Skijoring with Your Dog
Are you trying to beat the winter blues? Have you been stuck inside but are looking for some wintery fun for you and your dog?
If you like skiing, you will probably LOVE skijoring. What is skijoring?, You ask! Skijoring is actually a sport where your dog pulls you on cross country skis. You can use up to three dogs to help propel yourself up those nasty inclines and hills that are tough to tackle on skis! If you are brave, you can even attach a yourself to a horse, but I don’t think I am brave enough to go quite that fast!
Skijoring started in Norway, land of the snow, and was often a good way to travel. Skijor means to plow snow with your face, which you may get accustomed to as you begin teaching your dog this sport.
It does require special equipment and harnesses for you and your dog and possibly doggy booties to make sure his feet don’t get too cold or encrusted with snow. You can easily locate supplies on-line to help you both get started.
The most important command for your dog to learn is “Whoa” or the stop command. You can easily work on this at home and make sure you build a good foundation prior to hooking him up to your harness in snow, or else you may have an entertaining ride flying at the speed of light!
In the beginning use a partner to help lead your dog as you give commands and help him learn what you mean. You can use the lingo of the sport:
- Whoa: stop
- Easy: slow down
- Hike: faster
- Gee: turn right
- Haw: turn left
Or if you have no intention of competing you can use your own commands, just make sure you are consistent.
Dress warm, and prepare for some good falls! If you have a friend invite them along and maybe they can shoot some videos and you can end up the next Funniest Videos Winner! Let’s just hope you don’t end up on World’s Dumbest!
For more information search the internet or go to www.skijor.org
Get out there and have some fun together!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.