Note: This is NOT a paid or compensated review, but a review of a product that I purchased for my own use. I enjoy sharing information about products you may like or find useful and you’ll always receive my honest and unbiased opinion.
With the recent release of the GoPro Fetch dog harness, it seemed like the perfect excuse to finally purchase a GoPro camera and start recording some dog adventures. The harness and camera are great for active, fun-loving dogs as it offers a unique perspective of your pet’s view of the world around him. The Fetch harness has two padded mounting plates used with three stretchy, adjustable straps to hold a GoPro camera securely on his back or chest, providing two unique views. The harness fits dogs from 15 to 120 pounds and is washable and water-friendly, in case your dog happens to take a dive into a lake or rolls in the nearest mud puddle. You can attach the harness straps quickly and easily and it includes a tether loop to ensure the camera stays with the harness in case it takes a few hard knocks.
I was curious to see how Haley would react, having never worn any type of harness before. I used some treats while putting it on her for the first few times and she barely noticed it. She did great during her first walk with the camera mounted on her back. After turning around a couple of times to look at it and a few shakes in attempt to get rid of it, she accepted it as her new high-tech toy, although she was a little subdued. After the initial trial walk with the harness and camera, she was comfortable wearing it and acted normally each time.
It’s important to make sure the straps are tight enough (while still being comfortable) so the harness stays in place. Once the harness is secure, the camera can be mounted on the dog’s back or chest. You can then adjust the tilt level of the camera to get the best view. Controlling the camera (Hero3+ Black Edition) once it’s mounted is amazingly simple. In addition to the controls on the camera itself, you can control almost every function of the camera by using the remote control unit or by using the built-in wireless feature along with a smartphone app.
Ok, now for the good stuff. Overall, the harness performed very well. It was comfortable for Haley to wear and she was able to move freely. It stayed in place on her back (after making sure the straps were tight enough) and rarely needed to be readjusted. Because the chest mount plate is able to move freely along the straps so that it can be adjusted higher or lower on the chest, caused an issue with keeping the camera in the desired position. The chest mount and camera kept sliding down Haley’s chest and had to be adjusted several times. Haley has a narrow chest, so dogs with a broader chest may not have this same issue.
Whether you mount the camera on the back or the chest, the video is going to be a bit shaky as you would expect. Video quality is good when the dog is sitting, standing or walking at a normal pace, but running, rough play or chasing rabbits (as Haley did in the video) may cause a slight nausea-inducing effect for the viewer. Video quality is much better when the camera is mounted on the back, rather than on the chest where it tends to swing a little bit or get bumped by the dog’s front legs. A third additional view is possible when you mount the camera looking backwards while on the dog’s back. The camera tilt angle stays in place most of the time, but will need readjusted if your dog runs into something or the camera takes a hard bump.
The Bottom LineThe GoPro Fetch dog harness is a good quality camera harness that should hold up well and with a MSRP of $59.99, it’s not a bad value. The fact that it’s durable, washable and water-friendly is great for water dogs that love to swim. The few small issues I have with it can be tweaked with some minor alterations. The chest plate mount doesn’t appear to be as practical as the back plate mount, as far as both usability and video quality, but it can be removed if you have a small dog or prefer not to use it at all.
Enjoy Haley’s footage below and look for additional GoPro videos in the future. Let me know what your experience is with using a GoPro camera and the Fetch (or other brand) dog harness.