Dogs love to run. So liven up your walks with dog scootering!
Dog + Scooter = Fun
Dogs and scooters are the perfect combination! Most dogs run about the same speed as you go on your scooter. So why not bring him along? You’ll both get a great workout, and you’ll be able to go even farther than usual.
Is My Dog Big Enough for Mushing?
Dogs of any size or breed can enjoy mushing! It’s easy to adjust the equipment to fit your dogs’ size and physical condition and to suit the weather and road conditions. We’ve seen dogs as small as Pekingeses and as big as German Shepherds out mushing—they loved it!
How Do I Train My Dog for Dog Scootering/Mushing?
You needed to learn how to scooter before you were ready for long distances, and so it makes sense that your dog will also need to be trained up before he can mush very far.
If your dog is a puppy, he may be too young to start. Training is optimal in dogs older who have developed their adult size and muscles. At first, train over small distances and go slowly. For a few sessions, just put a little bit of load on the dog’s harness; you can increase the load gradually later.
For the training to stick, you’ll want to give your dog positive reinforcement. Always bring his favourite treats and remember to tell him what a good boy he’s been during and after a training session.
If possible, change up the route you take during training. It will be more interesting for the dog—and for you!—to mix it up.
Only train as fast and as hard as your dog can handle that day. Don’t push him. Do give him plenty of water and rest if he needs it. Never train on very hot days—dogs overheat quickly.
When you start a training session, let your dog enjoy running free, like on a normal walk, for 10 or 15 minutes. This will give him time to warm up his muscles and socialise with any friends he might see on your route.
Once he’s warmed up, put on his harness according to the instructions below. Next, attach the running line to the scooter. At first, your dog may not want to pull on the line—after all, we try to train our dogs not to pull on their leads when we walk them! If you put the harness on just before you start mushing, your dog will associate the harness with
scootering rather than walking and it may be less confusing for him. Be patient and he will learn.
The first time, just keep the dog secured to the scooter for a few hundred metres. Then stop, give him a treat, remove the harness and reward him by letting him run free. This will help him link dog scootering to having fun. Repeat this with longer distances when you feel your dog is ready. You can do multiple training sessions in one day as long as you’re sure you’re not overworking the dog.
Pull, Dog, Pull!
In the beginning, the load of the scooter’s weight plus your weight on his harness will feel unfamiliar. Your dog may not want to pull. To help him learn—and enjoy—mushing, try this:
Put him in the harness as usual, but this time attach the other end of the running line to something heavy. Pick a static weight that won’t bounce when he drags it (so no tyres). Then, you can walk (and eventually run) beside your dog to encourage him while he pulls the weight. This will teach him that he must pull to go forward.
Even after your dog gets used to the load of the scooter, he may not be used to going in a straight line, especially if he’s used to the freedom of running around investigating interesting smells or sounds when you take him outside. You’ll need to be patient while you learn how to move together. The new experience of wearing the harness and pulling the scooter may be stressful for some dogs, so be careful not to frighten him with sudden movements or a raised voice. Be patient and be prepared to put in the time necessary to get it right.
After a few training sessions, you’ll want to go farther and faster! Your dog probably will too, but make sure that you control the distance and the speed that you mush. Be aware of your dog’s signals that he is tired or isn’t enjoying himself. This is why it’s best to keep your early training sessions short and then gradually expand them. Both you and your dog may need some time off between training sessions to recover, too!
Another thing to remember even after the initial training is that if you are going long distances, or if the trail is tough, your dog’s paws may get injured. Special dog boots can protect your dog’s paws, if necessary.
And of course, never use homemade or adapted equipment for dog-scootering. You’ll ensure your dog’s health and safety by using the correct, properly fitting equipment.
What Equipment Do I Need To Start Dog Scootering/Mushing?
To start mushing, you’ll need a good stable scooter and a set of dog-scootering accessories. This particular large-wheeled scooter has a minimum 16-inch front wheel, and minimum 12-inch back wheel. It’s designed with large wheels and wide tyres to give it stability. The Yedoo City New model is a great start for dog scootering/mushing and it’s also perfect for walks in the park. The Yedoo Mezeq Disc New or Kickbike Cross Max models are more suitable for long walks or rough roads.
Take care to find a harness that will be comfortable for your dog. It should distribute the pulling force over the shoulders. It shouldn’t restrict the dog’s movement. We recommend V-shaped harnesses, similar to the ones used for horses. These are good because they don’t put pressure on the chest, which allows your dog to breathe freely. Also look at the materials used for the harness and make sure they won’t irritate or cut into your dog’s fur or skin.
We prefer materials that have a soft coating on the side that touches the dog and a water-resistant nylon exterior.
The Non-stop Free Motion Harness is designed for mushing/dog scootering. Its shape directs all pulling force along the spine, which makes the load more comfortable for the dog to pull. Many vets say the Free Motion Harness is excellent for rehabilitation.
Because the length, width and chest straps of this harness can be adjusted, dogs move and breathe freely while wearing it. And its large adjustable range means even very small or very big dogs can still get the perfect fit. The harness is made from materials that have been tested in extreme conditions and is the model used by the best racers.
Before you buy a harness, please measure your dog’s neck circumference and email us a photo of your dog’s chest (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll help you find the right harness size, or you can also select a size from the table below.
How to measure the circumference of your dog’s neck?
Have your dog stand on all fours and relax. Take a tape measure and measure the mid-point of the neck, as when you measure for a collar. While you are measuring, keep the tape about as tight as the collar, but not so tight that the dog feels strangled!
|Neck circumference||Example breeds, indicative information||Harness opening circumference||Harness size|
|from 28 to 33 cm||Parson Russell terrier, Miniature Schnauzer||35 cm||3|
|from 33 to 36 cm||Cocker Spaniel||40 cm||4|
|from 36 to 40 cm||Border Collie||44 cm||5|
|from 40 to 44 cm||Border Collie, Australian shepherd||48 cm||6|
|from 44 to 48 cm||Vizsia||52 cm||7|
|from 48 to 52 cm||Weimaraner||58 cm||8|
|from 52 to 58 cm||German shepherd, Dobermann||62 cm||9|
How To Fit The Harness
Adjust the harness to the right length for your dog’s spine. There is a loop on the harness where you’ll attach the running line. Move that up to the base of the tail. Make sure all the straps are the same length so that the traction point is central. To secure the straps, pass them through the buckle twice. The side straps with elastic are there to stop any unwanted movement at the traction point. Undo the straps when the dog isn’t moving. They will stretch during use. To make sure you have the correct fit, check your results with the photo of the dog.
Fitting the harness is very important—it protects your dog from injury. A good fit helps your dog enjoy himself to the max! After a few good runs, you may want to wash the harness in warm water to keep it in top condition.
If your dog likes dog scootering, he may like other sports! If so, this harness can also be used for canicross, skijoring and bikejoring.
How Do I Attach the Antenna?
To keep the dog’s running line from jamming in the front wheel, you’ll attach a flexible antenna to the scooter. This lets you control your dog safely. It attaches to a 25.4 mm diameter handlebar stem, which is compatible with Yedoo City New and Yedoo Mezeq New Scooters.
How Do I Use the Running Line?
The running line attaches the dog’s harness to the scooter. It must be at least 2 m long.
Running lines are made of an elastic material that absorbs and reduces the dog’s acceleration. This is important because it will reduce the risk of the scooter tipping when your dog suddenly stops, changes running rhythm or jerks around a corner. This is particularly important if your dog is very energetic.
Running line designed for mushing/dog scootering.
Length: 2.7 m. The elastic part has no stitching or knots and so enables continuous pulling and maximum protection for both dog and owner. Can be used with two dogs using a splitter.
Can be used for other types of dog racing, for example, skijoring and bikejoring.
My Dog Loves Dog Scootering. What Other Sports Like This Exist?
If you’re having fun dog-scootering, you might try these other interesting sports too. In canicross, you and your dog will run together over natural terrain. You can also try bikejoring, in which your bike is pulled by your dog. And of course, in winter, you can go dog sledding on the snow.
Do you have any experiences about dog scootering/mushing you’d like to share? Leave us a comment!
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