Skijoring with Pets
It’s officially wintertime in the Northern hemisphere and people everywhere are looking for activities to do with their pets. One of the more popular is Skijoring – a sport where a person is pulled on skis by dogs (or horses).
Three of the most important things to consider when skijoring include equipment, training and overall safety.
[heading style=”modern-2-blue” heading=”h1″ color=”#996633″ align=”left”]Equipment[/heading]
It’s critical that your pets have the proper equipment for skijoring. The most important piece of the puzzle, particularly for pups new to the sport, is paw protection. Snow can devastate a pet’s paws but having the proper equipment will ensure that your pets are protected. Our favorite provider of outdoor pet safety equipment is, paws down, Ruffwear. This group is focused on performance dog equipment and they understand the importance of the high-quality equipment.
If you’re planning to skijor, your dog needs to have a set of boots (we prefer the Ruff Wear Bark’n Boots Grip Trex Protect Your Dogs Paws!). You’ll also need to invest in a solid harness that fits your pet properly – our favorite is the Ruff Wear Omnijore Joring System for Dogs. Focus on proper sizing for each of your pets, as the wrong fit can result in irritation and muscle soreness. Finally, you should plan on investing in a high-quality, warm, preferably reflective, coat to wear. He may not need it while running, but he’ll need it before and after the day’s activities. (We like the Ruff Wear Climate Changer Fleece Dog Jacket ). Here’s a quick reference on how to properly equip your pet:[bt_youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abuxuJMjw9I” width=”600″ height=”400″ responsive=”yes” autoplay=”no”][/bt_youtube]
[heading style=”modern-2-blue” heading=”h1″ color=”#996633″ align=”left”]Training[/heading]
There is a lot involved with training your pet to skijor and we’re not even going to pretend we know enough about it to teach a course, so visit Sled Dog Central for a wealth of information on training your pet to skijor without “un-training” your dog to behave in a “normal” environment.
[heading style=”modern-2-blue” heading=”h1″ color=”#996633″ align=”left”]Safety[/heading]
Safety first! Always skijor with a two-legged friend or let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return. If you haven’t checked in by a certain time, be certain they know to send authorities out to look for you and your pet.
Make sure that your pet is always wearing ID, reflective wear to keep him safe from hunters and cars, and a pet tracking device is a really good idea. There are many fantastic GPS trackers on the market and it’s a great way to locate your best friend if anything happens that might separate you. Be sure you and your dogs are well-hydrated and warm, and always be on the lookout for overheating. You know your pets better than anyone, so watch carefully for any injuries or signs of stress.
And don’t forget the aftercare! Keep your pet’s paws moisturized and watch for signs of cracking or tearing. There are some amazing products available to help keep your pet’s paws in top condition.
Skijoring can be a great way to exercise and bond with your pets. Start slow, stay safe, train your pets properly and you’ll have a great experience!