Ziggy, our five year-old Retriever-Husky rescue from Northern Ontario is not a fan of summer. But come winter, the playful puppy re-emerges, and he can’t wait to run. And pull.
Ziggy was made for winter activities like pulling while we ski (skijoring), winter trail run (cani-cross) and snowshoe (I don’t know if there’s a K9 moniker for that one!).
Kula, our seven year-old Husky-Shepherd/Britney Spaniel taught Ziggy everything he knows and is even more of a pulling enthusiast than he is. Unfortunately, she tore the cruciate ligaments in her back legs (first one was two years ago, second was last summer), so she is still on the injury list. (However, she is recovering very nicely thanks to Molly from Canadian Animal Rehab Services.)
Years ago, when I first started running with Kula – and later skiing on Lake Couchiching – I tried to fabricate a belt and harness system that would work for us. Not knowing anything about this amazing world of skijoring and cani-cross, I also didn’t know that there was gear specifically designed to allow your dog to be tethered to you, so that both you and your dog could perform the activity safely, efficiently and comfortably.
Fast forward a few years, and we are now proudly carrying – and using – the great line of dog-powered sporting gear from Non-stop. Based out of Norway, with representation now in North America, the Non-stop products are ideal, whether you’re skiing, walking, hiking, running, even biking (maybe not in the winter!) with your dog or dogs. They also make gear for dog sledding, but our focus is on the one-to-one (or one-to-two) connection between human and dog(s).
Technically, the gear is amazing. We (and especially Ziggy and Kula) are big fans of both the Half Harness and the Freemotion Harness. These harnesses are well-padded and adjustable, with excellent, durable stitching and lots of reflective elements built in. We especially love the Half Harness because of the ease of getting it on and off using the dual-clip system and for its versatility.
Connecting dog to human is a breeze with the very flexible and durable Bungee Leash that comes in two lengths (2.0 and 2.8 metres) to accommodate different activities.
For the humans at the other end of the leash, Non-stop has several different belts, depending on the activities you’re doing. The Running Belt is a lightweight performance belt, ideal for trail running with your dog. They also have the Comfort Belt, which is perfect for skijoring, as it features two leg straps that prevent the belt from riding up your bag and a webbed construction that distributes the force of your dog’s pulling comfortably across your pelvis.
Our favourite is the Trekking Belt. It’s extremely versatile, which means you can use it for light running, hiking, skiing or snowshoeing. It has lots of padding, removable leg straps and employs a dual, easily adjustable buckle system for the belt, which means sharing among people with different sized waists is, literally, a cinch!
The gear from Non-stop is also really well priced, so it affords a great way for you and your dog to safely and comfortably enjoy outdoor activities together, while ensuring that both of you get the exercise you need.
Happy Trails and Happy Tails!