Dogs often crave a sense of purpose when they’re spending time with us as we putter around the yard or garage. If you have a helpful hound who prefers to stay within a few steps of you at all times, you can give your best bud a helpful (and adorable) job — by making them their very own tool bag.
Tools and materials
To make your dog a tool bag, you’ll need two shop aprons (available at most hardware stores), a sewing machine (or a needle and thread), pins, and a pair of scissors. I used a milliner’s needle, but you can also use a canvas needle or any needle made for tougher, thicker material. Make sure your thread is the heavy-duty type so it will hold up to the weight of the tools.
Measure and mark
To measure where your seam should go, hold one apron up to your dog with the pockets along their side and the ties for the waist of the apron facing their tail and snout. Make a mark or a fold at the centre of your dog’s back to determine where your seam will go.
Sew your aprons
Place the two aprons, with the pocket side facing in, against each other and pin along your mark. Then, stitch the two together and turn right-side out. Two of the ties for the waist of the apron will make the front of the apron, and you can trim the other two off with your scissors. The neck loops of the apron will face down, and can be used like harness loops to hold the bags comfortably in place around your dog’s front legs. The ties for the front of the bags can be tied across the dog’s chest below their collar.
Fit your dog
All dogs are obviously not the same size, so you may need to modify this method for your particular pup. For a smaller dog, it may be necessary to trim the neck loops and shorten them by tying or stitching the loops to a smaller size. If you have a much smaller dog, try using a kid’s apron instead of an adult one.
Time for caveats!
This project won’t be a good fit for all dogs. Dogs that jump, or are reactive to harnesses won’t be comfortable in a tool bag. You should always supervise your dog while they are wearing their tool bag, and use your best judgement about what type of tools you are comfortable putting your helper in charge of. (A flying knife or saw blade from an active pup is obviously dangerous to both you and your dog, so be careful when choosing items to keep in the bags.)
Keep in mind that some dogs will be comfortable with slightly more weight than others; if you’re unsure whether your dog will be comfortable and calm in the bags, do a test drive with no tools first to see how they react and behave. Having an extra pair of paws around when you’re working on a project can be great for you and your dog, but some dogs are simply better at providing moral support than ferrying hardware. Either way: All shop dogs are good shop dogs.