Off the Doggie Rack

I will just assume we are all adults here. Let me ask you a question, have you ever bought a piece of clothing “off the rack” in haste?

A hectic week at home with the kids, the neighbors are complaining about your dog barking at 2am, your boss is getting on your case, now it’s Friday and you just remembered that you have dinner plans this weekend.

Not a formal function or a dinner date with your braggart cousin and their drunkard spouse.

Just a quiet night out for a few drinks and dinner with good friends. The friends you promised three weeks ago that the date set for this occasion was perfect and you can’t wait to catchup.


Then driving home from work you realize everything presentable to wear is either in the hamper or at the dry cleaners (See paragraph 2). Bummer.

So you re-route your commute home in the direction of your local Shopping Mall.

This is going to be easy enough, you always shop in this store, and they have a great selection of casual clothes. If it’s Nordstrom’s Off the Rack, I like purple plaid shirts in an XL size.

Wait a second, I lost my trend of thought

Oh yeah, so you get to browsing and find the perfect outfit, but, you don’t try it on in the dressing room. You’re grown and know your size, so a reach in your pocket or purse, cash or swipe it doesn’t matter. And back into the parking lot in 20 minutes.

Problem solved, You are just stupendous!


Now your all set and getting excited to meet your friends and, a garment just doesn’t fit right? You check the label again, it’s the right size, but, it’s hanging off of you.

Did I lose some weight? No, not now.

Okay, I’m let you figure out what you need to do next, safety pin, duct tape, the choice is yours, we’re moving on to my problem.



I’m having a tough time controlling Oscar with his leash and collar. He scares easily and darts behind natural and man-made obstacles getting himself, myself and the leash tangled and or tied in knots. Sigh.

This often leads to Oscar getting choked! It’s an awful thing to witness in real time. So after an incident on our second day together I ordered him a highly-rated “no pull” harness from Amazon with speedy delivery.

The dog harness arrived on time. On touch it felt fantastic, tough nylon fabric, error free stitching and thick rings to attach his leash in the rear. Just gotta get it on Oscar somehow?

Remember Oscar is not a “touchy-feely” kinda of doggie!

I got to be patient and expect an accident (pee-pee) to occur trying to get him “geared up” for his walks. So I get myself mentally prepared and subconsciously flashback 30 plus years to when I changed my daughter’s diapers.

I’m expecting a lot of legs moving, arms in helicopter motion and a lot of body squirming but no giggling. So I gingerly picked Oscar up and sat him on my lap. He didn’t move an inch.

He was stiff as a board, but a tiny bit shaky like an alcoholic at his very first AA meeting. Oscar, like the alcoholic knew he had a problem and was open to some help from others (aka, Dobie One).


Okay, we got it on, but it’s too loose, way too loose. But it’s time for his after dinner walk, so I’m pressed for time, just one more adjustment please, still not tight enough!

We head outdoors, Oscar’s not uncomfortable but I am watching the harness wiggle and droop over his little shoulders.

I try several more attempts to adjust the harness after Oscar does his business to no avail. Oscar enjoys his walk around the neighborhood as I pout and frequently lose pace looking at the harness.

He’s small Marcelino, WTH, did you buy him an extra-large (XL), you dummy!


I’m mature (older – don’t give a damn), so asking for help is not a problem. So I text the above photos to a friend whom also has a rescue dog companion about the fit on Oscar.

Immediately she agrees with me, it’s way too loose, after my 5th adjustment mind you.

I take a break, re-read the product instructions on Amazon, and verify that I purchased the correct size.

Satisfied, I make a few more adjustments without Oscar inside the harness, re-text my friend, and I get an “almost-right” answer in return. Another adjustment and a “fitting” with an again willing Oscar.

FINALLY, the harness “looks” correct!


Oh, wasn’t he a funny cartoon character?

But I’m not talking about that little dog, we’re focusing on little Oscar. The next morning we go out for morning potty business and for a little exercise.

The harness in no more than 5 minutes of Oscar exploring drooped down below his shoulders again. Another adjustment, again with the sagging, after three times I just ignored it and enjoyed my morning excursion with Oscar.


I’m not a quitter so I try another idea. I’m a member of a dog club on Facebook, roughly 5000 members, so, I post a photo of the saggy harness and look for some advice.

Yes, I know Facebook groups of complete strangers can be hazardous to your psyche.

There is always one busy body, judgmental know it all who shoots from the keyboard first.

But like I said before, I’m mature (old – don’t give a damn), so I quickly get some responses, mostly people with similar problems. And we joke back and forth about the issue-resolving nothing in the process.

Then a member chimes in, “that harness”, Sigh, here we go as the preacher heads to the pulpit.

Well, no, she wasn’t judgmental and nicely directed me to a published article on how some no pull harnesses have a detrimental effect on your dog’s shoulder and leg motion causing serious long term negative effects.

The droop over his shoulders and onto his legs that was bothering me — it just didn’t look right!

So I thanked the member for the advice and informative articles, then immediately took the harness off Oscar and tossed it into a laundry closet storage bin.

I’m not a hoarder, but I never throw quality cloth or metal rings away. You never know when it may come in handy for a different application (like dragging something).


So now Oscar and myself are back to where we started. I reviewed the recommended articles again (links below) and purchased another harness on Amazon.

In the meantime Oscar and myself need to get ourselves adjusted to each others gate and pace on our walks. I will of course keep you posted as the situation unfolds in the near term.

CHEW BONES: These are the two articles that were kindly suggested for me to read regarding dog harnesses: Reflections on Dog Harnesses , Best Dog Harnesses

Are you also having difficulty finding a suitable leash, collar and or harness for your small breed doggie?

How about leash and obedience training?

Yes or No, myself and probably the silent majority here would really like to hear your suggestions and experiences with this issue in the Comments section below.

So go ahead, put your paw down and post! ” 🐾


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About marcelino guerrero

An entrepreneur, grandfather, disabled veteran, Chiweenie parent and rabid Philadelphia Phillies Phan. Retired (involuntarily); I enjoy impeding the progress of important and obnoxious people while exploring new ways to irritate my primary physician.