Thursday, February 27, 2014

FitDog Friday - What the heck is Skijoring?

You wake up, look out the window and it's cold and snowy outside. What do you say?

A. "I'm going back to bed, wake me in the spring."
B. "Winter, Schminter! Nothings going to keep me from getting out and getting fit with my dogs!"
C. "I'm going skijoring!"


If you're like me, you've never heard of skijoring before reading (or for me, writing) this post. But I was researching ways to get fit in the winter, and found this interesting option. A few caveats:
1. Your chihuahua, or other small dog, probably shouldn't participate in skijoring.
2. As with any sport, you need proper equipment to ensure no one gets hurt.
3. Make sure you and your dog are physically fit before beginning.

Image Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Skijoring is a sport originating in Scandinavia, which involves skis and dogs. A person moves along on skis while the dog provides extra power by pulling. Up to three dogs may be used. (In other variations, horses or trucks are used to pull the skier.)  Since both the skier and the dog are physically participating, it's great exercise for both!

1. Skijoring belt for skier
2. sled dog harness for dog
3. rope
4. skis and ski poles

Breeds of dogs who enjoy skijoring:
1. Huskies
2. Samoyeds
3. Retrievers
4. Mastiffs
5. Any dog with a desire to run and pull

At first I worried about these dogs having to pull extra weight, but since the skier also moves, the dog doesn't have to do all the work. Every dog would have different limits. I think it would be important to watch your dog for signs of tiring, or just not enjoying it any more. Also, watch the weather, and keep alert to signs of your dog being too cold. These are just common sense issues for most of us. Of course, it is important that the dog wears a harness, and the skier never hitches the rope to a collar around the dog's neck. Once all the safety issues are cleared, then it's time to get out there and start skijoring!

*Fun Fact: The US held the world's largest skijoring event in 2011, in Minneapolis. 

 I grew up in Vermont and enjoyed cross country skiing, and I think that being able to share this sport with my dog would be so much fun! I'm pretty sure Kelly would want no part of pulling anything, however. And Ike would probably be willing, but getting him to move in front of me, rather than wanting to be at my side (or on top of me) would be the challenge.

Would your dog enjoy skijoring?'re kidding, right?

 For more information:
Sled Dog Central
Skijor Now

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Kelly T
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  1. I wonder how many Havanese it would take to pull me. haha! Sounds like fun but I think we'll stick with snowshoeing!
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco @ To Dog With Love

  2. Tenacious Little TerrierFebruary 28, 2014 at 5:53 AM

    I think he would but he'd have to pull a two-year-old or something.

  3. Hi Y'all,

    Looks like you have to snow for this. I think my Humans are too old and we don't usually have snow, so of course no skis, but it does look like fun for young humans in snow country.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. I think Delilah would enjoy this. The funny thing is Hubby keeps mentioning this to me, except we never knew it was a 'real' thing!

  5. That looks like fun! I would pull my people in zigzags or circles...or take them squirrel chasing!

  6. Looks like fun but I think if I did it with my gang they would be pulling me on my ass more often then on ski's.

  7. Not gonna lie, I'd love to do this with Niles! XD I've also wanted to have her be a cart dog. My poor herder.

  8. If my sister Katie was younger Mom would do this with her, but she is too old and Bailie and I are not the right kid of dogs for it. Lots of folks do do it around here, though.

  9. That looks like so much fun! I would have to have my husband hold a steak from the other side of the field in order to get my dogs to pull me, though. :)

  10. I have never heard of skijoring but I've never seen the amount of snow that it would need either! It looks like fun : )

  11. Pamela | Something WaggingMarch 2, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    We see skate-joring around here--people who let the dogs pull them on skateboards. Most of the cross-country skiers in town are looking for exercise and probably the dog makes it too easy.

    We have a huge sledding hill (about a mile long) at Taughannock State Park. The walk back up the hill was just a bit easier when Shadow was around to pull us. And she loved not being corrected for pulling. I guess I should have tried ski-joring with her.

  12. I've always thought about trying this - my Icelandic Sheepdogs would get a kick out of it. They're not exactly bred to pull but they are a nordic breed and love snow and don't mind getting to pull. I have put Jeni on a harness and hooked it to a loop around my waist when we have gone hiking in hilly areas before and let her pull on the way up and she seems to enjoy it.

  13. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsMarch 3, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    The way my girls pull me when walking, I've often thought that they would easily pull me on skis! It looks like a fun sport.

  14. snoopy@snoopysdogblogMarch 3, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    That sure looks like a lot of fun! I can't see me getting to have a go though, I think you need snow first and that just ain't gonna happen here! :)

    I hope you're having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!