Do you enjoy skiing? Is your canine buddy super active and athletic? If so, you may be able to take him out on the trail with you. No, we’re not suggesting strapping skis on Fido. Instead, you may want to train him in skiijouring. A local vet offers some tips on this below.
Skijoring originated in Scandinavia. The word itself actually translates into ‘ski driving’ in Norwegian. Though it’s now mostly practiced as a sport, it originated as a means of transportation. Basically, the skier skis, providing much of his momentum. His (or her) canine companion runs in front of him, wearing a sled dog harness, which is connected to the skier’s harness .
If you discover that you and your furry friend really love this sport, you may want to consider racing. Skijoring races are much shorter than most sledding competitions, and are rarely longer than about 15 miles. You will need to build up Fido’s endurance, but not to the extent an Alaskan sled race would require.
Needless to say, skijoring isn’t going to be a good option for a Chihuahua. However, it’s fine for many dogs that are over about 40 pounds. Some of the pooches that enjoy this winter doggy sport include Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Border Collies, and, of course, snow dog breeds, like huskies. Of course, you’ll need to consider your pet’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 pups that absolutely love to run. Fido also needs to stop running on command. (This one may take a few pooches out of the picture.)
You’ll need to pick up a few things, but your shopping list won’t be too extensive. You can likely get decent harnesses and collars you need for under $100. 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.
Skijoring comes naturally to many of our canine pals, as many dogs naturally like to run and pull things. However, that doesn’t mean it’s 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 are always happy to help!