Skijoring, canicross, bikejoring, mountainboard-joring. We were recently sent the Omnijore Joring system from Ruffwear. With Elsa and Steve having started their team relationship in running several months ago it seemed a great next step. Steve had asked me if I knew of a different harness, one better for running long distances. So I set to work and found the Ominijore from Ruffwear. Then I found out that there is an actual sport of Canicross and thought that it would be a perfect fit for the newly fledged running team.
Unfortunately we got our harness just before Elsa was spayed, then our September heat hit and now we are cooling down here in Socal. So this weekend was the trial run and it was a great one. When I opened the package the first thing that I thought was "wow, this is real gear." I got Elsa's harness out first and easily got it on and fit perfectly. There are many adjustment straps on it and she seemed very comfortable in it.
Then came Steve's hip belt; yep the human part of the team has a great padded lower back wide belt. There are straps that fit under your legs to keep the belt in place. He tried it on and with the adjustable straps he was able to get a good fit as well. There are several zippered pockets and a water bottle holder on the back of the padded belt.
But after their initial trying all the gear on it sat and waited for it's first actual trial until yesterday. The cloud cover was great, a light mist was falling and Steve was stoked and ready to go as was Elsa. We loaded everything in the car along with Luke and Elsa. Luke was going to hang with Mom and Steve and Elsa were going on their run. We dropped the running team off, got them both harnessed and hooked together and they were off. The tow line is longer than what they were use to at 8 feet relaxed, 10 stretched; so it was going to take a bit of time to get Elsa use to running so far out I thought.
The tow line contains a bungee section to take the impact off of the human team member. This allows the leash to stretch out two extra feet.
I got back in the car and we drove to the spot where we were to meet up after their run. I got Luke out just as the rain started so my camera stayed in the car for a bit. We did a little meandering around the park off leash as we waited for the rain to let up. Within minutes it was back to just a light mist so I grabbed my camera and tucked it under my jacket and we head out again. Luke did a little run around before he fell into his sniff mode as we waited.
Finally I spotted a red head through the bushes, they were heading our way. I pulled out my camera and got ready for some shots. The first shots were the best; Elsa spotted us and pulled her hardest to get to us. If any dog was ever built to do this sport it is Elsa; she adores running and her face tells the story. I just loved watching her run, head down and full steam ahead. I couldn't wait to hear what the test run was like, I had a million questions for Steve about the system. The first comment that he made was "great gear." Then he proceeded to fill me in on the whole system and how he liked it a lot. Our first reaction to the tow line being so long had been "wow this is really long." But after his run Steve said that it was perfect. The length made it easier to get her out from under foot and if she did veer off for a second he had time to compensate for it. He loved it.
The whole thing is very well made; Elsa's harness is great, I just love it. Steve said that it only took her a bit to get going and out in front. When I asked about other dogs on the path he said "if you need to shorten then you just grab it like any other leash" which is what he did as they approached us. He loved it so much that he asked if Elsa and he could head across the park for more running? Luke and I would go to the Xterra and swing around to pick them up.
The harness is very different from the walking harness that I use. This is a really good thing, because it will not take Elsa long to learn what this new harness means; and that is to run. At one point we switched dogs so that Luke could feel like he got a run in with Dad. As soon as I grabbed the tow line with Elsa on it I could feel her pull. She had a harness on that gave her something to lean into; she was pulling with all her might as I held tight. She didn't like the fact that her Dad was heading off without her but it was only for a moment so she soon relaxed when she saw that they were not going far. But I was excited to feel the pull from her and knew that this was going to be great.
I am really excited about this system. Both Steve and Elsa were beaming after the run and I love the way that the harness fit Elsa. She was wearing a size small and it fit her perfectly. This is not a harness for a meandering stroll, it is for powerhouse running. The way the harness is designed is to facilitate more pulling. If you have an athletic dog and would love to give them an outlet for their energy, Steve and Elsa highly recommend this system; as do I. ;)