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Help em Up Harness No Longer Available Here

The goal of the Tripawds Gear Shop is to share recommendations for products we believe may help improve the quality of life for all amputee dogs. Our intent is to only offer items that we can stand behind one hundred percent. With that said, we shall no longer sell the Help ’em Up Harness from Blue Dog Designs.

With an understanding that most customers seeking assistive aids for their dogs are usually already rather distraught, we simply cannot risk anyone else experiencing the same difficulties Fortis’ dad dealt with after using the Help ’em Up harness for a short time. When we originally tested the Help ’em Up with Wyatt, we were pleased with its overall performance and addressed certain concerns in our review. Admittedly, Wyatt wore the harness for no more than a few hours. We appreciate Brett sharing this real world user review with the Tripawds community …

Actual User Submitted Help ’em Up Dog Harness Review

I have used the Help ‘Em Up harness by Blue Dog Designs extensively now for 3 consecutive months. The harness I’ve used is an XLg prototype of the “Total Support” model that allows males to urinate while keeping the harness intact. It is for dogs with a weight between 95-130lbs.

Fortis the test subject is a male Cane Corso whose right rear leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma on 2/03/2010. His current weight is between 135-145lbs although the bulk of his bulldog type frame is forward and not loaded to the rear. This is important because his weight is over the amount stated above. It should be noted that the rear portion of the harness was actually to large which indicated to me that it is was designed for a dog of more mass and weight than Fortis.

First, I want to make clear that this review is my opinion of the harness and the support that the company provided during my extended use of it. Secondly, I want to state before hand that I will be focusing on the negatives that I encounter during this period. Which are primarily the issues of structural reliability, design, and customer support. In my view the harness attempts to fill a void with its pelvic support where there is regrettably few choices on the market. It is this rear/pelvic portion of the harness I will focus on. In my opinion this harness possesses many positive and desirable features for the pet owner who needs the extra pelvic support for their pup. As previously stated I will not be addressing those here. The company’s website and other available online reviews do a good job of this.

Structural reliability

I received the harness on Thursday the 1st of April. On the 2nd, one day after receiving the harness, the rear handle strap started to fray just inside the stitch line (view photo 1 below). In my opinion the issue was in the strength of the strap used and something that couldn’t be attributed to inadequate stitching alone.

I called Blue Dog designs the following day (Easter Weekend), describing the problem. On Monday I emailed a JPEG showing the tear and left a brief message and my phone number. On Wednesday I made contact with the company. I received a replacement of the top rear section of the harness which is where the support strap is located. This was done in a timely manner.

The last week of May the replacement harness failed. This time the support handle completely snapped off. Both sides of the strap failed simultaneously (view photo 2 below). It seems to me this could pose a safety issue for those dogs, especially large ones, who depend on the pelvic support this harness is designed to provide.

Once again, this tearing occurred inside the stitch line. I made several phone calls to the number provided on the companies web site over the coming days to discuss the problem. I left my number and a brief message. After my voicemails went unanswered I once again sent an email with the photo shown below and a short descriptive message on 6/07/2010. That same day I received this response, “Sometimes this happens with prototypes as they make them a little too carefully”. “But I will check to see if this is a problem with production products”. I replied asking if they were sending a replacement and that I felt the issue had nothing to do with it being a prototype. I paid full price for the harness. I also called once again leaving a brief message. The company made no further attempts to contact me by phone or email.


The harness I used had a horseshoe shaped cushioned metal rod that fits in front and around the male dog’s penis. This feature is on the prototype. I’m not sure if it is on the current production model. It enables males to urinate while the harness remains intact. For the most part it worked fine except for needing continual adjustments. The main problem I encountered with this design is the metal rod worked its way out of the cushioned sleeve.

This caused cuts and bruises to from on Fortis’ belly. This occurred before the second handle failed. I called the company to discuss this issue thinking it was important but never received a response. I have attached a photo below, which shows the rod protruding out of the sleeve.

Customer Service

“’s customer service goal is simple: We are committed to providing our customers total satisfaction. Every time. Guaranteed.”

It’s obvious from my comments above that I don’t feel they live up to this promise, at least not every time and certainly not in my case.


Does this harness fill a much-needed void for dogs that are in need of extra pelvic support and their owners? My short answer to this question is a very reluctant maybe. Would I purchase this same harness again? In my world the dog comes first. If this is my only choice and it’s what my pup needs, then yes. But I will continue to search for a harness that meets the needs of dogs that require the extra pelvic support, and for a company such as Ruff Wear that has the support we desire as loving owners.

Regards — Fortis’ Dad, Brett

Review additional feedback about using this harness in the Tripawds Discussion Forums. If you believe the Help ’em Up harness is right for your dog, please contact Blue Dog Designs directly.

Tripawds recommends the Ruff Wear Webmaster harness for most dogs. For more options, please see our list of recommended harnesses in the Tripawds Gear Shop. We welcome all feedback.

13 thoughts on “Help em Up Harness No Longer Available Here”

  1. Dear friends and Tripawds Consumers:

    This customer received a prototype of our male harness as he stated and unfortunately at the time, we did not have our new male version of the final product in to send to him. He was informed of this at the time he requested a harness, but said he was in desperate need so we sent him our “prototype.” However, prototypes are used as production models, not final production versions, but we wanted to help him and his dog. We informed the customer of this and he was aware that there may be flaws, but needed it in spite of those qualities and our advisement.

    When certain issues arose (such as tearing, etc.), we made careful note and made corrections to the final production pieces. Since we have received finished product on the new version, we have had no similar complaints.

    We continue to stand by our harness and have had positive response for quite sometime. We wish you all the best in caring for your dogs as we do ours. Products improve and enhancements are made over time. Our unique Hip Lift feature is what makes it a beneficial solution for so many users and therefore a very real asset to owners and their dogs. Finally, we’d like to thank Tripawds for including our contact information in this post, so those interested in the harness can contact us directly.

    L.S. Zimmerman, Blue Dog Designs

    • Thank you for the clarification and feedback Lindsey. We agree there is a great need for a harness to help support rear leg amputee dogs, and urge all our readers to contact Blue Dog directly if the feel the Help ’em Up is suitable to meet their needs.

  2. This is an awesome product. Very sturdy in its design. I have never had any problems with anything. It’s help us so very much and I’m extremely grateful. I did extensive research before buying this product and found this to be the best for my dogs needs. She has a disc problem and when we did not have this harness she would end up on pain meds for days at a time, shaking because she was in so much pain. I’m so happy to have this. She wore it to the vet today and the staff was so impressed with it and said they were going to recommend it to patients. No more sleepless nights of my dog hiding in the closet shaking in pain, morphine shots in the ER, etc. This is awesome and it was also made with love.

  3. I love this harness. I got it for my 13 Shepard and I have never had a problem with it. Now I can get him in and out of the car or up and down stairs without a problem. I take it off him when he doesn’t need it.

  4. My 6 year old Lab, Pismo, had an unknown to us degenerative disk disease. Chasing a bird in mid December she yelped as she hit the ground sprawled out with both rear legs lifeless behind her. She dragged herself in the house to be difficultly loaded into a car by two strong college students. Then transported the next day to have an MRI with the assistance of two able vet assistants and myselfs… everybody’s back was killing them… akwardly loading a 105lb Lab who thinks she can move on her own is not only backbreaking but somewhat dangerous. The third day we were introduced to the Blue Dog HelpemUp Harness… it was literally life saving to her… and back saving to us! She safely came home with the use of one of her rear legs about 50%… with tireless rehab and alot of puppy ambition she is using 3 of her legs 100% and the 4th probably 60%…. though amputation may be in her future… her life would not be the same without the harness… we have used it for four months now and washed it every couple weeks… It is the only way she can be helped in and out of the car! Possibly supporting this great product should be revisited! Very thankful in California!

    • Thank you for the positive feedback! Glad it worked for you. All readers are highly encouraged to contact Blue Dog Designs directly if they feel the Help ‘Em Up harness is right for them.

  5. We have one and it has been wonderful. No issues with quality at all. Easy to wash too. We have been using it for about 6 months.

  6. On our way to pick up our pup from her surgery we stopped by Georgia Veterinary Rehab Specialists to pick up Toe Grips. While there, we inquired about harnesses. As we were asking a therapisy brought a young dog came into the the lobby with a Help ‘em Up Harness. The therapists indicated thta Help ‘em Up is their first choice when it comes to harnesses. I would not think that they wou,d recommend it and stock it in their facility if there were ongoing quality issues. I really like the rear strap for helping bigger dogs to get in and out of the car.

    • Thank you for the feedback. You will note that this post is now nearly eight years old and a lot may have changed in the manufacturing, fulfillment and support of this product since the time it was published.


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