Once upon a time I had a dog named Oscar. We adopted Oscar from a shelter when he was round 4 years old. Before us, his life must have been a storm. He was a skittish fellow who pretty much spent as much time as he could within 4 inches of me. Where I went, he went, closely. He liked to “hide” under a glass (and therefore see though) coffee table next to my spot on the couch. He had to turn around 3 times before he could go outside and once you made it outside you couldn’t throw balls around him because it sent him into “duck and belly crawl away” mode. He was part Australian Cattle Dog and had a great build for running- which he loved to do. The problem was there were certain lines he just wouldn’t cross- literally. You see, Oscar knew about invisible things that no one else could see. When I would take him running, sometimes we would come to what appeared to me to be a random point and he would stop and refuse to go one step further. You couldn’t coax him- he would pull back with all his might to prevent moving an inch. So, when this happened we always just turned around and went back the way we came. If figured it had to be “safe” since we had already traveled that path. I enjoyed running with Oscar so one day I decided to order a cool hands-free dog leash to try with him. Just after I ordered it, Oscar got sick and eventually had to be put down. I never even took the leash out of the bag- it just ended up in a basket somewhere and moved with us from one house to the next.
Currently we have two dogs. You’ve met Nico, My Running Partner. We also have a smallish, stocky, moose-like dog named Maggie. Today, my children wanted to take the dogs for a walk, which translates to me walking the dogs while they ride off on their bike and scooter. Knowing this, I decided to try and get a run in while my kids rode along. There was a problem though- they wanted to bring both dogs. This posed two challenges: First, Maggie is not a runner and still puppy enough to be a goofball. Second, Maggie Moose chewed through Nico’s leash when we went camping so we were down to only one. Then I remembered the hands free dog leash that was still tucked away in a basket in our laundry room and I figured, why not?
The “Cardio Canine Hands-Free Dog Leash” was still in it’s bag even though I’ve had it for 5 years. When I opened it up I found a waist belt and a carabiner like clip attaching the leash to the belt. It was easy to put on and pretty comfortable- though to be fair, I often run with a Fuel Belt so I don’t mind having things on my waist.
We headed outside and I liked it right away. It took Nico a few minutes to adjust to the length limitation, but he fell into a nice pace easily. The belt has loops for two dogs, but I only have the clip for one, so I ended up with both dogs on one side. Initially this caused a bit of off-balance tugging, but all three of us soon adjusted. Maggie had never been running with me before so it took her a bit longer, but eventually she did so well that I am considering taking her on my shorter runs.
The belt has a water bottle slot and came with one, so we brought it along. Both dogs are good at drinking waterfall style out of a water bottle, so this was actually pretty handy. The other cool features was the pouch on the back which fit my cell phone. I never run with my phone, I can’t stand having it strapped to my arm and have just never found a convenient way to bring it along. I realize that a cell phone could be useful when I’m out on the road alone, so it was nice to have an easy place to store it.
All in all, I really liked the Cardio Canine. I’m not sure that it will give me the control I want if something exciting happens, like we come across an interesting animal and Nico rushes off to say hello. (If I had both dogs attached to my waist and that happened, I’m pretty sure they would take me down.) The old leash I used with Nico had a hand loop close to the collar that I could use to reel him in when we ran past other dogs. As far as I can tell though, the system would work with any leash; we used Maggie’s regular leash today with no problems. So, I’ll probably just replace the one Maggie chewed through and use it with the belt so I can still have my hand loop and Nico will have his usual leash length. Overall, the belt was comfortable and the ability to swing your arms freely while still bringing your dog along is nice. If you are looking for a hands free way to take your dog with you- this may be the leash for you!