Does anyone out there do skijoring with their GSP? I think it looks like a cool sport, and would definitely be fitting up here in the wintry land of Michigan! I've heard that GSP's are one of the up and coming breeds in the sport b/c of their speed and stamina. I know it would be a fantastic way to keep my boy in shape in the winter.
Does anyone know how to get into this? Do you need a trainer or is it something you can learn on your own?
Funny you should ask--I was just on the old GSP forum looking for information about the very same thing. It looks like a blast--and during our long, cold winters (I'm not far from the Twin Cities) I can't imagine a better way to provide our active dogs with the exercise they need.
Here's a page listed on the old forum (I believe this is MegC's?) that can get you started.
I'd also recommend going to the old forum (it's listed on the left-hand menu on the home page) and doing a search for skijorking/sledding/mushing, and read everything previously posted by Meg. She'll be a great resource.
MegC--I'm sure you'll be chiming in here shortly. Can you tell me, at what age you would recommend beginning any sort of pulling activities with a young dog? Would our puppy (whelped Feb. 10th) be mature enough to pull our youngest son (about 40 lbs.) in a sled this winter? Or would it be best to wait another year?
Wow, I'm famous, LOL... YES, skijoring is me and my dog's passion. GSPs tend to be ENORMOUSLY talented at harness sport in general but since they tend to be hard driving enough to go solo like a maniac yet responsive enough to stand still when you have to stop to mess with skis or boots, skijoring is IMO their ideal niche. Unlike huskies they'll also tend to stick around if you have to kick them loose in dodgy trail situations.
The midwest skijor club website is here: http://www.skijor.org. Finding a mentor might be quite helpful.
I tell people that they're ready to skijor behind their dog on flat trails when they can handle some decent sized hills by themselves. You need to have sufficient control not to hit the dog or frustrate it by bombing out all the time.
If you don't have XC ski skills, there's also kicksleds for 1 or 2 dogs- you'll just want to make sure to rig them up with a chunk of snomobile track for a drag brake. We have this one:
I'm interested in doing this also since we seem to have an abundant amount of snow here every winter. I know last winter at one of the ski resorts they were having skijoring classes. They supplied everything you just bring your dog.
Btw, I moved my page to my own domain a while ago. The dog pulling primer can now be found here:
I've seen it and I know some people are really happy with them. IMO it's better than not getting out at all.
However, such a rig presents enough problems that I would personally rather go with a regular scooter and line attachment. A dog on a line has a lot more freedom of movement and less chances of getting nailed with the 'arm'. I'm also somewhat skeptical of someone actually being able to 'steer' the dog with a light weight scooter... I'll bet even my 33lb females could reef on the thing hard enough to flip me if they saw a squirrel! At any rate, I'm quite glad to be able to steer my rig with complete indipendance from the dog, as the dog may not see any problem at all with jumping over a log.
Please understand that it's just NOT that difficult to train a dog to pull in front of you and learn proper commands. I've trained all my leaders from scratch and they will all lead solo- even Anya, who is sweet and willing but dumb as a sack of hammers, LOL.