Do you enjoy going skiing? Is your dog super active and athletic? If the answers to both questions is a yes, then 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 to go skiijoring. A local vet offers some tips on this below.
Skijoring originated in Scandinavia. The word itself loosely translates into ‘ski driving’ in Norwegian. Though it’s now mostly practiced as a sport, it originated as a means of winter transportation. Basically, the skier skis, providing much of his momentum. His (or her) canine companion runs in front of him. The dog would be wearing a sled dog harness, which is connected to the skier’s harness .
If you discover that both you and your canine friend really love this sport, you may want to consider racing. Skijoring races are much shorter than most mushing competitions. They rarely go longer than about 15 miles. Of course, that’s a pretty good run, even if the course is mostly downhill. You will still need to build up Fido’s endurance, just not to the extent an Alaskan sled race would require.
Needless to say, skijoring isn’t a good option for a Chihuahua. However, it’s fine for many dogs that are over about 40-45 pounds. Some pups that usually 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 try racing, it’s important that your pet get along well with other dogs. Therefore, this winter doggy 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.)
Before getting started, you’ll need to pick up a few things. However, your shopping list won’t be too extensive. It likely won’t be very expensive, either. 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 dogs, as our canine pals often do 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!