PROBLEM: 
You have a 100+ lb. "puppy" that needs exercise. Weather and/or terrain sometimes makes that difficult.

SOLUTION:
Tie the dog to an ATV and go anywhere regardless of the weather, road conditions or terrain. Actually, there's a lot more to this story - and through trial and error, I developed a solution that permits me to run the dog using our Yamaha ATV.  I created a simple mount that attaches Flexi Belt retractable leashes (below) to our ATV.


ATV Retractable Leash Bracket

Flexi All-Belt 3 Retractable Belt Leash (Large; 16' Length; Green; For Dogs Up To 150 lbs.) What makes this project possible is using a retractable leash, see Flexi Belt retractable leashes. These leashes are the greatest for walking a dog of any size.  It permits them to roam, sniff and do other important dog things while remaining attached to the retractable leash.

It was a straightforward idea in theory... mount the retractable leash on the ATV so that both of my hands would be free to steer and work the brake and accelerator. In pondering this project, I knew that I wanted to be able to mount and remove the retractable leash quickly, which meant that I needed to do more than just "tie" the leash to the bumper.

I decided to build a "support" that could be bolted to the ATV's front rack and devise a way to make it easy to attach and remove the leash.  Another consideration was to position (angle) the retractable housing in such a way that permitted the leash to move freely.  The fabrication process is described below.

(Click any of the pics for a close-up view)

Wooden Forms

How best to secure the retractable leash to the ATV? I solved that problem by tracing the contour of the inside of the leash handle to a block of wood 1.5" thick, and cut it out with a bandsaw.

   

The Base

Using the same 1.5" thick wood, I traced the outside contour of the leash assembly to form the base that would secure the assembly and mount to the ATV rack.

   

Putting It Together

I chose thick wood because it would be easier to work than metal, but offer sufficient strength. I joined the two pieces together using 3/8" bolts (lock washers & nuts) and for good measure, I smeared waterproof Gorilla glue in the joint.

   

Mounting On The ATV

The bracket is mounted to the ATV rack using two 3/8" carriage bolts that run from the top of the unit through an oversized block of wood under the rack.

Quick Release

A low-tech solution using a common wing nut and block of wood secure the leash assembly to the mounting bracket.  When horizontal, the wood permits the leash assembly to slip past it to rest on the contoured support. Rotate it 90 degrees and snug the wing nut (against a flat washer and lock washer) and the leash assembly is held firmly in place.


This picture gives a detailed view of the mounting bolts and the quick-release locking mechanism.

Summary

See the finished productWe live in a cold climate and just because the temperature changes or there is ice on the driveway doesn't mean that our puppy doesn't need exercise.  Our Lilly Belle has pulled me off my feet on a summer day because she happened to spy a squirrel and gave chase - and that is not my idea of fun or a healthy experience.  I am in my mid 50's and sliding down the road being pulled by a Pyr was the motivation behind this project.  See the finished product close-up...

  • Don't miss the story and pictures of "Walking the dog"

  • See our other project of how we travel with Lilly on her "Lilly Pad".


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