Go Running With Your Dog! Build a Hands Free Leash




About: Hi- I'm here to spend less time thinking and more time creating stuff. My new project is a hands free dog running system assembled from rock climbing gear. It's call the Ri Runner named after our dog 'Ri'.

Hi, meet Ri our trusty hound who loves to run with us.   Up until we hacked together this hands free solution we were having a less than steller running experience with her using a regular dog leash.  

We have some thoughts to evolve this into a future product (we call it the Ri- Runner) but we thought people might want to build their own version of the initial prototype.  Have fun...be safe...and lets us know what you think.

Eric, Abbey and Ri

Step 1: Step 1: Source the Gear

Gear List:
1- eager mutt (ours is called Ri and she is always ready for a run; even when we aren't up for it!)
1- rock climbing carabiner (found at your favoriate outdoor gear outlet store; we use a 'locking' style but it's not necessary)
1- regular dog leash (i'm guessing you have a couple around the house already but for this setup a 3-4' leash is best fit)
1- rock climbing sling (found at your favoriate outdoor gear outlet store; size matters as the appropriate length is crucial to achieve a best fit more on this later- see step 3 on how to size)
1- poop bag...while Ri dosen't usually go on the run we are always prepared to pick up and carry out
1- an eager dog owner usually helps too!

Step 2: Step 2: Assemble the Leash Portion

Assemble the leash portion by tying a knot around the narrow end of the carabiner (see pic).   And tie the poop bag onto the leash. 

The trick is to tie the knot at a point on the leash that you and your mutt will find comfortable which will be different for each owner/dog combo.  You will likely adjust this knot a couple times on your first run until finding the perfect length so dont worry about getting this perfect the first time.    

When tying the knot for the first time start by attaching the leash to your dog.  With dog at your left side put the carabiner on the leash and hold it up to your left hip with your left hand.  Use your right hand to pull the slack portion of the leash through the carabiner until reaching a comfortable distance for both you and your dog.  Now tie the knot around the narrow part of the carabiner where your left hand is holding the leash.  

Remember it's not important to get the length right the first time BUT it is important to have a comfortable amount of slack for both you and your dog.  After running with Ri using this system for >6months I have about 26" of length.   

Step 3: Folding the Climbing Sling

Fold the climbing sling into a figure 8 and then flip one side on to the other to make one loop.

The important part of this step is to use a climbing sling the correct length so that when you put it on as shown in Step 4 that the lower portion of the sling rests comfortably around your hips.   

If you don't rock climb you likely won't have a bunch of slings laying around the house like we did but you can bet your favorite outdoor gear store will!  The friendly staff at most stores wont mind you trying on different sizes to find the best fit.  Check out Step 4 to see how to put on the climbing sling.

Step 4: Put on the Harness...

The harness goes on you not the dog. :)  

This sequence of steps will be repeated each time you go running.  After folding the correctly sized climbing sling as in Step 3 start by putting it on so that the loop crosses from your right shoulder to your left hip (see first picture).  This will postion the anchor point for the carabiner at your left side.

Rather than write out instructions here I hope the sequence of pictures will be the best guide to put on climbing sling to make the harness.    

Step 5: Go Running!



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    8 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea and will be stopping by my local REI for the carabiner and sling this weekend. I just wanted to let you know that there is a similar product that is out on the market called the Buddy leash: http://www.amazon.com/The-Buddy-System-Hands-Regular/dp/B0002ZAZLC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359053009&sr=8-1&keywords=buddy+leash

    I actually believe that your system is superior to the buddy leash because it's much more secure since they use plastic snap buckles and not carabiners.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Love the simple efficiency of this idea - looks like it works like a charm!
    Hope your product sells!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    cute pooch!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe I'm missing something, but is there something extra you do when attaching the carabiner to the sling to keep it from sliding around? So that the whole thing doesn't shift forward?


    5 years ago

    I would make one, but my dog doesn't run next to you. He takes off!!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi everyone, we added a video to Step 5...check it out to see Ri and the Ri Runner DIY prototype in action!