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Hi everyone :)

I was wondering which of the following harness would be a good fit for my german shepherd mix who I would like to go bikejoring with at some point in the future. I'm also considering rollerblading however that puts a lot of trust into the dog so I will hold of on that for awhile.

The bikejoring I'm thinking of would consist of her being in front of the bike for the majority of the ride, as she doesn't like the bike wheels very much.

By the time we start biking she'll be around 10-11 months old. I'm aware of the hip and joint issues with german shepherds, but this girl has way to much energy and I know I can't continue long walks because they do nothing for her energy. She is also a mix so her chances of getting hip/joint problems are likely less.

Here are the harnesses I have found, I will gladly take others into suggestion however.


First harness is the "Alpine Outfitters X Back Harness"
Alpine Outfitters - Your One-Stop Shop for Quality Working Dog Gear - Alpine Outfitters We fit your dog sled needs.


The second would be "Alpine Outfitters Urban Trail Adjustable Harness"
Alpine Outfitters - Your One-Stop Shop for Quality Working Dog Gear - Alpine Outfitters We fit your dog sled needs.

As well as the Ruffwear Front Range Harness"
https://ruffwear.com/collections/harnesses/products/front-range-harness


The one I'm learning towards is the second option which is the Urban Trail. I like that it has so many adjustable points as well as hooks for whatever we are going to do.

Any thoughts?

-Alyssa
 

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You may want to reconsider how old your girl will be before starting to bike her. Being a mix does not preclude her from having joint issues. The reason so many people warn to not over-exercise young dogs is because their growth plates are not fully closed. You want to try to wait until that happens to really ramp up the exercise.

That said, for joring of any kind, I would recommend this one from Hurtta
https://www.hurtta.com/global_en/x-sport-harness

Or this one from Ruffwear
https://ruffwear.com/collections/harnesses/products/omnijore-harness
 

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HI highly recommend one of your top 2 choices there. I cannot speak from personal experience, but I do know of many people who have had a lot of satisfaction with the brand! I personally am a huge fan of X-Back harnesses, but have considered a variety of other harness types too.

On the other hand, I would not be starting any kind of bikejoring/urban mushing activities so soon. Your dog is still very young and the growth plates are far from closed - leading to many more injuries down the road.
 

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I have the first option for my female GSD and have been very happy with it. The lady that runs Alpine Outfitters (forgot her name) is extremely helpful. I measured per their website instructions, but after talking to her she upped the size quite a bit. I seem to recall she did not recommend the second option for Bike Joring.

If you are very experienced with bike joring, great. If not (like me) don't expect it to go smoothly starting with a bike. Our first bike attempt was a hot mess failure with brief moments of glory. We have spent the past few months just walking/running with the harness working on keeping harness tension, Gee, Haa, Hike! etc. Lot's of fun and exhausting for both of us.

Pretty cheap to get started. JUst need harness, bungee lead and noodle.

BTW, My girl was about 14 months when we first started.
 

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Hi everyone :)

I was wondering which of the following harness would be a good fit for my german shepherd mix who I would like to go bikejoring with at some point in the future. I'm also considering rollerblading however that puts a lot of trust into the dog so I will hold of on that for awhile.

The bikejoring I'm thinking of would consist of her being in front of the bike for the majority of the ride, as she doesn't like the bike wheels very much.

By the time we start biking she'll be around 10-11 months old. I'm aware of the hip and joint issues with german shepherds, but this girl has way to much energy and I know I can't continue long walks because they do nothing for her energy. She is also a mix so her chances of getting hip/joint problems are likely less.

Here are the harnesses I have found, I will gladly take others into suggestion however.


First harness is the "Alpine Outfitters X Back Harness"
Alpine Outfitters - Your One-Stop Shop for Quality Working Dog Gear - Alpine Outfitters We fit your dog sled needs.


The second would be "Alpine Outfitters Urban Trail Adjustable Harness"
Alpine Outfitters - Your One-Stop Shop for Quality Working Dog Gear - Alpine Outfitters We fit your dog sled needs.

As well as the Ruffwear Front Range Harness"
https://ruffwear.com/collections/harnesses/products/front-range-harness


The one I'm learning towards is the second option which is the Urban Trail. I like that it has so many adjustable points as well as hooks for whatever we are going to do.

Any thoughts?

-Alyssa

Hi Alyssa!
I bought an Xl Distance harness from HowlingDogAlaska.com for my 90 lb shepherd and have used it for rollerblading without any complaints! If you have any questions their customer service is phenomenal. We are lucky to have an endless paved forest trail that passes right by my house, nothing is quite as thrilling as hanging on to him as he hits about 30 mph!!! If you can get the obedience down I'd say give rollerblading a shot, it gives you a lot of freedom to maneuver and we love it. Make sure you attach some kind of bungee leash to the harness as well to help with the shock. Have fun!!

 

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Discussion Starter #7
You may want to reconsider how old your girl will be before starting to bike her. Being a mix does not preclude her from having joint issues. The reason so many people warn to not over-exercise young dogs is because their growth plates are not fully closed. You want to try to wait until that happens to really ramp up the exercise.

That said, for joring of any kind, I would recommend this one from Hurtta
https://www.hurtta.com/global_en/x-sport-harness

Or this one from Ruffwear
https://ruffwear.com/collections/harnesses/products/omnijore-harness

I'm aware of the joint issues :)

Chances are I probably won't be doing anything intense at all for the first few months which is why I would start younger. I would focus on her getting used to the bike and what I expect to happen before any real speed gets picked up. That way i'm not trying to control a completely full grown GSD but starting at a point where her joints won't get too messed up but still can learn easy.

I don't know if that makes sense but that's my plan for starting. We would start walking on the bike for the first month or two then increase to a jog and finally a full speed, so she should be around 1 and 3 months before we do anything extreme if all goes well. (We would not be doing this everyday but a few times a week)

From what I've gathered growth plates close around 9-12 months but they continue filling out until 2-3 years, however correct me if i'm wrong. Is there a more ideal time to start bikejoring in terms of age?

Thanks so much for the harness suggestions! I will for sure be doing some research on them!

Again thanks so much for your help!

-Alyssa
 

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Discussion Starter #8
HI highly recommend one of your top 2 choices there. I cannot speak from personal experience, but I do know of many people who have had a lot of satisfaction with the brand! I personally am a huge fan of X-Back harnesses, but have considered a variety of other harness types too.

On the other hand, I would not be starting any kind of bikejoring/urban mushing activities so soon. Your dog is still very young and the growth plates are far from closed - leading to many more injuries down the road.

During my research here on the forum it seemed to be the most recommended brand so I figured it must be good :) One of the youtubers whom I watch seems very satisfied with the X back but I wasn't sure if that was more towards biking or rollerblading but it seems it works for all, so i'm glad to hear that!

Yes it seems that a few people have concerns about her age so I may hold off on that for a bit. We wouldn't be doing anything intense for awhile just walking and jogging so she can get used to it, but again I may hold off for awhile.

But hey! At least I know what kind of harness for the future at least!

Thanks so much for your help!

-Alyssa
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have the first option for my female GSD and have been very happy with it. The lady that runs Alpine Outfitters (forgot her name) is extremely helpful. I measured per their website instructions, but after talking to her she upped the size quite a bit. I seem to recall she did not recommend the second option for Bike Joring.

If you are very experienced with bike joring, great. If not (like me) don't expect it to go smoothly starting with a bike. Our first bike attempt was a hot mess failure with brief moments of glory. We have spent the past few months just walking/running with the harness working on keeping harness tension, Gee, Haa, Hike! etc. Lot's of fun and exhausting for both of us.

Pretty cheap to get started. JUst need harness, bungee lead and noodle.

BTW, My girl was about 14 months when we first started.

That's wonderful to hear! So it seems that the X back would be the ideal option for this then? I tend to need help with all the fitting and deciding so that awesome to hear that she's helpful! It's nice to find companies that have good service, so many it seems just dish out the usual info without much help.

Nope not very experienced, so between my clumsy self and clumsy dog it may take a bit of practice haha. However it seems like it definitely would be wonderful to have that option instead of the boring old walk, on days the dog might need to release more energy.

Did 14 months seems like a good time to start her? If so I might start Olivia then instead of now, assuming you have no regrets?

Thanks so much!!!

-Alyssa
 

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Hi Alyssa!
I bought an Xl Distance harness from HowlingDogAlaska.com for my 90 lb shepherd and have used it for rollerblading without any complaints! If you have any questions their customer service is phenomenal. We are lucky to have an endless paved forest trail that passes right by my house, nothing is quite as thrilling as hanging on to him as he hits about 30 mph!!! If you can get the obedience down I'd say give rollerblading a shot, it gives you a lot of freedom to maneuver and we love it. Make sure you attach some kind of bungee leash to the harness as well to help with the shock. Have fun!!

https://youtu.be/gvpT8huOdf0
https://youtu.be/Vw6mfuSHcPs
That looks like so much fun! I would love to start rollerblading but I think the obedience needs some work first haha. This is for sure my end goal, nothing to control except holding on for dear life and trusting your dog with following your commands. I'm waiting for this day!

That seems like a good idea for a harness, I will definitely be looking into it. I think I've decided on with this one or the X back but will see when we get there. I will for sure be getting a bungee leash however, I think I might actually have one somewhere.

Thanks so much for the help!!!

-Alyssa
 

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From what I've gathered growth plates close around 9-12 months but they continue filling out until 2-3 years, however correct me if i'm wrong. Is there a more ideal time to start bikejoring in terms of age?
Okay, I'm just gonna jump in here real quick, so growth plates close between 18-24 months of age, which is why its important to keep the dogs intact at least until 2 years old. The filling out between 2-3 years old thing is true, though. I wouldn't start until around 18 months old. In the mean time, you can start a foundation in the groundwork (teaching directional cues and speeds). Then you can start low impact speeds and then once you get to 24 months, you can incorporate the actual pulling of the whole setup (bike/rig/etc).

During my research here on the forum it seemed to be the most recommended brand so I figured it must be good :) One of the youtubers whom I watch seems very satisfied with the X back but I wasn't sure if that was more towards biking or rollerblading but it seems it works for all, so i'm glad to hear that!

Yes it seems that a few people have concerns about her age so I may hold off on that for a bit. We wouldn't be doing anything intense for awhile just walking and jogging so she can get used to it, but again I may hold off for awhile.

But hey! At least I know what kind of harness for the future at least!

Thanks so much for your help!

-Alyssa
So, my X-Back is actually a cheap one from eBay, but as long as it's well-made and has the correct dimensions and build, where you go isn't a huge deal. That being said, its a terrific brand and I'll definitely be buying some of their stuff after I move.

I hope that helps a bit more!
 

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Okay, I'm just gonna jump in here real quick, so growth plates close between 18-24 months of age, which is why its important to keep the dogs intact at least until 2 years old. The filling out between 2-3 years old thing is true, though. I wouldn't start until around 18 months old. In the mean time, you can start a foundation in the groundwork (teaching directional cues and speeds). Then you can start low impact speeds and then once you get to 24 months, you can incorporate the actual pulling of the whole setup (bike/rig/etc).



So, my X-Back is actually a cheap one from eBay, but as long as it's well-made and has the correct dimensions and build, where you go isn't a huge deal. That being said, its a terrific brand and I'll definitely be buying some of their stuff after I move.

I hope that helps a bit more!

I see, that makes quite a bit of sense! Thanks!

However since my girl was spayed at 7 1/2 weeks old wouldn't she be done growing a bit sooner then? Before anyone freaks, no spaying her way to young was not my choice. The shelter doesn't have any options and spays/neuters as soon as possible.

I have a feeling that this has stunted her growth as she isn't very tall. However she seems to be decent for the standard but we'll see, she might just be slower on her growing.

I think I might just follow that then. So starting at 18 months old but only with a slower speed and getting used to the whole set up, and then at 24 months actually going as fast as she wishes?

I'd like to start soon, but I'd rather follow when others suggest since this is my first dog. I'd rather not act like a know it all and end up with a really messed up dog because of my choices.

So main question is since she was spayed so early would her growth stop earlier then normal?

Thanks so much for your help!!!

-Alyssa
 

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Gandalf I am seriously impressed at your ability to take those videos while roller blading and being pulled behind him!

To the OP- if your dog has that much energy, I cannot stress enough how helpful it will be to have the fundamentals super solid (gee/haw, on by, line out- whatever words you use for those things) before you ever try bikejoring. I have a young girl who just turned one who I am beyond excited to do all of the joring with when she's old enough, but whoo boy. I wouldn't dare get on anything with wheels/skis/sled behind her right now! All of that energy can change direction in an instant if they see something that's higher value than their obedience (squirrel, cat, dog, human, etc) and it's way less fun to hit the ground going fast and potentially with metal flying around. It can also really turn a dog off and make it skittish in the future if there's a crash or other negative incident.

There are awesome books and pamphlets out there with tons of strategies to teach dogs how to mush- literally from zero to trained competition level sled dog. Whichever harness you get, while you wait for the growth plates to close invest that time in the groundwork. It's not nearly as fun or glamorous lol, but I've got more than a few scars to show for the times I thought an energetic dog and I would be "just fine" to skip those steps and go straight to flying at 40mph ;) a bonus is that a lot of the groundwork will wear your dog out mentally and physically like nobody's business.

On the harness note, I've heard from a couple gsd owners that the x-backs don't fit their dogs as well, something about the proportions of the gsd not fitting quite right. That's not been my experience, but just something to keep an eye out for.

Best of luck, there's nothing quite so awesome as getting to a point where you're completely in sync with your dog while cruising down a trail :)
 

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Gandalf - I love the harness and videos! I myself would hit a tree lol with tempting to both lol but it looks like you have a nice straight path!
Thanks Jenny I want to say it was you who recommended the harness back a few months ago when I posted almost this same question lol, we love it! It's such a blast and he's a good boy, listens quick to commands and never veers off the path :smile2:
 

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Gandalf - I love the harness and videos! I myself would hit a tree lol with tempting to both lol but it looks like you have a nice straight path!
Thanks Jenny I want to say it was you who recommended the harness back a few months ago when I posted almost this same question lol, we love it! It's such a blast and he's a good boy, listens quick to commands and never veers off the path /forum/images/Germanshepherds_2016/smilies/tango_face_smile.png
Yes so glad so much fun! They make you get creative to burn all their energy but can be fun for all! They have beautiful harnesses I did some Christmas shopping there lol! I also like their led light collars for walking at night! The site can be dangerous lol!
 

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I tried a few different harnesses. I have the Howling Dog distance harness but don't love it for a dog who runs all-out. It's a nice middle of the road option, though, and puts very little pressure on the back or hips.

I love the Non-stop harnesses I have for my girls, https://www.non-stopdogwear.com/products/free-motion/ it looks like they sell them on Amazon now, that makes it easy.

A strong bungee line is important, get one designed for bikejor or canicross.

I'd start with just running with your girl and get her used to staying in front and commands especially on by. You can bikejor very short distances when she is young but keep it under a mile until she's matured if you are running on pavement. I like the pamphlet "training lead dogs" for the initial training work.

I prefer to run my dogs on dirt or trails whenever possible. We hardly ever run on pavement. It is better for their feet and joints especially when young to run on dirt vs. pavement.
 
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