Burley Tail Wagon Review
To be perfectly honest, I was certain that this review was going to be one that we were simply not going to be able to complete. Our “covid dog”, rescued last spring in April, flat out refused my every attempt to keep her in anything moving, including the Burley Tail Wagon trailer.
However, after six MONTHS, we finally succeeded in getting her to ride. This review is our success story, tips for using a dog trailer, and what we think of the Burley Tail Wagon too, of course.
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What is the Burley Tail Wagon
Made specifically for dogs who love (or need) to ride, the Tail Wagon is Burley’s pet trailer. It is balanced specifically for dogs riding and has increased ventilation and more windows. While technically you could throw a dog in a retired kid trailer, the Tail Wagon definitely works a lot better.
As you’ll see below, it does come with a handlebar so it can be converted into a stroller (with a stroller wheel attachment), but the primary purpose is to pull it behind your bike. That said, I heard a rumor it may work with the ski attachment too eventually (though currently does not).
Features of the Burley Tail Wagon
Roll up AND removable cover with mesh windows for maximum air flow
This was really huge for us since Lucy and no interest in being confined in a small space except her own, comfortable crate. When we were starting out, we removed the cover completely and then worked up to having it on and one side closed.
As you can see from the photos below, she can have either side open or both closed or both open.
Folds flat for easy transportation
Like all Burley trailers, the Tail Wagon folds completely flat and the wheels come off, which makes it easy for transportation in the car or storing when not in use. As a family with limited room, we really appreciate this.
Large rear tailgate for easy loading
One thing that sets the Tail Wagon aside from a child-carrier is the entry point. Dogs can easily go and out the large “tailgate” which also bears the weight on the wheels.
Large carrying capacity
The Tail Wagon can haul dogs up to 75 pounds. However, I honestly can’t imagine a 75 pound dog sitting comfortably in it. Lucy is about 45 pounds and, while she does have wiggle room (we know, because kids have been in there with her during the initial training), it’s not a huge space. The measurements of the interior are 32.5 in. length x 19 in. width x 23 in. height.
Can convert to a stroller
Dog strollers are becoming increasingly popular and the included handlebar turns the Tail Wagon into a stroller with the addition of either the 1-wheel stroller wheel kit or the 2-wheel stroller wheel kit.
Tips for getting your dog to love the Burley Tail Wagon
For some dogs, getting them to love the Tail Wagon is not easy. Dogs have different personalities and needs and lot of patience and perseverance really does pay off. These tricks working for you and your dog are not guaranteed, of course, but they worked for out super (SUPER) resistant dog. Also check out this post for some additional tips.
This was what we had going against us more than anything else, in my opinion. We got Lucy when she was 9 months old and we have no idea what she experienced those first nine months. While I don’t think she was abused, she definitely has some fears and anxieties that posed some challenges.
My biggest advice was if you get a puppy, get a Burley Tail Wagon at the same time and put your puppy in it often so they are used to the movement. Honestly I recommend the same thing for kids and trailers – get them in there early and often!
Start with the trailer in your house with wheels off
The key is to getting dogs comfortable in the trailer before it’s moving (which is the hardest part to get them ok with). We put the trailer in our house for about a week with the wheels off and her favorite bed in it. And then, when the weather was nice, it sat outside for a safe place for her to sit for another week.
Use treats, lots of treats
Lucy doesn’t get as many treats now as she did when we first got her, but she ALWAYS gets them in the Tail Wagon. She might be nervous, but she knows she’s getting something good.
Timing is key
As I mentioned above, we struggled and struggled and struggled to get Lucy to stay in the Tail Wagon when it was in motion. We tried tying her in (safely) and she would literally flip the trailer trying to jump out, which was not safe for her OR the biker.
As a rescue dog, I think she needed a ton of time to fully trust us and all the things we were asking of her. We underestimated this and were asking her to try it out within the first month of us having her. In her case, it took SIX months for her to be ok with it. Persistence paid off, but it was a long process.
Lucy in particular needs a LOT of exercise. She is happy if she gets at least a 5 mile run at full speed while we bike along. The trailer is literally impossible if that need isn’t met first. Know your dog and what they need.
Start by walking slow
There was quite a progression as we got Lucy comfortable in the trailer. We started walking our bike with the kid in the trailer with her. Then we took the kid out and had him walk along while we walked the bike. Then we switched into slowly riding and then faster. Patience, patience, patience!
Bring a friend
When we first started, we could only get Lucy to STAY in the trailer while it was moving when she had a kid in there with her giving her snacks and reassuring her. Luckily our small kids fit with her…
As she got a bit more comfortable, the kid walked along with her while she rode slowly.
Burley Tail Wagon: Bottom Line
If you bike, stroll and/or ski and need a trailer for your dog (under 75 pounds), the Tail Wagon is a worthwhile family investment. We recommend starting young if at all possible, using it often and being extremely patient during the training process.
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Burley Tail Wagon Review
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