Review of the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness

ruffwear webmaster harnessWe tried more than half a dozen harnesses, anti-pull systems and leads. Most lasted about a few walks before Tilley managed to pull against them or find a way out of them. Yes, she was bonkers and keen on pulling for the first year or so!

The Ruffwear Webmaster Harness is the only one she hasn’t done a Houdini on. Along with the Gencon headcollar the Ruffwear harness is the only thing that she “accepts” and doesn’t pull so much on. [As an aside, this is the dog that will happily lay outside our tent with a 30 metre line on and have birds land about 2 metres away and just look at them. Whereas when she is on a short lead on she will pull like a steam train toward a bird/dog/cat 200 metres away. Go figure!]

The Ruffwear harness is very well made, solid with durable stitches. We have used it constantly for three years, at least twice a day, in all weathers. She has been swimming in the sea and lakes and rolling in her “mud baths”. When it started to smell a bit we gave it a good hand wash. We hear some people even stick them in the washing machine.

ruffwear webmaster harness on beachThe Ruffwear harness holds well onto Tilley when we need to lift her over a stile or into the van. Without any moaning from her when she is “dangling” in the harness, it gives her good support. When she wear the harness I don’t fear that she will slip out and do a runner, all I have to worry about is to remember to hold onto the lead.

We also like it as other harnesses clearly hurt her legs (she had surgery when 6 months old for elbow dysplasia so we are very careful of her legs) when she pulled against it and cause her to limp. The Ruffwear Webmaster Harness hasn’t hurt her or elbows if she does a runner and she has forgotten she’s attached to me.

We might get the Brush Guard to give her more support when we lift her over obstacles. Even though with the amount of fur that Tilley has and her love of running into mud and undergrowth, I don’t think we would get much protection from it.

We managed to attach a little cheap bag to the side of the harness so that she could carry her poop bags and poop. This got a lot of comments – ooh, that is cute, she can carry her own treats – though when I tell them what we really use it for the cuteness disappears… 🙂

The only thing that got damaged on it that we had to fix was one of the belly straps that got chewed by one of our foster dogs (hello Jordan!). This we easily fixed at a local tent, boot and backpack mender since our sewing machine wasn’t strong enough.

We got a new one because the aluminium V-ring leash attachment started to wear through the strap it was attached too. Still good going after three years of Tilley wear.

I would highly recommend anything from Ruffwear as it is solid, durable gear with quality stitching. And, hey, Tilley does look good in her smart red harness!

Review: Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog food

Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog foodWe adopted Tilley from the Dog’s Trust in September 2013 and got a free 2kg bag of Arden Grange Puppy/Junior (chicken and rice) as part of the welcome pack. As she’d already been fed this brand while being cared for by the Dog’s Trust, it made sense to continue using it. She clearly does well on this food: her coat is extremely shiny, her eyes bright and (forgive us for giving too much information here – dog owners will understand!) her “deposits” of a good consistency.

We did some research into Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog food – which we’d never heard of before getting Tilley – and realised that it is a high-quality brand, which scores a better-than-average 3.4 out of 5 on whichdogfood.co.uk. (It’s good to know that a lot of rescue dogs are benefiting from a high quality food while in kennels!) We also approve of the ethics of this family company, particularly that the food is made using traceable, sustainable food stocks, with support for local farmers and no GM ingredients.

2013-10-06--10.09.41_IMG_0434It’s not the cheapest food available, but we think it is worth the extra cash. We pay £34.90 for 12kg (a discounted rate) from www.zooplus.co.uk/ which works out at about 60-80 pence per day.

For the first two months of her time with us, Tilley adored her Arden Grange kibble. It’s small-sized and she clearly found it very palatable. We’d feed her twice a day in toys such as the Kong Wobbler and milk bottles with holes cut out, and she had great fun at mealtimes. Feeding her in toys was a great way of putting her collie-cross mind to work, and tiring her out! She found the kibble so appealing and tasty that we were even able to use it on the odd occasion as a training treat when out and about.

Recently, however, she started to turn her nose up at kibble at mealtimes. She wouldn’t touch it dry, so we started moistening it with a little warm water, and feeding small portions, rather than serving it in toys. We decided to contact Arden Grange’s nutritional adviser, Ness Bird, for advice on two issues: Tilley going off her kibble, and her tendency to hyperactivity.

We were very impressed with Ness Bird’s response: personalised, friendly and comprehensive. She firstly provided an interesting fact sheet which dispels the commonly-held belief that high-protein food leads to hyperactivity. And she reassured us that it’s not unusual for adolescent dogs to go off their food when their growth rate slows down, and she gave us a number of ways to approach this, which may also help with Tilley’s high energy levels.

2013-09-08--12.02.34_IMG_7301We’re to review Tilley’s feeding amounts, including treats and extras – it seems that we were feeding too much; moisten her kibble with water or a tiny taste of dissolved Marmite if she isn’t keen on it; and consider feeding an adult variety with a different meat source. Ness offered to send us samples of a couple of adult food varieties, plus a liver training treat, and also gave us a couple of recipes for healthy treats to make at home: liver cake and fish cake.

Tilley has since wolfed down her smaller portions of kibble, moistened with a little warm water, and is certainly thriving on the food. She gets many compliments from people we meet on her shiny, soft and silky coat (especially from small children, who she loves to lick!). And our vet agreed that she is in really great condition.

Thank you, Ness and Arden Grange. We will follow your advice carefully. Tilley looks forward to receiving the free samples and in the meantime, we’ll get creative with the treat recipes and continue her training!