4 Winter Sports to do With Your Dog
Winter can be a tough time for everyone. Humans aren’t the only creatures getting cabin fever, however. Dogs who spend lots of time outdoors in the summer can get cooped up in the winter months. That being said, just because it’s cold and snowy, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside! In fact, there are lots of winter sports to do with your dog.
are small sleds mounted with a chair with metal runners that extend backwards out behind the sled. You can propel the sled by kicking off the ground. Or, you can attach your dog to the front of the sled and they can help pull you. Now, it’s not the dog’s job to completely pull you. Think of it as more of a team sport. Between your push and the dog’s pull, you can get some pretty good traction. If you have more than one dog, you can attach them to the kicksled as well.
Before you start kicksledding with your dog, make sure you both have the basics down. First, your dog needs to be trained to pull on a harness. Once your dog is comfortable pulling on a harness, you can attach them to the sled and practice in a safe space.
is versatile. It doesn’t matter what your age or level of athleticism is, you can kicksled! It’s the perfect winter sport.
If you live in a climate with lots of snow, snowshoeing is a great way to pass the dreary winter months. Explore forests and trails with your pup while you snowshoe.
With the help of snowshoes, you can explore all the hiking trails you enjoy during the warmer months. Snowshoes come in different varieties depending on how you plan to use them. For instance, they make snowshoes for rocky paths, frozen lakes, etc. Find out which best suits your application and decide if you want to rent or buy a pair. Some nature centers or state parks have snowshoes available for rental.
Adding your dog to the mix is as easy as bringing them along. Of course, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Is the snow too deep for your dog to walk comfortably?
- Can your dog make it the full hike without getting too cold or too tired?
- Does the path your hiking allow dogs?
- Are your dog’s paws protected from ice and snow?
- Does your dog need a coat?
- Do you have access to water along the trail?
As long as you consider these questions and prepare well, you and your dog will have a great time snowshoeing.
According to the American Kennel Club, “Skijoring, which is derived from the Norwegian word for ‘ski driving,’ requires one to three dogs, a pair of skis, and a pulling harness. Most outdoor winter enthusiasts already have at least two of those, and quality pulling harnesses and belts are available online for under $75. If you love cross-country skiing as much as your dog loves running through the snow, then you and your dog might have what it takes to try skijoring this winter.”
Ideally, your skijoring buddy should be more than 35 pounds. This is for the safety of your dog. This is definitely a sport for dogs who love to run and who aren’t afraid of crowds and other dogs. Whether you skijor for fun or to compete, this is one of the most popular winter sports to do with your dog. With this popularity comes lots of resources. So, take the time to research before beginning your skijoring journey.
is cross country running with dogs. It came into being for people who wanted to train during the off-season for dog sledding. Then, it became a sport all its own in Europe. In this sport, one or two dogs are attached to the belt of the runner. The dogs wear a harness. If there is more than one dog, the dogs are attached by a bungee of sorts. This absorbs shock from the canine runners.
is considered an accessible sport for people of all abilities and dogs of all shapes and sizes. It can be done any time of the year!
Get Moving This Winter!
Winter doesn’t have to be a time for staying put and stuck indoors. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn a new sport and to bond with your dog. You’ll both be happier and healthier for it.