I’ve never been a big fan of hands free leashes/waist running belts for running with Guinness. To be honest, the idea scared me – he’s strong and fast and I had visions of myself flying through the air after him, or having the world’s worst rope burn around my middle.
One of our forum readers (thanks Crankygoat!) mentioned in a thread that he used the Buddy System. I had a look and noticed they had a bungee attachment, aptly named the Lunge Buster, and I wondered if that would make any difference.
The only way to find out was to try one!
When the Buddy System arrived, the first thing I did was put the waistband on and adjust it to fit. This was easy enough. I noticed that the leash attached to a loop on the belt that was free to move around my middle. I thought this was a very clever idea. Guinness likes to run in front of me and weave all over the place, so none of the trees or poles miss out on his attentions. This loop arrangement meant he could move across ahead of me from left to right without pulling me; the loop moved freely along the waistband. The system came with a second such loop so if I wanted to let him run free, I could then clip the other end of the leash to my waist. Nice design.
The other thing I liked was the clip that attached to the collar. It swivelled freely so Guinness could move around me and behind me without his leash twisting.
Now, the bungee. One end of the bungee clipped onto the waist loop, and the other attached to the leash. It looked just great, nice and stretchy yet it felt strong; I had confidence it would hold my 26kg Kelpie when he pulled ahead of me.
I popped the waistband on, and I attached the clip to Guinness’s head collar. The leash was easy to lengthen, which I found handy while we were running. I underestimated how much length Guinness would need and found myself almost running on his heels. I had no trouble making the leash longer without even breaking my stride.
We did the Parkrun with the Buddy System but pulled out after 2km. It was an extremely hot day and Guinness just wasn’t having fun. There was so much radiated heat from the concrete and from the river. However, that 2km was long enough to give the system a work out.
The Buddy System worked a treat. Guinness could meander around me, and pull this way and that, and the bungee stopped me being pulled hard. I was very quick to feel comfortable with it. The join between the bungee and the rest of the leash was perfectly positioned for me to reach and grab on to; it worked as a handle if I needed to pull Guinness out of the path of another runner.
The verdict? I love the Buddy System. It’s comfortable to run in, it absorbs the pull from my dog and it allows him to move freely from side to side. I’m certainly going to continue using it when I run with Guinness – now I just need to figure out what to do with my hands!
North America readers can obtain the Buddy System from Buddysys.com. Australian readers, keep an eye out – we’re hoping to have some stock here in the not too distant future.