Wait, do they make wheeled dogsleds?
January 16, 2010 11:39 AM   Subscribe

To exercise my new dog (and myself), I'm looking for some form of hands-free wheeled transportation. But, the road quality here seemingly makes unsuitable the obvious choice of inline skates. Bonus points if the chosen 'vehicle' can also be dragged behind a kite.

The paving of my streets is of varying quality. From perfectly smooth blacktop paved last month, on over to tarmac from 1978 that feels more like a gravel road. No route longer than a quarter mile can be found that does not pass over several different gradations of paving. From my experience with inline skates in my childhood, rough roads result in rough falls. I'd really prefer that whatever I get be designed for "off-road" use--even if "off-road" doesn't really mean down the side of a mountain.

I've looked at LandRollers, but they get mixed reviews, and I weigh exactly as much as the maximum mass listed for them. Do you have any experience with them?

I've longboarded in the past, but I can't imagine doing that with a dog. And the road quality, plus the dog, plus the hills here, could easily result in massive head trauma. Not to mention that I don't think the dog can run the 30mph I can easily achieve on a longboard. However, an off-road board (with a brake) might be an option.

Are rollerskis usable without the poles?

Overall, I'm trying to spend less than $300 USD on the vehicle itself; less would be better, slightly more would be okay. I'll pick up safety gear on top of the vehicle price.

Please, give me your suggestions and help me find something cooler than... well... a lame old bicycle.
posted by Netzapper to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wheeled dogsled.
posted by idiopath at 11:54 AM on January 16, 2010

Are rollerskis usable without the poles?

Sure, but rollerskis would be terrible for your purposes. Most of them only work well on smooth pavement. The ones that are OK on dirt or bumpy pavement are well over $300. Most of them have bearings designed to slow you down (to make the ride more like skiing). Stopping and turning are more difficult and you need a lot more balance than with inline skates.

Have you considered four-wheel skates, like these?
posted by ssg at 12:14 PM on January 16, 2010

The issue with hands-free is that if you are holding the leash with your hands, and rolling, it is very easy for the dog to throw you off balance. Real (snow usage) dogsleds have handlebars, and the dog pulls the sled rather than a leash held by the musher. With a the leash attached to the headset area of a bike (so that the dog does not affect steering or pull you off balance when pulling) and a piece of pipe to keep the leash out of the front wheel, a bike is excellent for getting pulled by a dog.

Is the hands free preference a balance / steering related thing or some other preference?
posted by idiopath at 12:20 PM on January 16, 2010

Response by poster: Have you considered four-wheel skates, like these?

All the reviews say that the wheels broke off of those Skorpion skates during the first few rides. Given that I'm pretty heavy, I'm certain that would happen to me.

But off-road non-inline-skates with higher durability would be fine, if anybody knows of some.
posted by Netzapper at 12:21 PM on January 16, 2010

Response by poster: Is the hands free preference a balance / steering related thing or some other preference?

Just a desire to have my hands free for the leash. But I totally see your point about balance.

I guess that, in reality, I don't want the dog pulling me at all [the dogsled title was more of a joke, really, although I'm thrilled to see something exists--maybe when he's older]. I'm trying to keep the dog at my side through this whole endeavor, not out in front of me (where he might get the idea that he's leading the walk).
posted by Netzapper at 12:24 PM on January 16, 2010

One of the scooters from the first page I linked is compatible with a side harness - the dog attaches to the harness which attaches to the scooter, and the dog pulls from alongside.
posted by idiopath at 12:31 PM on January 16, 2010

I assume your "hands-free" requirement is based on the need to hold a leash? I'd recommend a special bicycle attachment that allows you to ride normally while your dog jogs alongside. We have two Walkydogs and in the past have used a Springer (the springer did not fit on our new bikes or I would have stuck with it).

FWIW, we have high drive, medium sized energetic dogs (Australian Cattle Dogs) and they cannot pull us off our bikes even when tempted by cats or squirrels or other dogs.

Good Luck, a well-exercised dog is a happy dog :) !
posted by labwench at 12:45 PM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've got my dog trained to stay next to me on walks. If she starts to get ahead or too interested in whatever is on the side of the trails I just call her name and she moves right back into place. After a few months I started riding my bike with her. The key for me was one of those extendable leashes. I use a couple of Velcro strips (like those things people use to keep their computer cords organized) and attached the handle of the leash under the back of my bike seat. My dog wears a harness and runs right next to me. It took a few tries to get her used to it, but now she loves it. I started out holding the leash and I had to use my leg to direct her a little and keep her far enough away from my wheels, but she got the idea pretty quickly. Now I rarely have a problem. The extendable leash keeps her from pulling my bike over if she suddenly stops or sees something ahead that she wants to check out. It gives me enough time to call her and get her back in to place. This works best when we are actually on bike trails or on neighborhood streets, the sidewalk is too narrow for both me on my bike and my gigantic horse of a dog.

Just so you know, I have a really bright and well behaved German Shepherd Dog, so YMMV. Also, she won't ride with my husband. He just can't get it to work, but he rides a serious bike and goes much faster than I do. I'm just on a pathetic one-speed cruiser and she is 'my' dog so she just doesn't listen to my hubby as well as she listens to me. (I've done a lot of work with her to keep her under my control without a leash since there are a couple of dog trails in my area where leashes aren't required but you have to have your dog under voice control. FYI.)

I know you said you were looking for something other than a bike, but I just wanted to let you know that a bike can work.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:53 PM on January 16, 2010

Labwench, thank you! Now I want a Walkydog!
posted by bluedaisy at 9:52 PM on January 16, 2010

« Older Another word for "ringer"   |   Adventurous books for a sensitive 7-year-old. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.