Is your canine buddy super active and athletic? Do you enjoy skiing? If so, you may be able to take Fido out on the trail with you. No, we’re not suggesting strapping skis onto your pup. Instead, you may want to train him in skiijouring. A local vet offers some tips on skijoring below.
Skijoring originated in Scandinavia. The word skijoring actually translates into ‘ski driving’ in Norwegian. Though it’s now mostly practiced for fun, it originated as a means of transportation in cold climates. Basically, the skier skis. That movement provide much of his momentum. His (or her) canine companion runs in front of them, wearing a sled dog harness which connects to the skier’s harness.
If you discover that you and Fido really love this sport, you may want to consider racing. Skijoring races are significantly shorter than most sledding competitions, and are rarely longer than about 15 miles. You will need to build up Fido’s endurance first, but not to the extent an Alaskan sled race would require.
Needless to say, skijoring isn’t going to be a good option for every dog. (Do not try this with a Chihuahua.) However, it’s fine for many dogs that are over about 40 to 45 pounds. Some pups 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 furry pal’s temperament. If you plan to race, it’s important that your pet get along with other dogs. Skijoring is best suited for obedient, active pups that absolutely love to run. Fido also needs to immediately stop running on command. (That one may take a few of our patients out of the picture.)
You’ll need to pick up a few things before getting started. However, your shopping list won’t be too crazy. You can likely get the harnesses and collars you need for under $100. Speaking of harnesses, you’ll need one for yourself and one for Fido. You may also need some basic winter gear, like warm gloves and clothes, as well as regular cross-country skis and poles.
Skijoring actually 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 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 are always happy to help!