The harness and the wagon / cart are the main pieces of equipment.

equipmentDanika pulls a cart OrovalesCoolHandLukeLuka works with a travois.


The Harness

HarnessPhoto1Styles of harnesses    HarnessPhoto2

lilpawParade or 'Road' Harness: This is the one most commonly found in most pet stores for around $15. Although it can be modified to be used with wheeled vehicles, it doesn't come with the secondary set of 'stopper' D-ring attachments. The D-rings or some other form of them are what are attached to the shafts on either side of the dog, at the broadest point of the upper arm, to provide resistance when backing up or coming to a stop on a downhill situation. These can be easily added with a commercial sewing machine or HD rivet machine. This harness can be used for beginners in training situations or rigs that use a travois or drag sheet as their vehicle.

lilpawCarting Harness: This is the standard harness that you will see the majority of dogs using. It comes in both nylon and leather versions. It has the required backup d-ring's to facilitate control and normally comes with traces, which are the leads which attach the harness to the vehicle. It is easily put on and taken off the dog. These harnesses come in sizes which makes it important to get a proper fit. Improperly fit or adjusted harnesses make it uncomfortable on your dog as well as impede its best efforts at pulling your load.

lilpawSiwash Harness: The Siwash harness is a style of harness that is akin to putting a form-fitting glove on your dog that make of a series of sewn nylon webbing. When first taken out of the box, it might make you wonder which end is up or if there is an up at all. Once you see it on the dog, you quickly see the benefits of this harness. Again this style of harness is made in a range of sizes so its important to get the right size for your dog. The equipment manufacturers have charts to assist you in this. The cons of this harness are that it is complicated for the first timer to put on and in a competition circumstance can lead to improper installation on the dog. The pros are that the harness evenly distributes the load across the chest and shoulder areas without impeding the front reach of the dog. The dog can better control his load without it feeling sloppy.

lilpawFreighting style Siwash: The freighting style Siwash harness is slightly different from the previous one in that it is used to control loads usually associated with sleds. Tarps and drags or wheeled vehicles with low attachment points. The differences are subtle yet important. The angle with which the traces project from the harness to the object being pulled are critical and using the wrong style for the wrong application can lead to a harness that bunches up and doesn't evenly distribute loads across the entire nexus of webbing. Another feature of this harness is that it usually incorporates a wooden spreader bar.

Thank you to the Sierra West Bernese Mountain Dog Club for this material

Be sure to watch these harnessing videos:

Harnessing Dog -

Connecting Cart -

Directions to Build Your Own Cart

A few resources to investigate - Leo-U only furnishes these links and does not guarantee their content.

Product Sales Harnesses, carts, wagons & more Harnesses, carts, wagons & more Harnesses plus other drafting apparatus

Draft carts by Wilczek (

Other Resources
Book: Newfoundland Draft Work (available from Dog Works or Nordkyn Outfitters)
Video: An Introduction to Canine Carting with Beth Ostrander (available from Dog Works)