Carting

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MPbandmom
Posts: 1637
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Carting

Post by MPbandmom » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:04 pm

On various tv shows, I have seen a wide variety of obviously hand made carts for various breeds who traditionally have been pulling dogs. I am unable to find anything on the internet though about specifications on how to make one. I have contacted other organizations where there is evidence of carting among members and gotten no response. I have an old Burley bicycle trailer that I want to convert into a utility cart to be pulled by one dog individually or both dogs together. My husband thinks this will be impossible as one dog is 4 to 6 inches taller than the other. Can dogs of different sizes pull the same cart? Are there specifications or recommendations on height and length of the cart tongue(s)? (Not even sure if that is the proper term.) What materials should be used to make the cart tongues? Should I just get the pulling harnesses and then go from there as far as figuring out how to do the tongues?

The fabric has rotted off of the trailer for the second time in its usage life so I just have the metal frame. I believe the existing tow hitch will have to be removed as it is off center and curved. I'm thinking a 3/4" plywood floor and am still debating fabric, wood, stake type, or maybe some other lightweight sutiable material for the sides. I'm thinking a system of tubes within tubes (telescoping) mounted under the trailer floor for the 3 tongues. (A center one for when both dogs pull the cart and two further outside of center for when the trailer is pulled by 1 dog.) I'm thinking a strap attached to the far outside of each front corner as a safety? (I'm not sure what purpose the straps serve, but have seen them used on several different occasions on home made carts.) I don't know if PVC tubing would be stiff enough to serve as the tongue pieces. I want to make the cart as light weight as possible, both to reduce the weight that the dogs have to pull as well as to reduce the weight that I have to lift to put the cart into or on a vehicle for transport.

I have a husky/lab mix who has in the past had a wonderful time pulling me around at the end of her leash, and I'm thinking pulling a cart would tire her out more quickly than a plain walk. It would also be handy for Dog Scout clean up details and cute for use in parades. Plus if the smaller dog got tired, she might be able to hitch a ride as she is too heavy for me to carry far and we both usually reach the end of our energy at the same time. The husky/lab mix doesn't seem to have an end to her energy.

Anyway, if anyone can give some tips to me on this project, I would greatly appreciate it. I don't want to design something that would be detrimental to the dogs' health.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

emmabeth
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Re: Carting

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:22 pm

Hmm. I've a feeling that your husband may be right on you not being able to make the vehicle suitable for both dogs. If they are dramatically different in height, leg length etc then they cannot have the same shaft height on the vehicle. It would be either the right height for the tall dog and be over the shorter dogs back, or the right height for the short dog and be round the taller dogs elbows.

They cant pull together because their strides wont be the same length - if you put them to side by side as a pair the shorter strided one will pull the faster, longer strided dog round, or the faster dog will be pulling the slower dog off balance and risk muscle strains in trying to keep up.

Potentially you could make the shafts adjustable so they mount higher up on the cart for the big dog and lower for the shorter one.... but if the axle height is too low for the taller dog (and thus tilting the cart too steeply) that wont work anyway.

The bed of the cart has to be level when the dog is pulling - that way the dog is not taking any weight, the weight is balanced over the wheels (I can only assume this is a two wheeled vehicle). Tilt that up or down and you have that weight being placed on the harness either under it if its tipped too far back... or on top if its tilting down.

Pulling weight, when the load is evenly balanced and the harness correctly fits, on a cart, is not that hard, once you GET it moving. Its only difficult if the balance is wrong and you (the dog) are having to fight against that as well as pull.

I would suggest you do some more research into how quadrupeds pull things on two wheels - if the dog lot wont help you, have a look at the horse lot (which is where most of my knowledge comes from having worked with carriage horses) and see what things they do with harness and with vehicles to prevent damage and make pulling easier on the animal.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

MPbandmom
Posts: 1637
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Re: Carting

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:51 am

Thanks! It sounds like my burley trailer isn't a good candidate for a novice carting transformation. We have a child's wagon, but it is all plastic and quite noisy when rolling, so that doesn't seem like a good candidate either. I will keep my eyes out for something more suitable with 4 wheels. I mainly want it for the one dog to pull, so I will focus on that idea in my searching.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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