Header photo via LA Times
Every month, we highlight a different sport that dogs can easily participate in to keep them engaged and happy. It’s true that most of these sports have origins outside our everyday realms. However, you can usually find some version of most dog sports made available to regular people with pets.
What is Mushing?
Mushing is a sport where a team of dogs pulls a sled on snow or a rig on dry land. Under the umbrella of mushing falls sled dog racing, scootering, bikejoring, Canicross, Skijoring, and weight pulling, to name a few. Mushing is used both as a means of transport and as a sport. The practice of using dogs to pull sleds is said to date back to 2000 BC. That makes mushing one of the oldest examples of dog and human cooperation.
Though mushing is usually popular with snow breeds such as Huskies, Samoyeds, and Malamutes, many dogs can learn how to mush! This sport is especially good for high-energy dogs who love to run, as it allows them to get out their energy while fulfilling a task: getting you where you need to be.
Sports, Activities, & More
Today, mushing is used recreationally, competitively, and in a utilitarian fashion. The most famous competitive mushing event is the Iditarod Race in Alaska, which you’ve likely heard of. There are also mushing competitions in Norway, France, and Switzerland.
As these competitions gained international sensation, owners around the world began getting creative as to how they could incorporate mushing into their daily lives… with or without the team of snow dogs, and 1000 miles of icy terrain.
Thanks to companies such as Arctic Rigs, Howling Dog Alaska, and Fidogear, there is a plethora of equipment that will fit your lifestyle and preferences. This is a great sport both you and your dog can participate in. Not only is it a great workout for you both, but you will also increase your bond by doing it together.
In addition to cart-pulling, activities such as bikejoring or canicross allow your dog to pull while you peddle or run. These activities are perfect for people who want to exercise with their dogs, without investing a substantial amount of time and money into becoming professional mushers.
Wherever you live, there is a version of mushing that can suit your lifestyle, and your dog will love you for it. While Fitdog doesn’t currently offer mushing classes, we are definitely inspired! Stay tuned to see if we can create a recreational mushing sports class.