Field Notes: Employee Field Days
When it comes to Employee Field Days, the rules are simple:
Get out. Have fun. Be curious. Take notes. Relish in your adventure.
We’re constantly using and testing product with our dogs in our everyday pursuits, but twice a year, Ruffwear employees and their dogs get to swap out a day in the office for a day in the field.
It’s a tradition born out of our belief that the gear that performs best is gear that’s been thoroughly-tested. It’s an opportunity to make sure our gear is doing what it’s designed to do: enhance the time we spend outside with our dogs.
Here’s an inside look at a few reports from the field.
TESTERS: Baxter & Ernie
ACTIVITY: Snow Day at Oregon Badlands
PRODUCT BEING TESTED: Grip Trex™, Powder Hound™, Front Range® Harness
CONDITIONS: Lots of snow, cloudy
FINDINGS: It was Baxter’s first time in snow and cold for an extended period of time, and his first time wearing a coat or boots. I was curious how quickly he’d acclimate to the gear.
The Powder Hound did really well, even when Baxter decided to explore an old log and fallen tree. Snagged the jacket a couple times but no permanent or visible damage.
With the Grip Trex, Baxter did the “boot dance” for about the first 15 minutes when he tried them on at home. He was fine out in the snow, and I didn’t have to worry about Baxter getting cold, or ice and snow building up in his paws.
HIGHLIGHT: I didn’t have to go on the hunt for a missing boot! Honestly, I was worried for the first 30 minutes that the boots would slip off in the snow. I checked every minute, and finally, I gave up and trusted they were going to stay on. And they totally did. Baxter loved them. No rubbing or issues after 4 hours of some pretty hard running.
TESTERS: Riggins & Alli
ACTIVITY: Touring and Skiing South Sister
PRODUCT BEING TESTED: Harness prototype
CONDITIONS: Sunny, windy/cool, then HOT
FINDINGS: We tested the harness for fit, comfort, and performance as Riggins ascended and descended the mountain.
Riggs seemed really comfortable all day and he was totally unfazed when we lifted him by the handle. I was impressed with the comfort, fit, and structure of the harness. I liked how it performed, even with a more low-profile style/design. If anything, I’d recommend more user-friendly buckles.
HIGHLIGHT: Watching Riggins wiggle with joy as he ran down the Prouty Glacier, as well as watching him ski a steep, classic Central Oregon ski line!
TESTERS: Dahlia, Oliver & Jeremiah
ACTIVITY: Green Lakes Hike and Swim
PRODUCT BEING TESTED: Jet Stream™
CONDITIONS: Sunny, warm
FINDINGS: Jet Stream was lightweight and appeared to fit very well. My understanding was it was supposed to fit snug and it did on both dogs. It kept the dogs cool on a long, hot hike! The functionality seemed to work great, and they stayed damp for at least an hour.
The XS that Oliver wore rubbed him in the armpits because it rode too high. The Product Team evaluated the product and are actually changing the cut of the belly panel to prevent the rubbing from happening before it releases in the Spring. Successful product test!
HIGHLIGHT: Putting jackets on the dogs is always hilarious. They do full-body wiggles for the first 15 minutes as they get used to wearing jackets.
TESTERS: Marv & Mary
ACTIVITY: Trail Run on Soda Creek Trail
PRODUCT BEING TESTED: Singletrack™ Pack and Quick Draw™ Leash
CONDITIONS: Warm and sunny
FINDINGS: Marv was comfortable the whole time. I did have to re-tighten the pack a couple of times at stop points to keep it from sliding on his lower half, but the sliding wasn’t bothering him. I am not sure if that was user error on my part? Once a water bladder gets emptied, the backpack got lopsided, which is expected but more drastic than I thought. Next time I think I would try to evenly take water from both bladders. I’ll run these things by the Product Team.
I LOVED the Quick Draw. I used it about 5 times as we met other folks/pups on the trail or when I needed control in a specific area.
HIGHLIGHT: We were passing a group of older people, and I said “Come here bubba” to Marv for him to maneuver around them. I passed them again going the other way on the return trip, and they said “There’s Bubba! What a good runner you are Bubba!” Marv has no idea who Bubba is, but he did like the extra attention.
Sound like fun? Take your pup for a field day – we bet they’d be stoked. Then come back and let us know what you discover with your own field notes in the comments below, or bark at us at firstname.lastname@example.org.