1 November 2016

The ABC's of Skijoring


A- A is for the Adventures you will share with your dog!

B- B is for Booties! Bootie up for your dog's feet, and avoid ripped, torn and worn pads.

C – C is for Climate. Be ready for whatever it's going to throw at you! I have skijored in the rain, fog, howling winds, and white outs.    So check the weather before you go!

D – D is for done. Know when to call it a day. Your dog is unlikely to tell you when she's had enough, so that's your job to call it quits. Ideally, you want to stop while your dog is still wagging for more.

E – E is for Equipment. Check your equipment each and every time you head out. It's a long walk home should something break!

F – F is for Fall Training. Start your skijor season early by doing some dryland work. Get your dogs feet conditioned, and brush up on some of your skills to make the most of the upcoming season.

G- is for “Gee” call it with enough time for your dog to turn right on the trail!

H- H of course is for “HIKE” a ski-dogs favourite word! Let's go, Hike!

I- I is for Iceballs! Trim, Wax and Watch! Trim the hair between your dog's feet, wax the paws (or use booties) and watch for the build up of painful iceballs between the dog's toes!

J- J is for Jingle! If you are running on a multiuse trail, attach a bear bell to your rig. The noise of the bell will help warn other people of your presence.

K- K is for Kicksled. Investing in a kicksled is a great way to extend your skijoring season. Kicksleds can be takes over rougher patches where you would never dare ski. They also need less snow, so really help with the shoulder seasons.

L- L is for Love. You and your dog love the sport! If either of you sours at the experience, take a step back, and see what's changed. Sometimes a new trail, or a week off is enough to put the spark back in it!

M- M is for Morning. Dogs tap into their natural instinct when skijoring. They love to run in the early morning, or later into the evening. Take your dog out for a dawn or dusk run. Just be careful, as wild animals are also more active at these times of day.

N- NO DOGS ALLOWED. These signs are disappointing, and often the result of a dog owner not following the rules. Train your dog to be a good citizen, and pick up after them. This will ensure that we see less of these signs.

O- O is for “On-by!”. Which comes in handy if you want your dog to leave the dead deer, passed out skier, or pee spot alone. Train “on by” on your daily walks first, and then on your skijor runs. A good “on-by” is going to keep your runs safe and fun!

P- P is for Pee! Pay attention to your dog's pee, and notice when the colour is off. A well hydrated dog will have urine that is almost clear. Pee that is too dark and yellow could mean your dog needs more water.

Q – Q is for Quiet. For the peace and quiet you will find on a beautiful winter's day. Frost on the trees, hard packed snow under your skis, and your best friend out in front of you. Enjoy it!

R – R is for Rest. You and your dog need to rest and recover after a hard work out. Monitor your dog for any signs of stiffness or soreness after a run.

S- S is for Skis! Whether you choose to use skate or classic skis, make sure you opt for the sturdy pair. Those fancy racing skis likely won't hold up to the pressures of skijoring!

T- T is for Training. Keep your goals in mind for skijoring, and train accordingly. Skijoring is both mentally and physically challenging for us, and our dogs. Ensure you are training your dog's mind as well as body. You too can also learn something new every time you go out, by paying attention to your dog.

U- U is for Underwear! Invest in a good quality pair of long-johns! They should wick the sweat away from your body, and keep you dry on the trail. Nothing ruins a day like a pair of wet undies!

V- V is for the tracks you will leave in the snow! When you are skating behind your dog, you want to see a nice “V” pattern in the snow. Not too long or wide of a “V”, as you don't want to slow your dog down, or throw off their momentum.

W- W is for Water! Bait it! Bring it! Your dog needs it, and so do you! Dipping for snow is not an effective or efficient way to stay hydrated, so offer plenty of water for your dogs!

X- X is for X-back, the most common style of harness. Harness styles come and go, but the X-back, with slight variations has been around a long time. A custom size is a good way to splurge for your skijoring buddy. Keep in mind, X-backs have been designed for northern breed dogs, with northern breed dog body shapes. If you are running a mutt, or family pet, custom is the way to go!

Y- Y is for Youth. You can start running your dog as soon as they are trained and their bodies are ready, which is usually around the one year mark. Skijoring is not just a sport for young dogs. Older dogs that have learned to conserve their energy make great skijoring partners!

Z- Z is for Zinc. Your dog can get Zinc from beef, turkey, pork, fish and peanut butter. Zinc supports your dog's entire body, but is also beneficial in helping them toughen up their feet. So spoon out the peanut butter as a healthy treat for your dog!


9 January 2016

Guest Post; Product Review Review: Howling Dog Alaska Protector Booties

Howling Dog Alaska Protector Booties

Snow is here! That means walks outside are about to get a little different! You keep yourself warm and comfy with your jacket, boots, and mitts, but what about your dog?

Recently we tested out a set of Protector dog booties from Howling Dog Alaska.

First Impressions

At first look the boot is made of a very well constructed nylon shell with a rubberized bottom. The boot also features a soft cuff that goes around the dog’s leg at the top of the boot. The Velcro strap used to hold the boot on the dog’s paw is longer than most dog boots on the market. This is to ensure that the strap reaches all the way around the ankle to secure tightly on the paw.

The cuff around the top of the boot is designed to keep snow out of the boots (just like a cuff on a pair of mittens). While the cuff does a great job at keeping the snow out of the boots for light walks, or runs on packed down snow or trails, it has a hard time keeping snow out when the dog is jumping and running though deep piles of snow.

The flexible, soft construction of the boot lets the boot move with the dogs paw as she runs down the trail, or walking path. This, along with the rubberized bottom allows the dogs to maintain traction on the snow.

The verdict?

After many adventures over the past few months with these boots I am glad to say that Davidson and I are very happy! Her paws were warm, dry, and comfortable allowing her to enjoy the adventures just as much as I was. Protecting her not only from the snow, but also sharp objects or sticks. The boots also did a great job at keeping dirt out of cuts from previous injuries on her paws.

These boots are affordable ($30 from Oxford Dogs Gear), comfortable, and well constructed. Allowing you, and your dog to get out, feel good, and have some fun!

  • Sarah Davidson is the Dog Sports Girl. You can catch her and Davidson at the WildDogsshows.  Look for more of Sarah's review right here! Sarah was compensated for this review .  She did receive one free pair of Howling Dog Protector Booties to test.

Video! How to teach "Line Out"

Line out is the most important behavior a pulling dog can do.    The most important.   A solid Line Out will keep your dog from being tangled in the lines.  A solid Line Out will keep you from running the dog over on a downward section of the trail.  A solid Line Out will ensure that you can start without whiplash to your or your canine pal.   After reading our blog post on Line Out, a reader from PEI, worked it with her own dog, Nes.   We love to see what you are doing with your dogs!   We also kinda have a major crush on Nes!  What a happy dog!  Look at this awesome team work "Line Out!   Click here to see Nes's "Line Out" video

If you are having trouble with the link, you can always copy and paste the 

URL: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B53OBlBn4PlDUWJOaGRCYjRHRUE/view

Stephanie H. is a 3rd year vet student in PEI, originally from the (warmer) United States. When not studying, she enjoys teaching silly tricks to her dog, hiking, and skiing. Nes is a Belgian Malinois and retired police K-9 who Stephanie adopted in 2014 after his retirement. He is looking forward to his 13th birthday in early February, when his mom will throw him a doggy birthday party and buy him his favorite food - Little Caesar's Deep Dish pizza!