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Dog Carting and Harness  RSS feed

Jeff Hale
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We just adopted a 9 month old Siberian Husky and are planning on teaching him to pull a children's wagon and a small sled. I have a couple of questions

1. What type of harness should I use? I have narrowed it down to one of these two.

2. Has anyone built shafts for a children's wagon to attach the dog to the wagon?

3. Has anyone built a cart for an adult to be pulled by the dog?

Adam Hoar
Posts: 43
Location: NH
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I have never used my dog for carting, however he does compete in Weight pulling and is a national champion.

We use a harness like these guys make:

It is very size specific and if you can train on someone's harness before the dog is full grown and to figure out if the dog will do what your looking for.

When starting out you have to get the dog use to having something behind him, dogs don't want to be chased. If you are using a wheeled cart you need to have a brake on it and you NEED TO ENSURE the cart never touches the dog, if the dog gets run over its a bad day and you will never get the dog to trust that cart again (or it will take a long long time).

We do use my dog to pull sleds during the winter and other tasks but for competing in Weight pull the longer pulls aren't as good for him so we tend to focus on what we want him to do.
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Hi Jeff! Congrads on adopting a Sibe. It's a breed you'll either love or hate. Me? I love them. I've had many a Sibe over the decades, .....showing, breeding, harness racing, obedience trials, family companion, traveling partner.

While Sibes can be trained for carting, they are natural runners. So your dog may always need to be leashed in order to keep your kids safe during carting. Not all Sibes are crazy runners, but most have the instinct. Think of it this way, Thoroughbred horses are used to run the Kentucky Derby, not the Budweiser Clydesdales. There are several dog breeds that are carting animals, drafters so to speak, but Sibes aren't one of them.

I'm not trying to discourage you nor persuade you from teaching your Sibe to pull a cart. I'm just suggesting that you be aware of what sort of instincts this breed has and take appropriate precautions.

Before hooking your dog up to a cart, I'd suggest that you work on obedience first. My dogs all learned sit, down, stay, git-up (get ready), hike (go), gee (turn right), haw (turn left), and ho (stop) before they ever ran with a team. They also got accustomed to pulling a short log or a tire before being hooked to a cart. And as Adam emphasized, never ever let the cart run up your dog's butt. Brakes are super important.

I don't know anymore who sells good dog carting supplies. I've been away from it for years. But a google search should give you plenty of hits. All my dogs wore fitted x-backed racing harnesses. But a fitted carting harness should be fine.

Have fun! Your dog should really enjoy the harness work.
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Su Ba wrote:
Before hooking your dog up to a cart, I'd suggest that you work on obedience first.

I would agree with this. I grew up in sled dog country and saw a ton of different wheeled contraptions used for training and transportation. (The favorite by the time I left was a Honda 4-wheeler ATV in neutral with the motor off and 2-4 dogs out front.)

But with simpler contraptions, the commonality was wheels and a brake. The brake is for keeping the cart back off the dogs as they slow down; it's not for stopping the dogs if they refuse to stop. (Virtually impossible to do that with any light wheeled vehicle, the dogs are powerful and a locked wheel is still a good skid.) Your dogs have got to be stoppable by voice command, not just when calm but when chasing a rabbit or a poodle also. Or you're in for what the old whaling men called a "Nantucket sleigh ride".

As for steering, a lot of the simplest dog carts I've seen didn't have any provision for it. The dogs know "gee" and "haw". If they don't, you're not ready to hook them up to a vehicle. That simple.
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