Do you want to learn more about how to go skiing with your pup? Then read this blog post to discover the best tips for dog skiing!
Skiing is a mountain sport where people can enjoy the incredible natural vista of the mountains in winter, whilst gliding along on skis or other equipment. But, did you know that you can get your pup involved too?
Cross-country skiing, alpine touring, and skijoring are all activities that you can adapt to include your dog in - after all, why should they miss out on all the fun?
You must make plenty of considerations before starting a winter sport with your dog, this guide is designed to give you all the tips you need to practice skiing with your dog safely. Keep reading to give your pup a better quality of life by exposing them to new and beautiful parts of the world!
Dog Skiing Explained
Dog skiing is a form of cross-country skiing that involves the dog running alongside the human on their skis. Dog skijoring is also a great exercise for your dog and can provide both physical and mental stimulation as they pull you along on your skis. This can have major benefits for your dog's mental health if the sport is practiced correctly and safely, using the right equipment.
There are plenty of other winter activities you can partake in with your dog, such as alpine touring, which involves a person on skis hiking up the mountain, and skiing down. With the right mindset and equipment, you can bring your dogs along for this activity for a fabulous, fun day!
To see just how fun winter sports can be with your dog, check out the skiing dogs of Instagram. Parker, the Bernese mountain dog, is in his element! This blog will cover how you can ensure your dog's safety and comfort, while you enjoy these activities together.
7 Tips To Go Skiing With Your Dog
Here are 7 tips that can help you enjoy skiing with your dog while keeping him warm, comfortable, and safe in the cold weather and deep snow.
Tip #1: Choose The Best Style For You And Your Dog
To ensure your dog is having just as much fun as you during your winter activities, it's important to gauge which activity will suit your dog's energy levels, strength, and endurance. Let's look at the options!
Classic Cross-Country Skiing
Classic cross-country skiing involves gliding along flat, downhill, or uphill terrain, using your skis to push yourself along or slide down a slope. Most nordic skiing centers do not allow dogs on their downhill skiing trails as they can cause damage to the slope and may get in the way of skiers traveling quickly down the winter trail. So, it's best to ensure that the Nordic skiing centers you're considering visiting with your dogs, allow them on the slopes, as dog-friendly trails will be safer.
Alpine touring involves hiking up a mountain with both skis and your dog in tow. Once you've reached the top, you can ski down slowly, checking up on your dog on the way down. When alpine touring with your dog, it is paramount to ensure your dog stays close to you, especially if they are a smaller breed, as they may not be able to see you past the deep snow. Alpine touring makes for a fun and different method of dog walking, and your dog is sure to love the snowy adventures you take them on.
Skijoring is similar to dog sledding but the dog pulls a person on skis instead of a sled. This means the dog has less weight to pull, so skijoring is better suited to those who only have one or two dogs. Skijoring requires a tug line and two harnesses.
Tip #2 Determine If Your Dog Is A Fit For The Skiing Style You Have Chosen
To start skiing or alpine touring with your dog, you need to first ensure that the skiing style suits your dog's abilities and preferences. Let's look at some of the best breeds to take on your snowy adventure.
Analyzing Dog Breeds For Skiing
When analyzing whether your dog's breed is well suited to winter activities in the snow, there are a few main areas you can look at - insulation, stamina, and size:
- Insulation - the length of your dog's hair and their level of body fat will determine how severely they will feel the cold. Whippets and greyhounds are lean with short hair and may not be able to withstand cold weather. Consider investing in coats, jumpers, and booties for short-haired and lean breeds. If they seem cold, this indicates that it's best to keep your pup warm and safe indoors.
- Stamina - if your dog doesn't have very high energy levels, like the French bulldog, it's good to stick to short routes when alpine touring and to avoid skijoring, as this may be too strenuous for your dog.
- Size - the size of your dog will indicate whether they can enjoy skijoring with you. Smaller dogs aren't well-suited to the sport as it may put too much strain on their bodies. You should also shorten your cross-country ski and alpine touring routes to ensure smaller dogs don't get too exhausted.
Tip #3: Train Your Dog Properly
Having a good relationship with your dog is essential before taking them skiing or alpine touring with you. You wouldn't want them to end up lost or hurt.
Having some basic obedience training before taking on the winter trails with your dog is essential. They must have a good recall to ensure they won't get lost, and you can teach them commands telling them where to go while you're skiing, such as 'stay behind'. If your dog can follow these simple commands, it will avoid them getting in your way and possibly getting hurt.
Socializing With Other Dogs
Since dog-friendly ski trails are bound to be packed with plenty of excited pups, it's best to ensure that your dog doesn't get too distracted by other dogs and does not show any aggression towards others. If your dog gets distracted by other dogs, you may lose sight of them, and they could get lost. Similarly, if you are skiing, you will be slower than your dog when going uphill or along the flat, making it more difficult to intervene if they get into a scrap with another dog.
Tip #4: Check Your State Of Mind When Skiing With Your Dog
Patience is key when skiing with your dog. Your dog can only run so fast and may not be able to keep up for as long as you would like to ski. So, check your state of mind before skiing with your dog, as getting frustrated with your dog may cause them to overexert themselves or get hurt. You must be calm, patient, and attentive to your dog's needs when skiing with your dog.
Tip #5: Get Proper Equipment
You wouldn't go outside and start skiing without the proper equipment, so why should your dog? Before skiing with your dog, it's essential to invest in the appropriate equipment that will help keep your dog warm, comfortable, and safe.
Dogs Outwear To Stay Warm
If your dog isn't equipped with an oversized coat of fur, it will likely get cold after spending some time in the snow. So, it's best to invest in a thick jumper or coat for your dog, one designed explicitly for snowy climates.
Booties are a must-have before bringing your dog out in the snow. The fur between your dog's paws can become frozen and cause pulling, which will be very uncomfortable for your dog. To prevent this, you will need to invest in dog boots that keep those paws pain-free and toasty warm.
For any dog pulling activity, like skijoring, you will need an appropriate harness that distributes the pulling weight evenly across your dog's chest and has padding to keep them comfortable. Try a Perfect Fit Harness or a Pro Sled Dog Harness, which will ensure your dog can pull without too much pressure on its neck and chest.
A tug line is what connects you to your dog while skijoring. If you invest in a bungee tug line, this will help protect you and your dog from strong pulls that may cause you both to lose balance.
You will need a comfortable belt when skijoring with your dog to avoid putting too much stress on your body. You can use a comfortable skijoring belt for jogging or walking with your dog hands-free, making this an extremely sound investment.
Tip #6: Be Aware Of Winter Risks And Take Precautions
Humans and dogs are at risk when they take on the winter climate. It's best to be prepared for the worst when you're out in the cold and to ensure you have a plan should anything go awry.
Get A First-Aid Kit
A first-aid kit will come in handy should you or your dog suffer any blisters, cuts, or scrapes along the way. Alcohol wipes can help you ensure any wound does not become infected before you make it back to base. Blisters can be quite painful for both humans and dogs, and plaster can help decrease this discomfort while you navigate your way to safety.
When skijoring dogs, or taking them alpine touring with you, you must also remember your poop bags and a suitable water bowl for your dog so that they can hydrate themselves after exerting so much energy.
Get Pet Insurance
Should your dog sustain an injury during your winter adventure, you need to be sure that you can cover the care cost for this injury. You must invest in pet insurance before partaking in any winter sports with your dog. Your insurance will help you get your dog's injury treated without the added worry of the cost.
Tip# 7: Have Flexible Goals When Skiing With Your Dog
When skiing with your dog, it's essential to have flexible goals. If your dog is new to skiing and winter sports, start slow and build up their stamina. It is critical to consider your dog's comfort and ensure you do not put too much stress on their body without the proper training and stamina build-up.