Balance Harness Review

Mrs Chew’s 2nd harness was a Balance Harness. There are several other versions available, but ours is Australian-made by Black Dog. This is advertised as a No-Pull, front-leading harness.

Mrs Chew’s first harness was a step-in, back-clipping one that only had her pulling even harder. See previous post.

The Balance Harness works in a fashion, but we don’t like the way it gapes open at the shoulder when Mrs Chew pulls to one side. It looks like an unruly bra strap that needs pulling back into place – women readers will understand 😉.

It is quite easy to put on, you just have to remember that the black strap goes across the dog’s chest. You then clip your lead to the front ring on the black strap. For added control, you can clip another lead to the dog’s collar. 

There is nothing connecting the back of the Balance Harness to the dog’s collar at the back. You can however buy a “Connector Strap”, which is simply a short strap with a snaphook attached to one end, which you then slip through the Balance Harness’s back strap and clip to the dog’s collar. 

Here’s an illustration by Lori Stevens showing how the Balance Harness works:

Black Dog‘s Balance Harness packaging:

And here’s Mrs Chew wearing the harness:

You can see in the last photo how the black chest strap is gaping at the shoulder. 

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Opposition Reflex

​Flashback to just over 8 months ago, when Mrs Chew first started walking with a Harness. This was her first Harness, a step-in which clips on the back. Dogs have an instinctive “Opposition Reflex” which means they will pull or push in the opposite direction to where the force of pressure is. So, if you’re holding them back by pulling on the harness, their instinct is to pull forward even harder. Think sled dogs. 

We had to use 2 leads to control Mrs Chew’s pulling. One was a standard nylon webbing lead, clipped to the harness. The other was a shorter, chain lead, clipped to Mrs Chew’s collar. And we had to “steer” Mrs Chew using both leads, as she was pulling really hard. It did not make for a very pleasant experience for anyone involved. Needless to say, we were soon casting about for a better Harness system. 

Tomorrow we’ll tell you about Mrs Chew’s 2nd Harness. 

#MrYipAndMrsChew #AlyZenMoonshadow #harness #dogbehaviour #caninepsychology #dogwalking #dogharnesschallenge #dogsofinstagram #dogsofperth #staffycross

Climate Change for Dogs

Mr Yip is a scruffy terrier cross, and came from indeterminate origins in Ireland. That doesn’t detract from his cuteness one iota, of course 😉. Mr Yip’s fur is coarse, wiry and thick, mostly white with grey and black and a smidgeon of brown, and he also has black ticking underneath all that white. In a word, he’s Unique!

Now, Ireland is in the Northern Hemisphere, as we all know, and Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere. The seasons therefore are reversed. 

When it’s Winter in Ireland (December-Feb), it’s Summer in Australia. 

When it’s Spring in Ireland (Mar – May), it’s Autumn in Australia. 

When it’s Summer in Ireland (June- August), it’s Winter in Australia. 

When it’s Autumn in Ireland (September – November), it’s Spring in Australia.

Well, no one told Mr Yip that. When he first arrived in Australia in December 2010, it was from a below-freezing Minus 10 degrees in Dublin, to a scorching 35 degrees in Perth. Mr Yip was in his full winter furcoat, and he must have suffered in the sudden change in temperature. A month spent in Quarantine did not make him shed his winter coat. 

In fact, in the 6 years that Mr Yip has been in Australia, his fur habits have never adapted to the Australian climate. Hypoallergemic he most certainly is Not! True to his Northern Hemisphere nature, he sheds the most in Australia’s Winter, when he really should be at his fluffiest. And he’s a real fluffball at the height of the Australian Summer, when he should be thin and lean. 

So, if you’re reading this and are considering a tree change from one end of the world to the other, spare a thought for your pets. They may not necessarily ever change their shedding habits. Speaking of trees, we have also observed that some European trees planted in Australia also appear to Not acclimatize, even after many years…we have seen trees shedding their russet leaves in Spring instead of Autumn, or flowering in Winter. 

Dogs from cold climates with very thick coats, especially Huskies and Malamutes, suffer in the stifling Australian Summers, and a swimming pool or even a clamshell paddling pool, or regular showers to cool down, will help tremendously. 

So, if the Aussie lifestyle appeals to you, do spare a thought for your dogs and other pets, before buying that (very expensive) one-way ticket! 

Bite-sized Advice: Getting more than 1 Dog

​Thinking of getting more than 1 dog? The best combination, to avoid conflict, is:

1)different breeds 

2)different sizes 

3) different sexes 

4)different ages. 

Mr Yip is 8 years old and a medium-sized Terrier X, Mrs Chew is nearly 4 years old and a large Staffy X Mastiff. 

And yes, we are very different, but we love each other all the same! ❤🐾❤

Now all we need is … a new puppy! 😄

Dog Biscuits vs Dog Kibble

Recently we saw a post on Facebook where someone mentioned receiving donations of dog biscuits. The accompanying photo showed a mountain of bags of a well-known Australian brand of dog food. However, these were carelessly called “dog biscuits” by the person thanking the company for their kind donation.

We, Mr Yip and Mrs Chew, would just like to politely point out that that person is either not a real dog person or just ignorant of the BIG difference between dog BISCUITS and dog KIBBLE.

Dog Biscuits are like human biscuits – made as treats, containing dubious nutritional value, to be eaten sparingly. 

Dog Kibble, on the other hand, when made by reputable brands, is a Complete Dog Food. Dogs can subsist and thrive on just eating Kibble and drinking water (but it would be a very boring diet, indeed, and dogs do like variety in their food!). A Complete Food simply means it provides all the nutrients a dog requires to keep it in optimal health – all the essential vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates etc that a dog needs to grow or maintain its health. 

These are Dog Biscuits:

This is a typical Nutritional Content listing for Dog Biscuits:

Yes, we know…not much there, right? Basically, the same as you’d find in a box of biscuits made for humans. 

This is a bowl of Dog Kibble:

And here’s the Nutritional Content of a typical bag of manufactured Dog Kibble:

When reading a pet food label, always start with the “Guaranteed Analysis” list. That will give you a good idea of whether the product is excellent, good, mediocre or just plain rubbish. 

Depending on the dog’s age, size and energy requirements, the protein content in dog kibble should be between 21-24 percent. Older dogs will require less protein. 

Next, read the Ingredients Label. This is not to be confused with the Nutritional analysis of the product. The Ingredients List merely states, in descending order of occurrence, everything that constitutes the product. We can tell from the list of ingredients that the product below is of excellent quality.

If you really want to know more about what’s good or bad for dogs to eat, read this enlightening article by Roger Biduk. It’s a real eye-opener!

Oh, and remember this also – stay away from products with food colouring. They have no nutritional value whatsoever, and if you’ve read Roger Biduk’s article above, you’ll know that they’re also known culprits for making human children hyperactive and for causing allergies. The same goes for dogs too! So, if you MUST give your dogs cake, please don’t give them Chocolate cake (it makes dogs very ill and can be fatal!), and if the cake has coloured icing or frosting on it, please remove them first! 

Mr Yip And Mrs Chew would like to thank you for reading their BiteSized Advice. ❤🐾❤

Stormy Weather Tips for Pets

​Here it’s wet and windy out today, so we’re just gonna camp out on our Human’s bed! 

Remember, if the weather is wild, keep your beloved pets indoors, maybe in a secure and quiet room or crate, close the curtains/blinds, turn the radio/tv on for soothing background noise, or try softly playing music. 

A thundershirt or DIY anxiety wrap also works for very stressed dogs. 

Or try a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets in their water dish, or rubbed around their ears and cheeks to help calm them. 

Play and treats can also work as distractions from the sound of stormy weather. 

If static in the air is bothering your pet, try rubbing their bodies with a fabric conditioning sheet or even a slightly damp soft towel, to neutralize the static buildup…nobody likes frizzy, crackly hair!