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Must-Do Outdoor Activities If Your Have An Energetic Dog

Best breeds and training tips for dog-powered sports

Bikejoring race - dogs with pulling on bike

If you are looking for an exercise buddy to go outside after a winter of physical inactivity, then look no further, your dog will be happy to spend time with you! Your energetic dog will be the perfect companion for trying out any of these dog-powered activities and getting your fitness back on track.

Although the use of dogs for pulling is commonly associated to winter activities as dog sledding and skijoring, you can enjoy bikejoring, skatejoring, scootering, kickbiking, or canicross runs during the warmer seasons.



Whether you enjoy competitions or simply spending time outside, dog-powered sports can keep you and your dog active year-round. Also, many dog harness sports can be practiced on urban areas, which explains their increasing popularity as well as why dryland mushing is also called urban mushing.

Dryland Mushing – Adventure & Fun All Year Round

Whether you like running, skating, biking, or any other wheeled sport, your high-energy dog will love to be allowed to run fast and pull at the end of the line. However, even though every dog can naturally pull and run, not all of them are big or strong enough to be able to tow. If your pooch fits into the category of large dog breeds, they will need some training to practice a harness sport and some time to learn how to work with you as a team.

Best breeds for dog-powered sports

If you had or met more than one dog in your life, you probably noticed that each dog was unique and had different traits and abilities.  

While all dogs welcome you at the door, protect your house, pull the leash when walking, and bark when they feel danger, they are better suited for different activities according to their breed. In theory, any dog can pull, but sled dogs are made for towing. So, you can rule out your Chihuahua for whom even the smallest sled dog harness would be way too big. You can read 15 Best Sled Dog Breeds to find the characteristics of a sled dog. However, if your dog didn’t make it to this top 15 list, there are many other breeds that can be the perfect fit for bikejoring and canicross.

Most energetic dogs who are big enough to pull a sled are likely to be working dogs, hence they are genetically prepared for high performance and more easily trainable than others. Each breed also has a particular set of instincts developed in accordance to the work that their perform. This explains why some dogs are for example better suited for canicross than for pulling a dog scooter.

As collies are made for herding, huskies are made for towing in cold environments, greysters are made for sprinting when hunting a pray, knowing your dog’s natural abilities will help you leverage their innate traits to obtain better training and performance results.

15 Best Sled Dog Breeds – Part III [Huskies]

All dogs can be trained for mushing, however energetic dogs weighting more than 30 pounds are considered ideal. The type of activity that you want to practice will dictate the level of energy required. For example, canicross involves a synergy between the dog and the runner, which makes it less demanding than other pulling sports, so many small dogs are great for it.

For example, your Jack Russell Terrier will naturally feel an urge to wander around and dig in your backyard. The reason why it looks like your pooch is constantly hunting an invisible fox is that the Jack Russell Terrier was in fact bred specifically for that purpose. This is also what makes them the perfect buddy for trekking and obviously for canicross.

So, when thinking about urban mushing or dog harness activities, think about high energetic breeds, like hunting, herding, and working dog breeds.

Remember though that any short-nosed dog that fall into the bachicephalic type might have a limited ability to exercise and this type of activities could cause them difficulty breathing and lead to respiratory disorders.

Training

Whether for work or simply for company, humans bred dogs to be loyal helpers or cute companions. So, each dog breed is a man-made design with a particular purpose in mind. The breeding process endowed dogs with different physical appearances, temperaments and personalities that can determine not only their trainability, but also their ability to perform better alone or as a team. Understanding the purpose behind your dog’s breed is a key factor for successful training and will help you decide the type of harness sport that will best suits them.

Training a dog for a harness activity consists mainly in teaching them to respond to the commands that you will use to indicate to your dog:

  • which direction to take,
  • when and at what rate to move forward, and
  • to stop when you ask for it.

Teaching Your Dog Good Manners

Essential Verbal Commands

  • Gee / Right: turn or move towards the right.
  • Haw / Left: turn or move towards the left.
  • Stop / Whoa: stop moving.
  • Hike / Hike On / Let’s Go / Lead / Pull: get going.
  • Wait / Stand: stand still and do not move forward.
  • Hup Hup / Hike Hike / Quick Quick / Pick It Up: go faster.
  • Slow: slow down.
  • Leave it / Get On: ignore a distraction and continue moving.
  • Straight: continue straight through intersections without turning.
  • Yield: move off the trail. This command is often used when crossing another musher or individual.

Bonus Commands

  • Cross: cross to the other side of the path.
  • Abit: a slight turn. This can be combined with other commands. For example, Gee Abit means take a light right at the fork.
  • Visit: it’s OK to interact with other dogs.
  • Take A Break: relax for a bit and calm down.

Pulling and running is a good way for active dogs to spend their excess energy and stay fit. Exercising with your dog will not only bring you health benefits as well, but will also allow you deepen the bond with your best friend and create unforgettable memories.

Stay tuned for more articles on how to find the best dog scooter, kickbike, and sled dog equipment!

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