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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tools of the Trade-Sled Dog Harness


Jen from My Brown Newfies asked, "What type of harness do you use for sled pulling?"  So I thought I'd share what I know and my experience with sledding/pulling equipment starting with the harness.   

You can get away not having all the fancy dog sledding equipment, but one item I would definitely  recommend is a pulling harness.  A pulling harness is designed to work with a dog's body weight and strength for pulling.  They are relatively inexpensive (approx. $20-$50).  A good fit is most important and are usually sold based on your dog's weight and measurements.  You can also find good used ones online or local sled clubs.

There are a couple of different types of sled pulling harnesses.  The most popular is an X-Back Harness.  The first one I got Brut was of this design and really liked how it conformed to the body.  I have bought new ones with this same design.

There is also a type called a Yukon Sledding Harness.  It is the same basic design, but without the "X" crossing in the back.

Most sledding harnesses are made of 1" heavyweight nylon webbing and are padded through the neck, chest and under leg area to absorb shock and for comfort.   Most sites that sell harnesses also have a choice of colors.  You can also have them custom made for just the right fit.

There are also specific harnesses for carting, drafting and weight pulling that are designed just for these purposes.

A site I use and have been quite please with is Black Ice Sledding Equipment.  They have a ton of dog sporting equipment, along with books and info catering to anyone interesting in dog sledding or other dog-related sports.  (I am not endorsing or being compensated in any way for Black Ice, the site was recommended to me through a friend when I needed a new harness and a gangline and was very impressed with their quality of service)

Thank you Jen for your question.  While I'm no expert in the field of dog sledding, I have come to know some of the basics, mainly through other dog sled racers, books and online.  All I can share is my experience and probably quite a few "what not to do's."  :)

Next week I'll talk about sleds and other pulling equipment.

And how about a round of applause for our model Brut, who gave me that pitiful, "Please don't make me pull today in the pouring rain!" look when I put the harness on him for a photo.  SIGH...moody Huskies!

9 comments:

Aksharaa said...

Hi,
So good to see u all after so long. Thanks for coming by and for your wishes.It makes u feel warm inside to know your friends are still out there for u inspite of you being away for soooo loong...
Thanks heaps.
Those were very beautiful words u penned for Alex...
Brut is a very handsome fellow. we are sure he is equally adorable:)

wags n love,
Gin, Bud, Shadow n Mummy

melf said...

How interesting. I know it sounds silly, but it never occurred to me that sled dogs would have different types of harnesses. Clearly, I am not knowledgeable in this area! :)

But, T have to say that I do like the one you showed on Brut. I wonder if they use these types of harnesses for skijoring too? That's a popular sport her.

So glad Jen asked the question!

houndstooth said...

He looks great in that harness, and while I've seen them a few times before, it was nice to have a good explanation about them and what they do! Stay warm and dry, Brut!

Hound Girl said...

he is a great model. I always look forward to learning new stuff.

Katrina, said...

Aw he is so cute! >'.'<

lexy said...

Very cool! I hope we'll be seeing some action photos once winter really sets in :)
Does the sled-pulling training make Brut pull more on the leash, do you think? that would be one thing I'd be worried about, because I'm doing my best to stop Gwynn from pulling on his leash (and me!), and wouldn't be happy finding a new sport and a new training issue all at once

Pamela said...

I'm glad Jen asked her question. I'm really looking forward to learning more.

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Thanks for modeling Brut! And thanks for all the cool insight on getting started in sledding. A funny related story: When momma first got me (all 3lbs), a miniature American Eskimo, she called grandpa to tell him the news. He said, "What the heck do you need a sled dog for? You live in the desert!!" Really! I am 19 lbs. as a full-grown adult now, do you think sledding is in my future?

Kev Roberts said...

We "sled" nearly all year round! Sometimes on the sled, sometimes on the scooter or the mountainboard, but mostly we head out of the skis with the dogs!