Dressing your dog
The good ol' Cabelas has a lot of dog "clothing" accessories listed. Everything from booties, to chest protectors, floatation devices, and various types of collars and harnesses are available.
Let's hear some opinions and experiences on which of these types of accessories are useful and under what conditions or situations.
depends on conditions
There are different options for what conditions you are out in. Because my dog is a short hair it has different needs then yours.
Body heat can be lost through their ears & feet that said if you are out all day in snow pac & ice booties would be nice. However mine does not like them & will prance with them on so we don’t use them. The flip side is you have to watch their pads on sharp snow & ice. We had to cut a hunt short one day last winter as all 4 paws were bleeding & cut up.
When in water, rivers & ocean (we have a raft & zodiac) I use a life jacket. People look at you & have asked can’t your dog swim, but when they jump off the boat whether it be in a current or swells it makes it a lot easier to grab the top loop & pull them back in the boat. Also its easier on the dog in case it takes a minute to maneuver the boat for a pickup.
I like to use an orange vest / with cordura chest/belly protector when hunting heavy thick cover. It keeps them from getting torn up from thorns, briars, & barb wire when hunting out of state. Dogs that don’t see barb wire fences that often don’t usually understand the damage they inflict until its done. Also its great to help see the dog when working heavy cover with other hunters.
Neoprene vests might help your dog stay warm when duck hunting & just sitting still in between retrieves in cold water. They don’t fit deep chested dogs with out a lot of cutting & sewing. Also seem to rub & chafe the underarms of short hair dogs so I can’t help you on this one. Should work for your dog if you get a good fit. I would bring your dog into sportsman’s whse & try one on before purchasing if you decided on one.
Coats & other vests work well in the deep of winter; I have used fleece vests, long sleeve shirts, & other coats some made for dogs & some for people. But again your dog has a good coat to keep it warm in winter; mine can get cold when standing still or when we take trips to the interior in winter.
Harnesses work great for pulling you on skis, sleds, etc... or if your dog wants to pull when on leash it keeps the pressure off the neck which is not good for the dog. ( Of course hopefully your dog does not always try & pull when on a leash )
I will post a few pics later.
Akmarmot said it well.
For neoprene vest it is typical to cut them to fit. You risk putting a nasty rash on the underside of your dog if you don't. Some vest come with the flotation pads.
When I go camping I have a dog back pack setup. He has to pack his own stuff.
more on clothes
Goldens typically are well suited to cold wx, and snow. I do not worry too much about my lab in the winter, but then again I do not hunt birds when it is much colder than 0. If I am out, I do short forays away from the truck and then get back in to be sure he does not get too cold.
For waterfowling I use a neoprene vest but only unde certain conditions. If I am on the sandbars on the Tanana river it is a must. The vest goes in the boat before the shotgun. I have had dogs make some really long swims after cripples and could not stop them or help them as the boat was too far away. Now I ensure that they have a better chance of staying up. The vest though keeps the dogs from diving after cripples which can lengthen the time in the water. I figure we are still ahead with the vest.
I use the vest if I am in chest waders standing in the water and there is no place for the dog to stand on dry land. Usually that is a grassy area and there is little for the dog to get snagged on.
I also use the vest in October when we are hunting late season mallards in the ice and snow. The insulation really helps the dog. If it is warm enough for me to not need my cordura camo parka, he gets to lay on that too.
I try to remember to remove his collar whenever we are hunting. I do not want him hung up on a snag, especially while he is swimming.
So, just how to dog mushers get their guys used to running in boots? I picked up a set of boots for my last dog, and he didn't really like them, but he would wear them when we went out in sub-zero weather. If you left them on and let him lay down, he would start chewing at them to try and pull them off and he seemed a bit unsteady while walking with them.
BTW, you guys are laying out a lot of good info that is much appreciated.
Condition him to wearing it. Go out on walks and keep moving.
He's chewing on them because they are something strange and new.
Overtime and more exposure he will get used to them.
You could spray on some of that bitter apple or somehting of the sort to help prevent him from chewing on them. You can pick some up at local pet stores.