Dog Harness for Sled pullinggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Hi all, My daughter and I have begun this week, training our very large St. Bernards to pull a sled with metal runners (15lbs). We have improvised the harness, and she stays behind to make sure that the sled doesn't run into the dogs when we go down hill. We have them pull the empty sled around for about 10 mins. working on the commands ect. Then we take them down and put a small log or two (5lbs.) and have them pull it up to the wood pile. They really seem to enjoy it!!!! We are not on the farm just yet, but we should be soon, and I know that their strength will really come in handy. My question is about the harness. I need to know a good pattern for a harness appropriate for this kind of work. Any Ideas????? How about any training tips????? We are all ears!!!! Love you Lots, Susan and Emily
-- Susan, and Emily in Tn (email@example.com), January 25, 2001
Contact the breed club for Newfoundlands. They do a lot with working the dogs in harness pulling small carts. I saw an exhibition at the Kansas City zoo years ago and I was really impressed with how these dogs responded to voice and hand commands. You might also check out the Rottweiler club too.
One thing that I also remember was that the announcer for the event said that with such large dogs, the ones with any sort of skeletal abnormalities like dysplasia should not be used because the pulling made the symptoms and damage worse.
I've often thought about training a wether for similar work but I always seem to have a promising doe I'd rather keep instead of a wether. Keep us posted on your success.
-- marilyn (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 25, 2001.
Nordkyn Outfitters in Eatonville, Washington They make everything for all types of pulling and packing by dogs. We have some of their products: weight pulling harnesses, packs, tracking harness. They make outstanding gear: good design, durable, rugged hardware. Try the on line phone directory.
-- Skip Walton (email@example.com), January 26, 2001.
Here's their address and phone number: Nordkyn Outfitters 5903 316th St E, Eatonville, WA 98328 (253) 847-4128
-- Skip Walton (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 26, 2001.
You can also find harnesses for dogs in Jeffers or some other related catalog. I think it could have been UPI or something. Anyway, I got one for my Labrador and it worked great to pull the boy on the sled. Only problem was Homer the Labradabrador saw a rabbit and decided to chase it over a steep embankment.... Boy bailed out at the last minute. I laughed until I fell down. This dog we trained to pull a small cart that I built. She (Homer) loved it!
-- Gailann Schrader (email@example.com), January 29, 2001.
Thanks so much for the information!!!!! We are really enjoying our new "chore" and so are the dogs! I wish I could have been there to see that Lab chase that squirrel! Also My dogs show no signs of any abnormality such as hip dyspasia. We are learning something new every day. Harley (the 3yr. Male) came busting out of the pen the other day when we took the sled out. evidently we had left the gate unlatched for over 24 hrs, (we can water from outside the gate) They had stayed in the pen that long knowing that the gate wasn't really latched. Anyway he came running up to the sled and turned around to be hitched up! It was very encourageing. Thanks again, Susan and Emily
-- Susan, and Emily in Tn (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 30, 2001.
If the dog caming running to be hitched up, you are doing a good job in training.
Nordkyn Outfitters (mentioned earlier) has some great stuff (diagrams also) & they also have a web site www.nordkyn.com .
You should know that there different harnesses for different jobs (& different ways to hitch 2 or more dogs).
Another catalog I use is called Black Ice. They are at...3620 Yancy Avenue, New Germany, MN. 55367 their phone is...(320)485-4825. They have some different things & some items are cheeper then any where else I've seen. Both places have good stuff.
As for the mentioned disease, it's most common in pure breed dogs then in mutts, however, mutts can also get it.
I have a husky/lab mixed (female) that I saved from the pound. After training(I trained her), she currently pulls my kids in a wagon when I go for walks. And YES it's possible to train them NOT to chase anything. My husband was stationed in CA. when I got Smokey as a pup. I trained her first with a rope on her harness tied to a small log. I then switch her to a small old tire, & eventually uped it to 2 tires. I then put her on a wagon with shafts. (Even before I got the wagon I wanted to make a Travois to teach Smokey about poles but didn't have the knowledge. There fore the wagon & poles was very scary at first) By the time I got the wagon, we were transfered to VA. But when I was having her pull the tires we always passed quail, rabbits, squirels, chipmunks, & once a rattle snake that was crossing the road, & NOT ONCE did she try to chase anything in harness. She follows voice & hand signals. Let her out of harness & it's a different story, no squirel, bird, or rabbit dared to cross the yard when Smokey was outside. When training her, I just kept in mind that if helper dogs (seeing eye, wheel chair, search & rescue) can be trained to be all buiness in harness (& listen to knowone except the handler), then so could my dog.
Aside from pulling the kids in the wagon, I plan to eventually have her help get my garden produce to a road side stand.
-- animalfarms (email@example.com), January 30, 2001.
Yes, once Homer got used to pulling things (after the rabbit incident) she knew that it was business when she got hooked up. She would come over and sit for the harness and then roll onto her back so I could hook the belly strap. She loved it and would get a real skinky look to her eye as if she were proud to help. Silly dog.
-- Gailann Schrader (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 31, 2001.
Hi, As you said your dog is happily coming to be harnessed, you are doing something right. I have weight pulled, and raced sled dogs for some 20 years, and I urge you to buy harnesses meant for heavy work. Your dogs will be more comfortable and less likely to be injured by them. You need something with an 'x' over the shoulder and a 'y' at the breastbone. Don't go with the carting harnesses that have a belly band, then span the chest with a strap. A great harness maker that will custom fit to your dog is Alpine Outfitters ( alpinehusky.com ) Ask them to use 2 inch webbing as your big dogs will appreciate it. They have an online catalog that will give you measuring instructions. Be sure to choose the weight pull style with a spreader bar, as you'll get a lot more work out of your dogs with these. If you don't see what you need, just ask, they will make anything. Good luck, and there is a little old book by Mike Stenberg called 'Teach your Dog to Pull' that has some neat tips if you can find it. For another poster, I have used does and whethers for pulling and they are strong if you can motivate them!(read food) I Still haven't tried making these sheep work! Jill Schreiber
-- JillSchreiber (email@example.com), February 01, 2001.
Sounds like you are having fun! And so are your dogs, which is great!
The story about Homer reminded me of the first time we let a dog pull one of our children in a sled. We had been given a dog who I think was a BC/Newfoundland mix, hitched her up to a little plastic sled with our youngest daughter on board (dau. is mentally handicapped and at that time was about eight years old), thinking we'd lead them around a little. Well, the older girls were with a friend on a snowmachine and when they took off down the road, the dog took off after them with our helpless little girl behind her! They got almost a mile down the road before someone on the snowmachine realized what had happened and they stopped until we could catch up -- that dog was flying!! Scared me half to death, and we never tried that again with that dog, but we have used them a lot for hauling water and firewood and hay, inanimate stuff like that. Twice we've babysat a Newfoundland for a year, and they were great. Now we are going to train our farm collie pups for pulling a sled next winter when they will be grown. The dogs like it, and it helps out around the place, too.
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 01, 2001.