Your GoPro's Best Friend: A Review of the Fetch Harness for Dogs
We all know that you can attach a GoPro onto anything. From surfboards and helmets, to even body harnesses, people have been filming with them everywhere.
But did you know that you can also mount your GoPro on your dog?
Yes, it’s entirely possible when you have the GoPro Fetch Harness. It promises to show you the world from the POV of your favorite canine companion. Hence, we got ourselves a demo unit and we also volunteered two canines to test it out.
Cheesecake and Buchi, our two dog volunteers. Cheesecake is a Japanese Spitz mix, while Buchi is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Terrier.
Unpacking the Harness
The GoPro Fetch comes in a simple, plastic shell. Apart from the harness itself, it comes with a clip-on mount and thumbscrew for your camera, plus a manual detailing a step-by-step procedure on how to put it on a dog.
The harness itself offers two ways to mount the GoPro. You can put it either on the back of the dog, using the back plate; or on the chest of the dog, using the chest plate. The harness also includes a simple tether to further secure the camera on the harness.
Getting The Fetch On
Since there was a manual included, we decided to follow the instructions. Steps 1 to 3 were easy enough to follow. However, we skipped the attaching the GoPro part—in the belief that the camera would be easier to attach once the Fetch is worn.
Unfortunately, when we got to Step 4, things weren’t as easy. Buchi, being the little firecracker that he is, initially refused to cooperate. After a few minutes of tussling about, he eventually calmed down enough to let us strap on the harness.
Cheesecake was a bit calmer, but she wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of wearing a harness either. Eventually, we realized why Step 1 and 2 was all about attaching the camera. If you do follow it step-by-step, you won’t have to chase the dog after it runs away with the harness on to attach the GoPro.
Cheesecake, demonstrating how Step 4 should be done.
According to the package, the GoPro Fetch is designed for dogs sized 7 to 54 kilos (15 to 120 pounds). So while it fit Cheesecake perfectly, it was a bit too big for Buchi, who was already around the minimum size. We had to remove the chest plate to make it fit better on the smaller brown dog. The straps were a bit quite long for him, however, so we just had to fold them up.
Unfortunately, due to the sizes of the dogs, we were only able to test mounting them on the back. Mounting the GoPro on the chest plate is best for larger dog breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Great Danes, or Mastiffs.
It’s also advised not to loosen the straps too much when you’re putting the Fetch Harness on a dog. That way, it would be easier for you to tighten the fit on the animal—there’s less room to wiggle out of the harness.
We also left the dogs’ collars on and hooked leashes to them, as the Fetch Harness is not meant to be attached to a leash. Dogs should remain supervised while filming, as they may get caught onto something with the GoPro on their backs.
Filming with the Dogs
Now that we’ve successfully worn the harness on the dog, it’s time to get the cameras rolling. While you can still manually press the buttons on the GoPro to start or stop filming, it’s more convenient to use a remote or the GoPro app to control the camera.
Since both dogs were still getting used to having a harness and a camera on their backs, they initially just stood around with the camera on. However, with a bit of prodding (and tugging at their leashes), we eventually got them to walk around and show their point of view.
It was during filming where we discovered one of the minor flaws of the GoPro Fetch. Since the straps are elastic and hence they stretch, the back plate tends to slip sideways. So while the camera may not completely fall off, it tends to tilt. We had to adjust the harness a few times during filming just to straighten the camera's shots.
This may be also due to the fact that the GoPro Fetch was designed to fit a wide range of dog sizes. Hence, they can’t make the harness more snug for smaller dogs, as this would make it too tight for larger dogs.
So while the elastic straps are allegedly there to make the Fetch harness’ fit more comfortable for the dogs, we wonder if making them a notch less stretchy would be better. After all, most dog harnesses do not have stretchable straps; yet they’re not seen as uncomfortable for the dog. Harnesses are even advised for smaller dogs, as a full harness puts less strain on a dog’s neck, compared to just a collar.
Other than this minor flaw, the GoPro Fetch Harness is still a great accessory for your GoPro. It’s the perfect partner for your camera if you love bringing your dog along to your various adventures.
On a tangent, we're also wondering if other GoPro accessories for pets are in the works. How about a cat harness or a GoPro aquarium attachment?