Skijoring

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby maberi » December 16th, 2009, 5:13 pm

Anyone ever do this? I'm interested in doing this with the boys and am looking for some info on how to get started

Gracias,
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Postby Pit♥bull » December 16th, 2009, 5:18 pm

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Postby maberi » December 16th, 2009, 5:20 pm

Lol, thanks, I usually Google things before I ask questions :wink:

I've done a bit of reading on it but was looking for some first hand info from anyone who has tried it
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Postby Pit♥bull » December 16th, 2009, 5:28 pm

I've always wondered why they don't try Pitbulls for sled racing.
Seems with their pulling abilities they would adapt well.
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Postby maberi » December 16th, 2009, 5:40 pm

Pit♥Bull wrote:I've always wondered why they don't try Pitbulls for sled racing.
Seems with their pulling abilities they would adapt well.


If properly bred they certainly have the strength, tenacity and endurance. The coat certainly is a bit to be desired in cold temperatures though. I know there aren't too many Lab lovers on this board, but I can't tell you how different (and refreshing) it is to have a dog that doesn't mind the cold weather. Earl doesn't blink an eye when I let him out back to pee, but I have to push the other two lunkheads out the door and they come sprinting back in the house when they are done like they just crossed Antarctica.
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Postby Pit♥bull » December 16th, 2009, 6:17 pm

maberi wrote:I know there aren't too many Lab lovers on this board
Don't tell Joyce :o

Believe it or not :| there are many short hair sled dogs.
alaska2003-035.JPG
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Postby Brownies Mom » December 16th, 2009, 7:46 pm

maberi wrote:
Pit♥Bull wrote:I've always wondered why they don't try Pitbulls for sled racing.
Seems with their pulling abilities they would adapt well.


If properly bred they certainly have the strength, tenacity and endurance. The coat certainly is a bit to be desired in cold temperatures though. I know there aren't too many Lab lovers on this board, but I can't tell you how different (and refreshing) it is to have a dog that doesn't mind the cold weather. Earl doesn't blink an eye when I let him out back to pee, but I have to push the other two lunkheads out the door and they come sprinting back in the house when they are done like they just crossed Antarctica.

My lab :loveU: was like the two lunkheads. :helloClap: :ROFL2: Winter/spring/summer/fall/rain/shine. Didn't matter. He did it as fast as he could and hustled back in as fast as could. I don't think he could have gotten cold if he'd tried, though. He was always a warm puppy! :dance:
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Postby kera09 » December 16th, 2009, 10:36 pm

this sounds like fun!!!
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Postby mnp13 » December 17th, 2009, 1:31 am

maberi wrote: Earl doesn't blink an eye when I let him out back to pee, but I have to push the other two lunkheads out the door and they come sprinting back in the house when they are done like they just crossed Antarctica.


If our have something to do they don't have a problem with the cold, Connor and Riggs will stay out until they turn into ice cubes if there is a toy involved. The Princess will stay out until she decides that she has graced nature with her presence for long enough.

Agatha, the Lab I grew up with, used to break through ice on the lake to go swimming. :crazy2:
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Postby dlynne1123 » December 18th, 2009, 5:50 pm

Pit♥Bull wrote:
maberi wrote:I know there aren't too many Lab lovers on this board
Don't tell Joyce :o

Believe it or not :| there are many short hair sled dogs.
alaska2003-035.JPG


I used to volunteer as a vet tech, every year at the annual CAN AM sled dogs races in Northern Maine. There were def. huskies, malamutes and others kinda shepherdy looking, and the occasional short haired looking labx or anything in between. For these races however, 250 miles isn't something to bawk at when you have no fur! The labx dogs had booties as well as some of the huskies. I would imagine in warmer climates sledding isn't an issue for bullies. Like on sand or something?? Like desert skiing? I mean a lab has some fun at least on his/her belly. My guys are bald from the arm pits to the butt cheeks! And this race is the prerequisite for the Ididarod (sp)

I think competitively speaking, the long term treks just aren't habitable by bullies. Shorter, ice races and stuff I've seen all kinds of dogs pulling. So long as they can learn whoa, left, right and have a good lead dog, they all can!
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Postby Pit♥bull » December 18th, 2009, 6:19 pm

dlynne1123 wrote:I used to volunteer as a vet tech, every year at the annual CAN AM sled dogs races in Northern Maine.
You should do an Iditarod, they always need volunteers :)

Sorry Matt, I really didn't mean to hijack your topic :oops:
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Postby Malli » December 18th, 2009, 7:10 pm

Pit♥Bull wrote:
maberi wrote:I know there aren't too many Lab lovers on this board
Don't tell Joyce :o

Believe it or not :| there are many short hair sled dogs.
alaska2003-035.JPG


yes but that hair is not as short OR as thin as a Bully type and I bet if you look at their feet they have a LOT more fur ;)
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Postby maberi » December 18th, 2009, 7:11 pm

No worries, turned into an interesting discussion
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Postby furever_pit » December 19th, 2009, 12:40 am

I first read about this a few months ago and it intrigued me as well. If I lived where there was snow I would try it with Dylan. Have you seen links of bikejoring for people who live where there is no snow?
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Postby MegN » December 29th, 2009, 4:31 pm

I think you should do some "rollerjoring" :P put some daisy dukes on and brush off those rollerskates!! That would be a site!!! :dance: better yet, make Heidi give it a try first :D
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Postby melgrj7 » January 18th, 2010, 6:12 pm

I've always wanted to try scootering (instead of bikejoring, safer) with my dogs. Skijoring looks like fun too, but I think I would have a hard time staying upright since I can't seem to do that with ski's myself when I'm not hooked up to dogs!
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Postby tiva » February 3rd, 2010, 11:20 am

Hi Matt and others,
I've ski-jored a lot with my husky mix, Juneau, who needed very little training, our elderly AmStaff Tiva (in the avatar) learned from Juneau. Now I've been training my young pit bull, Vanya, to ski-jor. I hope these tips will be helpful.

1. PULLING: First and most important, ski-joring is NOT really a weight-pulling sport; it's a running sport. You ski the whole time, and friction is minimal with the snow, so the dog pulls only a tiny fraction of your weight. Somewhere I read that it takes less than 20 lbs of force for a dog to pull a 200 lb skier, but I can't find the citation, so don't quote me on that. This means that when I've done the drag-training ground work, I've rarely gone up above 8 lbs (a gallon jug filled with water).

2. WARMTH: Equally important, dogs don't need thick coats for ski-joring, and sprint dogs are nearly always short-haired pointers (or pointer mixes). The thick coats are needed for mushing dogs who do the long races, since they sleep out at night, but skijorers rarely have to worry about that. A long coat is actually problematic for ski-joring dogs (supposedly it makes it harder for them to cool off during a sprint, but that sounds odd to me, because the paws and panting are where a dog cools off).

Staying warm: my Tiva loves the cold and snoozing on a bed in the sun if she's protected from the wind, so her fur actually thickens up a bit in the winter. She doesn't need a coat unless it's below 10 degrees.

Vanya's coat doesn't get as thick in the winter, so we use this coat if the temperature is below 25:
http://www.dogbooties.com/products/indogjacsmal.html

It's very well made, a great price, a great company, and it's easy to put on and off. I put it on when we're getting geared up, and if he starts to warm up too much when we're running, I can take it off in a flash and store it in my backpack.

3. FEET: A pit's feet are actually pretty well designed for snow, since they don't have enough hair between the toes to form ice balls. Still, I always carry booties, and if the temperature is below 25, I put them on the dogs. These booties have worked the best for us:

http://www.dogbooties.com/products/330decobo.html

Thin cordura nylon seems to work a lot better than fleece (unless it's below 5 degrees, in which case fleece might be needed for the warmth.) Booties are cheap and they wear out after 100 miles of running. You need to pull the velcro a bit tighter than one usually thinks is necessary, but not so tight they cut off circulation. Fancy, thick, expensive booties sold by RuffWear and other companies aren't good for skijoring or other winter sports--too thick, too uncomfortable.

Mushers Secret can help for conditioning the pads, and TuffFoot is good too. But these two products don't provide protection against cold, so they don't replace booties. Lots of treats got my dogs used to the booties quickly.

4. HARNESS & GEAR: x-back harnesses aren't great for skijoring, since the angle is too steep up to the skijorers belt. And pits don't really fit the x-back harnesses all that well. Most skijorers I know use something called a "Distance harness" (scroll a third of the way down the page): http://www.howlingdogalaska.com/index.php?page=supplies

Again, since this sport is about running rather than weight, the harness requirements are a bit different than for weight-pulling.

The skijoring belt and tugline made by Howling Dog are great, but a bit pricy. I love them: (scroll to the bottom of the page: http://www.howlingdogalaska.com/index.php?page=supplies

People have good things to say about this skijor belt and tug, which are less expensive:
http://www.nooksackracing.com/skijoring.html

Their trekking belt is inexpensive, but if you're doing much skijoring, the more expensive belts really do take a lot of the pressure off your lower back, so I think they're worth the extra $15 or so.

5. Training:
a. start with groundwork, of course, training your dog to happily pull a light weight (5 lbs) behind her. You start out with her leashed to you, trotting along in front, offering lots of praise and treats. Then ease back behind her, until she is trotting with the weight in front of you. I've used targets and lures and "rabbits" to chase, but it might well be best to follow the slow, steady progression described here:
http://tinyurl.com/yz7kr35 (you may need to be a member of the clickersolutions yahoo group to read this).
b. I find it very helpful to go out with other skiers and snowshoers to encourage my Vanya to skijor. It's also helpful for me to ski beside him (with a leash connected to his harness), while he pulls someone else, or a sled with a child or weight in it. Soon he'll want to be pulling both of us, so I drop behind and add a tiny bit of my weight to his harness.
c. as always, keep the sessions SHORT and fun, and stop before the dog wants to stop. Always keep a little pressure on the line, so your dog learns to expect the pressure. This means a lot of snowplowing when you go down hills. And never, ever, run into your dog with your skis. While you're learning, it's helpful to hold the line in your hand so you can drop it instantly and ski to the side if you feel you're losing control

d. basic commands to teach:
LINE OUT--walk 10 steps or so forward in harness, to take up the slack, then wait for the next command:
HIKE--means start to run (or trot for my dogs)
WHOA--stop!
EASY--slow down
ON BY--don't stop to sniff that deer pee; keep on going past the distraction
GEE: turn right (I just use "go right")
HAW: turn left

Sleddogcentral.com is the best website. They have a program to connect you with a mentor to help you with skijoring

When the snow is off the trails, you can switch to canicross or scootering (safer than bikejoring!). Dogslovetorun is the best yahoo group I've found for advice on skijoring and scootering. http://www.rundawgrun.com/canicross.html is a useful website as well.

The toucan 20 is very popular with skijorers for spring and fall training:
http://www.bikemania.biz/ProductDetails ... e_Toucan20

Have fun!
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Postby tiva » February 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Oops-I forgot to add that a skijor tug line MUST have bungie in it, so neither the dog nor the person gets hurt from sudden pressure on the line. Howling Dog, Nordkapp Racing, and this company (Nordkynn) all have good examples: http://www.nordkyn.com/skijor.htm

You can make a temporary line by incorporating a 2 ft bungie into your regular line. 8 ft total (6 of flat line; 2 ft of bungie) is a good length for us.

Stick with a mushing company for your gear--the prices are much better than pet gear companies, and the gear is probably better. I've noticed a fair number of online companies selling skijor gear at twice the price it costs at sleddog suppliers. Any place listed at sleddogcentral should be reliable.

Another name for the distance harness is guard harness, or european skijor harness:
http://www.sleddogcentral.com/features/ ... arness.htm

The walking (NOT weightpull harness) at cdpits might also work:
http://www.itsmysite.com/cgi-bin/itsmy/ ... dir=cdpits

For skis--serious skijor racers all use skate skis, since they're faster. But while you're learning, classic skis are easier for balance and stability. I don't use my track skis; instead, I use an old beater pair (you can usually find them on craigslist for a few bucks).

Trails: stay off groomed ski trails, of course. Forest Service roads are great; multi-use snowmobile trails are fine, if allowed. Wear a blaze orange or road safety vest so the snowmobilers can see you. My favorite places to skijor are on frozen sloughs, bays, estuaries, marshes and lakes, when the snow is windpacked and there are lots of places to run.
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Postby Marinepits » February 3rd, 2010, 12:14 pm

Wow, thanks for all the info, Nancy! :clap:
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Postby tiva » February 3rd, 2010, 3:31 pm

If you're not so sure about your skiing ability, try a kicksled:
http://vermontkicksled.com/

I don't have one, but they look like a blast! You can easily harness a dog to one, of course.
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