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The Boater's Dog Parka by Avery is the result of years of experience making dog vests and listening to suggestions from thousands of waterfowl hunters. It has several features including grab handles, a sewn-in webbing harness, and D-rings for maximum versatility. For durability, it is constructed of Avery's "DuraStretch" material with double bar-tacked seams, #10 molded zipper with neoprene zipper protector, and cold weather pull tab. It has a tapered cut for maximum body coverage and 1" Velcro for torso adjustability.
It's really important to get the correct fit for your vest. We want it snug on the dog's chest so that it retains body heat while your dogs in the water, but not so tight that it makes running or swimming difficult.
HOW TO MEASURE -- To measure your dog you are going to need either a seamstress tape or you can use any sort of piece of string, something you can wrap around the dog and then measure it with a tape measure, or you can even use a leash to get the correct measurement and then measure that off with a tape measure.
MEASURE ON A TABLE -- I like to measure the dog standing up on a table. This way I'm standing up, I'm comfortable, and I've got the dog where I can position him correctly.
There are two measurements you need when you are sizing your dog for a vest: the chest measurement and then the neck measurement.
NECK MEASUREMENT -- The neck measurement is taken lower on the dog's neck than you would measure for a dog collar. A dog collar sits more toward the middle or higher up on the neck, but the vest doesn't go up that high, so take the measurement lower on the neck -- a little bit above the shoulders.
CHEST MEASUREMENT -- Have your dog stand. The chest measurement is taken from the deepest part of the chest -- typically closer to behind the front legs.
Remember, when you're measuring your dog, the most important size is the chest measurement. It's got to fit the chest tight. Everything else you can cut around, but if you're too small in the chest, you're not gonna be able to put it on your dog. If the neck measurement is off a little bit, you can trim it down to size.
CUSTOMIZING TO FIT IS EASY
Dogs are all different shapes and sizes, so it's possible you may have to trim the neck and/or leg holes to get a perfect fit.
BAR TACKS STOP FRAYING -- What's nice about these vests is that they have "bar tacks" sewn across the seams so you can customize the neck and leg holes for your dog.
When you use scissors to cut the hole larger, normally a seam would just rip and unravel on you. Instead, the bar tack is sewn perpendicular to the seam which stops the seams from shredding.
TRIM THE LEG OPENINGS IF TOO TIGHT -- When I'm sizing a vest for my dog, I like to put her in the water first to find out when she's swimming if it's going to be too tight. Make sure that there is not a problem with her legs.
CUSTOMIZE THE NECK -- You want the neck snug so it retains heat, but you also don't want to cut the neck opening too low, because it will scoop water as your dog swims. I prefer the neck up a little bit higher, but not where it's in the way.
Also, have your dog sit in the vest. Sometimes a vest works fine from a standing position, but when she sits down it's pushing up against her, so we trim a little bit out of here to make that comfortable.
There is about an inch between bar tacks, and when you cut you don't have to cut all the way to the next bar tack, but you may get a little fraying. Just customize it to fit your dog better.
GET YOUR DOG ACCUSTOMED TO THE VEST
In the above video you can see that is the first time my lab, Flint, has worn any kind of vest. She's a little uncomfortable with it. She doesn't really grasp exactly what it is.
You want to fit your dog's vest, and get them used to wearing it while training and working and swimming long before the opening day of the season. Give your dog plenty of time to move around in it, swim in it, sit on a stand or ladder, retrieve a few dummies, and just get used to it.
A neoprene vest is just more gear that they're going to be using while we're duck hunting, so just like any other training, give them plenty of time in the vest BEFORE hunting.
WHAT IF YOU NEED A VEST NOW AND YOU'RE NOT SURE ABOUT THE SIZE?
Some folks wait until the last minute, and realize they need it now! If you're in a hurry, or if it's late season and it's close to the time that you're gonna need a new vest, the last thing you want to do is get to the duck hole only to find that your new vest doesn't fit.
Say you're in between sizes, or just not confident which size your dog really needs, then you may want to order two and try them both out. Return the one that doesn't fit. You only pay return shipping for the vest that didn't fit.
If you order a vest that doesn't fit correctly, we will be glad to take it back or do an exchange for you. It's okay that you put it on the dog, but please don't cut or customize it until you're sure the chest fits just right.
GUN DOG SUPPLY - "Serving Hunting & Field Dog Owners Nationally Since 1972."
Order online via Secure Server or call 1-800-624-6378 to order! GDS Warehouse, 17645 U.S. Highway 82, Mathiston, Mississippi, 39752 USA.