Friday, June 26, 2009

Rebuilt Doggon Wheels

After struggling for months with the Eddies Wheels cart and customer service, I was pleasantly surprised (thrilled, ecstatic) when we tried out the new Doggon Wheels. The toppling issues that were ever present with the Eddies didn't exist with the Doggon. Finally, a cart that could handle the speed of Popeye's energy.

So when I showed the Doggon people some pictures of Popeye in the cart, I was very surprised when they told me they would build him a completely new frame. At no extra charge. Apparently they weren't happy with the how the rear of the cart fit his narrow lower body.

They explained that the leg openings in the saddle were too big and the width of the frame was too wide back there. A week later and just 2.5 weeks from the day we got the original Doggon cart, the new frame arrived.

(Note: Doggon did not actually send us a 2nd set of tires--those were taken off the Eddies cart.)

As you can see from the picture above, the saddle harness was customized for Popeye's smaller frame in the rear, with the leg openings sewn smaller.

The top frame itself was also made smaller, with the width decreased as well as the length in the back.

As Doggon explained to me, by making the harness and rear frame more snug, it minimizes the swinging action that occurs with Popeye's (and most dogs') natural gait. The less Popeye's butt swings, the less the cart will weave side to side as he walks.

However, the narrower frame would leave less room for Popeye's extremely muscular front body. To prevent his front body from hitting the sides of the frame, they splayed the front part of the frame (called the sidearms) out.

New pictures submitted to Doggon for fitting advice.

Height +0
Length +3

Per Doggon, front harness is perfect in this picture.

Per Doggon, front harness looks high in both "Buckles detached" pictures, but probably because Tyler is holding it up.

Doggon Recommendation:

Move clamps on sidearms down approx 1-3/4cm to lessen tightness in back strap. This will cause the frame to lean backwards a little when Popeye is at standing position. Per Mel at Doggon, this is ok. Backward leaning frame takes weight off spine and puts it at ribcage. See pic below of Lori's (of Doggon Wheels) dogs.

Kozmo's cart leans back a lot. Per Mel at Doggon, this is ideal for his arthritis. Benny's cart leans back a little (Benny was hit by a car at age 6 months). I don't totally understand the significance of the leaning, but whatever. I want the red powder coated cart!! ($100 extra & 1.5 weeks longer to make though. Damn.)

Mel also suggested making sure that sidearms do not hit Popeye's legs as he runs. If they do, shorten length to +2 and loosen front strap. Do not change anything else. UPDATE 6/27/09: Tried this and resulted in too much side-to-side weaving. Ask Mel.

Other notes: If you are trying to make the top frame level, it should be level when the dog is at standing position. Frame will shift forward as dog moves forward.

It's too early to say whether these changes make any significant improvement, but I can say that the customer service I've received so far from Doggon has been top-notch. I don't see how it could possibly be any better. Not just the best out of the few cart companies I've communicated with but among the best of any company in any industry I have ever dealt with.


Amy Koenig said...

This is so awesome! I want some of these Doggon Wheels for Buddy!!! They could make them narrower in the back for him and slay them in the front as well... he is shaped the same way as Popeye! My sister is buying a ring from me for $3000 after she closes on her house in about a month. I think I may order him some new ones so he can run FAST with the other dogs and not flip over!

Brett Leach said...

i share your frustration with Eddies, I might look at Doggon for a set. My dog might be to far gone though, he needs the four wheeler, he has DM and is loosing his front now too. thanks for the post on Doggon.