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I'm very interested in teaching Duke and Bonny how to pull me. I wanted sled dogs but we do not get enough snow for a sled. Therefore, the two most reasonable options for our area and cross country skis and bikes. Any advice on where to get the harness and ganglines? I don't have much money right now so cheap places or even making them myself is the best option if anyone has ideas? I have a chance to get this http://www.sylmardogwear.com/dogpack.htm

for pretty cheap but I'm not convinced it would be as great a harness as it claims. Anyone have any opinions on it?


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Here are websites to purchase the needed gear:


Skijor Belt


X-Back Pulling Harness


Dog Boots


Tow Rope and Quick Release Buckle


If you try some homemade gear to get started, I would still purchase true pulling harness(s) and tow line with quick release buckle.


Skijoring is great fun, and provides winter exercise for skier and dogs. I dog skijor on x-country skis. Plan a trip tomorrow, unless the windchills are too ridiculous.


The backpack/harness link in your post does not look appropriate for cross country or urban skijoring. It appears to be mainly a backpack, rather than a true pulling harness. Looks restrictive and and excessively heat insulating. Get x-back harnesses similar to the one in the links above. The dogs IMO should not be weighed down carrying anything, in order to concentrate energy on pulling at a good pace.


I started my Border Collie in a pulling harness attached to a light plastic child's toboggan, slowly adding more weight as she became accustomed to it. If you use this training technique, be sure to have a rear brake line for control on downhill slopes and stops.


I would first become familiar with cross-country skis. Be able to navigate and snowplow stop. Depending on snow/ice conditions, and with one medium size dog, the skier may have to provide a good deal of the power. OTOH on packed snow and two strong dogs pulling, I have seen incredible speeds with little work on the part of the skijorer.


Hope you give it a try, and please report back on your adventures. -- Best wishes, TEC


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No advice here, only saying that it's something I've really wanted to try! My dog is too young right now, but during the summer he'll be about a year and a half old and I hope to start introducing him to a little bikejoring, and skijoring next winter. It looks like so much fun! What a great way to exercise during the winter!

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I am sick and Tweed is sick, so haven't been on here much.


Sled Dog Central is an excellent resource for supplies, training advice, etc.


You are not going to pay as much for harnesses and lines from sled dog supplies as from agility and other "sport" supply companies. Remember, people with sled dogs often have big kennels. They can't afford to pay a lot and need to buy affordable gear in bulk.


If you are doing bikejoring instead of sledding, you will want a longer line than is standard with a sled. You also want a system to keep the line away from the wheel (many companies that sell scootering supplies will have these).


I never was any good as skijoring but did sledding, carting and bikejoring for years.

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Skijoring is great fun, and provides winter exercise for skier and dogs. I dog skijor on x-country skis. Plan a trip tomorrow, unless the windchills are too ridiculous.

Thought I would get back about our recent skijor adventures. Our first trip of the season could be described as somewhere between a nice wintertime hike with my dog and a bust. Beautiful blue sky, sunny day, and about ten degrees F, light wind. Mostly level 1.5 mile trail covered by about two inches of crunchy snow around a small lake, but ample for our purposes.

Josie, my 35 lb lightly built BC, told me right up front that she was not interested in skijoring that day. Lots of sniffing off the side of the trail necessitating redirections/refocuses. For certain sections she pulled strong enough to lengthen my stride/glide by a few inches. This is a dog that in the right snow conditions can pull a heavy hay bale laden sled for short distances on her own .

Having a plan to reinforce/review her pull training, we went out today again. Same place, a little warmer, and overcast skies. Loaded a child's plastic toboggan (almost no weight of its own) with a folded lawn chair, camera tripod and other odds and ends found in my SUV to provide a little resistance. Arranged a tow line of about 10-11 feet so that, if she stopped, the toboggan would not immediately slide into her. Attached a brake line of around 15 feet to the front, which dragged on flat areas. On steep downhill stretches and unavoidable traverses across precipitous slopes, I held the line to guard against toboggan veering off the trail, and to prevent it sliding into my dog. Today she was in the game. She showed-up for work carrying a lunch bucket. Just took a little running alongside, with upbeat "Pull, pull, pull" and anything excited I could think to say. Since the load was extremely light, and she was doing well, I added a couple large granite rocks to the front for stability/resistance, and later a big chunk of wood -- never more than approx. 25 lbs, total. On flat stretches she developed an easy running stride, uphill slowing only slightly. She was not easily distracted, but could have focused a little better. For the most part, she understood the task. I'll probably take her out for another hour with an additional 10-15 lbs, so that she steadily improves physical conditioning, never noticing added weight. Assuming she does well, it may be time to try skijoring again :) .

Riika, it may be easier to teach your two dogs to pull than just one. I think there is something in the canine brain that likes company of their own kind, and perhaps a little competition can develop between the two.

We had a great time today, and hope our experience provides motivation, and something to go by. I offer the above as a regimen that has worked for us in the past (clearly needs refresher training occasionally, since we only get out a few times/year), and is by no means unique or the only way to go. I will say that it is very similar to a video I viewed recently in which a sled dog puppy was taught the rudiments of mushing in less than an hour. The puppy progressed from pulling the handler's leash attached to harness as they ran (plus intermediate steps), to enthusiastically pulling a dogsled when teamed with an experienced dog following a pickup, handler seated on tailgate. -- Best wishes, and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL, TEC

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