Joring – or tiring out a hound

Jasper is a cross between two scent hound breeds: a Welsh Fox Hound, and an Otterhound. Bred for stamina – running 4-6 hours a day without a care – tiring out the houndy, hairy chap is a challenge.

He is very good at coping without that level of activity daily. He shows no typical signs of a bored dog: destruction, aggression, plain naughtiness. But I have always wanted to find something we can do together that taps into his urge to run and that will push him a little.

What the hell is a dog scooter?

That’s what I am generally asked when first mentioning it.

Imagine a child’s push-scooter. Now, imagine one large enough for an adult. Now imagine one tricked out with mountain bike style wheels and tyres, suspension forks, and attitude. Not attach a long leash to the front, and a dog to the front of the leash. That is a dog scooter.

Many are designed for on-road use, but with a difficult hound, plus many years of mountain biking behind me, off-road style was a better fit for us.

Kostka

Scooter brands for this purpose are limited right now. There are some in the US, several in Europe, where this is starting to take off, even as a competitive sport.

I opted for a brand that has been making not only adult push-scooters, but ones specifically tailored for joring – being pulled along by one or more dogs.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 10.54.20
Kostka Mushing Max

Isn’t that a lovely thing..? If you are in the UK, I recommend sourcing dog scooters from Kickscootuk.com.

So, he just pulls you along?

Basically, yes. And the main challenge is holding him back long enough to get myself on the scooter. He loves to run, and loves to pull (something that has proved a problem on daily walks, as you can imagine).

His size and strength means he has little difficulty in pulling me along. He slows up hill, understandably, at which point I help by pushing in sync with his pulling rhythm.

On the flat, or on a descent, where momentum means he does not have to pull so hard or not at all, he loves the freedom of the run so much he will shout (bay) with pure joy.

It’s not all straight

A scent hound wants to scent. A fox hound wants to scent foxes. Foxes live in the woods and tend not to follow the tracks between the trees.

This often sees me praising and thanking the hydraulic disc brakes on my scooter. All too often, in top gear, Jasper will scent a whip of fox and immediately head off at a tangent.

The whip of a flailing scooter had me sporting bruised ankles on our first run, but we are both settling into better techniques now.

This is what it’s like

This is a terrible video thanks to inadequate equipment, but it shows Jasper running along tracks – and sometimes wanting the wrong tracks – near home at Wilsey Woods. There are far better quality joring videos on YouTube if you want more.

4 Comments

  1. Claudia
    May 26, 2015
    Reply

    This makes me love Jasper even more! I so wish I could meet him.

    • ndadmin
      May 31, 2015
      Reply

      You’ll just have to bring the family over for a holiday 🙂

  2. May 26, 2015
    Reply

    Great to see you post about it (and that a little of my bad filming of you two could help show what it’s all about.) 🙂

  3. Carole
    August 5, 2015
    Reply

    They say owners end up looking like their dogs – not sure whose beard is greyer…..

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