A new twist on an old tradition, dog skijoring is rapidly growing in popularity with outdoor-loving dog owners. What exactly is it?
Skijoring (pronounced skee-yor-ing) is cross-country skiing assisted by a dog (or dogs). The skier provides some power, while the dog provides additional power by pulling. The dog wears a harness connected to the skier’s hip belt by a tow line.
It’s reminiscent of traditional sledding with a few significant differences. First of all, in sledding the musher typically does not provide power. In skijoring, the skier provides some of the power behind the team’s movement. Secondly, sledding uses reins so the musher may provide the dogs direction. In skijoring, the dog must understand where to go without reins directing him. Finally, competitive sledding typically uses dog teams rather than a single dog, while competitive skijoring commonly uses one dog.
Many dog breeds participate. So long as the dog is athletic, they can skijor. As in traditional sledding, Huskies and Malamutes are common but athletic dogs such as Pointers are popular as well. While larger dogs are most common, dogs as small as 30 pounds participate as the skier is not reliant on the dog for movement. If your dog loves to run, he'll love skijoring.
As the sport grows, so do opportunities for participation. Skijoring clubs are cropping up around the country, hosting workshops, training, and races. It’s an excellent way to socialize with other dog owners and dogs that enjoy the same sport, as well as an opportunity to learn new techniques.
Dog skijoring isn’t limited to snowy weather and skis. If you prefer snowboarding, skijoring can be done while you’re on your board. In warmer weather, the same equipment and approach is used for the related sports of grassjoring (skiing across grassy fields), bikejoring (biking with your dog pulling) and cani-cross (cross-country running with your dog pulling).
With all its versatility, it’s no wonder that skijoring is becoming so popular. From kids to adults, crisp snow to warm weather, it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and socialize with your dog.
Are you interested in skijoring? Join the fun - order this skijoring equipment starter pack today.
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