Try something new: Skijoring Part 2

Buffy and Cody demonstrating a “line out” before we start to skijor together

In my last post, I introduced skijoring as a new activity for you to try. So if you’ve got your equipment and you are ready to give it a shot, this article will focus on some tips for success. 

How to get started

Setting yourself up for success means planning ahead and putting in a bit of training. If you have never done any pulling sport with your dogs, you need to teach your dog to pull. You might be thinking “oh my dog can pull” but pulling while on a walk is very different than pulling you on a ski track where they can’t just stop to sniff every couple of seconds. 

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Try something new: Skijoring Part 1

Skijoring is a Norwegian term which translates to “ski driving”. Its origin lies with horses and skis. You get the idea, slap on some skis, let the horse pull you and try to hold on and stay upright. It’s actually still a sport with horses, but in recent years, it’s become a popular activity with dogs. So what am I proposing you try exactly? I want you to consider trying skijoring with your dog (or dogs if you have more than one). That means strapping on some cross country ski’s, investing in a proper harness and skijoring kit, and hitting the trails.  You’ll feel the magic of working as a team with your dog to glide over the snow, the wind on your face, the excited look of your dog, it will be the best experience of your life. There you have it, you are ready to go. … Just kidding. I’ve broken down this post into two because there is quite a bit of information to include. This post will talk about the basics you need to get together before you start working towards getting on skis with your dog. 

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A new decade, a perfect reason for trying something new…

It’s New Years day and it’s a big one. We are starting a new decade and that might be the perfect motivation for some to try something new. There are lots of new things you can try, but this post will focus on what you should consider for trying some new things with your dogs. I will follow this up by more detailed posts every two weeks on specific activities and my advice on getting into those activities in particular.

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Why shock collars do not make sense for adventure dogs… or any dogs

60bd9e3b-0319-45e1-9117-351f634a9837I have seen a disturbing trend in the adventure dog world lately. I have seen trainers promoting the use of shock collars as a means to control a dog so that their client can hike with their dog off leash. Those trainers are selling these devices as “remote training” devices which do not hurt the dog. But the reality is, they are shock collars, and this is being promoted instead of using scientifically based methods which are proven to work and not harm a dog’s wellbeing. Seeing this trend, I felt I had to write something to try and provide more information about these collars. 

So here we go, this is probably going to ruffle some feathers. In fact, I fully expect to get some messages or comments from folks after posting this. But I cannot keep quiet anymore.  Continue reading

Why the correct number of dogs might be N+0

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I recently read an article on Outside Online titled “Why the Correct Number of Dogs is Always N+1”. The article, advocated a number of reasons why adding another dog to your family is a good choice, and easier than you will think. 

As a professional dog trainer, I cringed while reading the article. I support multi-dog households. I myself, have two amazing dogs. But adding another dog to the mix is not always the right decision and should not be described as “easier than it looks”.  Continue reading

Adventure Report: Hiking Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park (Canada)

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Buffy and my partner taking in the views on Abbott Ridge.

Glacier National Park (Canada) is located in between Yoho National Park and Revelstoke Mountain National Park, about an hour east of Revelstoke British Columbia. This park is known for being home of the Rogers Pass, a pass made famous for it’s big mountains and intense avalanche activity (sadly made famous when the rail was trying to build through the pass and a large avalanche in 1910 killed 62 men, eventually the rail was re-routed through a mountain via a tunnel). The park is a mecca for backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the winter and home to several camping sites and many amazing trails in the summer. The mountain range that runs through the park is the Selkirks, which run all the way down and into the states. The mountains in this park are big, steep and in the winter, covered in deep powder. 

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Hiking with a Reactive Dog

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Cody, my reactive dog, taking in the view after scrambling to the summit of Grizzly Peak.

I love my dogs, I love mountains, and I especially love both together. I love taking my pooches on all kinds of outdoor adventures because they love it just as much as I do. I can see a switch go off in my dogs when we hit the trails; they are engaged, sniffing, exploring, stomping over everything, rubbing themselves on all kinds of surfaces (…sometimes poop) and just being dogs. They deserve this recreational time as much as any dog who is trapped in a city for most of the week.

My dogs both have very different personalities. Buffy is a happy go lucky dog. She is what people think of when they think of friendly dogs. She happily greets everyone she meets, she loves getting in for petting, she smiles, and will play fetch with anyone. Cody has a very different personality. I rescued Cody when he was roughly 6-8 months old. He had not been properly socialized and the world terrified him. We worked hard on changing that and today he can go for a walk on a busy city street and usually warms up to strangers within minutes. He is especially at home in the wild, hiking, camping or whatever activity I have taken him along for. For years we frequented dog parks at peak times for him to play and he was a pro at never getting into trouble. Then it all changed. Around 4 years of age, he started to show signs of reactivity towards other dogs and since then I’ve considered him a “reactive dog”.  Continue reading

Preparing for K9 Emergencies in the Backcountry

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My dogs and I enjoying the view near our backcountry campsite. 

I have been adventuring in the backcountry with my dogs for many years. From the moment I had Cody we were hitting the trails in the parks near Ottawa. Although we spent a lot of time on those trails, it was never a remote enough for me to bring around emergency supplies and I just thought if something happened, I would figure it out.

Fast forward a couple years and we found ourselves in the backcountry in Cape Scott Park at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Continue reading

Tips for Adventuring in the Mountains with Dogs

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Buffy and Cody take in the views on a water pumping break near our backcountry campsite in the Skoki area.

I like to adventure (scramble, climb, hike, sleep in the backcountry, splitboard, cross country ski, trail run, etc…) It keeps me fairly busy on my weekends and as much as possible, I like to bring my adventure mutts along with me. I own two rad adventure dogs: Cody and Buffy. Both have summited mountains, been on backcountry treks, skijored and been backcountry skiing with me.This article is all about some of my tips for having fun in the mountains with your dog safely. It goes without saying though, use your judgement to adapt these to your dog and your adventures. What’s right for us, is not going to work for everyone. Continue reading