sled dog equipment

The right equipment for hobbies, training and competitions!

 

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Canicross as a sport

For many, canicrossning is the easiest way to start sledding. In the canicross, the dog advances so that the dog pulls the runner. The dog has a suitable sled dog harness and the human has a Canicross belt on the hip. There is always a flexible bungee line in between, which dampens jolts.

In the canicross, the so-called the weakest link is usually the runner, because the dog mainly moves at the speed that the runner can run. Of course, you can get considerable pulling help from the dog, but compared to other sled sports, the dog's pulling ability is not as decisive in dog racing. It is therefore easy to practice the sport even at the competition level with a wide variety of dogs of many sizes. Of course, many do canicrossning without competitive goals: it's an easy way to improve both your own and your dog's fitness. The dog is an excellent pacer and working together gives a whole new boost to normal jogging!

Getting started in Canicross

With some dogs, pulling starts to flow quite naturally, while others may have to be encouraged to pull more. If you want your dog to become a reliable puller who doesn't stop after smells or other disturbances, it's worth practicing pulling just like any other new skill. You should start the canicrossning hobby in moderation. Pulling the runner is hard for the dog, so initially the distances are only tens or hundreds of meters. When you don't let the dog get tired too much, it keeps its enthusiasm for running.

When can you start the canicross?

You can start practicing direction, start and stop commands already with the puppy during daily walks (and continue to reinforce them throughout the dog's life). However, the dog must be fully grown and healthy for actual pulling training. It is good to have some kind of basic fitness for both the dog and the runner as a basis for starting canicrossning. The runner's physique is also put to a different test in the sport than when running without traction, so it would be good to have the supporting muscles and running technique in order to prevent sports injuries. This is especially emphasized when running with large, strongly pulling dogs - with smaller dogs, the effect of the pull is naturally smaller.

In any case, the starting threshold for canicrossning is very low. For example, compared to dog cycling and skijoring, it is much easier for a person moving on foot to control the dog. canicrossning also works as a good starting sport for a dog, even if the goal is to focus on other sledding sports later.

Equipment in good condition from the beginning

Whenever the dog is pulled, the equipment must be in good condition: the right size pulling harness for the dog, a flexible pulling cord and a foot-looped pulling belt for the runner. So don't get carried away with the idea that you will get the right equipment when you first start the sport. The right equipment is a safety factor for both you and your dog. For example, improperly fitting sled dog harnesses can also quickly reduce the dog's motivation for the entire sport. canicrossning equipment is also multi-purpose: often the same running belt and elastic sling can also be used for everyday walks and camping/hiking. Read more about the equipment below.

find the best equipment for canicrossning here

Elementary exercises

You should start pulling training with very short pulls of a few tens of meters to the reward. The reward can be food, a toy or even a familiar person. If you can use an assistant, let him stimulate the dog verbally from the front. A runner enthusiastically running behind can easily make a beginner dog just look behind or even stop.

  • Run together to the pay with the dog in a pulling harness but not connected. This way the dog gets used to the person running close behind.
  • Let the dog pull in the tow harness, so that you brake the going. This is how the dog gets a feel for pulling in a pulling harness. In this exercise, you don't even have to run yourself first.

Always remember to warm up and cool down both your dog and your own muscles before and after even short pulling exercises.

Extending the drawbars

When the dog is no longer bothered by the "brake" running behind it and the dog has learned that pulling in the pulling harness is allowed and desirable, the pulling distance can be extended step by step with different training sessions: e.g. 100, 300, 500, 800 meters. As the trips get longer, there will naturally also be translations.

In order to maintain the dog's motivation to pull, you must maintain your composure during training. The length of the pulling part, especially for a beginner dog, should be such that the dog can pull it with the cloth taut. With well-run performances, the dog gains confidence in pulling and the motivation to pull increases.

You can include a pull-up workout as part of a longer run. It makes sense to first jog to warm up the muscles - take a stretch in the middle of the run - and then continue cooling down the muscles for the rest of the run. When the dog is not intended to pull, the leash can be attached to the dog's collar. Warming up and cooling down can of course also be done so that the dog can move freely; if there is a chance.

Even if your dog seems to already find the exercise rewarding, the thank you waiting at the end of the run is an important part of maintaining pull motivation.

Equipment for canicrossning

  • sled dog harness for a dog
    A harness that fits the dog well, is the right size, and is intended for pulling sports. With ergonomic pulling harnesses, the maximum pressure of the pull is comfortably directed on the dog's chest and not on the sensitive throat area or on the shoulders. Check out this sled dog harness to our matching guide .

    If your dog is not intended to actually pull, but just to walk ahead of you at the end of the leash, or even next to you, instead of elongated pulling harnesses, well-fitting harnesses are ideal for running with your dog shorter Y-harness .

  • Flexible drawstring
    In all harness sports, you must always use a flexible harness. The optimal (and competition-compliant) length of the dog leash when stretched is at least 1.5 m and at most 2.5 m, measured from the back of the dog to the buckle/hook of the competitor's belt. According to the official rules, the end of the bungee cord on the runner's side must not have any kind of metal part (lock or ring, etc.), because they might injure the dog if the bungee line for some reason comes off/is detached during the pull. This safety factor is also good to take into account when training.
  • Also remember to check the condition and elasticity of the pull cloth from time to time: even high-quality pull cloths lose their elasticity over time and hard use.

  • Canicross belt for runners
    It is important that the Canicross belt that goes on the runner's hips stays in place even when running. The leg loops prevent the belt from snagging when running uphill. A pull belt that is too high on the waist is very risky, because all the jolts are then directed at the person's back. The pull belt must also be wide enough: according to competition regulations, the pull belt is at least 7 centimeters wide on the back side. You can learn more about the various Canicross belt models in our Canicross belt guide . One of the most ergonomic options for a running belt is Non-stop dogwear's CaniX Belt , where the traction point comes from below, at the height of the runner's buttocks.

canicrossning competitions

Sled sports competitions in Finland are still relatively small events, where the atmosphere is relaxed. So don't hesitate to participate in the first competitions! The easiest way to start a sled sports career is specifically with canicrossning. In practice, it is enough for the dog to move ahead of the runner voluntarily and not be a danger to other dogs or runners. A dog with aggressive tendencies has absolutely no place in sledding competitions, as tight overtaking situations will inevitably occur.

In Finland, the so-called sula maa sled sports competitions are organized in spring and autumn. Summers are the vacation and basic fitness season for sledding athletes, as the hot weather is not suitable for sledding sports. Competition rules of IFFS, the International Sled Sports Federation, are used in competitions under the Finnish Sled Sports Federation. National rules supplement the IFSS rules in national team sport competitions and SM competitions.

You can find information about upcoming canicrossning competitions here: Luge sports competitions and events . In the competition announcements, the class abbreviations for canicrossning series are DCM / DCW (canicross men / women) and for juniors DCMJ / DCWJ (boys / girls). Even in official competitions, in addition to the normal canicross class (usually approx. 5 km) there is also a hobby canicross class (usually approx. 3 km).

Don't forget to check out our website as well: Participation in canicrossning competitions .

Does the dog always pull on a leash if you do pulling sports with it?

One thing to think about for those who are considering starting pulling sports is whether the dog will also start pulling on a leash during daily runs. In practice, dogs do learn to distinguish between different equipment when they can pull properly and when they can't. sled dog harnesses feel different to the dog when worn than normal everyday outdoor equipment, so it is easy for them to distinguish them. It is therefore logical for the dog that the tow leashes use different harnesses than those that have been taught to walk nicely in everyday life without pulling.

A dog used for pulling sports does not automatically mean a dog that always pulls on a leash. Practicing pulling sports is also a great way to channel an active dog's energy into exercise. Therefore, permitted pulling in sled dog equipment can also make everyday jogging easier.

Skijoring as a sport

skijoring, i.e. skiing with a dog, offers the charm of speed and good fitness training for both the dog and the skier. In skijoring, the canicrosss ahead and is connected to the skier by means of a harness and a flexible bungee line and a pull belt. You can practice the sport regardless of race, and it's reasonably easy to get started. As the sport grows, so does the number of hobby places, and you can already go to the track with your dog all over Finland.

Before going to the slopes, it would be good for the dog to know the basic commands, at least to stop, and for the skier to have sufficient skiing skills. With ski boots, the handler's control over the dog is largely dependent on verbal communication. It is often easier to start a pulling hobby with canicrossning, because a runner can physically control the dog much easier than a skier. You can read about starting a canicross here .

If you wish, you can progress in the hobby of skijoring even up to competitions.

Equipment for skijoring

sled dog harness

In skijoring, as in other sled sports, the most important equipment is a well-fitting and ergonomic harness for the dog. The harness must not rub or pinch anything or limit the movements of the dog's limbs. A well-fitting pulling harness directs the pull to the dog's chest and the pressure of the pull does not come to the dog's throat. Read more about finding the right harness from our matching guide . You can also ask us about choosing suitable harnesses and equipment. NOTE: never pull the dog by the collar, even for an experiment!

Pull cord

The flexible bungee effectively dampens jerks and is a very essential piece of equipment for the safety of both the dog and the skier. In dog sledding, according to the competition regulations, the tow rope must be stretched to its full length at least 2 m and at most 3 m. In order for the skier to have enough time to react to the dog's movements, a longer leash (but a maximum of 3 meters) is usually more practical. There should not be any kind of metal part (lock, ring, etc.) on the skier's side of the bungee cord, as they may injure the dog if the bungee line for some reason comes off/disconnects during the pull.

Canicross belt

The skier's hip (note NOT the waist) has a pull belt, preferably at least 7 cm wide (competition rule and safety factor). The pull must be directed at the skier's hips, and to prevent the belt from rising too high on the waist, it must have leg straps. The pull coming from low does not sway the skier so easily and also prevents strain on the back. In ski competitions, the pull belt must have either an open hook or a panic lock for attaching the pull cord, so that the bungee line can be removed quickly if necessary.

equipment for skijoring from traildog

Ski equipment

In the actual skijoring, you ski on skates. Often, skiing with a dog is so fast-paced that ice skating is a natural choice. With traditional skiing style skis, you can start trying out skijoring, but as the speed increases and for actual skijoring on cross-country trails, you will still need ice skating equipment. Of course, nothing prevents you from skiing in the traditional way, if the dog is not hard to pull because of its size or nature, or if you just want to enjoy the outdoors.

Dog

You can enjoy dog ​​skiing with almost any type and size of dog. The most important thing is that the dog is healthy and wants to pull or at least move on the slopes with the skier. As a hobby, most dogs learn to pull and enjoy it. In competitions, fast and powerful big dogs are the best, because in skijoring the dog's speed and endurance are emphasized. Popular breeds are, for example, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Giant Schnauzers, Huskies and various bird dog mixes.

To start pulling training, the dog must be past the age of growth and healthy. The dog must be basicly trained and get along with other dogs to the extent that overtaking situations are safe for everyone.

Getting started in skijoring

As with any other sport of pulling, start with short distances. The elementary exercises of the pull can be on a distance of 50-100 meters when the canicrosss to the pay. In this way, the dog learns to enjoy pulling and gets used to the strain of the pull. When the dog has learned that it is permissible and desirable to pull in the pulling harness, you can start to gradually lengthen the pulling distances. If your dog has not pulled with a pulling harness before, it is easiest to start the pulling exercises instead of skiing by first jogging behind the dog.

Even if your dog already knows how to pull, a skier needs to be pulled differently and the dog also needs to get used to skis and poles and e.g. the sound that is made when braking. For someone who already knows how to pull, but who is just starting skijoring, the training distance can be, for example, a kilometer at first. Observe your dog and end the pull training at the latest when the dog shows the first signs of fatigue. When the dog does not get too tired, the interest in pulling remains. Although running is a rewarding activity for many dogs in itself, remember to also praise and reward your dog at the "finish".

A dog also learns by imitating others, so it can help on the first ski trips if you get to follow a more experienced dog skier (or a skier without a dog). Often the dog gets excited to follow another dog and the pull and following the route comes naturally. However, a sufficient safety distance must be kept from the dog going ahead, and it is advisable to practice overtaking as a separate exercise. You should also be sparing when using the so-called "hare". If you want your dog to also learn to be an independent puller, you should also do pull training without the lure running ahead. The reward at the end of the bet can be, for example, treats or play.

For skijoring, the skier should master reasonable (skating) skiing technique and especially braking and cornering technique. Of course, the required skills are also affected by the terrain: it is easy to start on a flat, for example, ice track as there are no hills and bends. On cross-country trails, mastering skiing technique is naturally emphasized.

skijoring technique

  • In skijoring, the goal is for the skier to disturb the dog's run as little as possible. In other words, ski at the same pace as possible with the dog's running speed: on the uphills, skiing yourself and on the downhills, braking so that the bungee remains taut. When plowing, you can also grab the bungee with your hand so that it doesn't come loose under the skis or the dog's feet.

  • Stay in the lowlands always plowing behind the dog. Don't count on a traditional track groove, where braking is impossible.

  • Mastering different skating skiing techniques naturally also makes skiing with a dog easier.

  • Dog skills: The dog must at least know how to stop on command. Directional commands and a hint to slow down or increase speed are also useful. Moving from the command to the edge of the track makes overtaking easier.

Etiquette for the dog track

  • Always be prepared for unexpected situations. skijoring is a fast-paced sport, with top speeds of up to 30-40 km/h. Keep safe distances and don't stand still on bends or downhills. When stopping, keep the dog close to you at the edge of the track or between your legs.

  • Dogs must always be leashed on the dog cross-country skiing trail.

  • Walking on tracks/track bottoms is never advisable. A dog track does not mean a track where dogs can be walked or walked freely. By walking on trails that are allowed for skijoring, you endanger the safety of both dog skiers and your own dog. Overtaking situations come quickly and unevenness in the track surface always increases the risk of injury.

  • If there is a dog in front of you, announce your intention to pass early and loudly. Say which side you're coming from (usually the left). Give the passerby time to take his own dog closer or completely to the side of the track if he wishes.

  • If you are about to be passed, move to the side of the track (usually the right side), slow down and stop if necessary to make sure your dog is under your control.

  • There are often also dogless skiers on the trails that are allowed for dogs. Also inform them of your intention to pass in time and pass from a sufficient distance and at a safe speed. Thank you!

  • Try to keep your dog out of the traditional skiing style trail track. The groove is broken and the risk of the dog spraining injuries at high speeds on an uneven surface increases.
  • Let your dog relieve himself even before the ski run and definitely clean up any messes away from the slopes!

  • Do not under any circumstances bring an aggressive or unpredictable dog to the track.

Where can you go skiing with your dog?

As a general rule, skiing with a dog is prohibited on public maintained slopes. A separate skijoring trail is usually assigned to skijoring, or a separate skijoring shift has been assigned to the public trail, for example on certain nights of the week. Find out the permitted sections/times in advance.

You can move freely with your dog on natural ice, so skijoring is allowed there. Please note that inexperienced dogs may not know how to pull (at least directly) if there is no ready track to follow on the vast snow field. Of course, even this can be done by more experienced dogs.

If you're planning to go on a skiing trip with your dog, it's a good idea to contact the destination in time and inquire about skijoring possibilities. Every enthusiast can contribute to increasing skijoring opportunities. There is no supply without demand! Be actively in touch with municipalities and ski resorts and tell them your wishes.

You can search for existing dog tracks in various electronic track information services using search terms skijoring or k dog track. Different municipalities use different systems.

You can also find trails and trail turns allowed for skijoring on the dog trail map compiled by Traildog:

dog trail map

    Dog sledding competitions

    In skijoring, competition distances vary between 5 and 20 kilometers. Skating skiing is used as the skiing technique and the dogs of goal-oriented competitors are usually from the larger end of the breed, for example German standing dogs, standing crossbreeds and Dobermans, i.e. dogs that have a lot of speed and strength to help the skier. Of course, you can go to the race with smaller dogs as well.

    There are three different competition formats in luge skiing:

    • skijoring with one or two dogs (so-called rope class)
    • luge skiing, where there is a gap between the skier and the dog
    • combined, where you ski alternately both with and without a pack.

    Sled skiing competitions in Finland are organized by two different umbrella organizations: the Finnish Sled Athletes' Association VUL and the Finnish Service Dog Association SPKL. Only purebred registered dogs have the right to participate in the competitions of the last mentioned association. You can also participate in VUL competitions with mixed breeds. In addition to the official classes/exams, several competitions also have a hobby series. You can find the calendar of sledding competitions we have put together from here .

    Frequently asked question: Does the dog always pull on a leash if you do pulling sports with it?

    One thing to think about for those who are considering starting pulling sports is whether the dog will also start pulling on a leash during daily runs. In practice, dogs quickly learn to distinguish between different equipment when they can pull properly and when they can't. sled dog harnesses feel different to the dog when worn than normal everyday outdoor equipment, so it is easy for them to distinguish them. It is therefore logical for the dog that the tow leashes use different harnesses than those that have been taught to walk nicely in everyday life without pulling.

    A dog used for pulling sports does not automatically mean a dog that always pulls on a leash. Practicing pulling sports is also a great way to channel an active dog's energy into exercise. Therefore, permitted pulling in sled dog equipment can also make everyday jogging easier.

    Choosing a canicross/skijoring belt

    A Canicross belt is a belt that goes on a person's hip with an attachment for a dog's leash / for a flexible pull cord and which is made both to withstand the pull and to distribute the pressure of the pull evenly on the human pelvic area. The harness is used in sledding sports (canicrossning and skijoring), but it is also perfect for camping, hiking and everyday jogging with the dog.

    All Canicross belts are suitable for different sports, but different belts also have different features, the practicality of which is emphasized in different activities or with different users. When Choosing a Canicross belt, you should therefore take into account the activities that the belt is mainly intended to be used for. In some of the canicross belts, the cloth is attached and the pull is directed at the level of the person's hips, and in some even lower, at the level of the buttocks. In some harnesses, the attachment point of the cloth is fixed, and in others, the lock and the cloth can slide from side to side according to the dog's movements.

    However, the idea in all jobs is the same: the Canicross belt should be positioned at the level of the person's hips (not on the upper waist) and the back part should be wide enough to distribute the pressure evenly.

    The pull belt, adjusted to the right position for people with hips, directs the pull to the user's hips, not to the back, which is sensitive to jerks.

    Why do the drawstrings have leg loops?

    Especially with slightly stronger dogs, the importance of the leg loops is emphasized: the loops prevent the belt from slipping up around the waist during exercise. A high waist/back belt combined with jerking and pulling easily leads to back injuries. In some of the drawstrings, the leg loops are removable. Belts without leg loops are suitable for outdoor activities and jogging with non-pulling dogs or very small dogs.

    Some Canicross belt choosers are worried about whether the leg loops rub or feel disgusting. However, you get used to the presence of leg loops quickly and if the belt is designed to suit the user and adjusted correctly, the leg loops should not rub.

    Where should the dog's leash be attached on hikes? Is a Canicross belt compatible with the tire?

    On hikes, dogs must be kept on a leash most of the time. However, many people want to keep their hands free while hiking, so attaching the leash to the hip is a convenient option. However, you should remember that the hip belts and their buckles are usually not designed to withstand a forward pull. If you don't want to take risks with the tire breaking, a separate Canicross belt is a good option.

    Often, traditional canicross belts can get annoyingly stuck in the same place as the lap belt. Many hikers end up with belt models originally designed for canicrossning, where the belt attachment is lower than traditional canicross belts at the height of the buttocks and the belt attachment is freely sliding from side to side. This way, the belt does not start to turn on the person, even if the dog pulls to the side.

    Pictured is Non-stop dogwear CaniX Belt.

    Such belt models that are suitable for use at the same time as the belt include:

    If you are hiking without a harness and want a simple, more traditional Canicross belt model, see the belt models we recommend for skijoring below.

    The best Canicross belt for canicross or canicrossning?

    In Canicross, it is very essential to have leg loops in the Canicross belt, which keep the belt low enough on the hips. In practice, you can canicross with all models of leg-running Canicross belts, but many runners (and especially those who move with strong dogs) prefer Canicross belts, where the traction comes from lower at the height of the buttocks. The lower-than-normal drawcord attachment point makes running easier compared to the traditional attachment point at the height of the hips. In jobs with a lower pull point, even a strong pull cannot easily flex the lower/middle back. Thanks to the movable bungee line attachment, the belt does not roll over the runner during turns or even if the dog pulls to the side.

    Low pull point Canicross belt models especially suitable for canicrossning are, for example:

    Non-stop dogwear Canix Belt behind

    I-Dog Canyon running belt: thanks to the movable drawcord attachment point, the belt does not roll over when the dog moves to the side

    Looking for a Canicross belt suitable for skijoring and other activities?

    You can also ski with the aforementioned belts designed for running with a low pull point. However, if you ski more actively than skate skiing, the pull point lower than the hips may start to bother you, as it inevitably limits the lateral kick movement to some extent. If the main purpose of the belt is skiing, we recommend looking at these models in particular:

    Pictured is the Non-stop Loype Belt, which is popular with active skiers and competitors.

    Thinking of competing in dog sledding?

    According to the rules, in dog sledding competitions, the harness must have an open hook or a panic lock. A suitable lock for many canicross belts can also be easily changed afterwards. Pull straps with race-approved locks ready for skiing are:

    A Canicross belt together with a flexi belt?

    Some hikers and those skiing with a dog want the freedom of movement brought by a reel harness instead of an elastic sling. The handle of the Flexi-Talutit can be easily attached to these Canicross belt models:

    The lock can be easily removed from these belts and the flexi can hang from its handle on the front of the belt so that the handle of the flexi can turn freely according to the dog's movements. The flex can be attached and tightened in the front part high enough that it does not dangle annoyingly at the walker's/skier's feet. In the Canicross belt + Flexi combination, we strongly recommend adding a jolt-absorbing elastic piece between the dog's harness and the flexi. For flexibility, e.g. WAW Basic or WAW Sport .

    Choosing the size of the Canicross belt

    All the Canicross belts in our selection are very adjustable and they are suitable for users of different sizes. For example, a 90-kilogram man and a 60-kilogram woman can often use the same belt - adjusted to their own size. In addition, some of the belts have different size options. You can find more detailed measurements and measurement instructions on the product pages. When choosing the size, you should also take into account if you plan to wear the belt with thicker clothes in winter as well. In borderline cases, you should usually choose a larger size, as the adjustment allowances in the smaller direction are usually quite sufficient.

    If you know you need a good size, you should check out these belt models:

    It would be convenient if there was also room for equipment in the draw belt

    If you need storage space for the pull belt, you should check out these:

    A pull belt and a dog that doesn't pull? Your dog walks nicely next to you and you just want to get the leash out of your hands?

    When your dog doesn't pull much, but you would just like to have both hands free for other tasks, a smart choice is a flexible leash that can be attached around the hip. Such belts are, for example Ruffwear Roamer Bungee Leash and Non-Stop dogwear Touring Bungee Adjustabe .

    Such a strap is handy for normal walks or runs, but also when cycling with the dog. In this case, you can keep both hands safely on the handlebars. The actual dog cycling (bikejoring), where the dog pulls the cyclist, has its own equipment. You can read more about them from our dog cycling sport page .

    We are happy to help you find the right equipment for you and your dog. You are contact if you need help choosing!

    Get to know the topic

    Bikejoring as a sport

    When cycling with a dog, both the dog and the owner get to enjoy the charm of speed. On this page, you will find information about both the sled sport called dog cycling and cycling with a dog so that the dog jogs with the cyclist.

    With the right equipment, a little training and taking into account the conditions, cycling is a great hobby with a dog. It also works as a skill that makes everyday life easier, if, for example, you don't have a car or just like to get around by bike. More and more people also want to take their dog along in their mountain biking or bike camping hobby, or start practicing fast-paced bikejoring, i.e. dog cycling. Many dogs like going fast!

    • Dog cycling / bikejoring

    Dog cycling is a team sport where the canicrosss ahead of the bike, pulling it. A dog equipped with a sled dog harness is attached to the bike with a flexible traction cord, and often a forward bike antenna or "antenna" is attached to the bike, which keeps the traction cord up and away from the front tire. Dog cycling is a fast-paced sport that especially requires speed and fitness from the dog. The top speeds of the sport are at their best over 40 km/h, and in dog cycling you can compete up to the World Championship level.

    • Cycling with a dog

    The term dog cycling therefore refers to a traction sport, but cycling with a dog can of course also be more relaxed. In this case, the dog usually runs next to the bike, but depending on the situation, the dog can also be taught to run in front or behind.

    • Kickbiking / scootering / scootering / kickboarding

    A sport that is close to cycling, with a big-wheeled scooter/scootboard as a passing game. Some people, especially those who are less into cycling, find kicking to be an easier sport than cycling with a dog. Get to know scooters here >

    Why cycle with a dog?

    For most dogs, the most natural way of moving would be trotting, not walking. Thus, a human's walking or even running pace is an unnaturally slow way of progressing for a dog. With a bike, a person can offer the dog a brisker exercise. It is suitable for satisfying the need for exercise even when the dog cannot be exercised freely due to, for example, game addiction or unpredictability. So cycling is also suitable, for example, for maintaining the basic condition of hunting dogs outside the hunting season.

    Is cycling suitable for all dogs?

    Cycling is an excellent hobby for healthy and well-built adult dogs. With a young dog that is still growing, you should practice the basic skills needed for cycling and being close to the bike and walking, but you should wait until the dog is fully grown before starting the actual cycling and especially the pulling hobby.

    Similarly, the length and speed of cycling with an already aged dog should naturally be related to the dog's condition and health.

    Pace with the dog

    When cycling with a dog, the cyclist must always adjust his own speed to match the dog's speed. In practice, this usually means that the pedaling pace of the cyclist is very leisurely and the brakes can be used often, except on uphills.

    When jogging on a bicycle, it is best to aim for the dog to move forward mostly at a trot. Of course, galloping spurts can also be taken, and many dogs enjoy them, but galloping is more taxing on the dog's body and joints than trotting. The trot loads the dog's body and muscles more evenly, so it's good to focus on that.

    In dog cycling, which is also known as a competitive sport, the goal is to achieve the fastest possible time, so the sled dogs usually advance at a gallop and the cyclist's purpose is to slow the dog down as little as possible - but even the training of sled dogs mostly involves trotting and moving freely.

    equipment for dog cycling traildog

    Where can you bike with your dog?

    Choose calm cycling routes and times suitable for your dog: especially at the beginning of the hobby when overtaking is still under training.

    Those cycling with a dog should plan their route so that the dog has a soft and comfortable running surface. Avoid asphalt and big, sharp gravel and direct your runs to dirt roads, outdoor paths and paths. If you can't avoid transitions on a harder surface, try to make use of softer small ones even then.

    Soft, not very rocky, paths are also a good running platform for the dog. However, always relate the terrain to your own driving skills. First learn trail riding yourself and only later add a dog to the equation. For example, beginner mountain biking courses serve as a good start for technique training.

    Tips for cycling with a dog

    • Getting started:
      • First, get the dog used to just being near the bike, walking and the different sounds coming from the bike.
      • Get the right gear. You can find information about different equipment solutions at the bottom of this page.
    • Be alert and anticipate: "one eye always observes the environment, the other the dog".
    • Give the dog opportunities to relieve himself before cycling and, with permission, also during the run. This is part of anticipation. The majority of sudden stopping situations are related to the dog stopping to satisfy its needs. Sufficiently frequent authorized stops reduce sudden situations.
    • Inform other pedestrians about passing in time. Especially for people with dogs, it's good to always wave that there is another dog coming by in addition to the bike, and give them time to move to the side. A canicrossning past the fence can provoke the dogs it passes.
    • If your dog comes next to you, try to overtake so that the bike is between your dog and those you are passing.
    • Always tell your dog what is happening (turns, stops, etc.) The dog learns to listen and the drive becomes smoother and smoother with practice.
    • Use direction and speed change commands for everyday walks and runs as well: they will get stronger without you noticing.
    • Choose routes where the dog will have as little travel as possible on asphalt or other very hard and rough surfaces.
    • Do not ride your dog when the weather is too warm or the humidity is high.
    • Take care of the dog's hydration.
    • Start and end the run at a more leisurely pace and walk, so that the muscles have time to warm up and cool down.
    • Vary your jogging pace and terrain.
    • Remember to be moderate in the length of the runs, especially at the beginning of the hobby and cycling season.
    • Always monitor the dog's performance. It is better to end the run before the dog gets tired. This way you will have an enthusiastic cycling friend in the future as well.
    • Always wear a helmet!

    The right equipment choices reduce the risk of dangerous situations

    A leash in the cyclist's hand or in the handle of the handlebars is an unfortunately often seen way of maximizing the risks when cycling with a dog. The user of such a solution usually finds himself sooner or later on the surface of the road. It is pointless to imagine that a person's reaction speed would be sufficient to remove the belt in the necessary hundredth of a second in sudden situations. In addition, a dog that gets loose can run away, get injured and cause dangerous situations for other passers-by.

    Although the so-called fastening of the dog a fixed solution for a bike or a cyclist may sound wild at first, but it is actually the safest way to cycle with a dog. In terms of bike control and safety, it is important that the cyclist can keep a firm grip on the handlebars with both hands and focus on driving and observing the surroundings.

    The most important safety for cycling with a dog is always anticipation. In addition to that, however, there is equipment suitable for cycling with a dog, which reduces the risk of dangerous situations. These include, for example, the elastic harnesses that go around the cyclist's hips, the so-called dog harness stands (i.e. "springers" pointing to the side) or bike antennas (i.e. flexible "antennae" pointing forward).

    The choice of equipment is influenced by whether the dog is supposed to run in front of the bike, on the side or perhaps even behind it. The most common way to ride a bike with a dog is for the dog to run alongside the bike. In bikejoring, i.e. dog cycling, the dog is always ahead of the bike.

    When the dog is attached to a bike or cyclist, it is absolutely important for ergonomics that there is a flexible cloth or elastic piece in between. The function of the elastic is to dampen jerks directed at both the dog and the cyclist. The dog should have a well-fitting harness that does not strangle or limit the movements of the legs. Read more about various harnesses and their fit here >

    Different ways to cycle with your dog

    Cycling with a dog next to the bike

    + an easy way to start cycling with a dog
    + the dog is close and can also be controlled physically
    + a well-fitting so-called everyday harness (preferably Y-shaped)

    - the dog's running can become crooked, especially if the dog is careful of the wheel or the running side is always the same
    - "wide transport" does not fit very narrow paths

    Equipment for running on the side

    • Pelvic thruster
      In the simplest fastening solution, the dog is attached to a flexible leash around the cyclist's hip. It is important for the reins to be under the cyclist's hips and not above the waist, so that possible jolts do not affect the back. It is good for the leash to be short enough that the dog cannot go around the front of the bike and the leash does not get tangled in the pedals. Tangling is also reduced by the fact that the belt starts from the hip directly to the side and not straight forward, as in e.g. the canicross belts used in canicrossning.

      One of the best aspects of the harness on the hip is that it is easy to so-called with the dog. get off the bike. It is also multi-purpose and requires no installations. A popular hip support for cycling is Ruffwear Roamer Bungee Leash shorter version. In addition to the adjustable, quick attachment, it has a jerk-absorbing spring and a handle, which can be used to hold the dog close by, e.g. when passing. The leash is also easy and quick to wrap completely around the cyclist's hips when the dog is not attached to it.

    • Dog jogging stand (more familiar springer)
      to Springer is called the so-called lateral flow stand. This is a traditional model, where the spring of the stand itself absorbs jerks. The side running stand is well suited, for example, for those cycling with a dog on busier roads, as the dog stays very close to the bike. However, it takes up space laterally, so it is not suitable for narrow paths.

    • bike antenna that can be turned from the front to the side
      Some of the drive adapters can also be mounted or turned to the side of the bike. Such a bike antenna is, for example Kainpo Combi Plus . More about bike antennas below.

    • Strap attached to the seat post
      This solution works well in the so-called as a temporary solution and is always better than a handlebar in the hand of a cyclist. For example, you can double up a normal harness or a flexible drawstring to make it shorter to fit. As it is short, the strap does not get tangled in the pedals so easily. In this way, the dog is attached to a point where there is a lot of mass (the cyclist sitting on the saddle), so the lateral movements of the dog cannot affect the balance very easily.

    Cycling with a dog in front of the bike / dog cycling / bikejoring

    + the dog can choose its running line more freely than running next to it
    + the running position stays straight more easily than when running on the side
    + also works on narrow mountain biking trails
    + the dog can get pulling help (if the dog pulls, it should have a pulling harness)
    + in the hobby of dog cycling, you can also progress to sledding competitions

    - requires little traveled routes and a lot of skill training

    Note: Does your dog already know directions? Does your dog know how to be indifferent to other people moving around and overtake? The basics of drag sports are the easiest to teach canicross before switching to dog cycling. 

    Equipment for running ahead

    • bike antenna
      As a bike antenna is called the flexible and forward part on the front of the wheel, the so-called antenna. It is intended for cycling, where the dog moves ahead of the bike, usually pulling. The bike antenna holds the traction cord up so that it does not get tangled in the front tire of the bike even if the dog slows down. This increases security considerably.

      The spring in the bike antenna is flexible so that it follows the dog's movements. However, the spring itself is not made to withstand a pull, so the bungee line should ALWAYS be attached around the frame of the bike (or to the loop in the bracket part of some adapter models). So the belt is never attached to the pulley at the end of the antenna, but to the wheel. With the bike antenna, you should use a flexible one that stretches to about 2.5–3 meters pull cord .

      There are different drive adapter models, because the wheels also differ from each other. We have several different adapter models in our selection, including those that fit a modern mountain bike/full-suspension bike/fat bike. The drive adapter is most often installed either around the frame of the bike or around the neck tube - depending on the design of the bike and the adapter model. There are also handlebar mount adapters available.

      Check out the drive adapter selection guide here .

    • sled dog harness
      The dog in front of the bike must definitely have a harness - the pulling dog must have a harness intended for pulling sports . The collar should never be pulled, even for an experiment. Well-fitting sled dog harnesses direct the pressure of the traction to the dog's chest, away from the throat. Read more about finding the right harness in our fitting guide .

    • Flexible drawstring
      The competition rules serve as a good guideline: in dog cycling, stretched to the full extent pull cord must be at least 2 m and at most 3 m measured from the back of the dog to the front of the wheel. It is forbidden to have any kind of metal hook or metal ring on the end of the bungee line on the cyclist's side.

    Cycling with a dog behind the wheel

    For dogs who enjoy mountain biking, it can be reasonable to also teach them to run behind the bike untethered. Especially when mountain biking on very narrow and very uneven trails, this skill can come in handy.

    + physically more ergonomic / safest in challenging terrains (no jolts or risk of bumps)
    + the cyclist can choose his route without having to watch out for the dog
    + makes it possible to walk very technical trails with the dog

    - requires particularly good control over the dog without physical contact
    - the dog must be indifferent to other passers-by and animals

    Moving to the back and following there is easiest to practice first by walking on the paths or at a walking pace, with a separate command.

    Even if the dog comes freely behind the bike, the leash should always be quickly available, e.g. for bypasses. The above-mentioned harness that fits the cyclist's hips, suitable for side running, works for this. The dog can also wear a combination collar and leash around its neck. Such a product is e.g. NiteIze Raddog collar, with a short leash that rolls out from the inside if necessary, so the dog can be connected in a flash when necessary.

    For a dog coming behind the bike, it is practical to be aware of e.g. a vehicle, the sound of which the cyclist knows the dog is keeping pace with without constantly blinking.

    Following behind the bike is a partially trainable skill, but of course not suitable for all environments and for all dogs.

    Dog cycling competitions

    Join the competition in dog cycling? In Finland, sulla country sled dog sports competitions are organized in spring and autumn. Summers are the vacation and basic fitness season for sledding athletes, as the hot weather is not suitable for sledding sports.

    Competition routes in dog cycling are usually biting tracks and are approx. 5-7 km long. According to the rules, the dog must go the entire distance ahead of the cyclist.

    In competitions under the Finnish Harness Sports Association, the International Harness Sports Federation is used IFSS competition rules . National rules supplement the IFSS rules in national team sport competitions and SM competitions. You can find information about upcoming dog cycling competitions here: Luge sports competitions and events . In competition announcements, the category abbreviation for the dog cycling series is DBM / DBW (dog cycling men / women).

    Choosing a scooter

    On this page you can compare the features of different scooter/kickboard models. If after reading the page you still have doubts about the choice, we will be happy to help.

    Kickbike, footbike, kickboard, scooter: what actually is it?

    In contrast to the small wheeled scooters usually seen under children, a big-wheeled kickbike (scooter, footbike) resembles a normal bicycle in appearance and size - but without a saddle and pedals. There are different models, and they differ in terms of, for example, the size of the frame and the size and width of the tires.

    In Finland, many people know the so-called adult scooters / kickboards as kickbikes, because Kickbike brand kickboards are designed in Finland and naturally they are also seen the most in our country. In Europe, there are also other companies that specialize specifically in these betting games. Such brands are, for example, the Czech Kostka, Yedoo. In the Czech Republic, kickboarding seems to be almost a national sport, but in other countries too, you see more and more kickboards, both in everyday life and on outdoor trails.

    The kickboard is suitable for everyday exercise, as a replacement for a commuting bike, as a training tool for an active athlete, for running a dog, or for use in sledging or pulling sports. The most enthusiastic can also participate in competitive activities, even up to the World Championship level. With or without the dog!

    Why a kickboard?

    • Excellent fitness
      When kicking, the whole body has to work and sweat easily rises to the surface. The movement is quite similar to cross-country skiing, and kicking is a good workout especially for the lower back, buttocks, thighs and calves. Compared to running, kicking is a much more joint-friendly exercise - and of course, the distance is clearly faster on the kickboard. Compared to cycling, kicking is generally a more holistic form of exercise for the body.
      Although kicking can easily raise your heart rate, you can of course also go at a more leisurely pace on a kickboard if you wish - and walk up hills. When the new kicking muscles are found and strengthened, the going gets lighter. Kicking is also a technical sport and kicking becomes more effective with practice. Kickboarding is also often suitable for those who, for example, have back pain with a normal bicycle.

    • More maintenance-free than a bicycle
      Although bicycles and kickboards mostly use the same components, kickboards lack the parts that most often require maintenance, i.e. the power transmission - i.e. pedals, chains, gears, etc. In all their simplicity, kickboards are extremely maintenance-free and durable hobby tools.

    • Easy and safe
      Many people think cycling is an easier and safer sport. It's easy to get on the board and when riding, the center of gravity stays lower than the bike. You can also quickly get off the board if necessary. Compared to scooters with small tires, kickbikes are significantly more stable to ride. As with cycling, you should always wear a helmet when riding a skateboard!

    • Enables the dog to run briskly and/or engage in pulling sports
      With a kickboard, it is possible to provide the dog with brisk exercise, even when the dog cannot be walked outside freely. The dog can trot next to the kickboard, or if the dog has a tendency to pull, it can also be taught to run ahead while pulling the kickboard. In this case, the dog must have the right size pulling harness and a flexible pulling cloth on the bike, as well as a pulling adapter that prevents the cloth from getting tangled in the front tire. You can read more about the equipment from our bikejoring page .

    What size user is the kickboard suitable for?

    Kickboards are not manufactured in different body sizes for users of different heights like bicycles, but practically all people of basic dimensions can ride the same models. Of course, there are also some size differences between the different models, so if the rider is very tall, it's not worth getting the smallest model for fitness/hobby use - even though you can comfortably cruise shorter distances with that one. And correspondingly, the biggest off-road models may seem unnecessarily massive to a very small person, especially if the kickboard is not used for dog sports, where the stability brought by the size is usually desired.

    It is often also possible to adjust the driving position to suit your own taste. For example, the height of the handlebar can be changed either with an adjustable handlebar bracket, by changing the position of the bracket or by turning the bracket or the handlebar. The parts are the same as in bicycles, so the selection of different spare parts is almost endless.

    What conditions do you drive in?

    When Choosing a suitable model, the most important thing is to think about the purpose of use and the driving environment. Are you driving alone or with a dog? Think in which environment and on what kind of platform you would most often drive. When driving in the city and on hard surfaces, the model equipped with narrow and smooth tires rolls easily. On the sand or off-road and in the winter slushy weather, the wider studded tires bring stability and grip. On the other hand, if your ride is often on very uneven routes, a fatbike model with front suspension or wide tires may be the right solution.

    Asphalt should be avoided when walking with a dog, and the rides are usually on softer surfaces. In addition to tires, when Choosing a suitable model, you should also take into account brake power, among other things. If there is a big pulling canicrossning strongly in front, the powerful brakes will surely come in handy. In this case, you should look at models equipped with disc brakes.

    How much braking power do you need?

    Traditional rim brakes are often found in so-called city ​​and touring models, and in such use they are quite sufficient. Disc brakes are generally used in so-called in terrain models. Compared to rim brakes, disc brakes are more efficient, more reliable and maintenance-free. Especially if your purpose is to practice pulling sports with a dog, you probably want the braking efficiency of disc brakes (of course, models with rim brakes can also be sufficient with small pulling dogs).

    Offroad or all terrain models with disc brakes:

    • Kickbike Cross FIX
      - Mechanical disc brakes. An affordable all-terrain model that is enough for a very long time in the hobby. Wheels 27.5" / 20".
    • Kickbike Cross MAX 20HD
      - Hydraulic disc brakes and suspension fork. A model traditionally preferred by dog ​​lovers. Wheels 27.5" / 20".
    • Kickbike 29er
      - Hydraulic disc brakes and large diameter wheels 29"/26". Stable even at high speeds and easy to kick even without a dog. Popular choise among competitors.
    • Kickbike Fat MAX
      - Hydraulic disc brakes and wide, so-called fat bike tires. Great also in winter and with several dogs. Wide running board. Wheels 26" / 20".
    • Kostka Mushing Racer Max
      - Hydraulic disc brakes and grippy all-terrain tires. Comes with an antenna integrated into the frame and a bungee line. Wheels 27.5" / 24".
    • Kostka Monster Max
      - Hydraulic disc brakes and wide so-called fat bike tires. Comes with a removable bike antenna integrated into the frame and a bungee line. Wheels 26" / 20".
    • Kostka Trip Max Dog
      - Hydraulic disc brakes and big wheels. Designed espcecially for dog sports and racing. Wheels 29" / 27.5". Comes with a removable antenna integrated into the frame and a bungee line.
    • Yedoo S2016 Disc
      - Mechanical disc brakes. Handy-sized model that can be easily transported inside the car. Wheels 20" / 16".
    • Yedoo Trexx Disc
      - Mechanical disc brakes. All-rounder model for hobby. Wheels 26" / 20".

    City ​​or sports models with rim brakes:

    • Kickbike City G4
      - Upright driving position and front basket ready. For leisurely kicking and for example shopping trips.
    • Kostka Tour Fun
      -A good choice for beginners/enthusiasts for the city and dirt roads.
    • Kickbike Sport G4
      - The exerciser's sporty choice. Steel frame. A popular commuting model.
    • Kickbike Sport MAX
      - Sport G4-equivalent aluminum body and light sports model for active fitness.
    • Kickbike Race MAX 28
      - Asphalt speeder, i.e. a road bike-like fast model with big discs and narrow tires.
    • Kickbike Freeride
      - Agile little model. Also suitable for children. Wheels 20" / 12".
    • Kostka Hill Fun
      - A fun and clever little model that, however, rolls nicely. Easy to take with you on the train. Also suitable for children. Wheels 20" / 16".

    Rolling and adaptability

    Rolling is affected by the size of the wheels and the pattern and width of the tire. The bigger wheels rolls more easily, even over bumps. The advantage of scooters with smaller wheels, such as Kickbike Freeride and Kostka Hill Fun, is agility and ease of transport. Even if you choose an off-road model, you can of course change to smoother tires later, if your driving happens mainly on tarmac. On the other hand, if you want to extend the season of use of the kickboard over the winter, studded tires are also available for most tire sizes.

    Help with the choice

    If you are still not sure about your choice, we are happy to help you. Feel free to get in touch !

    Selecting a bike antenna

    What is a bike antenna?

    As a bike antenna is called the flexible and forward part on the front of the wheel, the so-called antenna. It is intended for cycling, where the dog moves ahead of the bike, usually pulling. The bike antenna holds the traction cord up and prevents it from getting tangled in the front tire, even if the dog slows down and the leash loosens. This increases security considerably.

    The spring/antenna in the bike antenna is flexible to follow the dog's movements. However, the spring itself is not made to withstand a pull, so the bungee line should ALWAYS be attached around the frame of the bike (or to the loop in the bracket part of some adapter models) . So the belt is never attached to the pulley at the end of the antenna, but to the wheel. A flexible should be used with the bike antenna a pull cord , the length of which should be about 2.5–3 meters when stretched. In this case, there is enough space between the dog and the bike.

    There are different drive adapter models, because the wheels also differ from each other. From our selection there are several different adapter models, including those that fit a modern mountain bike/full suspension bike/fat bike. The drive adapter is most often installed either around the frame of the bike or around the neck tube - depending on the design of the bike and the adapter model. There are also handlebar mount adapters available. Get in touch if you need help choosing. Also tell us the model of your bike and/or put a picture of the front of your bike.

    bike antenna for a bike, kickbike or Kickspark kicksled?

    Bicycles and scooters the structure is generally similar in terms of bike antennas, so the same adapters work for both passing games. There may be model-specific differences, so check compatibility if you plan to move the adapter from one bike to another. Kickspark kicksleds models compatible with the frame are Kainpo brand adapters.

    Differences in attachment methods

    All adapters are relatively easy to install on the bike - there are minor differences if the adapter is to be removed constantly or moved from one bike to another. However, all adapters can be installed using basic tools, and in some models the antenna can also be removed without tools.

    The most significant difference between the mounting methods is the mounting location - around the frame, neck tube or handlebar?

    Frame attachment

    Frame-mounted bike antenna for a bicycle: Inlandsis Bikejor Max UL

    • When attached to the frame, the lateral movements of the dog do not affect the steering.
    • With a frame-mounted adapter, it must be ensured that when turning the handlebar, the brake and gear cables can move sufficiently and do not catch on the adapter. So the cables must not be very short.
      Kainpo in Ultra Swing the spring alone can turn freely according to the lateral movements of the dog, so it is particularly gentle on the cables despite the frame attachment.
    • Especially with a bike with rim brakes, you should pay attention not to catch the brake cables when turning the adapter. The front brake cable of rim brakes is usually shorter and can hit the adapter when turning the front tire. In general, the safer choice for wheels with rim brakes is an adapter that turns with the steering.
    • Check these out:
      • There is a suitable point on the frame of your bike for the attachment of the adapter you are considering
      • The size of the fastener in relation to the point in question

    Neck tube attachment

    A bike antenna for the bike that can be installed around the neck tube: Non-stop Bike Antenna

    • When attached around the neck tube, the adapter turns with the steering, i.e. the antenna always points in the same direction as the front tire. For this reason, even when the dog pulls to the side, for example during turns, the antenna is steered in the direction of the bungee and thus turns the steering in the same direction. The effect is not significant, because the antenna is flexible and bends with the pull, but it is good to be aware of it.
    • A worry-free choice when it comes to bike cables.
    • Installing the bracket part on the bike usually requires removing the handlebar bracket. However, this is the so-called one-time installation, if the mounting part does not need to be changed from one bike to another. The antenna part itself can be detached from the bracket in all adapter models.
    • Non-stop Bike Antenna , Yedoo Mushing Antenna and Signé LP S/Line Pro Antenna is installed directly around the neck tube, usually in place of one riser piece. When installing Kainpo brand adapters around the neck tube, it is necessary to use a separate one nylon sleeve , which is changed in place of the riser piece under the handlebar bracket.
    • Check these out:
      • The neck tube diameter of your bike
      • Is there room in the neck tube for the clamp part? (the bracket usually replaces 1-2 riser pieces around the neck tube). Note that the antenna can be mounted below or above the controller bracket.
    Installation of the adapter around the neck tube

    Handlebar mount

    bike antenna to be attached to the bicycle handlebar: Non-stop KlickFix Antenna

    • When attached to the handlebar, the adapter turns with the steering, meaning the antenna always points in the same direction as the front tire. For this reason, even when the dog pulls to the side, for example during turns, the antenna is steered in the direction of the bungee and thus turns the steering in the same direction. The effect is not very big, because the antenna is flexible and bends with the pull, but it is good to take it into account.
    • A worry-free choice when it comes to bike cables.
    • Handlebar mounted adapter is Non-stop KlickFix . Its advantage is that the antenna can be easily removed by pressing a button, and other accessories such as bike bags and baskets are also available for the bracket that remains on the bar. Fits most handlebars.
    • Check this:
      • The handlebar diameter of your bike

    bike antennas feature table

    bike antenna properties table

    Examples of adapter choices

    • A modern mountain bike with a thick frame: Inlandis Bikejor MAX UL or an adapter that attaches to the neck tube/handlebar
    • Downward handlebar mount: Kainpo Ultra Swing or an adapter with a neck tube mounted above the handlebar bracket.

    Dog next to the bike?

    If your intention is to ride a bike with the dog walking next to the bike, check out these products:

    Read more about cycling with a dog on our sports page!