FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Us & Our Services
Can you come to my home to fit my dog with a harness?
20 May 2021: We are taking bookings for private fitting appointments at Lilyfield in Sydney's inner west, for a limited time. You can book through our bookings page.
Unfortunately right now we are not able to come to your home. Please check our bookings page and social media for updates to this.
Our Zoom fittings pre- and post-purchase are also available.
To book a harness fitting, please visit our booking page
In-person fittings generally take between 45-60 minutes. Zoom sessions are apx 15 minutes.
Please tell us in advance if your dog is excitable, anxious, shy, or touch-sensitive and needs more time, so we can allow for this and not rush things. Additional time is charged at $5 for 15 mins or part thereof.
We generally have 4or 5 different harness styles available to try at a fitting. If you would like to try a particular brand/style, please let us know in the comments so we can have it available at your fitting.
Please also make sure you provide your dog's breed/s, age, M/F, girth measurement and note any features you are after, so we can make sure we have appropriate choices for you.
Who is Life on the Hedge?
Hello! My name is Jenny and I am the dog harness specialist at Life on the Hedge. My husband Michael and I have a dog named Pepper, a 10 year old English Pointer X Kelpie, and she is the best thing about our day (as well as the most challenging… on many occasions!)
I created Life on the Hedge in 2013 to supply a range of high-quality, non-aversive dog harnesses and related accessories, designed for each dog's safety, security and comfort.
I am working towards a qualification in canine anatomy and physiology, and my Fear Free Professional certification. I also have a DipBA and DipArts (Interior Design).
You can find out more
About Us here.
How long will it take you to respond to my email/message?
We aim to respond to every message within 48 hours, if not sooner.
Occasionally, it may be 3-5 working days before we can respond to your enquiry.
As Life on the Hedge is a small family-run business, there may be times when we are unavailable due to personal commitments. Plus we have quite a few orders to send out every day! So we ask for your patience if we do not respond immediately.
We will get back to you as soon as we can :-)
What's the best way to contact you?
You can get in touch via our
Contact page here.
Otherwise, you can email us directly at email@example.com
Please do not contact us via Facebook/Facebook messenger or Instagram with time-sensitive enquiries, as these messages do not take priority for our team.
Where are you located?
Life on the Hege is located in Sydney’s inner west.
Please be aware that we do not currently offer a click and collect service.
Selecting & Fitting a Harness
Can you help me figure out what size harness I should buy for my dog?
Of course! We have 5+ years experience in fitting harnesses for a range of dog breeds and ages.
Choosing a harness for your dog is a very personal decision, so we will help you to identify what style and size may best suit your dog’s unique physical and behavioural needs.
Just be aware that harness sizing isn’t an exact science. Without fitting your dog in person, we can’t guarantee a harness will be a perfect fit. Although we’ll do our very best!
(This is why we occasionally suggest that you purchase multiple harness sizes/components, so you can see which option is best for your dog.)
Before requesting our fitting assistance, we first ask that you to do two things:
1. Look at our range of available harness
2. Pick out 2 to 3 options that you like the look of/think the features will best suit your needs
Size charts and specifications are available in each item description and/or in the picture gallery. If you would like to enquire about specific harness features, please refer to the item description before reaching out (as we strive to include all this information in the item listing itself.)
Life on the Hedge does not accept any liability or financial responsibility for any harnesses purchased that do not fit your dog. Of course, we are more than happy to offer exchanges. Simply refer to our policy page for further information.
How do I know if a harness is a good fit?
The most obvious indicator will be how your dog walks. If they appear restricted or uncomfortable, then the harness is not a good fit.
Factors to look out for:
*This may not apply to double, or “houdini”, girth straps.
The girth strap sits nice and straight, from the top of the harness, down past the ribs and under the bottom of the chest
If the girth strap angles forward and sits in the elbows when your dog is standing, or 'follows' the front legs when your dog is walking, it may rub at your dog’s elbows
We want the girth strap to be (at least) 1-2cm behind the front legs, but not behind the ribs*
You should be able to slide 2-3 flat fingers under the straps
The girth should hold onto the body and not swivel around independently. The fit of the girth strap needs to be firm enough to anchor the harness
The front should be fairly snug, but not too tight or cut into your dog’s chest
Note that if you use the leash attachment d-ring on the chest, the front will usually always move side-to-side somewhat. If it doesn’t move at all, that’s a sign that it’s too tight! But take care that the front isn't too loose - the front d-ring shouldn't end up over the shoulders.
The front d-ring should sit near the prosternum (the top of the sternum bone [or breastbone]) and avoid areas like the trachea and thyroid
When fitted on your dog, the head hole will ideally be smaller than your dog’s head (so there’s less chance of the harness slipping off). Although this will depend on your dog's anatomy/breed
If the harness is designed to be put on over the dog’s head, you may need to make the head hole slightly bigger to start, before tightening once in place
If there is a neck buckle, you can adjust to the perfect head hole size permanently. Once this adjustment has been made, you can then open the clip to take the harness on/off around the neck, rather than going over the head
The harness is for both you and your dog. It’s important to not just go for how a harness looks (although we all want our pups to look fab!), but consider which features will best suit you and your dog’s needs
The straps on each side of the neck and girth should be adjusted equally so the harness is balanced (i.e. isn’t lopsided). Your harness should sit on the middle of the dog’s back, neck and stomach
Noting our exchange policy, you are welcome to go on a 5 minute test walk to see how the harness performs and to decide whether it’s right for your dog
Purchasing a harness
Can I buy two harnesses/components to check which one fits better, then return one for a refund?
Sometimes it’s best to order two sizes or harness components, to identify which best suits your needs. You then have the option to return one & we will refund you for the returned item as soon as it’s received.
Any returned items will need to be in as-new condition, including all tags and labels, as per our return/exchanges policy (link below).
When placing your order, please state your intention to return one harness/component in the notes section.
Please be aware that due to our policy of not offering refunds otherwise, if you purchase two harnesses/components and return both, we can only process a refund for one. (The other item will be returned to you once payment for additional postage has been received from the customer by Life on the Hedge.)
Please read our Returns/Exchanges Policy (under "Buying Multiples") if you require clarification or you can email us for further information.
Can I order a harness colour/size/style that is not in stock?
We always aim to keep at least one of each item/colour harness in stock, but our ranges are very popular and occasionally manufacturer availability means we can’t always guarantee every harness size/colour will be in stock.
We are more than happy to accept requests. However, due to stock fluctuations and availability with the manufacturer, there may be an extended wait time which can sometimes be up to or over 3+ months.
Special orders may require payment at the time of order.
We also reserve the right to refuse an order.
Please note that we may not be able to offer exchanges for items that are not one of our standard stocked products. Please message us via our
Contact form if you require further information.
1/5/21: Please note that currently there may be an extended wait if a supplier is experiencing material shortages and shipping delays due to COVID-19.
Once my order is placed, when will it be posted?
Usually, orders are sent on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Most orders are sent within 48 hours of receipt. Occasionally though, it may be 3 or 4 working days before we can dispatch your order.
As Life on the Hedge is a small family-run business, there may be times when we are unavailable due to personal commitments. So we ask for your patience if you do not recieve a shipment confirmation on the same day or day after you place your order.
Do you offer free delivery or any discounts?
However, if the value of your purchase is over $260 free standard postage is automatically applied.
We do not offer discounts to the general public, although we try to keep our prices as low as we can to offer you the best value possible.
We sometimes partner with like-minded organisations but any deals available are only open to members.
We may occasionally offer free delivery as a special limited-time offer, so please make sure to check our home page and social media for any announcements regarding this.
My dog seems scared of harnesses. Can you offer any guidance on how to get my dog familiar with a harness so he/she doesn't freak out when I put it on?
First, please consult your vet if your dog develops a sudden aversion to a harness that they were otherwise previously comfortable with.
Secondly, if your dog is extremely worried or becomes anxious by a harness, consider whether it’s because this harness slips over their head or they have to lift their leg to put it on. These can be contributing factors.
When putting the harness on your dog, try to ensure they can move towards the harness rather than you moving the harness towards them.
We are more than happy to spend time with your and your dog during a private harness fitting, following our gentle desensitisation techniques.
If more than a standard fitting time (60 minutes) is needed, an additional fitting fee will be charged to cover the extra time (if time permits). The charge is $5 per 15 minutes. This fee will be agreed before commencement of the additional time and paid for at the end of the appointment.
Please note: an information sheet and short course on desensitising your dog to a harness will be made available soon.
Have a question that is not covered here? ...
If you have a question we haven’t covered here, please send us a message via our Contact form. We’ll do our very best to answer your query and offer whatever help we can :-)
Can any of your harnesses be used as a car harness?
Life on the Hedge walking harnesses are not crash-tested or impact-rated, so generally we do not recommend using them as a car harness.
However, all of our harnesses comply with most Australian legislation for restraining your dog in the car, when used with an appropriate seat belt attachment.
Please check guidelines in your state/territory.
If you are looking for a safe and secure car harness, we recommend All Safe, Sleepypod, Ruffwear Loadup and Ezydog Drive. Alternatively, you can consider a crash-tested car crate like the Variocage.
Why are none of your harnesses labelled as "no-pull"?
We believe that a well-fitting, ergonomically-designed and comfy harness can help your dog to feel balanced and secure. This should support your dog to concentrate more on what you are teaching them, and help to reduce any pulling impulse/behaviours.
It’s our opinion that no harness or tool should be relied upon to stop your dog from pulling on the leash. The majority of “no-pull” harnesses we’ve investigated have involved causing discomfort to the dog. They have worked by cinching, constricting, putting the dog off balance and even pulling their legs off their ground. Almost all of them potentially restrict movement through straps across the dog’s chest, shoulders or both. Ultimately, these harnesses do not fit with our ethos and values at Life on the Hedge.
Rather, we consider a good walking harness as a support for loose-leash walking training. They are generally not a stand-alone solution to pulling. Having said that, we have received testimonials from community members who have said their dog’s pulling notably reduced as soon as they were wearing a Life on the Hedge harness (a success in our eyes!)
Some of our harnesses have a leash connection point on the front of the chest (a "front clip"). If you have a dog that pulls/lunges on your walks, conecting a leash to the front clip may help to redirect your dog's attention away from triggers/stimuli in the environment and back to you. It is important to make sure the harness fits your dog well if you are planning to use the front clip so there is minimum movement around the neck and shoulders when using this feature. We also recommend using a double-ended lead so you have two points of contact and you don't need to rely on the front clip as a brake, but to use it as more of a steering wheel. More importantly, we strongly suggest you engage an experienced force-free trainer to help you identify the reasons your dog is pulling/lunging and to work with you to lessen/solve the behaviour.
One thing to remember is that if your dog pulls on the lead due to enthusiasm or excitement and you continue to move forward with them when they pull, it becomes a self-rewarding behaviour for them.
Please contact us
here if you need any tips or assistance with loose-leash walking training. Otherwise, please refer to our
Partners page for our recommendations of qualified, experienced, force-free trainers.
Perfect Fit FAQs
Where is the size chart for the Perfect Fit harness?
The Perfect Fit size chart and girth measurement table can be downloaded from our Info/Resources page.
The chart is a list of breeds with the component sizes recommended for puppies, and small-, average- and large- adults for each breed.
If you have a mixed breed dog, first refer to the dominant breed using the sizing chart and then you can also check against the size for the next most prominent breed in your dog. Using the girth measurement as a baseline, you can work out which size pieces will suit best.
Please reach out to us via the
Contact form on our home page if you are unsure of sizing or if you need further assistance.
What is the size difference between all of the Perfect Fit components?
We will soon be releasing a comprehensive guide on Perfect Fit components.
In the meantime, please refer to the breed chart on the
Info/Resources page here, and you can also refer to the listing for each component for photos.
Help! ... Can you please explain the Perfect Fit sizing and breed chart? (Long answer with examples!)
The Perfect Fit sizing can be somewhat confusing, but the breed chart is the best way to figure out what pieces you need.
The majority of harness combinations are made up of three separate pieces. (The 10mm "TY" size is two separate pieces.)
Each harness is first based on the width of the webbing that is used to make the harness (10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 40mm), then each individual piece that makes up the harness itself (top, front, girth [or top, base in the TY 10mm range]).
To decipher the code for each combination in the breed chart you need to know that the code order is always:
15-xs-xs-m translates to a 15mm
width Perfect Fit harness made up of extra small
top piece, extra small
front piece, medium
So to figure out what size pieces you need, before you even consult the breed chart you will need to have your dog's girth measurement (see separate FAQ on this).
Once you have the girth measurement, have a look at the Perfect Fit breed chart and refer to the yellow table on the first page. Find where your dog's measurement falls in the Girth (cm) column and read across to the last column to see what size this is called. Make a note of this before moving on.
Next, find your dog's breed in the alphabetical list starting on page 3 of the breed chart. Decide if your dog is a puppy, or small/medium/large adult for the breed - not whether your dog is a large breed, but your dog's size relative to their breed. Read across the line until you find the code suggested for your dog.
Check the girth size you have already figured out against what is recommended as per the code. If it's the same, then the sizing should be suitable. If the girth size is different you may need to go up or down in the top and front pieces, or contact us for help figuring out what pieces will be best.
Note: the size names of the pieces across all the widths go from XXS to XXL, but note that some sizes are repeated across different widths. For example, the 15mm girths are XS, S, M and the 20mm girths are S, M, L, XL. You see that there are S and M sized girth pieces in both the 15mm and the 20mm widths.
This does not mean these girths are the same size. Please check the yellow table carefully when figuring out what the breed codes are referring to and remember what width your dog needs when checking/ordering pieces.
EXAMPLE 1: GIRTH SIZE IS THE SAME IN TABLE AND CODE
You have a medium adult border collie. You measure your dog's girth and it is 69cm. Looking down the Girth (cm) column in the yellow table, 69cm falls into 20mm Perfect Fit 62-76cm, which the last column tells you is a girth size L.
You then find border collie in the breed list. Read across the line and find the medium (of the breed) column. It says "20-m-s-l". That is 20mm width, medium top, small front, large girth. The girth size
large is the same in the yellow table
and in the size code for your breed. So the sizes recommended by the code should be suitable for your dog and you are good to go!
EXAMPLE 2: GIRTH SIZE IS DIFFERENT BETWEEN TABLE AND CODE
You have a large adult rottweiler. Your dog's girth measurement is 95cm. Looking down the Girth (cm) column in the yellow table, 95cm falls into 40mm Perfect Fit 85-106cm, which the last column tells you is a girth size XL.
You then find rottweiler in the breed list. Read across the line and find the large (of the breed) column. It says "40-xl-m-l". That means 40mm width, extra large top, medium front, large girth. But hang on, the yellow table said the girth size you need is XL ... the table and the breed chart recommendation is different. You need to adjust your code to include the XL girth piece, so you size code is now 40-xl-m-xl (40mm width, extra large top, medium front, extra large girth).
(In this case you can assume that the top and front pieces suggested in the breed chart are most likely the best choices because the girth measurement of 85cm isn't at the extreme end of the XL girth size range. So you don't need to go up a size for the top and front pieces, but you are welcome to contact us if you are unsure.)
Read on if you dare!! ...
EXAMPLE 3: GIRTH SIZE IS DIFFERENT BETWEEN TABLE AND CODE AND YOUR DOG IS LEAN AND NARROW
You have a medium adult cattle dog that is narrow and very lean and fit. Your dog's girth measurement is 61cm. Looking down the Girth (cm) column in the yellow table, 61cm falls into 20mm Perfect Fit 53-65cm, which the last column tells you is a girth size M.
You then find cattle dog in the breed list. Read across the line and find the medium (of the breed) column. It says "20-m-m-l". That means 20mm width, medium top, medium front, large girth. But wait, the yellow table said the girth size you need is M ... the table and the breed chart recommendation is different. You need to adjust your code to include the M girth piece, so you size code is now 20-m-m-m (20mm width, medium top, medium front, large girth).
However, because your dog's girth is below the size range of L that was suggested in the breed chart, and your dog is quite narrow and also lean and fit (even though not necessarily considered small for the breed) you should also look at whether the top and front pieces should be down-sized ... Looking at the small (for the breed) column as another guide point, it says 20-m-s-m. The top piece (medium) is the same size as the suggestion in the medium (for the breed) column, so we can say that the medium top piece is the right choice. The front piece is indicated as small, which differs from the medium front piece suggested for a medium (for the breed) cattle dog. In this case we would suggest you either change to a small front piece (20-m-s-m), or get both the medium and the small to see which one fits better (20-m-s/m-m).
Tip: If you had a particularly deep-chested dog, like a whippet for example, you would most probably have more success if you choose the bigger front piece.
EXAMPLE 4: GIRTH SIZE IS LISTED IN TWO OR MORE DIFFERENT WIDTHS/SIZES
You have a medium adult jack russell. Your dog's girth measurement is 50cm. Looking down the Girth (cm) column in the yellow table, 50cm falls into 15mm Perfect Fit 40-52cm (size S) AND 15mm Perfect Fit 46-59 (size M) AND 20mm Perfect Fit 45-55 (size S)!
You then find jack russell in the breed list. Read across the line and find the medium (for the breed) column. It says either "15-xs-xs-s"OR "20-s-s-s". So many options! 15mm is recommended for small dogs and dogs that are not strong pullers; 20mm is recommended for small strong dogs and medium to large dogs (usually not strong pullers). If your jack russell pulls or lunges on the lead or is very strong then the 20mm might be better. If your dog doesn't pull or lunge and is relaxed while walking on the lead, then 15mm will be suitable.
If you go with 20mm width, then the 20-s-s-s will be the best sizes to try (the girth in the yellow girth size table and the breed chart is the same - winning!).
If you go with the 15mm, there is still the choice of either S or M girth piece. Look more closely at the size ranges ...the S girth is 40-52cm; the M girth is 46-59cm. Your dog's 50cm girth is quite close to 52cm (size S maximum girth), whereas it is a little further away from 46cm (size M minimum girth). You could choose either, but as the girth sizes go up, they offer larger fleece coverage so we would recommend the M girth size in this case. The 15mm top (xs) and front (xs) sizes suggested in the breed chart are the largest in the 15mm width so they are appropriate sizes to team with the M girth so you end up with 15-xs-xs-m.
If after reading example 3 & 4 you are thouroughly confused, don't worry - just contact us so we can help you. We do Perfect Fit sizing all the time and chances are that we can sort you out quite quickly. We will need a girth measurement, breed/s, age, M/F, and a recent photo if possible.