A year ago Susan wouldn’t have necessarily jumped at the chance to attach herself to her tireless Labrador, who coincidently loves to pull. Sure that the experience would have ended in dramatic full body contact episodes with the snow bank, a sport like Skijoring with a pup like Artie seemed like quite the undertaking.
So we wondered now that all is said and done, how once Ruff Wear released the Omnijore™ Joring System, Susan went from amateur to pro in a matter of one season. It seems to have even changed how her adventures with Artie unfold and what may have seemed improbable, became possible!
-2 year old Black Lab
-Full Time Adventure Companion
-Ruff Wear Marketing Maestro
When/why did you start Skijoring with Artie?
I started skijoring in the Spring of 2011. I wanted to try a new activity with Artie that we could do together in the winter. My goals were to get us outside in the wilderness, both get some exercise, and just enjoy some human-canine bonding.
How was your first experience Skijoring different than you had expected?
I had a lot of preconceived notions about skijoring:
– Artie will pull me into the trees
– We will get going so fast I won’t be able to stop
– He won’t know what to do and I’ll struggle to convince him to run ahead and pull
– He will want to stop and sniff every tree and we’ll never get anywhere
Here’s what I found:
– Artie seemed to quickly catch on that we were following the trail out in front of us
– Our pace was largely set by me, I could give Artie direction on slower or faster
– After a couple of minutes of encouragement telling Artie to “Go On” and “Let’s Go”, he realized I wanted him to run in front and keep it up
– He got into the groove once we got started and he wasn’t as distracted by trailside smells as I thought he would be
Overall, it was a lot easier than I thought…and way more fun than I thought possible!
What’s a short example of why you came to love Skijoring?
By the time we got the hang of it, I was comfortably skiing behind Artie and he was happily jogging in front. I realized that skijoring is one of the most ideal human-dog activities. While skijoring, we are connected in our actions and we’re moving together as a team. There’s a great sense of satisfaction and joy when you realize that this is something you can enjoy while your dog has the time of his life!
What tips do you have for a beginning Skijorer? Do you use the belly strap on the Omnijore™ Joring System?
I think it helps to have a person in front on skis to call the dog and get them going down the trail, kind of like “bait” for the dog. Also, I do use the belly strap. It keeps the harness in place and minimizes any chance of Artie coming out accidentally. I think a bit of patience helps while you’re getting into a rhythm with your dog. But the best thing to do is to get all hooked up and just get on the trail. It’s easier than it looks!
So it seems that adventure is always around the corner whether we expect it or not. What is going to be around your next corner in adventure?