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Dog Training for Skijoring

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a Samoyed who is now two (see pics in The Dog Pic Thread) and I would like to have him start pulling this winter. I will buy the harness and other necessary equipment, but I am wondering if anyone else has experience training a dog to do this. Is it something that I can reasonably expect to train him to do myself, or is there some sort of class to take? If so, does anyone know of one near Boston? Any advice or opinions are appreciated!

this is what I'm shooting for:

post #2 of 10
There is a very good thread which is in The Back Country section of the forums on this topic.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
There is a very good thread which is in The Back Country section of the forums on this topic.
A good thread, I agree... but not quite the same topic. I have taken my dog skiing in and out of bounds many times over the past two seasons and it has gone quite well. What I would like to start doing is having him PULL ME on cross-country gear with a harness like sled dogs use. (Samoyeds ARE sled dogs, after all. ) This is called skijoring and is also sometimes done behind horses. I believe the training is similar to what you would do with a sled dog, and I have read a bit about it... but was just wondering if anyone here had any experience with it.
post #4 of 10
I used to have a Husky and she loved this. The only problem was that I was stationed in NC at the time so we made some gear changes; I was on rollerblades. She would get so excited when I broke out the harness it was crazy.

The rules of engagement are the same for the dog, its only the terrain that is different. I would start practicing on roller blades and then move to skis. At least that way you can start now. I don't see any reason why you couldn't do this on your own.

I was doing the "Clicker" training which worked great. I didn't take any classes on skijoring but I did do some reading. I also particpated in some seminars on opperant conditioning and using the clicker.

One thing you have to do is understand that you don't have to train your dog to do this. He already knows how to run, turn, stop and pull. You have to get him to do it when you want - on queue.

Start slow. He'll eventually be able to go a couple of miles but not at first.

The one thing I could never do was get Hime (Japanese for Princess) to NOT chase a squirrel while pulling. Made the mistake of not wearing all my safety gear the first time and along came a squirrel as I got dragged through someones yard.

I think the main queue's are: hike, gee (right), haw (left) and whoa. It's been about ten years so I'm a little rusty. There is also the invevitable "Stop Damnit! Stop!"

Oh ya. This isn't a free ride either. The dog will work hard but you have to work too.

Have fun,
post #5 of 10
It always brings a smile to my face when I see people moving around town on dog towed longboards.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
It always brings a smile to my face when I see people moving around town on dog towed longboards.
I've seen people doing this on rollerblades too, and heard about Mtn. Biking with dog power. I think I'll start on the snow (more forgiving to fall on when he decides he's rather go after a squirrel than follow the trail) but hopefully by next summer...
post #7 of 10
With rollerblades would it be fruit dogging? Or am Just stretching?

No matter what it sounds like fun!!

I had a dog pull me on a skateboard (shortboard unfortunately before I found the joys of long boarding) years back. He even had a cast on each leg at the time, long story. Not quite sure why I did that ( I was probably 14 at most, lets blame youth), but he didn't mind and I thought it was fun even if it was just 20 feet or so. Must have been a very goofy sight!!

Doing it on snow first sounds like a good idea, for both you and the dog. Easier to fall on and as long as it's not too cold, easier on the dog's pads.
post #8 of 10
L&AirC great reply. I also did this a long time ago. Read some books on dogsledding and trained my husky myself, as you did. The only suggestion I might make is to begin training on dry land, have your dog in harness and run with the dog, as opposed to being on blades. This will make it easier for you, fewer spills, until the dog learns to respond to your commands when given. It will be a lot of fun for you as well as for your dog. Good luck and have some fun!

“We don’t grow too old to play, we grow old because we stop playing”
post #9 of 10
My only caution on running behind the dog is you have to make sure he knows the difference of when he is supposed to pull and when he isn't. When she had the collar and leash she was supposed to walk and not pull. She could be in front but pulling on the leash wasn't allowed. There needs to be something the dog recognizes distinguishing the two behaviors from each other. For Hime it was whenever she was wearing the harness with traces.

Man I miss that dog.
post #10 of 10  a fairly big bump on my part, but a good topic.  Other than general info in the link, I'd say what I've been most surprised by is how much a bungee helps spread out the shock if the dog tries to go from 0 straight to 60.  For bike joring in summertime, watching your wheel relative to the line is key.  If your dog is prone to situational deafness, particularly around wildlife, take this into account. 

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