Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What is Skijoring?

I often get blank stares or "what on earth are you talking about" looks when I say, "I skijor."

Living in Breckenridge means people always ask, "do you ski or board?" I then answer, "I skijor," and the blank stares begin.

So, skijoring defined:
  • 1 part human on cross country skis.
  • 2 parts Siberian Husky in sledding harnesses (or any 1-2 dogs that love to pull & run).
  • 1 part gang line attached around the waist/hips of the human and attached to the husky harnesses.
The human says, "Go!" (or whatever release command you have) and you are a forward propelled cross country skiing machine.

Things you need to teach and entrust in your 4-legged skiing pals:
  • Go (or forward) command - this one requires no training with Siberian Huskies.
  • Left & Right Turn commands - I teach these on a leash on walks from day 1, so it comes natural once in harness.
  • On By (or "leave it" or "ignore those other dogs" or "ignore those cows") command - I will be continuing to perfect this one the rest of my life ;-)
  • Stop (or wait) command - the most unnatural command for a Siberian Husky to learn. My trick: I keep a pack of sliced hotdogs with me while skijoring; to my huskies, "wait" means, "STOP - FREE HOTDOGS!"  Works for me...
  • Easy (or slowdown) command - another hard one for the Siberian Husky vocabulary; but we are getting it.
  • Over to the Right (or Left) command (moving from one side of a wide trail to another) - I teach this one on walks too, so it comes naturally.
But, most important of all these commands: you need to get to a level of trust in your skijor group. Once you all "feel" the trust, the commands start to work.

Good luck and HANG ON ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Which harness do you use for your dogs?