The joys of dog ownership are numerous, but walks are no fun if the dog is constantly pulling on its lead. Seasoned dog owners know that lead training takes time and a lot of patience and having seen many of his clients struggle to make progress with their unruly hounds, dog behaviourist and founder of Baumutt, Eamonn Dempsey, decided there had to be a better way. As luck would have it, Dempsey’s life partner, Sara Urasini, is an industrial designer specialising in wearable technologies and together they have created In. Line, a non-pull harness that uses the dog’s momentum to guide it back to the owner’s side if it starts pulling or moving too far away.
Dempsey is not a fan of coercive methods of dog control and In. Line, which is padded for comfort and a snug fit, allows the dog to have full, unrestricted front leg movement. “Other products on the market don’t take the dogs’ biometrics into consideration and either restrict their leg movement and/or add pain and discomfort because of how they can move and pinch across the shoulders or legs,” he says. “Our patented connection system allows free movement and is much more in keeping with current trends in dog training which are moving away from restraining methods such as choke chains and prong collars. Indeed, many countries are now banning their use altogether creating a growing need for dog training products and tools that are functional and ethical.
“I’ve worked as a dog trainer for a number of years so I know that people find lead training challenging as you’re essentially trying to overcome the dog’s natural instincts to check out all those interesting smells and distractions and make them stay at your side for a prolonged period of time,” Dempsey says. “The In. Line harness addresses the pulling issue in a gentle way and functions both as a training harness and a daily harness as there are two different connection attachment points available for the leash.”
Baumutt was set up in 2019 and started trading last year. Development costs to date have been around €20,000 between personal funds and early help from an angel investor. The company’s products are made in China and Dempsey is participating in the second phase of the Enterprise Ireland-backed New Frontiers programme for start-ups at TU Dublin Blanchardstown.
“At the moment we sell B2B in Ireland to selected stores nationwide and B2C via our online ecommerce website where we already have strong sales in the US while sales in the UK and mainland Europe are also beginning to gather pace. Our business is the design, development and distribution of dog-centric products and we have a pipeline of ideas to come,” says Dempsey whose product model and the company’s CTO (chief testing officer) is Prince, a rescue dog Dempsey fell in love with while working in Italy when his partner was studying industrial design there.
“Following on the heels of In. Line will be the Laxo leash which will be available from February and is a lead with a difference as we have added new features you don’t get with traditional leads,” Dempsey says. “For example, we’ve gone for a very sophisticated form of webbing construction that allows for flat and rolled webbing to be used together. In practice this means the handle is more ergonomic and sits better on the wrist and hand. We have also added a stopper which pulls up like a bracelet if you need to be hands-free while walking your dog. For example, if you’re trying to order a coffee or get the poop bags ready – both tasks dog owners currently find difficult when they’re trying to hang on to a lead and a moving dog at the same time.”