My dog is a bit of a brute. At 100 pounds and more athletic than most humans could ever dream to be, Rodney the Weimaraner has a ripped physique and an impressive bark to match. He is nine years old and he runs on heel or pulls on command, a hook-up for power on skis in the wintertime and a running partner by my side all year ‘round.
Living and getting out daily with a “fitness dog” like Rodney necessitates specialized equipment, and over the years I have acquired custom canine gear, fleece doggie jackets, and even fashionable items for workaday walks when I want my dog to stand out from the proverbial pack.
The latest “fashion piece” for Rodney is a collar called the Kahuna. Made by Stunt Puppy, a Minnesota dog-gear brand, the oversize collar uses webbing that’s 1.5 inches wide and comes with funky patterns as well as stout construction for the big dogs it’s built to adorn.
The Kahuna, which costs $25, is a collaboration with Croakies, a company most known for its sunglasses straps. Stunt Puppy worked with Croakies for its expertise in making high-strength nylon webbing that looks good, and the thick collar is offered in six colorful prints.
On the performance side, once the snow falls you’ll find Rodney showing off his X-Back Dog Harness from Skijor Now LLC. The company requires you to perform multiple measurements of your dog’s body before it custom-stitches the X-Back, a harness built for pulling humans around on skis.
I got the X-Back five years ago and it has endured many miles of Rodney’s worst. We fly on skis, and he never grimaces because the harness’ padded straps align to his anatomy like a glove. At $39.99, the Skijor Now harness is a bargain for any dog put into the pulling position on snow.
Dog park visits see Rodney wearing a collar with a built-in retractable leash. The Release N Run collar has a thin cord that serves as the leash — it pulls out of a slim compartment on the collar. A reeling mechanism retracts the cord instantly back into its hidden place when you let go.
For dog parks and wild areas where you rarely need a leash, the Release N Run collar, at $32.95, is a great option. The retracting cord is four feet long, and it is fine for casual walks when you’d rather leave your primary leash behind.
Toys keep Rodney entertained at home when he can’t be running. This summer, the Orbee Ball from Planet Dog has been a favorite. Touted as the “world’s best dog ball,” these rubbery spheres come in four sizes and cost $7 and up.
The Orbee Balls are nearly indestructible for chewers. They bounce and are somewhat soft for safety while tossing. Best part? The balls float, letting Rodney and I play by water and not worry about his favorite new toy sinking in the creek where he swims.