by Martha Michael
Have there been times when you wished you could harness your dog’s energy?
Thanks to a uniquely-designed vehicle, you can do just that – and actually get somewhere.
DogPoweredScooter has a design that enables your furry friends to be the fuel for your travels. Dogs are literally harnessed to the vehicle and they work as a team to provide you with transportation.
We’ve all seen animals in front of sleds or pulling carts, but this new design harnesses the dog(s) to the side or rear of the scooter, and the low center-of-gravity makes it safer than a bicycle.
The unique 2-point clip-in only lets the dog go forward and supports the dog side to side – even vertically. The canine has to follow the scooter through turns and he is subject to its braking. This gives the rider the directional and speed control to make “mushing” easy, safe and appropriate on urban, congested sidewalks, bike paths and moderate bike trails. Thus, the design eliminates the extensive dog training and verbal commands used by riders in traditional dog-pulling methods.
Your dogs get the exercise they need, but it keeps them under complete control – better than a leash. Some experts suggest it’s particularly useful with dogs that are aggressive, or even blind.
The location and the way the dog is harnessed into the scooter is designed to place no weight on the dog. The basic rig is human-powered, thus the rider can do any or all of the work at anytime. People of all ages have the skill to ride and it even offers an opportunity for handicapped individuals to gain mobility.
The website says, “We are different here, and unsatisfied with the traditional way of doing things. We want more safety, steering control, and more dog control. We want the system to be user-friendly and quick to set up and break down with the dogs. We are not interested in a lot of dog training and yelling of commands. We want a practical system we can use from our homes every day and not have to drive a distance to avoid user conflicts. We also want everyone in the household to be able to ride! We have achieved these goals and more – the system has become more than just dog mushing – it’s dog-powered mobility!”
The safety of the dog is of prime importance to the DogPoweredScooter company. Some of the issues they take into consideration are canine motivation, rider/dog weight ratio limits, hydration, paw inspection, outdoor temperature conditions, etc. As for the ideal breeds to power the scooter, the healthiest, most confident and youthful dogs are comfortable being placed next to wheels and enduring restriction of movement. The introverted, shy dogs take more time to get comfortable.
It is not for all dogs, but if they consistently pull hard on the leash and are strong enough for the weight of the rider, they’re good candidates. The pull needed for a 180-pound rider is only 5-7 pounds. But, in general, with an adult rider a single dog should be a minimum of about 40 pounds, but multiple dogs can be as small as 20 pounds.
The “training” needed is relatively quick and straightforward, compared with teaching sled dogs that pull from the front through voice commands. The system is adjustable, both vertically and width-wise, for a range of dogs, and a tall outrigger is available for giant breeds. The dog(s) can also sit and lie down if solo or set up inline.
When you have a dog on each side it is stable enough to travel on packed snow. The inline setup (included in all multiple-dog scooter systems) stays narrow and is best for busy sidewalks and single track trails.
The scooter can handle up to three dogs and a new, elongated scooter model can now handle 4-6 dogs. But the trike is generally limited to two, although there is a “tadpole trike” (with two wheels in front) which can handle four dogs.
For more information, contact Mark Schuette at 541-633-0680 or visit www.dogpoweredscooter.com.