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Discussion Starter #1
I suppose this is a appropriate for training, but this has something to do with exercise as well (a big interest of mine).

Exercise, I think, is tremendously helpful in making life with a dog livable. Unfortunately, we are sluggish, unfit sloths by comparison to even the most average, plain Jane mutt.
So, how do slugs like us...
1. ...Give a dog REAL exercise?
2. ...Without giving ourselves a heart attack?
3. ... without spending crazy amounts of time?

Now, if your dog is a happy, obsessive retriever, you don't have much of a problem. You can sit in a lawn chair and chuck a ball... essentially, having your dog do wind sprints.

I have a hound. Most dogs like prey and scents, but hounds go koo koo for it. In addition, hounds can have very good endurance. Good luck exhausting a dog like this!

So, I'm thinking of doing this -
Encourage the dog to pull when on leash (she is always on leash, by the way)....
... but the pulling is only encouraged when she is wearing a harness.

That's it.

By using a collar, there could be health issues related to pressure on the trachea. Also, by encouraging the pull only when in a harness, you can help the dog understand that it is "being in the harness" that permits pulling.

Consider the extreme exercise that a dog can achieve by pulling. In fact, I can think of very few things that will allow a dog to get such an intense level of exercise than pulling. ... all while you get to stroll along behind. If your dog is smallish, then you can truly relax as the dog pulls along. Larger dogs will require more of you, but as long as you have a proper leash with a big padded handle, you should be fine.

I'm trying to encourage a friend of mine to get a "skateboard" designed to surf along in the grass and let his huge, harnessed coonhound pull him on that. In this case, the owner probably has more fun than the dog!

Regardless, just by leaning backwards as you walk your larger, pulling dog, you are requiring a tremendous increase in muscular effort required by the dog as opposed to loose leash walking.

If the dog is willing to pull the entire way, then a 15 minute "pulling-walk" is probably plenty long.... and if your dog is not fit, then 15 minutes might be way, way too long. If it is hot outside, then this kind of walk probably needs to be shorter regardless of your dog's fitness level.

One way or the other, even my small dog appears to experience 15 minute walks as literally nothing. She glides effortlessly as a human's fast walking pace.... we would have to go, probably, 45 minutes in order for her to begin experiencing an exercise effect.

When I finish a walk, I would be much happier to see my dog WANT to go inside and rest.

Of course, the other concern involves mental exercise and my little "pulling-walk" does not address this issue.
 

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Look up "weight pulling", "canicross", "bikejoring" and "dog scootering"

You'll want to use a specific pulling harness, not a normal walking harness. You also want to teach the difference between them to the dog, a very very good verbal STOP and SLOW type command and commands for turning.

I've done weight pull with a dog but several people here do scootering or bikejoring.
 

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Eh, I like my arms in tact. The pulling also runs the risk of them possibly pulling me down in the middle of the road or, worse, pulling the leash out of my hand.
Harnessed in, securely attached to my waist is how I like to jog.
I can see this for, like what Shell said, weight pulling and scootering and the like.
 

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Look up "weight pulling", "canicross", "bikejoring" and "dog scootering"

You'll want to use a specific pulling harness, not a normal walking harness. You also want to teach the difference between them to the dog, a very very good verbal STOP and SLOW type command and commands for turning.

I've done weight pull with a dog but several people here do scootering or bikejoring.
This, this, this. Read about canicross, get your dog a real pulling harness, and get yourself a skijor or canicross belt, and go for it. I never "walk" my dogs anymore, except in harness with the skijor belt. (And most of the time we are scootering anyway.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, it's an idea.

Most are so obsessed with having a easy, loose leash walking (understandably) that, I was thinking, we might be losing touch with the idea of exercise and the benefits of having a well worked dog.

If your arms aren't up to the task, then you simply can't do it.

It has occurred to me that this was an excellent way to exert a dog. Don't want to do the pulling walk? Just use the collar.

I'll check into the scootering, but my dog is not adequate for any real, deal pulling.

I have always road bikes and skateboarded with all of my dogs. However, I now live in Tennessee with lots of big hills.... very difficult to ride bikes and skateboard with those hills.
 

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This is like what CM does with rollerblading. I thought it would be awesome for my dogs until I realized that if I were on wheels I'd be completely at their mercy. One day I would love to have the kind of control where I could steer them and stop them with a word but until that day comes my feet will remain firmly planted on the ground.
 

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Thats why I got a Rottie...Very powerful breed.
She can drag me ...and my oxygen tanks around the neighborhood sidewalks as i gasp my last breaths of life.
 

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I'll check into the scootering, but my dog is not adequate for any real, deal pulling.

I know Chinese Crested's that pull, and the person who does the major pulling club stuff around me breeds, and works with, rat terriers. I'm not sure what you're calling 'not adequate'.

Also, re: Exercise with a hound?

Stick, rope, squirrel tail - which can be bought on ebay. Heck, you've just reminded me I have about 5lbs of fur scraps (tanned) that I meant to make dog toys with, and forgot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In the sense that my dog could not pull me on a scooter or much of anything else without a lot of my assistance. I have certainly considered other dogs for the purpose of being my bike-pulling dog.... because I live on a good chunk of land.... but this dog aint' the one!

The basic idea of my OP is that, if you can accept that it is ok to pull when on a harness, you have just found a cheap and incredibly effective way to exercise your hard-to-exercise dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, yes, which is why people participate in things like canicross and joring.
I appreciate the canicross stuff for sure.... But im thinking of the day to day manner of exercising a dog when an owner steps out of their front door. Put a basic harness on the dog and encourage the dog to pull as you stroll along (in essence, putting pulling on a cue) ....and at the same time, liberating oneself from the hassle of insisting on loose leash walking.

That said, i have been known to borrow neighbor's hyper dogs and have the dog pull me on my skateboard or bike. Thats not terribly practical for most folks, though. As far as I knew, i invented dog+skateboard fun! Been doing it since 1977 when I was in the 7th grade.
 

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But im thinking of the day to day manner of exercising a dog when an owner steps out of their front door. Put a basic harness on the dog and encourage the dog to pull as you stroll along (in essence, putting pulling on a cue) ....and at the same time, liberating oneself from the hassle of insisting on loose leash walking.
You just described canicross...

Basic harnesses are not meant for pulling and can cause issues, break, or otherwise be unsuitable for a dog who is being encouraged to pull. You would need to invest in a correctly sized pulling harness (x back, h back, weight pull, tracking (?) etc.) which takes money and time. And unless you are running or otherwise allowing the dog's pulling power to go somewhere, I don't think most people will be strolling (falling, dangling, dragging, and straining maybe). You would be just as, if not more, tired than the dog afterwards trying to keep your "stroll" going against the force of the dog. Plus, dogs who are pulling are generally more "hyped up" and can be more reactive when seeing something that they react to. Unless you put a lot of training in the dog following commands, you are going to have a dog that doesn't slow, turn or stop easily (ie, you are putting more force into making the dog stop) and you are essentially giving your dog all control (not always good when they are using their brute strength to move around).

I guess what I am saying is, while it may tire the dog out a little more, I don't want to be walking my dog down the road and seeing Joe Shmoe being pulled along with his dog in harness. Because frankly, Joe Shmoe never really had that much control over his dog, and now that dog is controlling the walk through his strength. And Joe Shmoe's only goal is to tire out his dog without concerning himself with training or getting the right equipment. Maybe this idea would work better for more dedicated dog owners...but more dedicated dog owners do sports or training or know of ways to tire out a dog.

So essentially I am confused as to what you are describing. Even small dogs can pull hard. Even with a pulling harness the angle from harness to hand/point of attachment on owner is very large which creates upward pressure on the chest of the dog, something you try to avoid in bikjoring, canicross, and sledding. So small dogs in harness isn't as easy either. Plus, finding harnesses for small dogs can be expensive (special size) and difficult to find (lack of demand).
 

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I appreciate the canicross stuff for sure.... But im thinking of the day to day manner of exercising a dog when an owner steps out of their front door. Put a basic harness on the dog and encourage the dog to pull as you stroll along (in essence, putting pulling on a cue) ....and at the same time, liberating oneself from the hassle of insisting on loose leash walking.
:confused: That's what canicross IS. The only thing that is different than what you're describing is the harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, that's fine then.

The canicross stuff that I found on the web involved a belt around the waist and a trail hiking or trail jogging scenario.
That is great stuff, of course. In fact, I'm attempting to encourage a friend who owns a beastly, super strong dog to try this.

If you consider yourself taking a casual walk but add the extra resistance of pushing an empty wheelbarrow....or walking up a slight incline. The exercise benefit/increase is massive....just by adding that bit of resistance.

Ive been thinking about the exercise needs of my high energy, 23 lb dog and my tendency to obsessively focus on a loose leash during walks. A healthy dog such as this gets only minimal exercise walking at human speed...barely more than just romping in the house. It ends up being little more than a toileting walk walking like that.

Take the leash and hooking it to the harness and telling her to pull changes everything....it might even provide more benefit than simple jogging.

But this is a small dog. I cant fathom that her level of pulling is capable of doing any damage whatsoever in a normal harness. Ill check those canicross type web sites regarding harness design and the possible problems of the typical harness.

Our family dog in 1977 pulled me on my skateboard in the hot florida sun by her neck! (i hate to admit)...but she celebrated every minute of it. I was maybe 110 lbs and she was 38 lbs or so....and lived to be 18 yrs old.

At this point, perhabs i should reduce my enthusiasm for big, strong dogs-in-a-normal-harness idea.

When i witness people who helplessly get draggged by their dog who is pulling them (gagging!) by the neck collar, i do often think "if that is how your walks are going to go, just get a harness and call your walks 'pulls' ".
 

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If you want to tire out a dog while still walking loose leash, put a dog backpack on her. Put an appropriate amount of weight in the pack compared to the dog's size and build: start at 5% and raise to 10% after the dog becomes fitter and more used to the pack. I would not go above about 15% of body weight.

A 23 lbs dog can most certainly pull significantly, and without training is easily enough to pull a man off balance on a walk. If you train her to pull enough to tire her out, then she'll be pulling enough to A) possibly hurt herself on a regular harness (because the weight is distributed differently it can stress the wrong joints and muscles) and B)pull you off balance if you step wrong or hit a slick spot with leaves/dirt/mud/water/ice.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Shell,

I think that's a fine idea, but we probably disagree on a couple things.

Carrying something on your back... that pushes straight down with gravity.... seems like it could produce a less satisfactory exercise -to- joint damage ratio.

That is, #1 I have my doubts about the exercise effect. Surely, it is more exercise than just strolling along with nothing, but I can't imagine that it comes anywhere close to the muscular effort of literally pulling with every single step. (And I'm assuming we're talking about the ethical backback weights you are describing)

Go ahead and grab a line and pull someone behind you.... and the person doesn't need to give you much back pressure at all... just a bit of backward resistance against your pull. Your heart will be pounding by the time you get to the end of the block. Now, put on a 30 lb backpack and make the same walk (that is 15% of a 200 lb man). That's far, far easier.

The physics and physiology of carrying a weight that is pressing directly down on the joints compared to pulling something behind you seems to me to be a much harsher and high impact (on the joints) type of arrangement. It might be somewhat safe for a healthy dog, but given the impact and the not-so-intense muscular effort involved, I wonder about the benefits/risk ratio. The direction of the weight is straight down (verticle) rather than horizontal.

We are pretty much always/chronically putting vertical pressure on our joints (dogs too). Our joints show lots of wear from this constant pressure. Adding an exercise that puts even more pressure on those already well worn pressure points might be safe, but I don't know.
Horizontal pressure, so my thinking goes, puts a kind of momentary force on the body that isn't always there. It's a different direction of force. In fact, it is maybe there for a 15 minute walk twice a day.

The harness that I am using on my dog (and she probably isn't pulling nearly as hard as she could) is made of a fabric that lays across a broad area of her chest (not a strap).

At this point, it is becoming moot in my case. My dog isn't pulling nearly as much as I'd like for this exercise-theory of mine. But, in situations in which I know she is going to be bizerk and I won't be in a good position to "train" her, I will go ahead and put her in the harness ahead of time and let her rip.

I'm constantly thinking of ways to properly vent a dogs need for exercise given the fact that most dogs end up in an empty house for at least half the day. Assuming people are busy, I'm thinking that the exercise needs to be brief while getting maximum safe muscular exertion out of the dog.... especially dogs that are hard to exercise being that they don't retrieve.

Another idea that I have been kicking around for years is the remote controlled car/truck! These newer RC cars are able to travel quickly over bumpy terrain and turn sharply. If a small bite toy could be fixed to the back of the car (and quickly detach when bitten), you've got an amazing possibility that will a) exercise the dog and b) allow the dog to vent some genetic drives! (a mental thing, too).

My guess is that my dog is well suited for this kind of thing. I'd love to give it a try. (It would also allow me to use it as a high motivation reinforcement for challenging behaviors... if she truly loves it) This, though, is not of the "practical ways to give your dog a workout!" genre. You'd have to become reasonably skilled at operating the car... and of course, have the ability to retro-fit it as a dog toy!

If you want to tire out a dog while still walking loose leash, put a dog backpack on her. Put an appropriate amount of weight in the pack compared to the dog's size and build: start at 5% and raise to 10% after the dog becomes fitter and more used to the pack. I would not go above about 15% of body weight.

A 23 lbs dog can most certainly pull significantly, and without training is easily enough to pull a man off balance on a walk. If you train her to pull enough to tire her out, then she'll be pulling enough to A) possibly hurt herself on a regular harness (because the weight is distributed differently it can stress the wrong joints and muscles) and B)pull you off balance if you step wrong or hit a slick spot with leaves/dirt/mud/water/ice.
 

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I feel like we are just talking past each other, so the only thing I am going to say at this point is please, don't do this with a regular harness. Get a harness made for pulling. You can get x-backs for as little as $20. They distribute force more evenly over the whole body and the surfaces that take the most pressure are well padded to prevent harm to the skin. You aren't doing anything revolutionary by walking dogs in harness and letting them pull, that's how I always "walk" my dogs when we're not scootering and many, many other people do it, but you need the proper equipment for your dog. Will it probably be fine most of the time with a regular harness? Yes, but why risk it?
 

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Dogs aren't built the same as we are, the forces of a backpack (properly fitted) rest mainly on the shoulders rather than the spine, the weight is only part of the equation for tiring a dog as being given a "task" of carrying items is a form of mental exercise and no one is saying you have to load up your dog with weights every day.

Pulling also stresses the joints, pulling on an improper harness will stress the joints more than carrying a properly fitted backpack.

A custom weight pulling harness with good padding, fitted to YOUR dog, runs maybe $45-50. Instead of teaching the dog to pull you around on walks, consider doing actual weight pull. Attend an event first and learn the proper techniques and weight amounts, some places have weight pull meet-ups or free clinics, and some training schools offer weight pull days. Then you are separating the act of pulling for exercise from the situation of walking.

Canicross and such with a proper harness is great but does require more physical effort on the part of the owner.

Pulling while walking does NOT tire a dog out as much as you seem to think it does. You still have to have the dog moving at a brisk pace and go a fair distance.
My hound can pull, hard, for 1 hour straight and not slow down. I had a little 40 lbs pit bull girl that had endless energy and could (if i let her) drag me along for 5 miles on a leash but when put in a proper weight pull harness and attached to a weights equaling 400 lbs of resistance, she enthusiastically pulled for 10 minutes and drained as much energy as a 1 hour run. She was then ready to be focused and attentive during training class.
 
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