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View Full Version : Neoprene vest, worth it or not



Muzo
05-02-2009, 02:18 PM
Looking at the avery vest, are they worth the money do they help the dog or not?

Any advice will help!

steved05
05-02-2009, 02:51 PM
It depends how cold does it get in Canada?

Muzo
05-02-2009, 03:15 PM
I dont take the dogs to the water past -10celcious, the wind is usualy the determining factor. If the vest would help cut the cold I would look into it. The neoprene gloves I have make a difference when we pick up the decoys but are horrible for continuous hunting when wet and exposed to the air. I've purchased a heater for the boat wich will help. i wont risk loosing the dogs over a few dogs that I can retreive myself, they just get P....ed off when i leave them behind!

steved05
05-02-2009, 03:25 PM
I think it's a great idea. You will find that they are both under and over used. It's one of those things that you have to research the pros and cons, and make your own decision. If enough people respond you'll know why!

ArtC
05-02-2009, 08:15 PM
The neoprene definitely helps keep the dog warmer, but at what point you need to use it probably depends on the dog. I've had two types - the first one closed with a zipper, the newer one with velcro. I prefer the zipper, found it easier to get vest on the dog straight. You also need to check the fit, the leg holes can rub the dog raw pretty quick if they pinch underneath

Patrick Johndrow
05-02-2009, 08:42 PM
Worth every penny and it is real important it fits right.

Howard N
05-02-2009, 11:32 PM
This is 2nd hand from a salt water hunter in the waters off Kodiak. He said that if he forgot the dog's vest the dog would start showing signs of hyperthermia after about 30 retrieves. (he was a union rep and he'd take out groups of union muckety mucks so there were lots of hunters and he was the only one with a dog) If the dog was vested he was good for 50 or more retrieves. I have no idea how long those retrieves were. The salt water temps can get to 29 degrees.

Andy Symons
05-03-2009, 08:49 AM
I throw one on my Peake's when it gets really cold. They should be comfortable too in extreme conditions. Plus the handles on the Avery vest are nice in the deep water.

Matt G
05-03-2009, 07:57 PM
I know one handler and dog who would say "yes".

http://www.retrievertraining.net/forums/showthread.php?t=20888

brian lewis
05-03-2009, 09:23 PM
Im trying to remember exactly what the vest cost...

"...are they worth the money..."

One of the pairs of gloves in my bag are $80 and I rarely wear them so I'd say a $40-$60 vest is a NO BRAINER>

steved05
05-03-2009, 09:41 PM
Im trying to remember exactly what the vest cost...

"...are they worth the money..."

One of the pairs of gloves in my bag are $80 and I rarely wear them so I'd say a $40-$60 vest is a NO BRAINER>

Screw the gloves what's a finished dog cost? Your finished dog that isn't for sale? Now thats a no brainer!

Jim Danis
05-04-2009, 07:15 AM
Definitely worth the money. Yes they keep my dog warm. It usually doesn't get too cold here in NC during the winter but I've hunted him with and without the vest and he is much warmer on the cold days. Another reason I use a vest on him is the type of hunting I do. I hunt a lot of beaver ponds and some pretty nasty areas. The vest helps to protect him from underwater sticks of other hazards that I might not see.

Legacy 6
05-04-2009, 07:46 AM
DSMITH1651 and I were in SD last winter and his dogs wore them while mine didn't. The vests probably kept the wind off the dogs, (which was SO cold) but snow would get wedged inbetween the vest and the dog, and then we'd have to stop a the end of a field and dig it out... if it wasn't melted first. The dog would be wet and you'd have a different set of problems when it was 10 degs F, and a 15-25mph north wind...

In that situation there really didn't seem to be an upside or downside to either.

The funny thing is, one of his dogs would SOMEHOW get both of her front legs through the same leg hole!! She just kept going though! It was so funny becuase she wouldn't stop running, she just kept tri-podding along!

In the water, I have no experience, but if the lessons cross over, they'll keep the dogs warm enough if they keep moving. The vest will just help insulate them and keep some of their own heat in.

I know it's not much to add, but for what it's worth... hope it helps!

Hullabaloo93
05-04-2009, 12:40 PM
My Chessie gets a vest every time we hunt cold water, or in the goose field with temps below freezing and high winds. No reason to chance it. However, they can overheat if you let them run back to the truck behind the 4-wheeler. He vest comes off before we do that. Also, take it off before putting him back into the dog box, as he can overheat there too. Especially after a long run.

As always, the more you can dry him off after a swim, the better.

Keith Holsted
05-04-2009, 01:25 PM
You bet they are!!

gmhr1
05-04-2009, 05:21 PM
We use one on our dog.

Muzo
05-04-2009, 07:00 PM
Thanks Guys, Look forward to breaking the ice at the dock on January 15th, 15 more days of hunting, I would love to have the dogs with me.

Rick Hall
05-05-2009, 06:27 AM
Worth every penny and it is real important it fits right.

Hope Patrick won't mind my adding emphasis to his second point. Should be snug without being tight enough to restrict breathing or circulation. Odds are that a vest will require some custom, scissors and neoprene cement, tailoring to really fit well.

And I'll add a point no one else has by offering that we use a vest down here, where it's seldom, if ever, cold enough for a Chessie to "need" one, in large part to save calories otherwise burned maintaining warmth for the work at hand. (That and protection from punji stake-like canes.)

As to design, I own both zippered (Avery) and velcro (Cabela's) models, and prefer the fit adjustability wide velcro fasteners afford. Have also read that dogs with their vests hung on staubs (perhaps another fit issue) can work their way out of velcro fastened vests to free themselves but, knock wood, have no first hand experience with that. I do, however, have a great deal of experience helping dogs into boats, and fail to see "handles" cut in a vest as more than a marketing tool. We use the loose hide on the back of the dog's neck to hoist his front paws over the gunnel, and then the dog levers himself the rest of the way in with the back of his head/neck pushing against that helping hand. Reaching farther back to the vest only makes it tougher on both of us.

Hullabaloo93
05-05-2009, 09:14 AM
I have both types also; velcro and zipper. I prefer the zipper for ice and snow conditions because it is too easy for the velcro to ice up in bad conditions. Then the vest will not fasten at all. I don't think my dog could get out of either vest without an intensive struggle, so both are even in that regard. Be sure to ge the thicker 5mm neoprene from Avery and others. Finally, fit is important. Snug but not tight is the key. You don't want to restrict breathing. I have had to tim all of mine to fit and am on my third vest as the dog has grown from puppy to young adult to mature adult. My dog's vest goes inside my wader bag when I am packing for every trip. It is just as important to him as my waders are to me.

Hullabaloo93
05-05-2009, 09:18 AM
DSMITH1651 and I were in SD last winter and his dogs wore them while mine didn't. The vests probably kept the wind off the dogs, (which was SO cold) but snow would get wedged inbetween the vest and the dog, and then we'd have to stop a the end of a field and dig it out... if it wasn't melted first. The dog would be wet and you'd have a different set of problems when it was 10 degs F, and a 15-25mph north wind...

In that situation there really didn't seem to be an upside or downside to either.

The funny thing is, one of his dogs would SOMEHOW get both of her front legs through the same leg hole!! She just kept going though! It was so funny becuase she wouldn't stop running, she just kept tri-podding along!

In the water, I have no experience, but if the lessons cross over, they'll keep the dogs warm enough if they keep moving. The vest will just help insulate them and keep some of their own heat in.

I know it's not much to add, but for what it's worth... hope it helps!

Sounds like a poor fitting vest. Mine fits my dog like a wetsuit. Snug, but not tight. I could not imagine him getting both feet through the same hole unless it was put on that way. Have him try a smaller size or another brand. We could not use Hodgman since it was cut too wide in the chest. Cabelas and Avery fit fine. Bought two sizes of each and sent the ill-fitting size back after a quick try-on at home.

DSMITH1651
05-05-2009, 11:23 PM
Sounds like a poor fitting vest. Mine fits my dog like a wetsuit. Snug, but not tight. I could not imagine him getting both feet through the same hole unless it was put on that way. Have him try a smaller size or another brand. We could not use Hodgman since it was cut too wide in the chest. Cabelas and Avery fit fine. Bought two sizes of each and sent the ill-fitting size back after a quick try-on at home.

Hullabaloo93, the vest fits her properly when she is sanding and running, but she dose something in the deep snow every now and then that she some how gets her leg through. this has only happened in the deep snow while we are pheasant hunting and then only about 4 times in the last 2 years, my other dog doesn't have a problem and she is the same size with the same vest. both dogs are in the 40 to 43 pound range and i have tried 1/2 dozen vests before i settled on this one and even it needed some modifying to fit properly in between the ft legs and chest.
i only run the vest pheasant hunting for 2 reasons 1) they are orange and it is easer to see the dog in the thick stuff and 2) fences, my dogs like to cut them selves. ace basically shredded her vest in one week in so. Dakota this year with 3'' and 4'' rips all the way trough the 5 mill neoprene no we definitely would have had to do some stapling.
as far as using a vest duck hunting, i use a vest if it is cold( don't ever use a vest when it is worm out you could be causing more problems then solving) i have stuck my hands under the vest and my dog is acutely dry underneath it, the only other time i worry about having the vest on is getting the dog snagged on some thing in the watter, but the vest also protects them from sharp fence posts and logs so i generally run one unless there is a risk of over heating.
Duane
PS i own a company that fabricates fabric goods and patterns so i am working on a new vest design for pheasant hunting so the snow wont pack under the vest.

Hullabaloo93
05-06-2009, 07:01 AM
Thanks for the clarification. I've seen too many ill fitting vests on dogs cause problems and thought you might suffer from the same.

I'll look out for your new vest design if you bring it to the market. My dog does a fair ammount of upland hunting too.

Happy hunting.

TroyFeeken
05-06-2009, 03:07 PM
The problem is, is that people buy a vest based on one or more measurements of their dog and throw the vest on them and run them in the field. I don't know of a single vest/dog combo where the fit was perfect. Too deep of chest so the neck was too big or the leg holes rubbed wrong... on and on and on.

People, you need to modify the vest after you get it otherwise it isn't going to do any good at all. Get some Neoprene glue, start cutting and snipping until it's snug like a wet suit.

Many times this spring and late late season honker hunting I put my hands between the dog and vest to warm myself up. Almost wished I was wearing one a couple days.