Category Archives: skijoring

Canicross – Head Cross Country with Man’s Best Friend!

By Suzanne Alicie

I know that our lovely editor Julia only assigned this title to me because I’m known to want to try the things I write about. Well, surprise! I’m not giving Canicross a shot… although for an athletic person and a well behaved dog it could be a fun activity. My dog Bear has ‘ADD of the nose’ and just a normal walk around the block means me racing along behind her frantically as she runs back and forth following scents. Harness or not, I definitely won’t be trying Canicross with her!

Canicross is the sport of harnessing your dog and running or walking cross country. It’s similar to the sport of Skijoring which I’ve thoroughly explored here before. How is Canicross different, you may wonder, from simply taking a walk? Consider the actual idea of cross country walking or running – it’s a test of your endurance and stamina, strength and coordination to be able to travel long distances. Now think about heading up a large hill while you’re walking or running cross country. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner harnessed in front of you to give you a little bit of a pull?

Harnessing your dog for Canicross is much like harnessing him to a sled for pulling power. When you run or walk cross country with your dog you have a partner, a bit of extra strength. It also strengthens your bond with your dog to learn to work together as a team to get where you are going. Canicross does require that your dog learns to keep tension on the line while traveling at a speed that is comfortable for you. Your dog needs to be accustomed to a halter and to having some weight on the harness in order to learn the restraint and pace of Canicross.

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The Alaskan Malamute, a True Arctic Breed

By Ruthie Bently

The Alaskan Malamute’s origins go back 2,000 to 3,000 years, and their creation is credited to the Mahlemut Inuit tribe of northern Alaska. Most experts agree that the Malamute is one of the earliest dog breeds of North America. It is debated that they owe their existence to the breeding between domesticated Arctic wolves and early dogs owned by the tribe. It has not yet been scientifically confirmed, but the Alaskan Malamute might be the nearest living relative to the “First Dog” according to Mietje Germonpré, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. He feels that 30,000 year old dog remains recently found closely resemble the Alaskan Malamute due to their size.

I find it easy to believe that this breed is descended from wolves, as they do tend to howl more than they bark. I have had the chance to hear wolves howling, and the similarity is interesting. An extended family member owns a Malamute with ice blue eyes (this is a disqualification in the confirmation ring). When she looks at you, you get the impression that she is looking into your soul.

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Winter Activities to Keep Dogs Busy

By Linda Cole

December 21 is the official start of winter, but as far as I’m concerned, when the first snowfall covers the ground – it’s winter! Even with snow on the ground, dogs can still get plenty of healthy stimulation and exercise during the winter months. If your dog is like a couple of mine, the minute the first snowflake hits the ground they head for the couch and a warm blanket to cuddle under, but once they get outside, they have as much fun as the other dogs. Winter activities for dogs can be anything you enjoy doing together.

The first thing to remember when venturing outside in the winter is safety for you and your dog. Winter activities are only fun when no one pulls a muscle, gets too cold or becomes lost. Protecting your pet with a microchip can save his life if he should become separated from you during any outdoor activity. Brush up on survival skills and always remember to pack survival gear for you and your dog when heading outside for some winter fun.


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Skijoring: A Fun Sport for You and Your Dog


By Suzanne Alicie

They say curiosity killed the cat. In my case, curiosity only bruised my hind parts. Thanks to the recent snowfall on the East Coast I had a chance to try out skijoring with my dog. A Samoyed breed, she loves the snow and cold. I on the other hand, would rather be in the warm house. Having read up a little bit on skijoring, I decided I had to give it a try.

For those who haven’t heard of skijoring, it is a sport for a person and a dog. The person straps on skis and has their ski poles while the dog is placed in a harness which is attached to the person’s waist. I didn’t go out and get any special equipment just to test this. I used our walking harness and attached the leash to my belt with a clip.

So I wrapped up and got us both all hitched together, then let her pull me along the driveway. Everything went well, as long as we were moving. Once she stopped I kept right on going, ending up in a pile of snow with my big white dog looking at me like I had lost my mind. I am blaming that on the icy surface of the snow, not myself or the dog.

Skijoring is not an experience I will be repeating; however, many people spend hours every day honing their skill and forming a bond with their skijoring partner. Skijoring requires a great deal of skill, training and trust between the person and the dog.

Skijoring is a very popular sport for dog owners in the colder climates, where it is a competitive sport including slalom, obstacles and both sprint and long runs. Of course, skijoring is aimed at cross country skiing, and not downhill! There are several companies that specialize in skijoring equipment, dog training and tournaments. Skijoring is also done with horses, and motor vehicles such as snowmobiles. The name skijoring is from a Norwegian word that means ski driving. Some variations of skijoring include snowboarding with a dog to pull you, and even skijoring on grassy fields instead of snow.

The most common dogs for skijoring are athletic and herding breeds such as pointers and setters. All the northern breeds such as Samoyeds, Huskies and Malamutes are naturally inclined and enjoy this sport. But if you are interested in skijoring, pretty much any mid to large sized energetic breed will be capable of pulling you. The dogs that compete in skijoring competitions are trained with the person on foot initially. To be a successful skijoring dog, the animals must learn to pass another dog without stopping to greet them.

If you are in a cold climate and enjoy cross country skiing, you may appreciate the sport of skijoring as a way to spend more time with your dog and to form a closer bond with him as well. Skijoring is excellent exercise for your dog as well as a way to expend excess energy and advance your dog’s trained behavior. The training learned for skijoring will carry over in your dog’s everyday living, much the same as the military bearing of a soldier is noticeable even when he isn’t in uniform.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.