Canicross kit by colour?

Here at K9 Trail Time we stock such a wide variety of canicross equipment now, that there is often a choice of colour in the harness you can choose for your dog and sometimes even in the type of belt for yourself. Whilst choice is a great thing, sometimes having such a wide range can make choosing the right equipment more difficult.

Some harnesses come in a wide variety of colours

For example the Zero DC harnesses come in 132 different size and colour combinations as standard and you can custom order any combination of colours and sizes at an additional cost. This is great if one of the Zero DC harnesses is the best fit, shape and style for your dog, however that might not be the case. We’ve found that many dogs suit a different style of harness based on their individual body shape, style of running and what combination of activities the harness will be used for.

The Dragrattan harnesses only come in one colour of webbing which is red with a silver / grey or yellow stripe through it and though this doesn’t appeal to everyone, we have found these harnesses to be outstanding on some dogs, allowing them freedom of movement, good padding through the chest and a great fit on the neck.

The Dragrattan X-Back comes in one colour webbing only but it is fantastic harness on some working dogs – Photo courtesy of Hound and About Photography

Another harness which only comes in black and the colour of the top strap indicates sizing only, is the Non-stop Freemotion. The Freemotion is undoubtedly one of the best dog sports harnesses you can buy, but people seem to be put off sometimes by the fact it is black and apparently this is ‘boring’. Now we can understand why people would want to choose bright colours and have ‘team’ colours for clubs and individuals, however when it comes to choosing the correct harness for your dog, you have to be guided by what works best for your dog.

Similar colour choice is available for belts, as some of the waistbelts for people have coloured patches on them but others are just in plain black. The belts which come in different colours might not be the ones which suits your body shape and requirements best, you ideally need to try each one on to see how it works and where the pull comes from to make a judgement on if it will be the most comfortable for you.

The belts which come in a range of colours are great belts but might not be the ones for you…

We have found that by talking to people about what their requirements are and finding out what is most important to them, we can help them decide for themselves which belt will be the best option and therefore save a lot of wasted time and money trying out many options before finding the right one.

The purpose of this blog is not to put anyone off buying any of the colourful harnesses or belts but just to encourage you to look beyond the colours when making your choices. We personally love to colour co-ordinate and ideally we like everything in red and black (with a hint of white!). However we also recognise that the best fit for dogs and people might be the plain old ‘boring’ black option or the out of colour scheme webbing and what’s important to us is that you get the best and most comfortable kit for you and your dog.

We like to try and colour co-ordinate (or not as the case may be!) – Photo courtesy of Horses for Courses Photography

If you need any help choosing your equipment, we’ve used everything in the range we stock extensively and so can advise you exactly how it works and should fit, so we can give you our honest opinion based on experience. Feel free to e-mail: info@k9trailtime.com for your free consultation with regards to any of the dog sports equipment we stock.

 

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Dog Sport Harnesses – For dogs who sometimes pull

As I said in my last harness blog, I am always being asked about harnesses and what is the best harness for someone’s dog, the answer is never easy but one of the first things I always ask is ‘does your dog always pull out front?’. If the answer is no then I will generally recommend a shorter harness, because these harnesses tend to suit dogs who are learning to pull, don’t always like to pull or are just a bit more laid back in their approach to the dog sports! In some cases a mid length harness will also be suitable, for example a couple of the better designed mid length harnesses will allow a dog to pull when they choose but do not interfere or hang loose if they are not pulling out front.

SHORT HARNESSES (Also suitable for walking your dog in and if you like to let your dog off lead)

Non-stop Half Harness

The Non-stop Half Harness

The Non-stop Half Harness

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/non-stop-half-harness.html

Recommended for: Dogs who pull out front and who also drop back or move from side to side when running. This harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, dog scootering and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. This harness is adjustable around the chest has lots of neck and chest padding for dogs who need support when running. Once it is adjusted this harness doesn’t move at all over the dogs’ back which is great if you let your dog free run and it has a second ring hidden in an elasticated pocket underneath the belly which can be used for training.

Neewa Adjustable Running Harness

The neck on the Neewa Running Harness

The Neewa Running Harness

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/neewa-running-harness.html

Recommended for: Dogs who pull out front and who also drop back or move from side to side when running. This harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, dog scootering and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. This harness is the only one we sell which is adjustable around the neck and the chest, which means it can be suitable for different shaped dogs or even a growing dog as a starter harness.

Howling Dog Alaska Distance Harness

The Howling Dog Alaska Distance Harness

The Howling Dog Alaska Distance Harness

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/howling-dog-distance-harness.html

Recommended for: Dogs who pull out front and who also drop back or move from side to side when running. This harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, dog scootering and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. There is both a ring to attach your line to and a cord, so you can choose which suits your dog best. This harness is adjustable around the chest has lots of neck and chest padding for dogs who need support when running.

MID LENGTH HARNESSES (Can be used for dog walking if any loose ties are secured or removed)

Zero DC Short Harness

The Zero DC Short harness

The Zero DC Short harness

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/euro-short-zero-dc-sports-harness.html

Recommended for: Dogs who pull out front and who also drop back when running. This harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, dog scootering and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. The ring to attach your line to has light padding underneath to prevent the clip of your line dropping in your dogs’ back if they slow down or drop back. This harness is adjustable around the chest and can fit a wide range of breeds, as sizing range starts very small and goes very large.

Dragrattan Multi-Sport Harness

The Dragrattan Multi-Sport simple in it's design

The Dragrattan Multi-Sport

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/dragrattan-multi-sport-harness.html

Recommended for: Out front pullers and also dogs who like to drop back sometimes, this harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. The back is left open for the dog to arch through and because the point to fix your line to is the cord at the back, rather than a cord at the base of the tail, this harness can suit a wide range of shapes and sizes of dog. It also has a belly strap which can prevent an escape artist from wriggling backwards out of the harness, unlike many of the other longer harnesses. The front part of the harness also stays securely in place if your dog switches from side to side on the trail.

Howling Dog Alaska Second or Tough Skin Harness:

My Sprollie Donnie modelling the Second Skin harness,

The Howling Dog Alaska Second Skin harness

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/h-d-second-skin-harness.html

Recommended for: Out front pullers, this harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. It can be adjusted around the middle and the fact it is only mid length means it can suit dogs who are short or long in the body. This harness is super lightweight and is excellent for encouraging young or novice dogs to pull into a harness because it is so soft and flexible on the dog.

Every dog we fit at K9 Trail Time is an individual, much in the same way a person is, so we base our recommendations on the information you provide about your dog and never just on sales margins or the most fashionable brand at the time. We have also tried and tested every single type of harness we sell so you can be sure we are offering you advice based on experience.

If you would like to contact us about a harness for your dog please e-mail: emilyt@k9trailtime.com

Dog Sport Harnesses – For dogs who really pull

I am always being asked about harnesses and what is the best harness for someones’ dog, the answer is never easy but one of the first things I always ask is ‘does your dog always pull out front?’. If the answer is yes then I will generally recommend a longer harness, because these are harnesses designed to capture the pull of a dog and support a dog in any sport where they are required to pull weight in some form or another (person, bike, scooter, rig or sled). In some cases a mid length harness will also be suitable, for example a couple of the better designed mid length harnesses direct the pull along the harness from underneath and therefore act in the same way as the longer harnesses, without having the full length to them.

Our recommendations for dogs who pull are below:

LONG HARNESSES (Not suitable for allowing dogs to free run where loose straps may get caught)

Non-stop Freemotion Harness:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/non-stop-freemotion-harness.html

Recommended for: Strong out front pullers, this is a highly adjustable harness, so if your dog is long or short it can be adjusted to suit, it can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. The spine of the dog is left free to arch and the elastic side straps allow for freedom of movement in every respect.

The spine of the dog is left free by the top straps and the harness can 'breathe' with the dog

The spine of the dog is left free by the top straps and the harness can ‘breathe’ with the dog

Zero DC Long Harness:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/euro-long-zero-dc-faster-sports-harness.html

Recommended for: Strong out front pullers, this harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle but cannot be adjusted in any way, so does not suit dogs who are particularly long or short in the body. There is no material over the dogs’ back, so the dog has total freedom of movement through the back.

The Zero DC Long Harness has no material over the back to restrict movement

The Zero DC Long Harness has no material over the back to restrict movement

Neewa Adjustable Racing Harness:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/neewa-adjustable-racing-harness.html

Recommended for: Strong out front pullers, this is another adjustable harness so if your dog is long or short it can be adjusted to suit the length of your dog. It can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. It has a high neck which offers great padding through the chest and does not interfere with the dogs’ airways but might not be suitable for dogs who pull down through the neck when they pull. There is no material over the dogs’ back so the spine is left free to arch when moving.

The Neewa Adjustable Racing Harness has a padded neck and chest piece for your dogs comfort

The Neewa Adjustable Racing Harness has a padded neck and chest piece for your dogs comfort

Dragrattan X-Back Harness:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/dragrattan-x-back-harness.html

Recommended for: Strong out front pullers, it can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport where the line length is long enough to allow for a near horizontal angle. The x-backs are not suitable for use where the attachment point is higher than the back of the dog and the line angle to the harness means the harness lifts at the back. This doesn’t rule out the x-back for canicross but does mean you shouldn’t use a short line with this harness, on a small dog, with a tall person!

The Dragrattan X-Back is great for strong pullers in situations where the line angle is horizontal - Photo courtesy of Hound and About Photography

The Dragrattan X-Back is great for strong pullers in situations where the line angle is horizontal – Photo courtesy of Hound and About Photography

MID LENGTH HARNESSES (Suitable for dogs who prefer not to have a harness near their tail or may have had issues with hips or rear legs)

Howling Dog Alaska Second or Tough Skin Harness:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/h-d-second-skin-harness.html

Recommended for: Strong out front pullers, this harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. It can be adjusted around the middle and the fact it is only mid length means it can suit dogs who are short or long in the body. This harness is super lightweight and is excellent for encouraging young or novice dogs to pull into a harness because it is so soft and flexible on the dog.

My Sprollie Donnie modelling the Second Skin harness, he has been my chief tester because he is such a strong puller!

My Sprollie Donnie modelling the Second Skin harness, he has been my chief tester because he is such a strong puller!

Dragrattan Multi-Sport Harness:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/dragrattan-multi-sport-harness.html

Recommended for: Strong out front pullers, this harness can be used for canicross, bikejor, scootering, sledding and any other pulling sport without worrying about line angle. The back is left open for the dog to arch through and because the point to fix your line to is the cord at the back, rather than a cord at the base of the tail, this harness can suit a wide range of shapes and sizes of dog. It also has a belly strap which can prevent an escape artist from wriggling backwards out of the harness, unlike many of the other longer harnesses.

The Dragrattan Multi-Sport is proving to be a very popular choice of harness for dog sports this year - Photo courtesy of Hound and About Photography

The Dragrattan Multi-Sport is proving to be a very popular choice of harness for dog sports this year – Photo courtesy of Hound and About Photography

Every dog we fit at K9 Trail Time is an individual, much in the same way a person is, so we base our recommendations on the information you provide about your dog and never just on sales margins or the most fashionable brand at the time. We have also tried and tested every single type of harness we sell so you can be sure we are offering you advice based on experience.

If you would like to contact us about a harness for your dog please e-mail: emilyt@k9trailtime.com

Bikejor for beginners – A reading list

The coming of the new year has seen many more people looking to take up the sports of running and biking and more importantly for us here at K9 Trail Time, people wanting to run and bike with their dog. Last year I wrote a blog containing the main blogs I have written to help you get started in canicross, so I thought it was about time I did the same for bikejoring.

Bikejoring is rapidly gaining popularity in the UK - Photo courtesy of Mel Parry

Bikejoring is rapidly gaining popularity in the UK – Photo courtesy of Mel Parry

I wrote a bit about getting started in bikejor here:
Getting along to an event is a great way to learn about the equipment and training - Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

Getting started with the help of friends is a great idea – Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

The next two links are an introduction to the equipment and how to train
getting-it-wrong-on-the-bike

Training is important to avoid accident! Photo courtesy of Horses for Courses Photography

The following blog focuses on which bikejor attachment might be the one for you
Rower-land Bike Attachment

Getting the right equipment is important

The below blog contains a few tips for those beginning with their dog in bikejor
With the proper equipment and training you can enter bikejor races all over the country - Photo courtesy of Chillpics

With the proper equipment and training you can enter bikejor races all over the country – Photo courtesy of Chillpics

And lastly if you want to bikejor race with your dog, the racing blog I wrote might be of interest.
We have now competed in two European Championships in both Canicross and Bikejor

We have written about how to get started racing

There is some duplication in these blogs but they give you the very basics you need to know about equipment and training and briefly explain the sport of bikejoring for the beginner. If you have any specific queries then please do contact me emilyt@k9trailtime.com and I’d be happy to help you get started with your dog in one of the sports we love.

Why We Love X-Back Harnesses

As the title of this blog suggests, here at K9 Trail Time we love the X-Back style of dog sports harness. Right from day one I have used an X-Back on one or other of my dogs, and of course we have switched around brands and styles of harness over the years, to test out new ones and see what works best, but I keep coming back to the X-Back style.

We have been using X-Backs for a number of years now for all the dog pulling sports - Photo courtesy of Sled Dog Photo

We have been using X-Backs for a number of years now for all the dog pulling sports – Photo courtesy of Sled Dog Photo

What is an X-Back harness? – X-Backs are a particular style of dog sport harness which are thought to have originated in North America well over 100 years ago. The harness itself gets it’s name from the sections of webbing which cross over the back in a ‘x’ shape. The harnesses are designed to reach to the base of the dogs’ tail and have traditionally been used for teams of huskies pulling sleds on snow.

The X-Back harness, is a traditional style harness with webbing crossing over the back

The X-Back harness, is a traditional style harness with webbing crossing over the back

Why would you use an X-Back harness? – I recommend these harnesses for dogs who are confident pullers and who have a fairly ‘steady’ gait when running. By this I mean the dog runs evenly and is consistent when pulling in a harness, this could be either at a ‘trot’ or a faster ‘bounding’ action.

X-Backs are great for strong pullers

X-Backs are great for strong pullers

Why would you not use an X-Back harness? – If your dog doesn’t pull out front or tends to ‘zig zag’ when running, then I would say this probably isn’t the harness for your dog. Sometimes if your dog arches its back a lot too, then it might be that a harness with no straps crossing over the back might work better. It has also been noted that if the angle of your line comes too steeply from the point of attachment at the back of the harness, then the X-Back cannot work as it was designed to and this is why the X-Backs are not made for much smaller dogs.

Make sure your harness is not being pulled up by too steep a line angle

Make sure your harness is not being pulled up by too steep a line angle

Why we love X-Backs – The X-Back harness has been around for so long and has worked so well that it has become the iconic symbol of sled dog sports (canicross, bikejor and dog scootering have all developed from sledding). It’s simple design means it is lightweight, has no points of weakness (buckles or clips), isn’t complicated to put on and is generally one of the hardest wearing harnesses you can buy.

We love X-Backs (even if Donnie's face doesn't say so in this picture!)

We love X-Backs (even if Donnie’s face doesn’t say so in this picture!)

A few of the X-Backs we stock:

The Dragrattan X-Back:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/dragrattan-x-back-harness.html

The Dragrattan Collared X-back (for dogs with a more narrow neck and shoulders):

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/dragrattan-collared-neck-x-back-harness.html

The Non-stop Nansen Nome:

http://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/canicross/canicross-harnesses/non-stop-nansen-nome-harness.html

If you need any help with sizing or fitting an X-back harness do drop an e-mail to info@k9trailtime.com and we’ll be happy to help.

Happy Trails!

 

How to look after your dog sport kit

I’ve seen a fair few posts in recent weeks asking about how to clean canicross, bikejor and dog scootering kit. With the never-ending rain and subsequent mud this winter, it makes sense to share a few tips about how to look after your gear.

Firstly, the thing you should clean most frequently is your dogs’ harness. If you don’t clean your dogs’ harness, you risk the mud on the harness potentially rubbing your dog when you next put it on your dog to run. Any mud that has dried on is usually on the under side of the harness between your dogs front legs where the skin is most sensitive anyway, so you need to be mindful of this and ensure your harness has the majority of the mud washed off.

Your dog and harness can get very muddy, always rinse the harness off after a run to prevent any dried on mud rubbing your dog on your next run - Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

Your dog and harness can get very muddy, always rinse the harness off after a run to prevent any dried on mud rubbing your dog on your next run – Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

The dog sports harnesses are all designed to be durable and are made of materials that withstand muddy, wet and icy conditions, however if you allow your harness to remain continually wet, then no matter how tough the harness, it will eventually shows signs of degradation. Some of the harnesses also have clips or buckles on them which also need to be dried off and not left damp for long periods of time.

We recommend you try to get the majority of the mud off your dogs’ harness after every run, this is not to say it should go in the washing machine after every run, as continued use of detergent will also eventually have a wearing effect on your harness. Simply hosing or washing down the harness is sufficient for every day use but if you do want to put your harness in the machine once a week, we suggest putting the harness in a pillow case or other soft wash bag to protect both the harness and your machine. Always use a cool wash and minimal amounts of detergent, don’t use fabric softener and NEVER tumble dry your harness! All of the items of kit have stray ends and bits that can catch in the drum, so the material casing really is a must if you don’t want your machine to get damaged.

Keeping your harness as clean and as dry as possible will help to prolong it's life

Keeping your harness as clean and as dry as possible will help to prolong it’s life

Once your harness is clean (or at least mud-free) then you need to hang it somewhere so it can dry. Directly on a radiator isn’t recommended, but if you have somewhere warm near a heat source, even some warm water pipes, then drying your harness out after a wet, muddy run is a great way to keep it in tip top condition.

You might also want to wash your running belt in the same way from time to time as they can get sweaty and muddy too. Stick to the rules about keeping your belt in a protective material case, on a cool wash, with minimal detergent, without fabric softener and NEVER tumble dry.

Belts can get muddy too, especially if you have a tendency to fall over!

Belts can get muddy too, especially if you have a tendency to fall over! – Photo courtesy of Mark Brindley

For lines, the same rules apply and if you have clips that you can remove, we’d remove those before putting them in the washing machine, as it’s just an extra precaution to protect it from having metal being thrown around inside. One word of warning though, don’t undo any knots in bungee lines. Bungee lines have a bungee either sewn or knotted in and if you undo the knots in a knotted bungee line, you will find your bungee section has gone!

Just a quick note about bikes, scooters. I am one of the worst people for not washing off my equipment but I appreciate that to maintain a bike or dog scooter (which are expensive items) you really need to be cleaning all the moving parts after every run, clearing all debris off and ensuring you lubricate chains. I’ve had some fairly hefty servicing bills as a result of not doing this properly, so I’ve learnt my lesson now!

The attachments you fix on bike also need to be removed every now and again to make sure you’ve not got mud caught between them and the frame which can scratch and cause damage.

You can get even muddier when bikejoring or scootering so make sure you keep the moving parts clean or expect hefty service bills!

You can get even muddier when bikejoring or scootering so make sure you keep the moving parts clean or expect hefty service bills! – Photo courtesy of Maggie Bird

A few last little pointers to help you keep your kit in great condition:

Don’t leave your dog in it’s harness for long periods of time to avoid it being chewed or getting caught on things

Check any straps, buckles, clips and cords on your kit regularly for wear and tear, it’s much better to discover something early on and make a minor repair than have it fail on you when on a run

Remember that extreme temperatures can weaken any material, so be careful with kit in ice and snow (particularly with plastic clips that could become brittle and snap) and also don’t leave kit in hot places where materials could melt

We always try to help people get the best from their canicross, bikejor and dog scootering equipment, so I hope this blog has been useful to you and if you would like to know more about the range we sell please visit our website:

http://www.k9trailtime.com

Happy trails!

 

 

 

How to choose a harness for your dog

Harness Selection – Every dog is unique!

If you are new to dog sports you’d be forgiven for being a little confused about what type of harness you should be using for your dog! This question is not easy to answer and is based on a number of variables.

The first thing to consider is what type of sports you will be doing with your dog?

If you are competing in agility or flyball classes then a good fitting shoulder or walking harness should be perfect for your dog, as you are not asking your dog to pull any weight into the harness, it is there for ease of use for yourself and to prevent your dog from potential neck injury if your dog pulls strongly when walking. We stock the Non-stop Half Harness, the Zero DC Euro Short, the Neewa Running Harness, and the Howling Dog Alaska Distance Harness which all serve this purpose very well.

The Non-stop Half Harness is pictured below – the perfect multi sport harness, for walking, canicross and even bikejoring.

The Non-stop Half Harness has been re-designed from the Line harness with some great new features

The Non-stop Half Harness is the perfect multi sport harness which is equally suited to walking.

If you are going to be running with your dog (canicross) then the harness needs to be designed to allow your dog to pull you along with no restriction on breathing or natural movement, the aim of the harness is to capture the dogs’ running power and allow the dog to pull you along through a bungee line (the line must always have this element of bungee to prevent jarring injuries).

The same is true of biking with your dog (bikejor), scootering (your dog pulls your scooter and you help by ‘scooting’) and mushing (pulling a three wheeled rig which you stand on). The harnesses used for these activities need to be fit for purpose and so it is not worthwhile selecting a walking harness for these purposes. Every harness we stock is designed to be multi-functional and in most cases can be used for walking in addition to the dog sports.

The Howling Dog Alaska Distance Harness is a another of the fantastic multi-purpose harnesses we sell.

The Howling Dog Alaska Distance Harness is a another of the fantastic multi-purpose harnesses we sell.

So if you have decided what sports you are taking part in and have decided if you need a pulling harness or not (I have made some suggestions for walking harnesses and multi-use harnesses above) the next thing to look at is your line height. This is very important because it can affect how the harness was designed to be used.

For example the x-back harnesses are a wonderful harness with years and years of success for sled dogs all over the world. The x-back is designed to spread the strain of pulling from the dogs’ shoulders down to the point of the line attachment by the base of the dogs’ tail. The line then extends at an almost horizontal angle to a sled or rig. If the line angle is more acute then the x-back cannot work as it was designed to function and could end up causing problems if it ‘lifts up’ from the base of your dogs’ tail.

Pictured below is the Dragrattan x-back harness, a traditional design but be careful of your line angle

Donnie in Dragrattan x back

I use either a Dragrattan or Non-stop Nansen Nome x-back harness on a couple of my dogs for canicross, bikejor & scootering because they pull very strongly and I have a long line (plus I’m really short) so the angle of my line is never too high to cause any problems and I know plenty of other canicrossers who also compete their dogs successfully with x-backs. I would generally recommend x-backs for most dog sports where your dog is pulling out front consistently, be aware of the potential problems with a much shorter and steeper angled line if canicrossing and bikejoring, but as long as your line is long enough, you should be fine.

So what other harnesses can you use? One of the newer European harness designs is that of the Euro Harness by Zero DC which comes in both a long and short option. The Zero DC Euro Harness is designed to be a multi-sport harness suitable for canicross, bikejor, scootering, mushing and even skijor (skiing with your dog). With the long version it directs the pull from the dogs’ shoulders away from the neck and to an attachment point at the base of the tail but the difference in this harness to the x-back is that there is no material over the dogs’ back. The harness material comes from the front underneath and along the rib cage then up to the base of the tail. It does not suffer the same problems as the x-back with using a shorter line and at a steeper angle because it is not designed for the line to pull straight along the back, but for the pull to come up from underneath the dog.

Pictured below is the Zero DC Euro Long Harness, a great multi-purpose harness for dogs who pull strongly

Judo Euro Long

I have used the Zero DC Euro Long Harness on my Sprollie because when he runs he ‘bounds’ along and his back when running is much more mobile than my other dogs’ backs when they run. Anything which directed his pulling power along the top of his back could potentially hinder his natural movement.

The Zero DC Euro Short Harness is designed much more like a shoulder harness with a shorter attachment point mid way down the dogs’ back and seems to suit both small and large breeds alike because of the adjustability of the girth on this shorter harness and it’s suitability for most sports. I have used the short version on my husky cross because the pulling power is lost through the long version when she ‘trots’.

Pictured below is the Zero DC Euro Short Harness, great for both pulling and non-pulling dogs

Tegan in Euro Short Yellow

Another good multi-sport option is the Non-stop Freemotion Harness, which again has an attachment point at the base of the dogs’ tail and is designed to direct the pull away from the throat and allow freedom of movement. The Freemotion is used for all sports and is more adjustable than the other harnesses which allows it to work correctly for a larger number of breeds who might be broader or longer in shape than the sled dog breeds, who the original pulling harnesses were designed for. I have used the Freemotion on all of my dogs because it is so versatile in its uses and can be adjusted to accommodate their individuality.

The Non-stop Freemotion Harness below is one of the best multi-sport harnesses available

Tegan Non-stop 6

The Howling Dog Alaska Second Skin or Tough Skin Harness is another option you may want to consider for pulling activities, as it has a simple design, is adjustable around the ribs and by attaching your line at the end of the cord, gives you a happy mix between the long and short harnesses. One thing to note about this harness however, is that it must be used for dogs that pull into the harness, if the Second Skin is not pulled into, it can tend to slip on the dogs’ back and for that reason I do not recommend it for activity where you may want to let your dog off lead in the harness.

donnie second skin

Finally, and brand new to the dog sport harness market is the Dragrattan Multi Sport Harness which is based on an x-back style harness on the neck, with all pull being directed along your dog’s body and underneath, but with the back being left open to allow your dog to move more freely. The harness is also suitable for dogs who might be a less traditional sled dog or hound shape and has a belly strap for those who might be liable to wriggle out of longer harnesses. I recently used these harnesses on all my dogs for a long distance canicross challenge we completed and they performed perfectly over 100 plus miles, so I can highly recommend them.

Judo with Tegan Multi sport Dragrattan

The Dragrattan Multi Sport harness is brand new for 2016 and a great option for all dog sports

To conclude this article on harnesses I need to say this is my personal experience of the harnesses I have mentioned when being used on my own dogs. Each of my dogs has a different running style (trot, bound and all out pull from the shoulders) each of my dogs is a slightly different breed which means they are a slightly different shape and so it would seem obvious to me that each dog might suit a different style of harness.

When selecting a harness for your dog, you need to consider the purpose for which you need the harness, the angle at which your line will be and lastly but most important, the individuality of your dog. I have chosen to stock a variety of harnesses for this reason as I don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach and if you can it’s always better to trial a harness to see how it works with your dog and set up before you commit to one. Otherwise you’ll end up like me with half a dozen harnesses for each dog!

If you need any further help I have provided a ‘Harness Consultation’ sheet here: http://www.k9trailtime.com/index.php/information/harness-consultation-questions which will help us to advise you and I would suggest considering the questions to provide us with a bit more information so we can get the perfect harness for your dog.

We also have a video on choosing the right harness for your dog here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8yZ7EFslqE