Review Of The Perfect Fit Harness

Review Of The Perfect Fit Harness

2015-12-06 17.26.34

First time Jaime wore a Perfect Fit Harness.

I had the opportunity to try out Sally Hopkins’ Perfect Fit Harness and I really like it.  Here are my first impressions:

Vibrant Colours

I just love the wide range of colours that the top piece comes in.  My favourite is the purple, but they have so many rich, vibrant colours to choose from – black, blue, brown, green, pink, purple, red, blue, wine, black reflective, high vis yellow, high vis orange and black fleece with rainbow webbing. The front and girth pieces are only available in black webbing and fleece.

Soft Yet Strong

The fleece is just so soft and comfortable that it makes me want to just rest it against my face. But even though the fleece is soft, it is very strong and durable. The fleece reduces rubbing and pressure points. The nylon webbing is strong too.

Adaptable Sizing

Perfect Fit Harness pieces

Perfect Fit Harness pieces

The Perfect Fit Harness comes in three pieces.  The front is Y shaped and goes around the dog’s neck with the tail piece of the Y going between the dog’s front legs.   It has black webbing stitched on to black fleece with the D-ring front attachment. The top piece has the webbing stitched on to the coloured fleece along with a D-ring attachment at the back. The girth piece also has black webbing where the D-ring is reinforced. This D-ring on the girth piece is where the tail end of the Y-front piece is attached.

Having three individual pieces – front, top and girth piece – is great because as your puppy grows, or if it is damaged, you just buy the piece(s) that you need instead of buying a whole harness.

Sturdy & Well Made

Jaime posing in the Perfect Fit Harness

Jaime posing in the Perfect Fit Harness

This harness is extremely well made – the stitching is neat, the three metal D-rings are smooth and strong, and the plastic adjustable clips are sturdy.


There is a wide range of sizes to choose from. It ranges in size from tiny, which could fit a 4 month old Chihuahua or cats, to extra large, which is made for huge Mastiffs or even large pigs. The girth and front pieces have five points of adjustment to make the front and girth pieces smaller or larger.  The D-rings and clips come in a variety of sizes too from small 15mm to extra large 40mm.

Easy to put on

Phew, what a relief!  Harnesses come in different styles and are for the most part a pain to figure out how to put on. I found the Perfect Fit Harness to be easy. Attach the front and top pieces together, attach the girth to the front, put the back and front piece over your dog’s head, slip the girth piece under your dog’s chest, between his leg and then just clip the snaps of girth to the top piece.  Voila!

How it works

You need a double ended clip leash to attach to the front and top D rings, to help with steering.  I also found it easy to control the dog and it helps prevent pulling.  You should not have the leash tight at both ends.

Jaime got used to the Perfect Fit Harness quickly and easily.

Jaime got used to the Perfect Fit Harness quickly and easily.


An added bonus to this harness is that it can be adjusted and used for dogs who have had a front leg amputated. There is a video on the website to see how to choose.


The Perfect Fit Harness website is full of useful information from the colour choices, sizing, and a Breed Chart Guideline with lots of videos too.

I have to admit, this is my new favourite harness!


Volunteering as an APDT Conference Border Collie

Volunteering as an APDT Conference Border Collie

No, not the dog. The Border Collies I’m talking about are people who volunteer to help at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers’ Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show. They are integral to the smooth and successful running of these Conferences.

2015 APDT Conference Border Collie Volunteers

They assist in rounding up and herding folks to the right sessions, assisting during demos, checking names tags at the door, answering questions, showing people to their seats, and helping during breaks.

BC Start

The start of the BC Orientation Meeting with Carlos Betancourt, a co-host, on the far left standing, standing reading his notes

Being a member of the Border Collie Brigade provides you with the opportunity to meet new and interesting people, form new friendships, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

Bill Hatherley, the Border Collie Lead on the APDT Task Force says – “We like to say it is our privilege to help the attendees have a great conference experience. While it may not be noticeable, a lot of oversight and management was done in the months leading up to the Conference. Irma Bice, Neil Smith and I had been planning for and working on this conference since March of last year. We met every two weeks via conference call and coordinated our efforts.”

This year, there were 42 volunteers, with 19 of them being veterans who have been Border Collies for 10 years – now THAT is dedication! We even had some BCs take on 6 assignments. Wow!!!

BC Duties

Bill Hatherley, BC Lead, giving the Duties of the BCs

The rest were at their first conference and wanted the opportunity to help and to network. We worked hard at providing them opportunities to meet new folks and everyone I talked to was very happy with this.”

Bill is very much like a cheerleader, he and Carlos Betancourt hosted the Training Meeting of the Border Collie Brigade. Between the two of them, they got the BCs excited and enthusiastic about their role. This great attitude carried on throughout the conference, helping all attendees to enjoy it even more.

I so wanted to be a BC, but my duties of reporting and blogging for The Modern dog Trainer took precedence. I chatted with some Border Collies – Jolynn Payne, Theresa Hyatt Cahill and Ryan Lockard and asked them some questions about their experiences.

1. Was this your first time being a BC?

  • Jolynn – “It was my first year.
  • Theresa – “First time.”
  • Ryan – “This was my first time as a BC.”

2. Why did you volunteer as a BC?

  • Jolynn – “I was at the conference a day early so I wanted to help and get involved.”
  • Theresa – “Thought I’d get a better understanding and learning from other trainers. I did.”
  • Ryan – “I volunteered because I like being involved and helping.”

3. Will you volunteer to be a BC again?

  • Jolynn – “Absolutely!”
  • Theresa – “YES I would volunteer again.”
  • Ryan – “I would volunteer again.”

4. What was your best experience of the Conference?

  • Jolynn – “Meeting new friends!”
  • Theresa – “Best I found was that there was a lot of help getting started. A lot of helpful info and useful info building my business”
  • Ryan – “The best thing was the positive comments that I received from the conference staff and the people I got to meet.”BC Overview - "Smile - Be Friendly"

5. What was the worst experience you had being a BC?

  • Jolynn – “Having to BC in a session where the speaker kept repeating “ok” after every sentence. Stopped counting after 35 in the first 30 minutes.”
  • Theresa – “There wasn’t enough communication. I met a few trainers but other than that I was on my own to find info – who and how to contact someone if you were available for other things, where to go if I had a comment or complaint. The ones that have been there before welcomed me but I had so much free time and I didn’t know where to turn to offer any help if someone needed it. But everything worked out because now I know who to look for and where (for the most part) to go if I don’t.”
  • Ryan – “The worst thing was the bag stuffing; it seemed to be very unorganized.”

6. What the duties did you volunteer to do?

  • Jolynn – “I worked the check-in shirt table and 2 different sessions checking badges and watching doors.”
  • Theresa – “I greeted and directed attendees”
  • Ryan – “My duties were to verify attendees had paid for the day, that they were eligible to attend the workshop and to do the necessary head counts.”

Bill Hatherley, the BC Lead welcomes constructive comments and got lots of feedback from the volunteers, all to make things better and more efficient in the following years.

The BCs got special buttons, a BC ribbon on their lanyard, and a free APDT Conference shirt if they volunteered for 3 or more sessions. They also were invited to a yummy breakfast especially for them.

The next APDT Conference will be in 2016 Conference in Las Vegas. Consider sharing a few hours of your trip to help out as a volunteer Border Collie! Their contribution is invaluable and greatly appreciated.

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Reflections On The APDT 2015 Conference

Reflections On The APDT 2015 Conference

As a first time attendee of the 2015 APDT Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show, I was known as a “Conference Puppy” and I was thrilled to bits to travel all the way from Barbados to Dallas, Texas, USA to gain knowledge about dog training, behaviour and the business aspect of the dog industry.

Another important part of this conference, for me, was the networking. It was wonderful to meet my Facebook friends – Casey Lomonaco and Robin Bennett of the APDT’s Board of Trustees; guests I had on my Chat Time Interviews – Roger Abrantes, Michael Shikashio, Grisha Stewart and Josh Pitts; my Texan friends Abby Merlot, Jolynn Payne, Kevin Glowski, and my roommates Cheri Spaulding and Karen Reilly and so many others. Greater bonds of friendship have been made by spending our free time together and I truly value meeting them in real life.


Part of the gang networking at the Draft Lounge Catherine Steinke, Jolynn Payne, Carlos Betancourt in front, Cheri Spaulding, Kevin Glowski, Lisa White at the back.

The Sheraton Dallas Hotel, located in downtown Dallas, was huge, with lots of walking to get around. It was beautiful and the staff very friendly and helpful. The food was good and I ate from a variety – Peets was great to grab yummy Starbucks coffee (loved the Pumpkin Spice Latte) and a quick bite; I had the buffet breakfast at the Kitchen Table Restaurant, which had such a variety to choose. Most of the socialising was done at the Draft Media Sports Lounge.  It was the perfect atmosphere with great music but you could still have a conversation, watch sports on their large screen TV’s, or play pool.

I found the schedule of things to do and see to be completely filled each day.  The APDT even had an early meetup – AM Riser, Get to know your Neighbourhood Walk, from 7 – 7.45am. Errm I like my bed so that was too early for me and I didn’t make those meets. LOL.


Dr Stephen Ledoux and I

On Wednesday, day 1, the keynote speaker was Dr. Stephen Ledoux.  He gave a talk about, “Helping Our Canine Friends By Helping Ourselves With Science.”

Each day from 8am to 5pm, there were the Live Animal Workshops.  You could also choose the General Sessions which consisted of four Shorts to choose from, where speakers talked on a variety of topics for 45 minutes.  They ran from 8 to 8.45, 9 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 12.15.

Lunch was an hour and a half, but even during lunch there were roundtable discussions and demos of freestyle, Hollywood dog or you could browse the vendors at the trade show.

The presentations started back from 1.30 to 3pm and again at 3.15 to 4.45pm. Thankfully there were breaks of 15 minutes to get to the other presentations and stretch your legs.

Even after the speakers presentations, there was still something to see and do from 5 to 9.30pm – Toy Making, Scientific Poster Session, more doggy demos and on Friday night was the APDT Foundation Reception and Auction which was great.

There were 3 tables full of mostly doggie items to bid on, ranging from dog toys, collars, personal sessions with Roger Abrantes and Sue Steinberg to name a few, as well as trips to the Caribbean. There were hors d’oeuvres and music, to which I danced a lot and managed to get the DJ to play some good modern pop music.

On the last day, Saturday, I was very sad, knowing this was the last day I would see my friends for another year and I was all teary eyed. Roger Abrantes gave a wonderful closing talk on, “Animal Training My Way,” which touched on our relationship with animals – bonds and respect.

“All we need do is control ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions and our behavior.  If we do it correctly, we will produce the changes in others that exist, not against their will, not by force or manipulation of the truth, but because they want they want it.” – Roger Abrantes

If I had to choose who was the best speaker, it would be extremely difficult. A lot of interesting information was shared, some I already knew a bit about, so it was good to get it explained further and I also learnt new things.

However, where I think I truly benefited was in the business topics, since we dog trainers tend to want to learn everything we can about dogs, but neglect the business/marketing side of things.

Veronica Boutelle, myself and Gina Phairas of Dogtec. They are really nice folks.

Veronica Boutelle, myself and Gina Phairas of Dogtec. They are really nice folks.

My favourite speakers were the Dogtec duo – Veronica Boutelle and Gina Phairas, who had a variety of presentations – Newsletter Marketing, Start Your Business On the Right Paw, Put More $ In Your Pocket, and more. It was great to meet them and they are as nice in person as they were to deal with, when I was so fortunate to have won the APDT 2013 Business Makeover.

Overall, I found everyone to be friendly, even the Ph.D’s, those brainy folks, were nice and humble.  They didn’t talk down to you at all and the “famous” folks, the big names who have written books or put out DVDs, were quite welcoming. I didn’t encounter any snobs there at all, no one thought they were better than others. It truly was a great atmosphere.

Oh, here are some tips for those attending conferences that I learnt the hard way –

1. Wear warm clothes, as it seems the powers that be like to keep you cold which apparently keeps you alert. I just shiver and quake.

2. Don’t overpack.  Most people wear the same clothes from morning till night and it’s usually casual – jeans, shirt, sweater. Less clothes, means more room for dog books and toys. Oh and take a portable scale for your luggage; you don’t want to be overweight from all the goodies you buy and pay extra for your luggage.

3. Wear comfortable shoes since you will be walking all over the hotel, with warm thick socks. I made the mistake of wearing boots with heels the first day and my feet hurt from all the walking I was doing. Lesson learnt.  I then wore my fluorescent orange sneakers everywhere. A friend said, “if you cannot find Lisa, just look down at the shoes.”

4. Have extra batteries and/or chargers.  In one day my camera, cell and laptop died, grrrrrrr.

5. If allowed, take lots of pictures instead of writing notes from the Powerpoint Slides, you will always miss something. And put your camera on silent, so as to not disturb others.

6. Be organized. Know which speakers you want to see and print out the daily schedule in advance, so you are organized. Most hotel rooms don’t have free wifi, so you won’t be able to access the website.

7. If the Conference has an app, download it.  This is very useful, since it has all the info about the Conference on it.

8. If you are traveling from another country, like me, phone calls and texts will be charged at an international rate, so it will be expensive. If possible, buy a SIM card with data.  You can get one at the airport, but it would be cheaper from a local store.

9. Know where the Speakers will be located and how to get there.  You will probably still get lost (I did, many times), but you can always ask others and follow them.

10. Get out there and talk to people; no sense in being a wallflower. Conferences are a great opportunity for networking, to meet new people, to exchange ideas, to make contacts with people in the industry. And DO remember to bring business cards and exchange them with other people.

With such a great experience at the APDT 2015 Conference, will I be attending future Conferences? HECK YEAH!! I am already planning on going to next year’s conference in Las Vegas.

Hope to see you there!

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2015 APDT Conference – Day 2 Summary

2015 APDT Conference – Day 2 Summary

Before I get into today’s Speakers, I just want to report on what a great Conference this is! Everyone is so nice and friendly, I am rooming with Facebook friends, met lots of other friends as well as people I have interviewed. I am really enjoying the educational aspect of this Conference and the comradery of the Attendees.

2015 apdt conferenceDr. Stephen Ledoux

My first Speaker today, was Dr. Stephen Ledoux, his topic was – Introductory Behaviorology: A Book Discussion on his latest book – “Running Out of Time—Introducing Behaviorology to Help Solve Global Problems”.

I enjoyed Dr Ledoux easy way of talking with his interjections of humor and he was very approachable. He talked about the origins of this book, the contents, the purpose of this book and other books and how they relate to dog training and other companion animal behavior training , behavior science.   Attendees found out how the natural science of behavior was the common theme of many other behavior training books.

Newsletter Marketing: Help Dogs While Growing Your Business with Veronica Boutelle

My second Speaker was Veronica Boutelle, MA Ed., CTC of Dogtec fame, she talked about “Newsletter Marketing: Help Dogs While Growing Your Business”.

We learned about the different uses, audiences and goals of print and email newsletters. content and design,  guidelines, best practices.  Also covered was choosing an email marketing service provider, sourcing images, the structure of emails – short and sweet, whether to have a single topic or 2 to 4 topics, how often to produce your newsletter.  How to get readers by interviewing, featuring dogs and dog related businesses.

85% of content should be fun and informative while the other 15% should be info on your business – services, special discounts, upcoming events.  She also gave tips on how to maximize your chance of being read:

  • no lecturing,
  • short sentences,
  • using headers,
  • subheaders,
  • bullets and lists,
  • along with lots of photos – but watch that the dog shows the body language you want to convey.

I was so pleased to meet Veronica in real life since I had worked with her and Gina Phairas, when I won the APDT Business Makeover in 2013, she is as nice in person as she was to deal with online.

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2015 APDT Conference – Day One Summary

2015 APDT Conference – Day One Summary

My eyes opened up to darkness at around 6:00am and instantly I was excited when I realised I was in the Sheraton Dallas Hotel for the 2015 APDT Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show.  This is the first year I have attended and this is known as being a “Puppy”.

I made my way down to the Dallas Conference Room for the Opening Session & Welcome given by Amber 049 Burckhalter, Chair of the Board of Trustees, she welcomed the attendees and gave some random facts about Dallas – Barney the purple dinosaur from the very popular children’s tv show originated from Dallas along with German Chocolate Cake and the Margarita machine. She talked about the APDT Foundation and their Auction on Friday.

She handed over to the Treasurer – Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA who reported that the APDT’s pre-audit figures as at June 30th, 2015 accounts were in good standing. Casey Lomonaco, KPA CTP, the Secretary advised of the two new Board Members – Nick Hof and Megan Armstrong CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA.

The 2015 Award Members are as follows –

Members of the Year – for the first time that Casey knows of there were two winners – Sandy Crosby, CPDT-KA and Dae Grodin, CPDT-KA.

APDT Scholarship Winners – Mary Fish Arango, MA, Med, Dawn Gardner, CPDT-KA, Samantha Schinder, MA.

Dogwise Shelter – Scholarship Winner – Kim Imel, LVT, CPDT-KA.

Casey & Amber were both presented with a gift for their dedication and hard work.

Amber issued a Challenge to the attendees – Make an Impact – find 3 things from the Conference and take them home to make a difference.

2015 APDT Conference – Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker was Stephen Ledoux, PhD whose topic – Helping our Canine Friends by Helping Ourselves with Science. His talk highlighted some characteristics of behaviorology, the natural science of behaviour, that enable us to apply it in ways to benefit our canine friends.052

He talked about how to keep magical approaches to behaviour separate from scientific approaches and how to avoid a variety of unhelpful, fictional explanations of behaviour.

Scientific approaches:

Genetics – about the structural foundation of behavior

Physiology – about HOW behaviour happens or occurs

Behaviorology – about WHY behaviour happens or occurs

a. Sample – Recombination of repertoires

i. “Self-Concept”
ii. “Insight”

b. Sample – Concept formation

c. Sample – Complex behaviour

i. Multiple stimuli – affect multiple responses
ii. Coincidental reinforcers and superstitious behaviour
iii. The Law of Cumulative Complexity

The general relation of brain structures to behaviors of consciousness in humans and canine species.

Linda P Case, MS – Beware The Straw Man: Fact, Fiction & Science in the Dog Training World

1. Understand the way in which the scientific method is applied in canine science. Identify important components of a well-designed study.

2. Identify and assess various sources of information, including the “evidence pyramid” of science.

3. Appreciate and assess a research study example case – the effectiveness of “Touch then Treat” training.

Scientific Evidence Pyramid088

Systematic Review
Randomized Controlled Studies with Dogs
Case Studies & Case Reports with Dogs
In vitro studies, research in other species

Linda Case then went into an example of a recently published study which examined a technique called “Touch then Treat”, a popular training and behaviour modification technique. This study was evaluated along with the results, the relevance of the results and the how further studies were needed to help -trainers, pet professionals and dog owner make well-informed, evidence-based decisions for their dogs.

Roger Abrantes, PhD – The Evolution of Canine Social Behavior207

This very interesting talk covered the differences between aggressive, fearful, dominant and submissive behaviour, the variety of expressions in wolves, jackals, foxes and the domestic dog, the greeting, bonding, friendliness parental behaviour, mating strategies. Attendees learnt about dog body language, how to distinguish between closely related but different behaviors, and how to interpret dog behavior based on science rather than popular myths.

Day 1 is now over and my brain is already fried. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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Countdown To The APDT 2015 Conference

Countdown To The APDT 2015 Conference


In less than one week, I will be traveling all the way from Barbados (a tiny island in the APDT Dallas TexasCaribbean) to attend the Association of Professional Dog Trainers’ Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show, which will be held from Wednesday, October 14 to Saturday, October 17, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, USA.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers goal is to promote better trainers through education, and they welcome all trainers in their pursuit of learning modern, scientifically-based training methods.

It was through the APDT that I met positive reinforcement trainers, which started me on my journey to crossing over and I am most grateful to them for this.

Can I say how excited I am??? It will be my first APDT Conference and I have the honor of blogging for The Modern Dog Trainers Website. I get to attend some fantastic presentations by well known and reputable Speakers  –

  • Dr. Stephen Ledoux
  • Dr. Roger Abrantes
  • Dr. Cynthia Otto
  • Veronica Boutelle
  • Gina Phairas
  • Linda Case
  • Charlene Woodward
  • Sue Sternberg
  • Sarah Fulcher

Check out this link for a complete list of Speakers –

There will be live animal workshops where people get to actually work with guinea pigs in Dr. Roger Abrantes’ Scent Detection Workshop; Dr. Lore Haug’s IAABC Workshop – Advanced Behavior Techniques & Practices; working with dogs at the Dallas SPCA to learn new skills or hone their current skills in Teoti Anderson’s Desensitization & Counter Conditioning; Lisa McCluskey’s Troubleshooting Aggression/Anxiety; Sue Sternberg’s On Leash Dog-Dog Encounters.  These Live Animal Workshops have a separate registration fee.

There are also short presentations throughout the day called APDT Shorts. Speakers will be talking about a wide variety of subjects from Aggression, Behaviorology, Business & Marketing, Dog Body Language, Euthanasia, Food, Stress, Science and so much more.APDT TEXAS

I’m suffering from “too much choice dilemma” since I don’t know who I want to see as yet. So I have to sit down, take a look at all the presentations and see which ones to attend that I can learn and benefit from the most. I really wish I could see ALL the speakers live.

But the good news is that if you want to get all the latest information and earn CEUs, you can buy their DVDs at or receive access to the Online Library at

When you arrive at the conference hotel, the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, you need to check in at the Registration Desk to pick up your packet and you can ask them any questions.

Not only are the educational benefits diverse, but there are lots of opportunities to network, too:

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Puppy Bingo
  • Click-it With a Ticket
  • Brochure and Business Card Contests

There is also the Trade Show and Exhibit Hall and I am going to enjoy browsing through and buying the books, DVDs, dog toys and other products which will be on show. Hope I don’t go over my 50 lb limit for my suitcase.

I know I am certainly looking forward to learning new things and meeting Facebook friends and people I have interviewed. Have I mentioned before that I am soooooooooo excited? LOL.

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