Sacco Dog Carts and Dog Scooters (also called Kick Bikes) are perfect for a person and their (dogs) German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) to get out and have some great fun! GSD are active dogs that were bred to trot for miles and miles per day. Use that movement to have some fun! I am blessed enough to own a Sacco Cart, Dog Scooter as well as German Shepherd Dogs!
My Day Dreams. Back before and until I owned Three German Shepherd Dogs, my dream was to have a three dog German Shepherd Sled Dog Team. I also had wanted a Two Dog GSD Sacco Cart Team. Now? My new dream? Is to have that Three/Six Dog German Shepherd Sled Dog Team, that did not work out for me all those years ago.....and to have three teams of two to pull me with a Sacco type Cart with that Flying Trot GSDs are so well known for.
I owned two German Shepherd Dogs (GSD or GSDs) at the time Sacco Carts came out on the market in the USA. My dogs were already pulling Carts, Wagons, Rigs, and Sleds. When I saw that Sacco Cart for the first time! I fell in LOVE! I wanted one so badly. But the cost of $2500 in the early 1990's was more than I had to spend.
I first saw one at an "upscale" Pet Store near where I worked and lived. After seeing them in person, oh, I wanted one more! The pet store had a video it was playing of Two German Shepherd Dogs pulling the Sacco Cart on all types of terrain. I was sooooooo hooked. (see video below)
You see? My dream was to own a Three Dog GSD Sled Dog Team. I would not be the first to own a GSD Sled Dog Team and I would certainly NOT be the last. GSDs love to run, love to work, love to please. GSDs are so easy to train to pull, to drive, to run....and that "Flying Trot" that GSDs are famous for! Perfect for longer runs. Part of my dream was three Coal Black GSD Sled Dog Team.....and I almost made it. (another story, another day) I did own Three GSDs, back then, but it never worked out that I had them as a Sled Dog Team working together (time wise).
But I still remember when I saw the video in the Pet Store of those two beautiful GSDs pulling the Sacco Cart how badly I so wanted to own a Sacco Cart and get my dogs running in front of it!
Here is what I believe was the video that was running in the Pet Store behind where the Sacco Cart was sitting....and yes, you could sit on the Sacco Cart they had on display there...and I did. The second video shows a good example of just where you can take a Sacco Cart. Trust me, you are going to want to own a Sacco Cart too.
As I have said on other pages, we lost our old photos and my over 50 years worth of collecting Breed, Species, and Training Books (hundreds of books) to black mold in WI. It is heartbreaking not to have the photos of the animals we loved. It breaks my heart not to have photos of my GSD, as well as our Alaskan Malamute, our Labrador Retrievers and Siberian Huskies photos pulling me the many, many, 100's of miles in my Sacco type cart.
Not only can this type of cart SCOOT! It is so much fun. I jumped lots of Subdivision Street Curves with mine, I have seen people go up and down steps with their Sacco Carts. It is just such fun!
I did race using the Sacco Cart (and win), and I was racing Labrador Retrievers at that time.
If you have one or two GSDs and want to get out and have a lot of fun, if you can find a Sacco Cart or Cart made the same way, the dogs are easy to train to pull it and they will love running in front of one! Just be sure to use the correct type of harness and make sure your brakes are working on your cart before you take off down the trail.....and your feet? Many times I used mine like Fred Flinstone cartoons!
I actually designed the Multipurpose Harness for my Sacco Cart in the early 1990's. When I designed this harness there was NOTHING like it on the market. There were only the D Style, X-Back, Siwash, Weight Pulling and Tracking harnesses for dogs at the time. I designed the buckle up top for sled dog training in water, so that if there was a snag, the dog could be unsnapped and out of the water very quickly.
I designed my Multipurpose Harness from necessity. I had gone out on the first day for a ride. I hooked my two Labrador Retrievers in. Each of the Labs were wearing a "D" type Harness.....and when I whistled for them to pull, they jumped right out of their "D" Style Harnesses. There I was sitting in the Cart, with two harnesses swinging on the shafts. I whistled and the dogs came right back. I went into the house and down to my Sewing Machine. I am a Harness Maker by trade and was at the time. I knew right away, or thought of it on the way down the stairs, the type harness I wanted to make.
When I designed my Multipurpose Harness, there was NOTHING LIKE IT on the market at the time. I designed it so that the harness front was like the old tested and true, hundred of years used, Siwash Harness. I also designed the harness so that my Labs could pull a boat in the lake near our home. I wanted the snap on top just in case they might become hung up on anything under water. I also wanted it to be able to pull a sled or rig or scooter as well as anything with four wheels and shafts. This type harness has worked very well for us for many years now.....as well as for satisfied customers.
Racing Information Below.
Dog Scooters (Dog Scootering or Dog Scooter Joring Scooterjouring and or Kick Bikes or Kickbike)
One well trained dog and one adult sized scooter (or even child's scooter if you are a smaller sized/build adult) = Hours of Fun! And great exercise for the dog and the scooter rider.
This is a photo of me and two our our Racing AKC Seppala line Siberian Huskies out for a run with my Adult Sized Scooter. My Scooter was an idea of mine own to "cut open" a Mountain Bike, bought at a Garage Sale for a couple of dollars, and to bend metal conduit into adult sized Scooter pars, weld it all back together. It came together well and we added a kick plate and gave it a new paint job. This Scooter has seen 100's of miles. I LOVE IT!
If you are thinking this looks like fun, and it is, be sure to have the right equipment. That child's sized scooter that has been out in your garage might work out, but make sure everything is in working order before hooking a dog up to the front of it and heading down the trial.
Razor Scooters? Not so much. Could a dog pull you on a Razor Scooter? Yes. Would it be much fun....not as much as a Dog Pulling You On A Larger Tired Scooter.
Make sure your tires are in good repair and will hold air. Dry rotted tires will not do, not even for a very short trip. If one pops, it will scare your dog, over you will go and the dog will either be dragging the scooter off, or you and the scooter off at a fast and scared clip. The dog's career as a Scooter or any type of Sled Dog Work, probably over at that point.
Brakes are also sooooo very important. Make sure they work for both front and back tires. Will those brakes stop your dog? No. Your dog needs to be trained well before hooking it up to a Scooter.
If you are looking at buying a Dog Scooter, remember that the bigger the tires, the smoother the ride. Scooters, like Bicycles, come in sizes, make sure the one you buy fits you.
If you are looking at buying a Used Scooter, make sure it is in Good Repair. If you do not know about how to look over the wheels, for trueness and tires for rotting, as well as brake pads and lines, take the Scooter to someone who knows how to look it over, or take it to a Bicycle Shop and have them give it a look/going over. If it needs work, you might find it will be cheaper to buy a new Scooter than to buy used and have to work done to it to make it safe to use.
After you have your Dog Scooter, take it out and ride it WITHOUT your dogs attached. Learn to ride it well. I HIGHLY recommend wearing a Bicycle Helmet, Knees and Elbow Pads. Learn to kick the Scooter (using your foot to peddle) from both sides, that is, using both of your feet and legs.
Photo is of Marna with Turquoise here in NW SD.
After your dog is trained the Sled Dog Commands and is well behaved and you are ready to hook your dog to the Scooter, make sure to use a good weight of Gangline (the poly rope that hooks from the dog's harness to the Scooter). Take it easy at first and learn to keep that line (gangline) tight. You sure DO NOT want that rope to get wound up into your front wheel.
If you are interested in teaching your dog to pull a Scooter, and who would not be, go to our Sled Dog page here at this site for information on training your dog to pull...
The photo is of the Scooter we bought to have some fun with our dogs here. This one was my 60th Birthday Gift from Deron. We are having fun with this Scooter with and without dogs.
This Scooter/Kickbike is only one of the many types and sizes of Adult Sized Scooter also called Kick Bikes you will be able to find for sale on the Internet.
One dog is fun, two dogs are faster, three dogs.....???? Well, you better have great balance and very well trained dogs!
Scroll Down for Information on Racing Your Dogs in front of a Scooter! Man! It's Fun!
And Just A Note: KICK BIKES ~ FOOT BICYCLES ARE A LOT OF FUN EVEN WITHOUT DOGS!
Kick Bicycles, Scooters, are a LOT of fun! They are very popular in Finland, Sweden and German and in fact, Europe. They have races and such just like bicycles.
Scooters are easier to ride than a bicycle, and balance is easy to learn....and you are only about 4" off the ground with no bars between your legs to fall onto.
I LOVE MINE! With or without dogs. Not only is it fun, it is a GREAT WORK OUT! With the Scooter Work Out, you use different muscles that with other work outs or bicycle riding. Mostly those used when a person skis.
Dog Drivers/Mushers work hard on the trails with their dogs...and they Musher needs to stay in shape. Kick Bicycles are a GREAT Way to do this. If you are going to Race Dogs pulling a Scooter, getting out without the dogs in front will not only keep you in shape, but you learn to handle the Scooter itself well...not a bad skill to have when planning to race on it.
Deron and I wear very BRIGHT colored clothing and helmets when out riding our Bicycles and Scooters on the Roadways and Bike Paths. No one can run into us then claim, "I did not see him/her/them."!
Photo of Deron in Belle Fourche.
DOG SCOOTER HARNESSES
You MUST use the correct type of Dog Harness for this sport. NEVER, EVER, NEVER!, have your dog pull you by the collar on it's neck. This can be fatal to your dog.
A Recreational, Multipurpose, X-Back, Harness will work great. You want a Sled Dog type neck collar on the Dog Harness you use. The "D" type Harness, or the type with only a strap across the chest is not a safe harness to use for pulling. The Sled Dog type Dog Harness fits the dog so that the dog is always pulling from the chest. The one strap across the chest can ride up on the dog and choke it, or it can ride down on the dog's body and the dog and the strap will sit right between the dog's chest and where it's legs meet the body. This is uncomfortable and unsafe for the dog.
Your Dog Harness also needs to have proper Sled Dog Padding on the harness so that the webbing/leather does not rub the dog as it is working. The padding also gives the dog's body relief from pain from the webbing/leather digging into the dog's body as it works. (imagine carrying a heavy backpack with NO padding on the straps on your pack.....yes, ouch)
You might want to carry a few, up to four, Dog Booties that fit the dog you are working with properly. This way if the trail gets rough or if your dog injures it's foot, you are prepared.
MORE BELOW ON RACING WITH YOUR DOGS WHILE THEY PULL YOU ON A DOG SCOOTER/KICKBIKE.
TRANSPORTING YOUR DOG SCOOTER
Dog Scooters are large and most do not fit into the average person's vehile. So transportation can become an issue. How will you get to the trails to train or to the races to race? Or just be able to take your do and Scooter other places than home to run?
Keep in mind that tossing your Scooter in the back of a Pick Up Truck can do damage to the Scooter as it rides and moves around back there.
Stuffing larger Scooters into jammed areas of your car can break your Scooter and perhaps in ways you will not see, until you are on the trail and....
Using the average Bicycle Rack may or may not work. There are things to think about.
Most Bicycle Racks hold the Bicycle by the Frame....Scooters are made differently.
much more to come
Have Fun and Be Safe!
YOUR OWN SAFETY, AND YOUR DOG'S SAFETY, IS UP TO YOU! Keep in mind, it is up to you to train your own dog for this type of activity. We can not and will not be held responsible for the training you have into your dog or the Scooter you hook your dogs to, neither of which we have control over. Make sure you know how to ride the Scooter well yourself before ever hooking a well trained dog in front of it. Know that not only should your dog wear a proper Sled Dog Type Harness, you too should dress correctly.....long sleeves, pads, and a helmet...
WE HAVE SET UP A HARNESS TRAINING JOURNAL FOR OUR OWN GSDs, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, ON THE SLED DOG PAGE HERE ON THIS SITE, see the Navigation Menu at right, WE WILL ADD PHOTOS, ON IT YOU MIGHT FIND IDEAS OF HOW YOU CAN TRAIN YOUR OWN DOGS TO PULL.
We are adding photos, here to this page, of our dogs pulling Scooter and our Sacco Cart.
Photo is of Deron being pulled on our Schwinn Shuffle by Texas Tea 3-4-2017 here at our place in NW SD.
SCOOTER BRAKES AND HARNESS WEBBING TINSEL STRENGTH
Just a note to the wise here.
I see a LOT on Working Dog Websites about Scooter Brakes, the best type, and the Tinsel Strength of the Webbing that the Dog Harnesses are made from....
While that is all nice and fine:
HERE'S THE TRUTH!
From years and years of Dog Sled Racing and Harness Making Experience I can tell you FOR SURE AND FOR CERTAIN, It is not the Brakes on the Scooters or the Tinsel Strength of the webbing, it is THE TRAINING YOU HAVE INTO YOUR DOG!
SCOOTER BRAKES: Once the wheels stop turning, that is all the breaks can do. Grip Type Brakes will stop those as well as any high end brakes. It is the "WHOA!" the dog needs to listen to.
WEBBING TINSEL STRENGTH: Yes. Tinsel Strength IS Important. But. It is the stitching of the harness, what thread was used, how many times the sewer went over the same, if sewn areas have the box stitch....THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT ON A DOG HARNESS. A Dog Harness will come apart at the seams, LOOOONG before the webbing breaks from anything a dog can or will pull.
DOG SCOOTER AND SACCO CART ACCESSORIES
Water Bottle Cage. And. The Water Bottle. This is important for the Scooter Driver, but more important for the Dog Pulling the Scooter. You can drill holes for one or more Water Bottle Cages on your Kick Bike Frame, that is if, your Foot Bicycle's Frame did not come set up for a Water Bottle Cage. Or. You can buy Water Bottle Cages that will not only adapt to the Frame, but will also hold several sizes of Bottles.
Dogs can easily be taught to drink from the flow of a Water Bottle with a nipple.
I like the Velcro type with the rubber set up and use these for longer runs/bicycle rides. I do add a larger/longer piece of webbing with Velcro Closures to go all around the Cage and Bottle...but I usually ride on rougher trails. I tend to make my own, or enhance/improve for my uses, most of the equipment I use.
When Deron and I ride our bicycle on longer, 30 - 40 mile rides we carry extra fluids. Larger bottles of Gatorade work well in this set up.
Some sort of Bag, Handlebar, for Scooter, or Back Bar for Sacco Cart, is always a good idea. You will need a few items with you on the trail....like water for yourself, but mostly water for your dog. You might also carry along, Flat Tire Tools and Repair Kit, Dog Treats, Cell Phone and such.
This is a photo of mine. I like the Bright Colors for safety as well as the Reflective Tape in the front.
I LOVE CAMELBAKS and Deron and I own a few. These are WONDERFUL FOR BICYCLE, SCOOTERS...but not so much a Sacco Cart where you have a back to the seat you sit in. Remember too, that you will need to also carry a bottle of Water for your dog, you might, but I do not, let my dog drink from the same spout I drink from.
Camelbaks are easy to use and are RIGHT THERE FOR YOU WHEN NEEDED!
It is a good idea to really know how far your dog has run. I will tell you for sure, when you are having fun riding the Scooter with your dog PULLING the Scooter, miles ad quickly. Do not over work your dog.
It is also nice to be able to record your miles as the year goes by....and for Racing. Knowing how your dogs is doing per mile will be very helpful for not only races, but other group events.
Tools. At the very least, carry a Tire Repair Kit. They are inexpensive, worth their weight in GOLD when you need it, and pretty easy to us. Even if you do not know how to change your tire, carry one of these with you...someone might come along and have pity on you.
You might also need a tool to take your tires off to change the tubes, if so...have it with you.
Bicycle Pogies..... Bicycle Handlebar Mittens. These allow you to wear lighter gloves, or no gloves, keep very warm hands, and still be able to work your brakes, or snaps on dog harnesses quickly and easily without dropping gloves. The type I make has ventilation so that if you start warming up you can open it a bit or more and still have a wind break on the front of your hands.
RACING IN DOG SCOOTER/KICKBIKE and or SACCO CART CLASSES
I used to and who knows, might again, Race Sled Dogs with Sleds, Rigs, Scooters and Sacco Carts....yes, I won now and again too! Oh the fun and excitement.
RACING IS FUN! LOTS AND LOTS OF FUN! You also get to meet new people that enjoy the same sport as you do. New friends and possibly even training companions.
But there are a few things you should know.
ONLY RACE WITH WELL TRAINED DOGS! If your dogs have never been on the trail with other dogs and people, get out there and practice that. Your dog NEEDS to know how to pass other dogs and dogs pulling scooters Head On and Passing WITHOUT bothering the other team.
Your dog NEEDS to know all the Sled Dog Commands and OBEY them before you enter a race.
YOU NEED to know all the rules of the race. The Hows and Whys and Wheres and such. And, YOU NEED to OBEY them. IF you do not like the way the Race Committee does things, OBEY at the races, then Volunteer YOUR time to set things up the way YOU might like to see them done.
Be kind to you dog...even when it is misbehaving. Handle corrections quietly and without violence. Again I say, Train At Home.
Get along with the people and their animals.
Groom Your Dogs.
Groom YOURSELF. Wear a nicer coat than your Kennel Coat when you are out and about with your dogs. If you wear "Barn Clothes" it makes the Sport look badly to outsiders.
Make SURE YOUR Equipment is in Good Repair...and that it looks nice.
The Bigger The Tires, The Smoother The Ride/Run. If you race with smaller tires on your Scooter, not only will the Driver feel all the rocks and such, the dogs will through their harnesses.
Take/Load Extra in your vehicle. Extra What? Extra everything you are able to. Extra Ganglines, an Extra Harness for your dogs, Extra Boots or the type of Shoes you race in. An Extra Coat. Extra Dog Food, an Extra Dog Bowl... If it is ever going to break, get chewed or get lost, it will probably be when you really need it.
Don't Change or Try Anything New On Race Day. Use the equipment, that is, what you have used, during fun runs and practice runs. A new harness might look fine and the same to you, but it might fit the dog a bit different than his usual. If you are buying new harnesses for races, buy them and use them before you have your dogs race in them. No New Anything On Race Day.
Don't let other Racers Psych YOU Out....yes, this really happens at Sled Dog Races. Comments like one or more of these, "Is your dog limping?", "Are you using THAT sled/rig/scooter/cart?", "Is that all you are wearing out there?", "I hope you have good balance, that trail gets....(fill in the blank with words like, Deep, Steep, Windy, Sharp Turns, Wet, Slick....). If it rattles a person, it gives the sayers an edge to win. And yes, they say it as if to HELP you....
There are now MANY Scooter Races one could enter. If there are none in your own area, check the Internet. Sled Dog Races are worth traveling to, even if you come in last. It if Fun and Exciting!
There are also Scooter Races that you could participate in even without dogs.
Bottom Line is:
HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE!
KEEP THIS IN MIND:
It costs a LOT to get to that Starting Line at a Race. Not just financially. Time. Serious Racers Have A LOT Of Time Involved LONG BEFORE THEY GET TO THE STARTING LINE.
The fastest dogs don't always win races. Well Trained Fast Dogs Win Races.
Don't show up with untrained dogs that can jam up another racer. If your dogs tangle in the other racers lines, that ruins the finishing time for them. If your dogs will not move over on the trail out of the way of another racer passing you, that too takes away from their time. EVERYONE WORKS HARD TO GET TO THAT STARTING LINE. BE A GOOD SPORT OUT THERE, AND THAT INCLUDES GETTING OUT OF ANOTHER RACERS WAY ON THE TRAIL. If you need to get off your Scooter/Cart/Sled/Rig to run up and grab your dogs so that another racer can pass you, DO IT QUICKLY!
MORE PHOTOS OF OUR DOGS PULLING SCOOTERS AND OUR SACCO CART
SCOOTER DOG COLLECTABLES!
Driving Dogs while riding a Scooter became really popular in the late 1990's. Daphne Lewis did/has done everything she could to bring light unto the Sport.
Now people around the World are enjoying their one or two dogs as Sled Dogs. There are Races and Events all over for people to attend with their Dogs and Scooters.
The Sport is so Popular now that there are collectables a person can enjoy on their shelves and or Christmas Trees....
RESTORING OUR HAND CRAFTED DOG SCOOTER
In 1995 I wanted a Dog Scooter to race my Sled Dogs with in the races that the Gateway Sled Dog Club was going to be hosting in St. Louis, MO...where I lived at the time.
We were raising sons and money was tight. I had to use my Brain and Crafting Skills rather than the 'Pocketbook'.
I had a Flyer from the Bicycle Shop that was from Germany and had several Adult Sized Scooters for sale....FOR A LOT OF MONEY....PLUS SHIPPING.
As I looked at the Photos of the Scooters in that Flyer I thought......'Why couldn't I cut up a Mt. Bike from a Garage Sale and weld it here and there and....'....so that is what we did. I think I paid about $1 for the Bicycle with 24" Tires and got out the Hack Saw. Soon my X was bending Metal Conduit and off to the welder it went....
After a White Paint Job with lots and lots of Purple and Turquoise Dots put on it with Fingernail Polish.....it was ready to race....AND I WON EVERY RACE I ENTERED WITH IT.
With moving and all the years outdoors....not having a shed or garage for it....time took it's toll.
more to come
I would like to invite you to join us on a Yahoo Group that I host called Working Big Dogs.
And another yahoo group called Scooter Dog Photos where we would love for you to share your photos of your dogs pulling scooters
-- The Working German Shepherd Dogs Team Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:42:40 -0400
Get out with your dog. GSD are great backpacking dogs, but should not be overpacked. Keep their loads down to about 12% of their body weight. You will not find a better \trail mate\ than a GSD that loves you! You will also be safer in camp with your GSD along on your trip.