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Iron Doggy Rules for Hands-Free Running

It happens: You’re on a predawn run at Strawberry Canyon with your mutt. Just as you top the pesky Separator and are hopelessly out of breath, he bounds out of sight chasing after something—skunk, fox, rabbit, squirrel?

Dang! You shouldn’t have let him off leash, but holding onto that leash sure was a hassle.

Next time out, let Iron Doggy come to your rescue. It’s a hands-free leash system—a waist belt with a shock-absorbing bungee-ish leash—for runners that will keep your dog near.

The company, according to its bio, was started by two women who loved running and their dog, Zola, passions that prompted them on a never-ending quest for the perfect running leash as they hit the trails around their rugged Denver home because Zola had the annoying bad habit of dashing off, hightailing it after bunnies and squirrels. Holding a leash interfered with their running form, so after being unhappy with and disappointed by the performance of wimpy, elasticity-springy things, they invented their own hands-free models. Iron Doggy represents what they came up with, 15 different leashes later.

I tested two—the Runner’s Choice Hands Free Dog Leash ($37-$47.95) and the SideKick Hands Free Dog Leash ($32-$42.95, pictured)—with Joe, a puller.

The webbed belts are the same on both models. The Runner’s Choice leash is beefier and longer and can be adjusted to a couple of different lengths, which is nice. And the extra webbed handles are great for pulling your dog closer to avoid a mountain biker or equestrian. But it’s very heavy duty, emphasis on heavy.

The SideKick is a lighter, quicker, sleeker version of the Runner’s Choice, and it is suggested for dogs that are content to remain by your side. I liked the lightness of it but felt too close to Joe’s heels, though it seemed like a good option for pavement. For our running relationship, however, I preferred the Runner’s Choice for its versatility.

Iron Doggy also threw in an Iron Doggy Runner’s Cap ($19.95), which has become my go-to skull cap, and an Iron Doggy Carabiner ($3) that does double-duty as a bottle opener. Sweet!

These gals sound dedicated, inviting consumers to send back leashes for a refund if they don’t love them and to send in better suggestions if they have them. Their products are great accessories—with a hella cute logo—for runner-dog partnerships. 

Main article photo by: courtesy of Iron Doggy