When deploying your dog you want your dog to succeed and come back to you safely. In this arena, equipment has become more of an issue in the K-9 Units, including everything from bullet resistant vests, goggles, booties, leads, and harnesses.
The piece of kit we tested was the Elite K-9 Tactical Patrol Harness. When you first see the harness it looks minimal, and that’s just what you want. If you deploy your dog on a harness regularly then you know what I mean. You want just enough equipment to help you and your dog and at the same time as little equipment to not hinder or distract your dog. His or her job is out in front of them, not being overwhelmed with this “sports bra” that’s strapped around them. Be sure your training in the harness before you deploy, to avoid those embarrassing moments when all the patrol guys are looking at you take the 8 second ride, trying to put a harness on your land shark that has never trained in it.
The harness construction is top notch. The harness has a handle bar tacked on the top of the harness for catching that malinois that does the fly by on you when you call him back to the SWAT team in the narrow hallway. It also serves as a great handle to aim your dog just before a deployment. It helps me “handle” my 87 lbs malinois when he’s all fired up on a suspect or decoy. But, keep in mind that this harness can work against you if you come up against the suspect that grabs the harness and uses it against your dog. Strategically placed is a heavy duty Mil-Spec V ring for attaching leads for tracking. It’s placed just right to handle the load of a large Sheppard or crazy Dutch Sheppard. On each side of the harness are 4” x 2” Velcro ID panels for your unit patches or PC morale patches. Elite k-9 does offer reflective or glow in the dark ID panels as well. A new feature that ours was lacking was a spot for a IR beacon, located at the top of the harness. The whole harness is locked together with a strong cop-lock buckle or the option we received was the new Cobra buckle. The harness will fit girths of 27” to 34”. Color choices are black, coyote, multicam, and orange.
All in all, a great harness. It fits the bill for needing a harness and is small enough to work your dog and not be inconvenienced with the bulk of “cool dog gear”. Price minus the tax will set you or your department back about $40.00.
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