If my dog had a mantra it might be “Run free and pull!” He’s a brute, a 100-pound Weimaraner with a big chest and a propensity to get ahead on the leash and tug.
A new kit from dog-gear company Ruff Wear was made for energetic dogs like mine. The Omnijore Joring System, $149.95, comes with a dog harness, a tow line, and a belt for the human to wear for “dog-powered” sports like ski-joring and canicross.
Indeed, beyond dog sledding there exists a whole sphere of dog-pulling sports. The Omnijore system was made to be a one-size-fits-all kit to equip dogs and their owners looking to get into the wonderful world of “Run free and pull.”
For years, custom dog harnesses have been available from small shops. Ruff Wear (www.ruffwear.com) brings the niche product to a bigger commercial level. You pick between a small, medium or large kit, depending on your dog’s girth and size.
The dog harness slips on your pup’s back and attaches underneath. It provides a comfortable pulling suit where pressure is distributed onto the dog’s chest and body. Adjustments for girth and length let you closely dial the fit.
A stretchy tow line clips to the back of the harness and then to the front of the human belt. At the “ready and go!” you can be scooting along on snow with skis on for a fast ride where your dog leads and pulls.
Ski-joring is easier than it looks. It’s like skiing with a motor out front — a steady tug from your canine provides a bonus boost that’s accompanied by your poling and cross-country strides.
Other dog sports, including canicross (running with a pull) and bike-joring, have a steeper learning curve. But if your dog is attentive, he or she can learn the basics of starting, stopping, turning, and running fast when the terrain opens wide.
–Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.