After tiring of the leash end always slipping down around the dog's neck, causing him to frequently get tangled up in the the leash line then dangling at his feet, I went looking for alternatives. I saw a harness was the answer and saw one that was just a bungee cord with a clip on to a collar where the hooks would be. Hey, I can do that much.
Step 1: Take a Standard Bungee Cord
As you can see in the photo, I started with a short bungee cord. This fits medium-sized dogs well. Because of its elasticity, there is a lot of room for size variation while still being comfortable for the dog. For much larger or smaller dogs, try a few different sized cords, placing the cord around the dog's body just behind the front legs. The cord's hooks should reach to the collar without being slack or uncomfortably stretched and taut.
Step 2: Add Soft Padding
Since the hooks and sometimes the hook bases often rub directly against the dog's neck, everything needs to be padded and fairly soft.
First add some padding around the metal hook bases. I cut off the tops of old socks for this, but any soft material scraps would probably work. Here the material is notched so the material does not bunch up as it wraps around the top of the hook base.
Step 3: Secure Padding
Duct tape the padding firmly into place from the bottom of the hook down to the start of the bungee cord. Narrow duct tape works better for molding a shape. The photo shows one side completely taped and the other just started.
Step 4: Coat the Hooks and Hook Bases With Sugru
Now the really creative part, padding the hooks and hook bases with Sugru. If you have not used Sugru before, here and here are brief video introductions and can get your hands on some here.
Coat the hooks to make them soft and most or all of the bases to permanently secure the padding. The hooks take a lot of stress, especially if your dog is very active, so it needs a thick coating there. As long as it is not so thick that one (only one) hook end can't pass through the ring on the collar where you normally attach the lease, you'll be fine. Note that in the photo I have it on a bit too thin at the curve of the hooks. I added more later (as you'll see in the next steps) and it has held up perfectly since. You can add any flourishes you like at this point, like etching patterns into the Sugru before it dries or the dog's name, or your address etc.
Step 5: Attaching the Harness, Step 1
There are a variety of ways you could attach the bungee cord hooks onto the collar, but I found the best, most stable hookup is to start by putting the right hook through the leash attaching ring on the collar.
Step 6: Attaching the Harness, Step 2
Add a standard leash through the same ring.
Step 7: Attaching the Harness, Final Step
Take the left hook, pass it under the collar and hang it on the collar, hook pointing out, to the right of the leash and other hook. That secures the leash buckle. No more tangled leash.
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