For generations, cultures around the world have used dogs as pack and draft animals. Even if you don't need your dog to work for you, carting provides your canine companion with exercise, discipline and bonding time with his owner. With some specialised but easily accessible supplies and some basic tools, you can convert a child's wagon into a cart that your dog can pull with ease and pride.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Child's wooden or metal wagon
- Cart shafts
- Connecting hardware
- Eye bolts
- Paint (optional)
Remove the pull handle from the wagon.
Attach eye bolts to the front of the wagon. How many you install will depend upon your dog's harness; some harnesses use only one attachment point, in the centre of the front, while others use two, spaced a few inches in from each side of the front. Drill the holes and attach the eye bolts. Use locking nuts and trim the bolt on the inside so there's nothing to scratch any passengers or cargo riding in the wagon.
Attach the wagon shafts to the wagon tongue. If the connector is wider than your wagon tongue, use washers to fill in the space. Use locking nuts for security.
Paint or decorate your wagon if you choose.
Tips and warnings
- Use a metal or wooden wagon; plastic ones won't hold up under the stress of carting.
- Be sure that your wagon rolls smoothly on its wheels; you can fix cosmetic issues easily, but fooling with bent axles and such will probably be more trouble than it's worth.
- If you have the skill, and access to a pipe bender, you can make your own wagon shafts out of aluminium tubing.
- Attachments for the traces can be welded on to a metal wagon if desired.
- The wider the wagon, the more stable it will be when pulled. A narrow wagon can get "tippy" around corners.
- Even small dogs can pull a wagon; let your beagle pull a tiny cart with a few water bottles on your next walk.
- Measure your dog carefully before buying supplies; wagon shafts must fit properly in order to be comfortable for your dog to pull.
- Use locking bolts on all hardware whenever possible. Having your wagon disconnect from your dog's shafts mid-carting is neither pleasant nor safe.
- Be sure your dog is physically fit and don't overload the cart.
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