How to make a dog harness for pulling carts

Written by stephanie ellen
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Whether you have a Springer Spaniel, a Pomeranian or a Rottweiler, many breeds of dog can be trained to pull a cart Some dogs (like Siberian Huskies), have a natural instinct for it. Just say "Mush!" and they're off. To coax your dog into pulling weight, you need a little patience, lots of treats and love, and a harness that is comfortable and well-made. Home-made harnesses can fit the bill, as long as Fido or Scruffy is willing to stand long enough for his fitting. Within a few hours, he'll be attached to a cart and pulling in comfort and style.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 4 yards of 1-inch nylon webbing
  • 1 yard polyester fleece (10 inches wide)
  • Heavy polyester thread
  • Needle
  • 1/4-inch solid braid nylon rope, 18 inches long
  • Dressmaking pins

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  1. 1

    Fold the webbing in the centre at a 40-degree inside angle. Sew together, leaving a quarter-inch loop at the end to slid a nylon rope through.

  2. 2

    Place the sewn webbing joint at the base of the dog's tail. Pull each side along your dog's ribcage and under the front leg. Cross the webbing strips under the front legs, and pull up and over the opposite shoulder. Pin the place where the webbing strips crossed.

  3. 3

    Pull the webbing strips over the shoulder blades, leaving a little room under the webbing for a fleece strip. Cross again at the neck and pin the joint. Continue bringing the webbing down straight (do not bend at an angle). Pin the webbing where it meets the webbing strip going along the dog's flanks. Cut the webbing at this point.

  4. 4

    Remove the harness and sew the three new joints together.

  5. 5

    Use the remaining webbing pieces to create a backstrap, a piece of webbing sewn about 6 inches in from the dog's tail, going from hip to hip. Sew into place on the harness.

  6. 6

    Cut the fleece padding. Measure along the harness from the joint at the base of the neck, under the legs, and through to the armpits. Add 6 inches to this length. Fold the fleece over five times, so that it is 2 inches wide and 5 layers thick. Sew onto the harness.

Tips and warnings

  • The sizes given are for a 55-pound dog. Make adjustments in webbing length and width for larger or smaller dogs. For example, larger dogs (over 27.2 Kilogram) may need 1.5-inch webbing.
  • Watch your dog for signs that he isn't comfortable, including not wanting to pull. This may be a sign your home-made harness is causing discomfort or pain.

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