What Equipment is Required?
You will need the harnesses, both for you and your dog, along with the basic cross country skiing gear. For the health and safety of you and your dog(s), make sure that all of your equipment is approved for use with dogs and for skijoring specifically. If your dog is thinner coated, like the hair coats of Dalmatians and German shorthaired pointers, you may want to insulate your dog with a snug cover up for skijoring in the coldest parts of winter. The lighter coated dogs tend to do better in the warmer days of early and late winter, while heavy coated dogs do best in the height of winter.
Check online for suppliers of skijoring harnesses and towlines to compare prices for the best and safest gear.
Rules and Precautions
Be sure to start out slowly and keep your runs short. Additionally, let your dog become accustomed to wearing the harness alone before she is tasked with pulling a load while running in snow.
It's important to always use common sense when heading outdoors in the winter (or anytime of the year). Keep a first-aid kit and plenty of water in your pack, and watch out for other skiers, horses, snowmobiles, etc. while on the ski trails.
There are plenty skijor clubs that get together for runs and seminars. Just do a quick search for skijoring clubs online and you will find many options. Talk to other skijorers and learn as much as possible so that you can safely enjoy this winter sport with your four-legged pal.
A final note: You don’t have to wait until the snow starts falling to get started. You can see if your dog has a feel for skijoring even in the summertime by talking her out with you while you bike, run, or skate. Just remember to take all of the same precautions that were mentioned above, and take a look at the articles we have on biking and running with your dog.
Image: PhotoBobil / via Flickr