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Discussion Starter #1
Right, so this is my first post so hello everyone! :)

So, my puppy Amidala is about 4 1/2 months old and she is growing and developing just fine. She eats a raw diet and has since I got her at 9 1/2 weeks old. She is a working line German Shepherd. I purchased her here in Germany. She is my dream come true! I have always wanted a dog with her pedigree. So of course I am planning to do Schutzhund trials with her and hopefully get her titled before returning to America in 4 years.
Yesterday was her first trip out to the Schutzhund field and she was amazing. She shows a natural talent, a strong drive, and is absolutely fearless. My trainer (who is also her breeder) was elated to see her huge potential, as was I. :) But he told me something I thought was really strange and I had never heard this before. I have for her a
julius k9 harness, I just bought it. She had been wearing a simple puppy harness before this one and I decided to get a nicer one that she can hopefully wear for awhile (I got it a tad bit big, but not so much that it's hanging off her, just a little loose) and hopefully take her into her adult size. I like taking her for walks in a harness because she's a puppy and puppies tend to get into all sorts of trouble. I find it easier to have something to grab ahold of in case of an emergency, and if she were to ever fall down the side of a hill or something I'm not worried she'll be hung lol. I also don't really see a point in having her training collar (a chain slip) on her when we aren't training. I don't want her to get used to it and have it be ineffective when it comes time to train, does that make sense?
Anyway, I digress, moving on. My trainer told me that it's bad for puppies to wear harnesses. He said it effects the growth of their elbows, because when they walk their elbows hit the sides of the harness (like the strap part that goes under her chest/belly area) and after a few months she will be "walking like a bulldog" because her elbows would have grown outwards. To me it doesn't sound right, but at the time I just took it off her since we were about to start training anyway. So my question is has anyone ever heard of this before? I have never heard of this. As a matter of fact, I've heard the opposite, that harnesses are great for puppies and that wearing a collar all the time can cause damage to the neck over time. I maybe can see his point if you have the harness on 24/7 but she only wears it when we go out for walks, which are only a couple times a week and only for half an hour or so. I really don't see how this could effect her growth, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyone ever heard of this or is my trainer just misinformed with outdated information?
 

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I agree with you that the type of harness you are using will not cause harm. Maybe your trainer is meaning the harnesses that prevent pulling by tightening up under the dog's elbows and I have seen dogs in those types of harnesses walk the way your trainer described.
 

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Never heard of that before, and as long as the harness fits well and isn't too tight I can't imagine any reason why there would be a problem.

The main problem with traditional harnesses with the leash connection on the back of the dog is that they can encourage pulling. For that reason, I prefer a front hook harness like the Sense-ation for a puppy.
 

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My pup is on a front hook harness which he doesn't pull on at all and the vet said it was fine. I do think though that it's very important to get a harness that properly fits your dog. My pup has 2 different ones since he's on the verge of growing out of his smaller one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone for your replies! I may post a picture of her in her harness so everyone can see how it fits her and if this is okay. Mary Beth, I have seen those types of harnesses and I thought they looked really silly. Didn't really seem at all effective. Although my trainer, though he is German, speaks and understands English fluently (almost like a native speaker), and he was telling me all of this while she was in front of him wearing the harness. I know he was referring to a regular harness, which is why it puzzled me. I could totally understand if he was referring to one of those weird elbow pull harnesses! I think I will continue to walk her in the harness when we just go out for fun. Obviously for training it isn't really useful. :)
 
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