When I received an email from Mark Schuette, the inventor of the Dog Power Scooter, asking me to check out his invention and let him know what I thought, I expected to see the vehicle used by Norman – the Wonder Dog. NOT.
Introducing Urban Mushing – A Sport for You and Your High Drive Dog! Mark and his invention were even spotlighted on CNN!
Mark Schuette wanted to exercise and have fun with his dog. But bicycles with dog leash attachments concerned him. The dog could forge out in front of the bike. And what if the dog had a high prey drive and spotted something irresistible? There had to be a better and safer way to bike with your dog. So he invented the Dog Power Scooter, a safe way for you and your dog to have fun.
The Dog Power Scooter can be dog or human powered. The human has total control. There is a Scooter model for one, two, three or more dogs. There is also a Trike that holds up to two dogs. The Trike system is totally stable with powerful steering and braking. The Trike can accommodate certain disabilities.
I had several safety questions for Mark:
Q1) Is there any way a dog could get hurt by this scooter?
A1) I’ve sold over 2,000 scooters with no reports of injury to the dog or rider. Sure, something freaky could happen, but I’ve crashed a few times in the ten years since I invented this. The rigging supports the dog side-to-side and vertically and the outrigger bar provides a roll bar to protect the dog if you happen to fall towards the dog. If you fall away from the dog, the rigging lifts the dog up and the front of the dog is suspended until you get back up and right the scooter.
Q2) Is it healthy for a dog to pull like this?
A2) The pull needed is no more than a high drive dog will pull on a leash. Once the rider kicks to get it [the scooter] rolling on the flat pavement or packed dirt.
Q3) What about hills, momentum and the ability to stop and not crash?
A3) The dog quickly learns when you are braking and cooperates and also can see and feel when you are turning and just has to follow through the turn. You can feel everything the dogs is doing through the rigging–for instance, when they [the dog] wants to stop to poop or pee.
Q4) Has a dog ever tripped, stumbled or fallen? I’m imagining the dog being dragged and injured.
A4) The rigging will not let the dog contact the side or fall, and the rider can see and feel if they are having a problem and can immediately stop to investigate.
Q5) What breeds would specifically benefit from this product?
A5) It’s more about the drive of the individual dog–not the breed. I’ve had customers with small dogs (18-22 lb. Jack Russell Terriers). But generally, I recommend 35 lb. for a single dog to pull an adult. But all my systems are based on a human powered rig-scooter, recumbent tadpole trikes, so the rider can do any or all of the work at any time.
Q6) Anything else you’d like to add?
A6) I’ve done a few of the trikes for Wounded War Veterans and their service dogs and it improves their spirit and mobility. Most of my customers are women, but kids can ride it as well as older or heavier folks. I’m 65 and I use it several times a week off and on road. I just finished a “Stretched Scooter” version that can handle 4-6 dogs and soon I will have a “Fat Tire” version for packed snow and sand.
What do you think of the dog powered scooter? Read more about it at www.dogpoweredscooter.com.