01/27/2009 at 10:00 AM EST
Riding a bike leashed to a high-spirited dog is like trying to peddle in a tornado: you never know which way you'll be jerked around. That's why Mark Schuette invented the dog-powered scooter
. In the last six years he's sold 900 of the devices. The simplest ones start at $250, but some more elaborate ones require the purchase of an expensive bike that he'll modify.
The key, he told PEOPLE PETS, is that the the "dog's behind a steering wheel." He doesn't mean dogs are steering–rather they are physically held behind the steering wheel, harnessed to a strong bar. A traditional bike is dangerous with a dog, Shuette says, but with his dog-equipped scooters, skateboards and bikes "the rider has precision steering control with no dog commands or training. And [that's] way more appropriate for the urban environment."
He makes the devices for all sizes of dogs and says either the person or dog can get the workout. "I've even done custom systems for the little dogs like Jack Russell terriers, but you need lots of dogs," he says. "It's hilarious to see them all pull an adult."