Enjoy moments together

Skijöring – winter fun with your dog

 

Skijöring – winter fun with your dog

 

For many of us, the winter aura is a period of relaxation and consuming lots of calories during the holiday season. Unfortunately, our animal friends need physical activity just as much as they do throughout the other parts of the year. How to give your dog the right portion of physical activity in the colder months? Grab a harness and cross-country skis.

What is Skijöring?

Skijöring, or cross-country skiing accompanied by a dog, is a sports discipline created by Scandinavians returning from their Alaskan travel together with their sled dogs. This discipline is extremely popular in Norway and other Scandinavian countries, also gaining more and more popularity in Poland.

Skijöring does not require any advanced equipment. To embark on the adventure, you just need a pair of skis, a special harness for your dog, an approx. 2.5 – 4.5m long bungee leash and a belt for the dog owner. All the equipment items – except the skis – can also be used in your summer canicross sessions. Like in the case of cross-country running without skis, the optimum number of dogs accompanying a person during the winter activities is 1 or 2. A larger number means a higher risk of accident caused by tangling ropes.

Ready… steady… bow-wow!

You do not need any preparation for skijöring, and you can practice it at any age. However, there are certain restrictions for your canine pals. It’s important that they are at least 12 months of age, weighing more than 20Kg. If they meet these criteria, you can start cross-country skiing with your dog’s assistance right away.

The initial training sessions should be playful, on straight sections, not exceeding 15 minutes. Only when you can see that your dog has grabbed the basics, you can introduce teaching to take curves and gradually increase the intensity.

Safety first

When you are sure that your canine friend really enjoys this new form of activity, you can extend the sessions up to 1.5h, but make sure you monitor the dog’s performance. With all the excitement about winter fun and striving to improve the results, your own and your dog’s safety should always come first. Therefore, you need to remember about a well balanced diet. With a higher level of effort, your dog has a higher energy demand as well. You may also consider special dog boots to secure the paws. A minor injury can make you stop the fun even for several weeks.

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