotional support it is!

The leash. You knew this was coming. Currently I have 2 of the same kind. I like it because the handle is comfortable, the bungee portion is tight and it attaches with a locking carabiner. I got this on amazon as well. The carabiner is sticking right now on both of the leads. To be fair we are hard on our gear. I will try to remember to grease the locking mechanism and see if that helps. I do like the lead, not happy about the lock I do want my dog on lockdown and I want to know that he isn’t going to snap that free. The online complaints were that it said 6 ft but when it is not stretched out it is only about 4 ft. I like the fact that it is 4 ft until bungees. That to me is a two thumbs up selling feature. I want my dog close to me. The closer the better. If it’s all clear, go ahead buddy, bungee ahead. If he gets to far it is tight enough that he is snapped back in the nicest possible you are at the end of your rope way.

That is Luke. I have gear too. I got myself a Condor Tactical Belt with Cobra Buckle. This fits through my Condor Slim Battle Belt. That belt combo changed my life! Thank you Andrew at Camouflage Victoria. I have my gear guy. I went in for a vest and came out with he belts. To that I added a nice H Harness. Build a vest. Don’t buy a vest. I can tie in a chest plate to that harness of my choosing. I haven’t yet done that. So far I have the 3 molle pouches that came with Luke’s Onetigris vest, I have a dump pouch, cell phone pouch, canteen pouch and canteen with a small clip on silicone collapsible dog bowl, a small pouch that holds my Logan dog whistle (more on that) as well as nicely rolled up and folded waste bags, and an extra first aid pouch (still building my list for that kit). I also have an air soft ammo clip holder that nicely holds my EPI Pen. That’s my gear in a nutshell. Sounds like a lot. When it’s all loaded it weighs a fair amount, that being said the way that battle belt takes the weight, when it is in you can’t tell. Brilliant! The canteen is human standard issue, it adds some weight when full. I don’t feel it though. I grabbed a giant heavy duty caribiner at an auto parts store and clipped Luke’s lease to that around my belt to go hands mostly and it was awesome, handles and control all in grabbing distance but he got and I got a break on a wooded path. I love my gear. It should be standard issue. His treats are in a pouch and we have everything you could need plus spares for anyone I see leaving a mess (oh did you need a bag, I have lots!). You can gear up at any store with tactical gear, a good sales person in airsoft can outfit you and next thing you know your work backpack is tactical and you have pouches for that too. Best gear ever!

The Logan whistle is also a nice touch. I tried a few acmes for recall, he didn’t care. I started looking up herding whistles and playing youtube videos in the yard of them at work and he kept coming to me when he heard the Logan. I ordered that from the U.K. https://www.thebordercollie.co.uk/logan-sheepdog-whistle-range-for-sale. These whistles mean business and they are loud with amazing range. You can hear his in a video in my next blog. Sometimes I whistle once and sometimes I whistle twice. I forgive him because we really haven’t had that much off leash time in a big field to really master what I want, but usually he’s pretty good about that whistle.

That is gear in a nutshell for me right now. Side note for little dog people, a good tactical vest (icefang has xs) and a good lead and anchor point to you (such as a strong battle belt) could save your little beloved friend from large birds of prey. Tactical is strong weaving and heavier weighted fabrics. We have owls and bald eagles here that have been known to snatch smaller dogs and snap those extendable leashes. I recommend leashing all dogs, especially small and getting good gear, you are protecting the family member you love.

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