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One harness fits all: bikejoring, skijoring, kicksled, AND rollerblading?

Running, catching, leaping; this is the forum to discuss dog sports and agility training with other active pups!

  
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Luna

Future Service- Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 19, '12 9:12pm PST 
Gypsy is an oversized Sheltie who will be accompanying me on a variety of adventures. I haven't brought her home yet, but when I do, she'll be doing these things with me:

--bikejoring (once the snow melts)
--running while I rollerblade (once the snow melts)
--skijoring next winter
--kicksledding next winter

Is it possible to get a single harness for all of these things? (Don't worry, she won't be pulling any weight, just getting the exercise of running in front of me.)

I was thinking of an X-back harness for everything, but then it looks like this urban trail harness might be better for activities where the line is attached higher compared to her body. (Biking, skiing, and rollerblading with me.) The Ruffwear omnijore is another one I considered, but her girth is only 22", and the Omnijore starts at 21" for the smallest size. (Might not fit comfortably?)

-D
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 19, '12 11:13pm PST 
Ruffwear Omnijore is way more expensive than the others, and since it's not custom-made, getting a good fit is harder, and it's heavier because of all the adjustment buckles and extra webbing. I think it's kind of an expensive gimmick. (Been doing some harness research for myself lately.)

X-backs are GREAT for serious pulling, but they are NOT great for biking or rollerblading because the point of attachment is so low on the back. The line leading to the dog should be parallel to their back or even downward sloping, not leading up to your waist or a bike. That or the dog needs to be running way out ahead to decrease the slope of the line. Not practical for most urban use.

Also, x-backs only stay on well when the dog is actively leaning into it. It's very, very easy to back out of.

The Urban Trail looks like the best bet for a multipurpose running/pulling harness. The only problem is the kicksled- sledding needs the lower-back attachment point that is a problem in other settings.

Not sure how to resolve this dilemma. You might need to buy one of each, and use the x-back only for sledding, or jury-rig some extra piece on the Urban Trail.

First thing is to find out whether Gypsy actually likes pulling you- most dogs do, but some don't. I found out that while Bruno used to pull really bad on walks, when I bike he is happy to run alongside- what he wanted all along was to go faster, not to pull.
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Luna

Future Service- Dog
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 5:25am PST 
Ruffwear Omnijore is way more expensive than the others, and since it's not custom-made, getting a good fit is harder, and it's heavier because of all the adjustment buckles and extra webbing. I think it's kind of an expensive gimmick. (Been doing some harness research for myself lately.)

Okay, thanks for the heads up. I did recently go down to a local store selling them, to see what they were like, and I think that the padding could have been a bit better.

With all of your research, did you happen to find what length of a towline to use? I have seen everything from six feet long to ten feet long. And I'm curious what harnesses you were considering yourself!

X-backs are GREAT for serious pulling, but they are NOT great for biking or rollerblading because the point of attachment is so low on the back. The line leading to the dog should be parallel to their back or even downward sloping, not leading up to your waist or a bike. That or the dog needs to be running way out ahead to decrease the slope of the line. Not practical for most urban use.

Yeah, since she's a Sheltie she's shorter as well than, say, your average dog who might be running with a bike. (She is 18.5 to 19 inches at the withers.) And I don't want her running way out ahead for safety reasons.

Also, x-backs only stay on well when the dog is actively leaning into it. It's very, very easy to back out of.

I've spent some time with her, and she doesn't seem like the type to try that, although it's a valid consideration.

The Urban Trail looks like the best bet for a multipurpose running/pulling harness. The only problem is the kicksled- sledding needs the lower-back attachment point that is a problem in other settings.

Not sure how to resolve this dilemma. You might need to buy one of each, and use the x-back only for sledding, or jury-rig some extra piece on the Urban Trail.


Yeah, it wouldn't kill me to buy one of each.

While I do sew, and I've seen nylon extension straps that can be added to packs and harnesses sold separately, I don't know if I'd want to try it. Any strap that I could add on later is A) not going to be positioned in the right spot since I'm clueless here and B) not going to be as strong as the original would have been. Even though she's a small dog who won't be doing the pulling, I worry something could happen.

First thing is to find out whether Gypsy actually likes pulling you- most dogs do, but some don't. I found out that while Bruno used to pull really bad on walks, when I bike he is happy to run alongside- what he wanted all along was to go faster, not to pull.

Well, I'll do some short trips with my bike and rollerblades first, after I have her home. If she absolutely hates running in front and leaning into the harness, I could always nix the idea of a kicksled.

...Which kind of concludes that I should buy the Urban Trail harness first. I got the chance to see her again yesterday, and I took all of the measurements for both harnesses.

Thanks for the help, Bruno! I always like reading your posts. flowers

-D
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 9:26am PST 
Good luck!

I think the length of towline is matter of individual preference. See what works for you.

I think I'm getting a harness from Kelli at Stinkydog Collars on Etsy, it's okay for running and biking, but it's not a pulling harness (since I found out Bruno isn't a big puller at running speed.) It was that or Urban Trail, and since Kelli's harness is a little cheaper I went with it. It's also a simpler design and looks easier to put on. But it's NOT a pulling harness, so irrelevant to what you want, I think.

I also still have Ginger's x-back sledding harness that came with her when I adopted her, mainly for sentimental reasons because it's too tight for Bruno... his chest is the same but his neck is thicker than hers. I do want another Alaskan Husky someday, though, so I'll keep holding on to it. smile
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Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 12:01pm PST 
Have you looked at Black Ice Dog Sledding? A Yukon sledding harness might do the job for you...

We've dealt with them for a number of years... good products and advice is free wink
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 12:30pm PST 
Hmm... the Yukon harness looks like it also has a very low attachment point, so the same problems come up as the x-back. Good for pulling low things like sleds and wagons, good for skijoring if the dog runs out pretty far in front of you, not so good for urban biking/skating.

I do like Black Ice though and it seems like they have good products at good prices. Kinda cool that they don't do online ordering, you have to call them. That way they can make sure you get what you want and have correct measurements.

I've so far been pleasantly surprised at almost ALL of the harness makers, getting a custom-made product costs barely more than something off-the-shelf at Petco, for a better product and supporting skilled workers here in America instead of a Chinese sweatshop. I'm a little surprised at how uncommon custom harnesses (and other pet products like collars and leashes) are with the general public seeing how cheap they are.
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 12:43pm PST 
I don't know how fancy you want to get here, but I've got this harness that I've used for everything from agitation work to trail biking. For what you're paying, its a pretty fantastic all-purpose harness.

Plus I love the heck out of the handle. More harness need handles!
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 1:05pm PST 
LOL Mulder, that looks a bit like a more macho, heavy-duty version of the harness I'm getting- single band across the chest, handle on top, D-rings on the sides. Bruno's is going to be rainbow webbing with purple fleece padding. smile

BUT.. I read that this type (with just a single piece of webbing across the chest) is not as suited for serious pulling because it doesn't have a strap that runs down between the front legs to lean into. The chest strap also goes over the shoulders instead of diagonally up to the back. this versus this. See how when the dog leans into the first type of harness, they are putting all that pressure across the shoulders. The second type does not put pressure on or restrict full extension of the shoulder when the dog leans into it.

I opted for the first type anyway, just because I don't intend to do serious pulling work, but it's something to keep in mind.

Edited to fix pic links- the pic I used first was HUGE and messed up the whole thread.

Edited by author Mon Feb 20, '12 1:10pm PST

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Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 1:05pm PST 
@Bruno agree... it is possible to talk to real people (who even know what they are talking about) and get a custom product at a very reasonable price.

ETA BTW we use a Wilczek modified siwash for pulling, which works fine for sledding. It IS a true pulling harness. I confess that, since prices are pretty reasonable, I've not tried to do a single harness for all uses wink

Edited by author Mon Feb 20, '12 1:11pm PST

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Shayne CGC,- RL2

Shayne- Disc Doggin in- the 'Burgh!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 2:01pm PST 
Here is a harness that I really like that is all-purpose. It can be a front hook as a no-pull, there is a back-hook for ski-joring, bike joring, etc. and has a side ring for regular biking. It fits pretty far back behind the front leg so it should not interfere with the movement of the shoulder at all.

It's not appropriate if you want her to actually PULL the bulk of the weight but it may be something to look into. It is custom made, has an embroidery option, and I think it's pretty reasonably priced considering all the features.

Photo of Urban Trail Harness


Urban Trail Harness
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