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Spotlight on Skijoring

January 15 2021

Do you enjoy skiing? Is your dog super active and athletic? If so, you may be able to take your pup out on the trail with you. No, we’re not suggesting strapping skis on Fido. Instead, you may want to train your furry friend in skiijoring.  A local vet offers some tips on this below.


Basics

Skijoring started in Scandinavia. The word itself actually translates into ‘ski driving’ in Norwegian. Though it’s now mostly practiced as a sport, it was initially a means of transportation. Basically, the skier skis, which will provides much of his momentum. His (or her) canine companion runs in front of him, wearing a sled dog harness. That harness is connected to the skier’s harness .


Racing

If you discover that you and your furry friend really love this outdoor winter sport, you may want to consider racing. Skijoring races are usually much shorter than most sledding competitions, and are rarely longer than about 15 miles. You will still need to build up Fido’s endurance, but not to the extent an Alaskan sled race would require.


Doggy Requirements

Needless to say, skijoring isn’t going to be a very good option for a Chihuahua. However, it’s fine for most dogs that are over about 40 pounds. Some pups that really enjoy this winter doggy sport include Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Border Collies, and, of course, snow dog breeds, like huskies and Malamutes. Of course, you’ll need to consider your pup’s temperament. If you plan to race, it’s important that he get along with other dogs. This activity is best suited for obedient, active pooches that absolutely love to run. Fido also needs to stop running on command. (This one may take a few of our patients out of the picture.)


Gear

You’ll need to pick up a few things before getting started. However your shopping list won’t be too extensive. You can likely get decent harnesses and collars you need for under $100 or so. You’ll need skis and a harness for yourself, and a harness for Fido. You may also need some basic winter gear, like warm gloves and clothes, as well as cross-country skis and poles.


Training

Skijoring comes quite naturally to many of our canine pals. Many dogs naturally like to run and pull things. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be right for every pooch. Consult your vet before getting started.


Please reach out with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care. We’re always happy to help!

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