Dogs pulling people. Yay or nay?
This isn’t as modern tech as you might expect, but actually some of the oldest around. I’ll be upfront. Posts promoting this product on Facebook have many commenters crying for PETA’s help. Have it banned, it’s too cruel for comfort, they say. But is it, really?
I asked some long-time dog lovers. Most feel their pets would love it. In fact, many dogs aren’t getting the exercise they would likely love to receive each day, and this device can make hitting those fitness goals easier and more fun to reach. Granted, we have to keep in mind that you would only use this dog-powered scooter with a healthy, young-(ish) animal of decent size. Old Sam who’s suffering from arthritis and just wants to sit on the mat in the sunshine can stay home. Let him rest.
And obviously, it’s not suited for lapdogs, unless you’re going to pull a Cabbage Patch Doll on a bike to the park (fun as that may be). Here are eight things to know about this cool, dog-powered device:
It’s not recommended for ‘spooky dogs’
You have to know the temperament of your dog. If they freak out easily under new circumstances, this machine may not be for them. According to the maker, some dogs don’t take well to the restriction of lateral movement.
This device is compatible with athletic, energetic dogs that can actually be reactive or aggressive, however. It gives them an outlet for all that energy and keeps their movements more controlled, making it safe for the public. For dogs that can’t be off leash, this may be a great way to let them run free!
It’s also noted on the company’s website that this can be the perfect opportunity for blind or deaf dogs in otherwise good health to really let loose.
It’s officially called urban mushing
Mushing refers to dog teams pulling sleds over snow but in this context we’re taking the dog out of the cold climate and putting them on pavement — and giving the sled wheels. Historically speaking, the term is said to come from the French word for let’s go, marchons, and this is an anglicized version of it.
Your dog should weigh as much as a preschooler to use it
Dogs that weigh at least 35 pounds are able to pull the scooter alone. Those 20 lbs or more can use the device when multiple dogs are sharing the load.
You can train your dog in your own yard
The maker of the dog scooter suggests prepping your pet ahead of time. Try hooking them up to a wagon or an old tire, and have them pull that around, to see how things go.
You should match your dog’s speed
When pushing your scooter, you want to match your mate. Make smaller pushes or kicks, to ensure a steady flow that doesn’t jerk your dog forward. Smooth sailing.
No commands are needed
Once your dog is comfortable in the saddle so to speak, the rest is just walking or running. There are no extra commands they need to learn to use this. Your pet will feel everything the scooter is doing, and act accordingly.
There’s a chance your dog will love it
The creator of this scooter admits it isn’t for every pooch. Many dogs that try it feel uncomfortable at first. They don’t like being clipped in or don’t trust the situation. But many others don’t object at all. Still others feel fine giving things a try. Almost all dogs learn to use it and enjoy it after a few sessions.
Follow these safety pointers
I’m not going to list all of the safety considerations here, but you can check out all the recommendations on their website. Some are common sense: always watch your dog for signs of over-exertion, offer them water regularly, and make sure the temperature — and the pavement — aren’t too hot. Keep an eye out for glass or other debris on your route.
Others recommendations are more specific. The rider should not weight more than 100 lbs above what the dog weighs, and dogs older than 10 years shouldn’t be using this device regularly. Dogs younger than one year shouldn’t pull hard for extended periods of time. Mush on!
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