With Winter Around the Corner...
on October 24, 2010 at 02:54 PM
in categories Dog Sledding
Pretty soon the Winter season will be upon us, and that often means taking a break from training. If you want to keep your dog (and yourself) in shape, there are many winter sports to choose from. If you have four or more dogs, have a look at sprint dog sledding. Chessies are strong and driven -- they can run very fast for several kilometers. They might not be able to compete over long distances in extreme weather, but I bet they would kick ass in shorter / faster races. If you only have one or two dogs, have a look at Ski-Joring -- You wear a special harness around your hips, where the tugline is clipped on, and the dogs pull you along. You can also tie-off the tugline to kick scooters, kick sleds, bikes, etc. Lead-dog training is fairly easy (compared to field work) and the investment in harnesses and tuglines isn't too bad -- you can even make your own. There are certain design characteristics that go into making a harness and tugline, so if you want to make your own, please do some research first. :-) If you're set on buying a dog sled, a sprint-type sled (lighter and not meant to haul goods) is probably best. A competition sled will be more expensive, but there are very reasonable lighter dog sleds available too. Aside from the usual build quality considerations, make sure the sled allows the handle bar to rack / move side-to-side. This will move / bend the runners, making it easier to steer and go around corners.
A few winters back I posted a news item about dog sledding, and recently added a few comments to it about harnesses, kick scooters / sleds, and a video from last Spring of Pete and I with a kick scooter. The video gives you some idea of the commands involved and the kind of speed you can expect. A kick scooter is good for 1-2 dogs, and maybe 3-4 if you're really brave. :-)
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