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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Ruff Wear Barkn Boots > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

Ruff Wear
Barkn Boots
Test Series

Long Term Report: December 2008

Tester Information
Leesa JoinerChip Joiner
leesaj@gmail.comBreed: English Shepherd
Southwestern Maine
47 years old7 years old (49 dog years)
5' 7" (1.7 m)/ 150 lb (73 kg)75 lb (36 kg)

My Background:
     My outdoor experiences include trips varying in length from one-day hikes to two-week trips.  Most involve my three children. While my style isn't as 'high adventure' as some, I do enjoy the time we spend outdoors.   My load used to be HEAVY - think pack mule.  Now that the kids carry their own gear, plus the two oldest help carry the food, etc, my load is lighter.  I go for durability over weight when selecting gear.
    While outdoors, I spend time hiking, geocaching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and camping. I spend almost as much time outdoors during the winter as I do during the summer.  

Chip's Background:
      Chip is a 7 year old English Shepherd (Old Fashion Farm Collie).  These dogs historically have been farm dogs, that can herd, in comparison to Border Collies that are specifically bred to herd.  English Shepherds are extremely loyal, and have a high energy level.  Chip has been known to take himself for hikes around the lakes and path behind our property.  He loves to hike - and once we are on a trail, it is about the only time he is allowed off leash.  He can go for miles without tiring, and loves carrying a pack.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, the original dog tester was unable to finish and Chip stepped in.  The initial and field reports are in the same folder, under 'Andrew Buskov'.

ItemRuff Wear Barkn Boots
ManufacturerRuff Wear
Date of Manufacture2008
Weight of one boot:  1 oz (.03 kg)

Long Term Report
When we received the boots, they were still in very good condition, without much sign of wear.  I tried putting the boots on Chip and found it difficult to get him to cooperate.  Once on, he pranced around like a Lipizzaner stallion. When we went outside, he seemed to be distracted and ignored the boots.  We ran into problems while hiking though, because every time we stopped, even just to take a drink of water, or cross a tougher area, he would manage to take at least one boot off.  Sometimes I would have to back track a bit to find it.   He obviously did not like wearing them. I could tell him to 'leave it' if I caught him and he would stop trying to remove them, but that only lasted until the next stop.

Our first hike was up the local 'mountain'. Bond Mountain is about 1300 ft (396 m), with some twisting, turning portions.   The weather was in the low 60s F (15 C).  Once we get away from the road, Chip is off leash and loves it.  He zigzags all over the place, but never goes out of sight or sound if we are in an area with heavy foliage.  

On three occasions, we hiked the trails behind our property, and covered about 5-7 miles (8-11 km) each time.   Chip only kept all 4 boots on for less than a mile (less than a km).  After putting them back on 3 times, I ended up taking them off and putting them in the pack so he wouldn't lose them.

When we returned, I tried 'training' him to wear them, by putting them on for short periods of time, and reinforcing it when he kept them on.  Unfortunately, even after many attempts, we could not get him to keep them on for more than 10 minutes.   We did use them on other hikes, with similar results.

One thing I think may have helped, is to have started him wearing boots when he was younger.  I think at his age, he just finds them too 'different'.  

Chip went with us to climb both Province and Picket Mountains.  Province straddles the New Hampshire/Maine line, while Picket is in Maine.  Both are about 1500 ft (457 m).   Chip enjoyed the climbs, which although not strenuous, is slippery and steep in spots.  He especially enjoyed having lunch at the top.  

dog boots
Chip wearing Barkn Boots

We've taken at least 6 hikes of over 4 miles (6 km) each.  He would keep the boots on as long as we kept moving.  If we stopped, he started taking them off.  I tried different size boots to make sure they were comfortable, and had the same results.  There was no sign that the boots rubbed against any area, and he seemed to have enough room inside.    The boots held up well, with no signs of excessive wear.  The hook and loop fasteners still hold the boot closed.  There is minimal scuffing on the bottoms, even after chip wore them over dirt, gravel, rocks and sand.   I am most impressed with the quality construction.  Considering Chip took them off by using his teeth, it is remarkable that there are no tears around the closure.   This test earned him the nickname 'Houdini'.  

I do want to point out, that even though these boots didn't work out really well for Chip, I believe they are a very well constructed dog boot.  I will hang on to these and use them if I get another dog.  I believe a younger dog may adapt more easily.  Or one that isn't so stubborn. I do plan on trying these on Chip in the snow this winter, to see if that makes any difference.  I'd love to see if he'd wear them, and keep from getting marble-sized balls of frozen snow between the pads of his feet.

Easy to put on
Very well constructed

Dog is too stubborn (obviously not the boots' fault)

Thank you to Ruff Wear and for the opportunity to test the Barkn Boots.

Read more reviews of Ruff Wear gear
Read more gear reviews by Leesa Joiner

Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Ruff Wear Barkn Boots > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

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