Puppy Safety: Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Harness

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Ya know what happens when you spend two hours watching crash test videos involving dogs? You spend $80 on the one harness that didn’t send a test dummy flying through the air.

That’s how Bailey ended up with a Sleepypod ClickIt Sport harness.

The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) and Subaru of America last month released the results of its crate and carrier safety tests. Sponsoring these tests is one of the million reasons why I love owning a Subaru and probably wouldn’t purchase any other car. It’s also what made this report so damn disappointing.

Anyway…in a nutshell, CPS crash tested some of the most popular carriers and crates used by pet owners. Just about all of them failed miserably. Crates and carriers are good to keep your pet from being a driving distraction, but very few of them will keep your pet safe should you get into an accident. Not only can your dog get hurt, but your dog can hurt you as she flies through the car.

Harnesses aren’t any better. We’ve seen this for ourselves the few times I needed to stop short while traveling with Bailey. She often slipped forward, landing in the space between the front and back seats. I hated it, but I had read in numerous places that no harnesses fully kept your dog secure during a crash. Knowing that they all sucked, we went with what worked best in terms of comfort.

That’s until I saw the crash tests.

Due to the video settings, I can’t embed them here. You can check them out for yourself using this link.

Of all the harnesses tested, the Sleepypod ClickIt Utility was the only one that kept the test dog safe in a mock accident. The ClickIt Sport was later tested and performed just as well.

Chuck usually balks when I buy something for Bailey, but he didn’t bat an eye when I told him I was adding $80 to our existing credit card debt to purchase one of these harnesses for Bailey. Thinking about the expense logically, using our existing system should we get into a car accident and Bailey survive, treating her injuries would likely cost more than $80.

Our Personal Test Run

The ClickIt Sport comes in multiple colors, but I decided to go with bright orange because this harness since it will also be used as Bailey’s hiking harness. The orange will hopefully keep her from being mistaken for a deer while we’re in the woods. Considering where we go hiking, I don’t see this as a realistic threat, but it’s good to play it safe.

The harness has two reflective strips so I decided to start using it while we jog. As you may have read in last week’s post, we try our best to be visible when we go jogging in the early morning hours. Between the reflective strips and the bright color, it should help Bailey be seen when we go running.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

My only concern was the placement of the leash rings. They’re in the back up by the shoulders. I’m a big fan of the Easy Walk, which attaches in the front. This gives me a lot more control of Bailey’s movements and generally keeps her from choking herself should she get too excited and start lunging forward. Generally, back attachments encourage pulling so they’re discouraged by science-based trainers.

In practice, though, I found that Bailey’s leash manners are good enough that I haven’t had any problems with pulling and the harness gives me more control than I had expected.

We finally got to take it for a test drive Labor Day weekend with a trip to Goodberry’s for ice cream (we went at like 8:30 hence the dark photos). Bailey doesn’t love car rides likely because she still gets somewhat car sick. She’s used to a huge range of motion that allows her to sit, stand, lay down in funny positions, and ball the seat cover into a little pillow.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

The ClickIt Sport cuts down on this range of motion, which sucks for Bailey, but it’s what will keep her safe. She can sit and lay down just fine, but she won’t be able to stand and walk around. This is fine on short trips, but we’ll have to make sure to give her more stretch breaks when we stop.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

She did get herself a bit tangled when I opened the door at our destination. She learned pretty fast and when we got home she waited patiently for me to unbuckle her.

Downsides

Like everything, it comes with a few downsides.

Price: It’s freaking expensive. Worth the price? Sure. But expensive is expensive.

Sizing: Be sure to measure your dog to ensure you get the right size. Bailey is a bit oddly shaped. She’s small for a Lab and is always too big for a medium but too small for a large. The harness can be adjusted, but I feel like you need to be an engineer to tighten and loosen the straps. There’s a video on the website, which you may have to watch like 10 times.

Leash Ring Placement: Bailey has good leash manners so this is turning out to be a minor problem for us, but dogs that are still in training with a front-clasp harness may not benefit from having the rings in the back. Changing harnesses once you reach your destination would be a raging pain in the ass. You could, in theory, put another harness over it, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about that if I were a dog.

I don’t see any of these issues existing if your dog uses just a collar or a Gentle Leader.

Final Verdict

Overall, I really like this harness. I wouldn’t use it for casual walks around my neighborhood, but it works well for jogging in the early morning. Bailey gives it a thumbs down for range of movement in the car, but I give it a thumbs up for keeping her safe. Once you get the sizing right, it’s easy to put on and easy to secure in the car. While not in our budget, it was worth the extra debt as it should hopefully prevent even higher vet bills should we get into an accident.

Photo: After the Knot

Photo: After the Knot

If you’re going to swing by Amazon to purchase one for your pup, do me a solid and use my affiliate link. The price is the same for you, but I get a little pocket change which I can use to spoil my dog pay my bills. Thanks!

Finding a Thing We Do: NC State Park Bucket List

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A lot of couples have a “thing.” You know, a thing that they do.

Chuck and I don’t really have a thing. I guess we try to find the best pizza in our area, but that’s more like a quest than a thing. We also test out the calamari and the buffalo wings, but I don’t really consider either of those a thing.

I kinda wanted a thing. A couple thing. A thing that would drive us to do something fun or have adventures.

Outdoorsy Bucket List

A long while back, before I met C, I visited my cousin in Wyoming. We made a day trip to Yellowstone National Park which, by the way, is so incredibly cool. In the gift shop, I spotted this passport book that you can stamp every time you visit a national park.

I think it was something like this.

I considered getting it. “Maybe I could make that my thing,” I told my cousin. “Maybe I could visit all of the national parks in the country.”

She was encouraging, but I ultimately put it back. Realistically, I was working a dead-end job that wasn’t in my field and had no idea if I’d ever have the money to make those trips.

I ended up getting laid off a few months later, so, yeah, pretty right about that.

The goal stayed with me, though, and I never stopped thinking about it.

On a recent trip to Boone, C and I decided to take a hike at Elk Knob State Park, which was about 25 minutes from our cabin. While we made our way up the windy mountain road, I asked C if we could have an outdoorsy bucket list.

With every national park being absolutely unattainable, I suggested hitting every state park in North Carolina. There are 34 state parks and even at one a year, I felt that we could do it. Quite a few are within an hour’s drive meaning we could hit more than that.

C was on board and we found ourselves a thing. We’d visit every state park in North Carolina.

Photo // After the Knot

Photo // After the Knot

With a 2-mile hike, we checked Elk Knob off the list.

We’ve already been to Umstead State Park a couple of times and I’m trying to decide if it should count. I don’t have an “official” picture of us at the park and driving by just to take one feels like cheating.

For Memorial Day weekend, we took advantage of the below average temperatures and drove up to Durham to visit Eno River State Park. I purposely chose one of the more difficult trails for our hike because I knew A) we needed the exercise and B) there would be fewer people, fewer dogs, and fewer children.

Photo // After the Knot

Photo // After the Knot

 

I have this grand idea for painting on our wall a giant map of North Carolina with a photo by each state park. I don’t really have the artistic talent for it, but we’ll see what happens.

So what about you? Do you and your partner have a thing?