They are a smaller company who deserves some more publicity. They have good quality products at a reasonable price and also fantastic customer service! They only sell a few types of harnesses, leashes, collars, and shoes but those come in different sizes and colors.
Before jumping in the review of this harness, I have to stop here for a second and talk about the common misconception that all Norwegian style harnesses are restricting shoulder movement; therefore, they shouldn’t be used.
Many people seem to associate the restricted shoulder movement with running in a pencil skirt - they think that the dogs are not able to move their front legs freely when wearing a Norwegian harness. First of all, the proper adjustment for any harness is essential. Norwegian harnesses are designed to sit farther behind the front leg (not in the armpits!) leaving enough room for the shoulder to move back. If it is positioned like that, there is no way the harness can restrict the shoulder movement and would put pressure on the joints unless the dog pulls. If the dog’s legs are moving freely, there is nothing pulling the harness back, so there is no way it can put any pressure on the front strap. The Norwegian harnesses shouldn’t be a tight fit around the front of the dog.
And what if the dog pulls and there is stress on that strap? Probably Norwegian harnesses are not your best option in this case or if you are doing canicross or bikejoring regularly. But does this mean this isn’t a good harness? No, you just have to know when and how to use it.
Everyone has different priorities when choosing a harness, but it is essential to apply some critical thinking when you see people talking about negative health effects in every second comment when this topic comes up.
They should have better naming conventions for their products so instead of remembering TLH5753, let’s just say this is their only Norwegian style harness.
Overall it is a high-quality harness, sturdy material, strong buckles, metal ring on the back and has highly visible reflective parts all over. This harness comes in 6 colors and six sizes. The sturdy handle on the back is great if you have to help your dog out of a pound or go up to a rock on an outdoor adventure but can also be a risk if your dog runs through bushes and there is a possibility that she/he would get stuck on something.
Both the neck part and the chest part is adjustable; the only fix part is the chest pad that goes between the legs. This is connected to the straps with velcro which only stayed in place in the first few weeks for us. Once the dirt starts to build up, it doesn’t hold as strong anymore.
The functionality of that chest pad is to give a little more stability to the harness and also move the neck part lower in case it would put pressure on the neck. It can also make the harness safer if your dog would try to get out from the harness. There is no general guideline when the chest pad should or shouldn’t be used, it really depends on how the harness is positioned on your dog, how the size fit etc. I ended up removing the chest pad which made it much easier to put the harness on the dog.
One of the drawbacks of this harness is the significant lateral movement or sliding to the sides. Even when walking off-leash and not pulling the harness sideways with the leash, the harness will slide left/right when the dog moves around. This is probably due to the weight of the sturdy handle on the back and it will also be more significant if the harness gets wet and heavy.
How it should be:
How it will be if you pull the dog sideways with the leash:
Proper adjustment is always crucial with any dog gear, but it seems harder to find the optimal length of the straps in case of the Norwegian harnesses because the big “saddle” part will determine how high up the front strap will be positioned (unless you use a chest pad). When we first got these harnesses, I spent some time adjusting the straps during every walk to figure out how to hold the harness in place without restricting the shoulder movement. If you don’t leave enough room behind the front legs, the dog will not be able to comfortably walk in the harness even off-leash since the front part is pulling the shoulders back when the dog steps. Fortunately, the straps give you a wide range to customize the harness and find the best fit for your dog, but it would be nice to have a guide in the package to show the optimal placement. In general, the best way to position these harnesses is to have the front strap just below the neckline (shouldn’t put pressure on the dog’s neck when sniffing the ground) and the chest strap a few inches behind the front leg. When the dog runs or trots, the chest strap shouldn’t rub against the back of the front legs. If after some time, you see that the chest strap looks like you folded it in half, you have to loosen the front strap more to position it farther back.
My dog was in the size ranges of both the medium and the large harness, therefore, after a discussion with Truelove, I got both to test them and review the differences to help other people pick the right size. The red one is Medium size, and the grey is the Large on the pictures. As you see it on their size chart below, the overlapping size ranges give the option to choose a bigger harness and tighten it a lot, or go with a smaller and loosen it unless your dog is in the middle of that range.
As you can see in the photo above, there is no significant difference between the two sizes but switching them around for a few weeks made me realize that they do feel different in practice. The grey (L) has a slightly bigger “saddle” which seems to make it stay in place better. It also means that the bottom part of the saddle will be lower on the dog; therefore the neck strap will also be positioned lower. This can be a good or a bad thing, really depends on the body type of your dog. If you have a muscular, wide-chested dog, a bigger saddle will probably help to position the front strap while on a skinny dog it will cause it to hang too low. You can hopefully see this slight difference on the pictures below: the neck strap of the grey one (large) is lower than the strap of the red (medium). In case of Mia, I would probably use the chest pad with the red harness to pull the neckline lower while I don’t think it is necessary with the grey (large) one.
The length of the part between the front legs are different for the two sizes: 10 inches (~26 cm) for the medium and 11.5 inches (29 cm) for the large - knowing this you can get a sense how far back it would be on your dog (if you are planning to keep that part attached). This bottom part makes it a little harder to adjust the harness because if you leave the front strap longer, the front of the harness can sit too low since the chest pad will pull the two straps closer.
Besides these small differences, the two harnesses look the same: the same width of the straps, same rings, equal sized “Truelove” velcro text (13.5 cm x 3 cm) that you can replace with a custom one if you want to order one from another seller. It would be nice to order a custom velcro text from Truelove when ordering the harness but this is not in their product line at the moment.
You can see on the pictures below that the front strap on the right side sometimes overlaps the velcro text unless adjusted perfectly which is not that easy. Ordering a smaller patch might be a better idea because the end of the patch can get stuck on things and you can lose them when they got dirty and stick less.
The TLH5753 is a high-quality harness, especially for this price. If you already decided to go with a Norwegian style harness, there are no serious issues that should hold you back from this although you will feel the difference compared to more expensive ones. The sliding of the harness would be the biggest con for me when buying it, but this might not be a significant issue on a smaller or wider dog.
If your dog would fit into different sizes, and especially if he/she has a wide chest (like boxers) I would generally suggest ordering the bigger one; it feels more stable and you have a higher chance that the front strap will sit low enough. In case of this harness, the body type of your dog and understanding how the harness will be and should be positioned on it is crucial to pick the right size.
No-pull: The harness does not have a front clip - it’s not a no-pull-harness as the description on Amazon implies. Don’t use this if your dog pulls - it will not help to teach better leash manners, and it can also hurt the dog’s shoulders.
Running/Biking (as an occasional hobby, buy specific equipment if you want to get into it seriously) Only use it if your dog is perfectly trained and only runs next to you without putting ANY pressure on the leash (see the previous comment) and be sure the harness leaves enough room for the front legs. No bike-jorning, sledding, etc. with this harness!
Hiking: The handle is a big help to hold your dog on mountains or lift him/her if needed. Keep in mind that the harness has to be correctly adjusted to be sure the dog is not sliding out when lifting. The sponge-like material of the saddle have the disadvantage of soaking the water in, and it takes quite a long time to dry (sometimes half a day). The wet saddle also makes it heavier which is something to consider on a longer hike/on smaller dogs and would probably slide more to one side as well. Be sure the dog can run, jump comfortably in it without any restriction!
City walk: If your dog gets scared easily, use the chest pad to make it safer. The custom velcro text can be a big plus in a busy neighborhood to let other people know if your dog is reactive/shy/friendly etc. or to put your contact information on it in case your dog would run away.
Easy to put on/adjust: it’s easy in general and it’s super easy without the chest pad, you just have to put it over the head and use one buckle. It is great for big headed dogs or for those who are afraid of putting a tight harness over their head. I found it useful for walking up to agility training (where you remove it for the training and putting it back after) or for a quick walk when you want to put something on the dog quickly and be able to remove it with one (or two) clicks.
Visibility: great! It has bright colors and reflective parts all over - I think that the visibility and the custom velcro text are the most significant features of this harness.
I found this product through Amazon, here is the link to their site where you can check out the sizes and colors.