Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Skijoring is the winter sport of a person on skis being pulled by one or more dogs. It is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your pet and get exercise for you and your pet(s). I f your dog weighs more than thirty pounds and enjoys running, the two of you may be able to have a great time skijoring!
Breeds: The majority of skijorers are in it for recreation and fun. If this is going to be you, then the breed of dog you have doesn’t matter much. What is most important is that your dog is big enough to do some pulling. Dogs weighing at least 30 pounds are usually big enough o skijor. Almost all dogs enjoy running and being on trails. Skijoring is a way for you and your dog to enjoy this together.
Gear Needed: You will need to have cross country ski gear, including skis, boots, bindings, poles, adequate winter clothing, and a skijor belt. Your dog will need a skijor style harness, a towrope, and maybe a jacket if your dog does not have underfur to keep warm in the cold weather. Your dog’s gear should be designed for skijoring. Non-racing harnesses are sometimes designed to pull at a different angle, and can lead to dog injury for skijoring. You will want to make sure your dog’s harness fits well!
Where You Can Go; Check to see if there are any rules about having your dog with you on your local cross country ski trails.. Some areas may even have trails set-aside just for skijorers. Backwoods skijoring can take you on great adventures for you and your dog. You will want wider cross-country skis for the backwoods area.
Before You Start: Before you start skijoring, you will want to make sure that you dog has basic obedience skills down. You will need to make sure you have basic cross-country skiing skills down. You will need to be comfortable falling down and getting back up with your skis on, since the best way for beginners to stop a dog that is learning to skijor from just taking off is to fall over.
If you are curious about skijoring and want more information, try contacting your local skijor club. Many clubs offer beginners clinics and trail guides to help you get started. The classic book that has been used by many skijorers is Skijor With Your Do by Mari Hoe-Raitto and Carol Kaynor.