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Hi everyone, we have a gorgeous male V, nearly 18 months old who I love to take out running on the trails with me (we've been very cautious about building mileage and followed the breeders (30+ years) advice regarding joint loading and cues from the dog around activity level.

We live in regional NSW, and, as any Australian can attest, despite our high rate of dog ownership per capita we have a lot to learn about building dog-friendly infrastructure into our cities, towns and parks. Alas, we primarily run on public trails and fire trails which sometimes intersect with private property (totally legal to do so in our area FYI, it's a council agreement with through-roads).

This means plenty of kangaroos and other wildlife, alongside fox poison, which is deadly. In the hot months we're dealing with the very real presence of venomous snakes. To mitigate these risks we keep our boy on lead, often a long lead. While his off-leash recall is great, the risk of harm is too scary to consider - particularly after his Aunt was killed by a snake this past Summer :(

After experimenting with a range of different devices I'm considering going back to the harness for running only and I'm wondering if any other trail runners (or road runners) use a harness for this purpose with their V?

He doesn't pull non-stop, he will heel when we're walking and even when we run, but he also loves to be out front - the retrieval instinct at play I suppose - when we're running, then he'll double back to me or stop if he gets too far ahead, he's always checking in and occasionally zig-zagging when he catches whiff of something interesting, or needs to pee on something haha.

Instead of a halti, martingale, check, hitch etc..etc.. I thought maybe we just embrace the instinctive drive to sometimes pull and let him enjoy the pleasure? Reading and learning from many dog behaviourists and trainers, the theory is that he will learn that he can only pull when the harness is on.

Any thoughts and experience with this would be greatly appreciated! We have a fantastic human hip harness so can run hands free and I just want him to have max enjoyment whilst staying safe (he gets plenty of off leash exercise elsewhere FYI) so if anyone has tips on great harnesses too I would love to know!

Thank you :)
 

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If you want him to be able to comfortably pull, look into roading harnesses for dogs.
 

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I allow my dog off leash for trail runs because it's safe to do so here, but for road runs I use a canicross setup and there's no reason why it wouldn't work on trail. The dog's harness is an x-back style like sled dogs use and is attached to my hip harness with a 4ft/1.25m long bungee line. It's made of webbing and is lightly padded so it moves well with her body. I have something pretty similar to what this Aussie company is making: Harnesses
Look around though. Non-Stop Dogwear might be another one to look at.

My dog is 9 years old and I've only been running with any consistency since December. I'd tried some different setups in the past with biking so I've done a wonderful job of confusing her! She'll run out front, but usually takes a good amount of encouragement to pull and she lacks confidence with directional commands– gee, haw, straight. Occasionally she'll take charge and decide she wants to cross the street or something and when it's safe/fits in with my route I try to capture those moments of leadership with lots of praise. We both like the trail runs more, but I'm hoping more time will help her with confidence and enjoyment on the leashed runs. So that's my experience, but I agree the training theory is sound and I believe it's achievable for you.

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Garden hose Fawn


Dog Road surface Carnivore Dog breed Asphalt


with an extension line for biking
Bicycle Plant Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Tire Wheel
 

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Yes, they definitely learn to only pull on the harness. My non-vizsla dog actually has a pulling harness (for ski jore) and a non-pulling harness for walking/trail running. I also use the front ring when I don't want him to pull, but he pulls like a monster and still does a nice loose leash trot when we run (I don't like the feeling of being pulled while running). Both Y shaped harnesses, the pull harness looks like what the poster above shared, just a little longer (our the lead attachment is at the base of the tail). And I attached a belly band so the dog can't back out.

Definitely an elastic/bungee leash is helpful for when you go over obstacles at different speeds, and for making changes in the pull more gentle (especially starts). A quick release mechanism of some kind can also be helpful, for dealing with tangles, falls, obstacles. I also sometimes run with him on a flexi leash, which also helps smooth transitions (but isn't great if your dog is liable to suddenly chase things). I haven't found a brand that's nice and light weight for that application unfortunately.

You're dog will probably love it! My vizsla hasn't really started pulling yet, but my other dog gets so excited to go skiing. We also live in a snakey area, so my V will be doing more on leash :(
 
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