Fun Winter Activities With Your Dog: Skijoring & Sledding

taking-dog-sledding-by-NATEPERRO.jpg It’s easy to get into a couch potato way of life during the winter months.

Heck, even your dog would rather lie down in front of the fireplace or cuddle up to the wood stove than go outside when the temperatures start falling below zero!

Funny thing is… our furry companions are happy to follow our lead, no matter where we’re headed!

So, why not bundle up and get outside into the fresh air? You might actually enjoy this type of exercise! Your dog will love it too.

 

A Cure For Cabin Fever

Winter brings all sorts of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Some of the most beautiful scenery is waiting for you to explore and enjoy accompanied by bright blue skies and clean crisp snow.

I live in northern Minnesota. We know snow. We also know long winters. Which means if you want to go crazy real quick, try staying in the house all winter long wishing the snow would just go away.

This is often referred to as “cabin fever” — that period of winter when you have nothing to do, and the walls of your house seem to be closing in on you.

Did You Know?…
You’ve probably heard of “dry heat” before. For example, those from Arizona will say that summers are tolerable because “it’s a dry heat.” But did you know that the same phenomenon exists in cold weather, as well? Once the temperature drops below zero, it will freeze-dry the moisture out of the air. As a result, temperatures beyond about 5-degrees-below-zero all feel about the same.

Here are a couple of fun ways that you and your dog can combat cabin fever together:

 

Dog Sledding

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Professional dog sled racing is a great sport that comes into the limelight every January in Duluth Minnesota.

For example, the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is a premiere 400-mile race that runs a trail along the north shore of Lake Superior, retracing the route used by an Indian chief to deliver mail to small communities toward the end of the 19th century.

The race is run around the clock over a period of 4 to 5 days, with mandatory layovers and sleeping along the trail. It’s an event requiring strategy and a very close relationship with your team. My fondness for this particular event comes from volunteering as a ham radio operator, supplying communications throughout the race course for 8 years.

The Beargrease race is a qualifying event for the Iditarod — a sled dog race over 1,150 miles of frozen winter landscape across Alaska. This Iditarod race commemorates the miraculous feat of delivering Diphtheria serum to Nome Alaska, stopping an epidemic back in 1925.

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Find Dog Sledding Events Near You

Recreational dog sledding doesn’t require a kennel of 50 dogs, as many professional teams keep. With as few as 3 dogs, an adult can hit the trail and comfortably travel. Even one dog is sufficient to pull young children on lightweight sleds for afternoon outings to enjoy the day outdoors.

Check out these dog sledding vacations and dog mushing tours!

No dog sledding events in your neck of the woods?…

You can still get into the spirit of dog sledding by taking your dog for a walk in the winter snow to the nearest park or sledding hill near you. Sometimes, watching others have fun in the snow is almost as much fun (if not more) than doing it yourself. And, as long as you walk to your destination, then you and your dog will be getting in some valuable exercise.

 

Skijoring

skijoring-in-alberta-canada-by-Travel-Alberta-Canada.jpg Another fun activity is Skijoring, an activity where all that is required is you, your dog, and a pair of skis. Even small dogs will enjoy this outdoor activity.

Cross country skiing is a popular activity all throughout the snowbelt. Bring your dog along to enjoy the experience, and you’ll find he’s just as excited to help pull you along the trail. That’s what Skijoring is all about!

Here are 16 steps to prepare you (and your dog) for your first Skijoring event.

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With many organized skijoring events held throughout the winter months, you can choose to participate or simply be a spectator. Either way, the fresh air will do you good and help keep the winter blues at bay.

 

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In the end, it’s all about getting outdoors and getting some exercise — with your dog. Once you get the blood moving, you’ll feel better and the exercise will help to keep your body fit and and full of energy.

Bundle up in layers, stay warm, and go out there and enjoy!

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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  • Dawg

    Besides the usual northern sled breeds, what are some breeds that could be suitable and interested in being trained to pull lightweight – not for races or work – just to help exercise and stimulate them. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

  • AlaskanRuby

    I am so excited to explore the possibility of skijoring with my Miniature Schnauzer. She loves the snow and is missing our long walks in the wintertime because we don’t have a lot of safe sidewalks, etc. Skijoring together might be right up our alley! :)