The dog leashbelt
I walk the dogs almost every day. One of them, Dallas the mutt mixed breed, is quite assertive. She usually pulls me along. Its not too comfortable. Holding the leash out in front of me prevents me from swinging my arms in a natural gait while we walk. I was first motivated to develop something that would allow my hands to be free. I clipped the leash to a belt loop - not bad. It felt good. Not only were my arms free, but she was now pulling me from my center of gravity, my waist, rather than from a shoulder socket. There was much less strain. I could walk and exercise with a natural rhythm. It was a little odd to pull from one off-center belt loop, however. I pursued a belt that would hold the leash right in front.
Design and production
I did some exploratory shopping at Whole Earth Provisions, a camping, hiking, outdoors store in Dallas. There was a belt with a padded back (perfect). I got some metal D rings to hold the leash clip and even bought a pouch to attach to the belt to hold the Pooper scooper bags, and a water bottle for them or me while walking. I tested the leashbelt while walking around Edmond. It was great. It was much more fun to walk the dogs without being pulled. I had pockets to hold dog stuff.
The leashbelt. Accessories: a pouch for poop bags, keys, etc. and a case for a water bottle. The leash link.
The leashbelt in use
Thanks to Sean for modeling the belt.
Concept: winter 1996
Design and production: spring 1997
Later similar products
Thinking the leash belt was a marketable idea, I met with a patent attorney in 1997. For some reason, I didn't pursue legal protection. Now I wish I had because, while doing a patent search in 2005 for TravelPants, I found patents issued to others for similar leash belts - issued in 2002 and 2005, 5-8 years after I saw a patent attorney. Pictures of some of those are below - they don't have all the features as my model, but they are in the marketplace.
The New York Times ran an article in Febuary 2008 evaluating one of the other models.