What equipment do I need?
Harness, gangline (tugline), scooter/bike/sulky/skateboard/skis. For more info, see the resources below.
How small a dog can pull a scooter?
It depends on the athleticism of the dog, the smoothness of the trail, the quality of the scooter and how far and fast you want to go. Of course if you want to go miles you probably need a dog who weighs 40 pounds and up. If you are content with time spent rather than miles traveled, a smaller dog can pull just fine. For many people the measurement is time spent rather than miles traveled. Before work, you scooter your dog for say 40 minutes. Does it matter whether you go 2 miles or 10 in that amount of time?
Can my dog pull me on my mountain bike?
Sure! With practice, conditioning and training, a mountain bike can be used. When climbing hills, you can pedal to help your dog.
How much weight can my dog pull?
Again, it depends! With conditioning, many dogs pull many times their weight for long distances. The average 40 lb dog can pull a 150 - 200 lb person on a scooter or bike.
How can I get my dog to run in front and pull?
Pulling is somewhat second nature for most dogs. Start out teaching your dog to "line out and stay": attach them via gangline/tug line to a non-movable object like a picnic table or a fence and walk them out to the end of the line and have them stay. Walk back to the table/fence. The first few times you attach your dog to a scooter or a bike, you may need someone to walk in front and start your dog, encouraging the dog to move forward. Once started, most dogs will just pull! If you are by yourself, try placing some favorite treats well ahead of your dog while they are in "line out and stay" mode. Then tell them to go.
How far can we go?
Again, "it depends". It depends on physique, fitness, conditioning, terrain, and temperature. At one extreme, trained sled dogs go 100 miles in a day - if the weather is well below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1°C). They slow down as the temperature rises above freezing. Running as hard and long as they do makes cooling their bodies a limiting factor. Distance dogs run for 4 to 6 hours; then stop, eat, and sleep for 4 to 6 hours. They do this around the clock. The rest of us do not have time to condition our dogs to that state of fitness - and our dogs aren't bred to be able to do it even if we did have the time and inclination.
Many pet dogs can easily trot at 6 to 8 miles an hour for an hour or two. If the weather is warm, they may need to stop for water several times during this two hours. Other dogs can alternate a lope, gallop and trot for two hours. All dogs can go farther and faster in cooler weather. You will note that your "tired" dog has incredible energy and stamina when a squirrel or rabbit or deer runs in front of him.
Will my dog overheat?
Dogs acclimate to the climate they live in. Huskies can run in Florida. Huskies training in Alaska overheat easily at 50°F (10°C). Huskies living in Florida think 50°F is cool. However, the Floridians can't run the 4 to 6 hours that their Alaskan relatives can. They can't cool themselves well enough. Dogs with short coats and without an undercoat might be a better choice for hotter climates.
Be aware of overheating. An overheated dog can die. If you plan a long run, give water baited with broth or a bit of cat food stirred in or anything that makes the dog drink a lot of water about two hours before the run. Carry water with you and when the dog's tongue gets very long, stop and give him water. When the tongue shortens up, restart the run. You can use canned broths, but, check your local health food store for unsalted broths, they're better for your dogs.
Can MY dog pull?
Again, "it depends". It depends on the athleticism of the dog, the smoothness of the trail, the quality of the scooter and how far and fast you want to go. ANY dog can pull, with training and conditioning! Size is less important than you think. Little dogs can scooter, too. You scoot the scooter and they run in front and keep the line tight. Think of it as walking the dog with a scooter instead of a leash. Scoooter wheels offer little resistance. When you use a scooter, you can kick on the flats to help the dog maintain its speed. Run beside the scooter when going uphill. Dog Scootering exercises both you and the dog!
Can older dogs with arthritis pull a scooter?
Older dogs may have trouble lying down and getting up, but trotting down the trail keeps their joints lubricated. Aerobic exercise is good for old dogs and old humans! The key is conditioning, start out slow and go short distances, and be patient! As your dog moves more, they will be able to do more.
What emergency equipment should I carry?
- A very small flashlight, it fits in one of the loops made for shotgun shells
- cigarette lighter, fits same place as above
- pocket knife
- small pair of pliers
- small adjustable wrench
- 2 different sized allen wrenches
- small section of duct tape, rolled
- several different length zip ties
- small first aid kit
- survival kit, this is packaged in a sardine type can
- 2 chemical hand warmers
- a roll of campers toilet paper
- space blanket
- dog first aid kit
- water bowl
- spare inner tube
- bike tool kit
- tire pump
- water for the dogs and you
- dog treats / people treats
- spare tug line/gangline
- leather gloves
- gps or bike odometer
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