Dog Vest

In certain situations a hunting dog needs a vest to keep it warm. Emma, an English cocker spaniel, is not meant to be a duck hunter. She’s mainly bred for flushing and retrieving upland game birds like pheasants and grouse, but she loves duck hunting, too, and is good at it. We can’t have her getting hypothermic on those wintery days when she has to retrieve ducks from icy water or spend hours out in duck weather – wind and rain.

My sewing skills are better used for making quilts and handbags, but when we couldn’t find just the right “store-bought” vest for Emma, we decided to try making one.

The Captain went a thrift shop and found just the thing –  a shortie wet suit with fairly thin neoprene. I cut it up and began to sew. I had no pattern so it was a piecemeal effort, adding on and taking away, ending up with dozens of pieces – a neoprene patchwork quilt.

At first I was going to incorporate the wet suit’s zipper in the vest but at some point I couldn’t figure out how to get the dog into the vest, and decided that one long velcro closing would be better. The finished vest looks amateur but for a first try, it is good enough to keep her warmer for future duck outings. The next one will be easier to make and should look less patchy.

Poor Ruby looks like she’s wishing she had a vest too.

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Poor Emma! She must have tried the partially finished vest at least 20 times. But she was good about it. Such a biddable little dog she is.

Finally, we got her to model the finished product. For a moment she forgot she is a dog as she fell into the role of a sex kitten, into rubber.dscn7409

29 thoughts on “Dog Vest

  1. Yes, poor old Ruby! Does she gets one too? I hope so!!! Otherwise she would feel like a second class old dog. You did a wonderful job with this vest, I think its not the easiest material to work with.

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    • I might have to make one for Ruby too, but in the meantime she has more fur than Emma does. The neoprene is not as bad to work with as I thought it might be. I read a tip online about not overlapping the material but just to put the seams together, flat and open, and then zigzag with the machine to catch each side of the pieces. It worked really well.

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    • Thanks, John. It was a struggle to make this vest but the next one will be nicer and will fit better. The dogs, well, the best thing about them is their disposition. They’re very calm and loving. Emma is a teddy bear in the house and a wolverine in the field.

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    • Thanks, Dina. We’ve been very lucky with our dogs. They both come from the same breeder and we will always get our dogs there as long as he is in the business. They are great family members and excellent out in the field. They love the fireplace too in the winter.

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  2. Wow, when you get a challenge, Anneli, you know how to meet it!! The vest looks snappy and makes Emma happy! She is certainly a “biddable” dog, who reminds me of my Mom’s mixed breed dachshund/basset hound “pup” she saved from children cruelly trying to throw her into Lake Erie. My brother and SIL keep her in sweaters and she is truly a people pleaser. Mom fell while walking her older dog, a Shih Tzu now a year ago and broke her hip. She is fine now but my family thought she should not have either dog and concentrate in her senior living apartment on joining people and not venturing out in rain and snow. She has chances to see the dogs. . .
    I laughed at your comment about Emma as a “sex kitten.” 😀

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