Canicross is the sport of cross country running with dogs. Originating in Europe as off-season training for the mushing (sledding) community, it has become popular as a stand-alone sport all over Europe, especially in the UK. Canicross is suitable for all ages, abilities and all breeds of dog. Canicross can be run with one or two dogs, always attached to the runner. The runner typically wears a waist belt, the dog a harness, and the two are joined by a bungee or elastic line that reduces shock to both human and dog when the dog pulls. Canicross can be used recreationally, as part of training, just for fun or you can take part in Canicross events.
Bikejoring is when the dog is attached to a mountain bike and learns to run and pull at the front. Not to be confused with the walky dog which attaches to the side of the bike, this is more for training or endurance. Bikejoring is a fun activity as well as a great way for keeping the dogs fit, healthy and worked. Although, in the UK bikejoring is becoming increasingly popular as a competitive sport and many organisations hold events.
Weightpull is a great activity for you and your dog. More based on the dog doing the work and the human giving voice commands and encouragment. A special harness is attached to the dog and they are encouraged to pull weight behind him. Weight pull is a popular sport in the UK for freighting breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute. Over sea’s weight pull competitions were once popular throughout North America. Today only Alaska has State championships. In Northern Canada there are only competitions once a year during the “Yukon Sourdough Rendez-vous”, which is held annually in mid February. There are three classes or Categories, lightweight, medium weight and heavy weight. Lightweight is for dogs up to 59lbs, mediumweight is for dogs 60-99lbs and heavyweight is 100lbs and up. When signing up the dogs are weighed and then placed into their corresponding classes. The distance they have to pull is 16ft. The pull is also timed and a dog has 1 minute to complete the pull.
There are no treats allowed during competition. An owner can either call the dog by standing in front of it behind the finish line or give it commands from behind. This may work better for sleddogs that are used to receiving commands from behind. In most cases however, people use the calling option. The competition starts with an agreed weight on the sled or trolley. The weight of the sled or trolley varies and all is taken into account for the weight being pulled during the competition. Some organisations allow a novice class so that new dogs and beginners can try out with help. Once they have completed the starting weight and pulled it across the finish line the weight is increased.
Back packing is a popular activity for all breeds of dogs, but the arctic breeds in particular really enjoy backpacking. You can get your Eskimo Dog to carry his own water on regular walks or to carry food and supplies during longer walks or camping trips, its a great way to keep you and your dog fit.
Dog agility is also a sport and recreational activity in which the dog is given directional control through a course of obstacles. The handler works the dogs off lead, using their voice, whistles, hand signals or body language. Normally associated with other more popular breeds of dog Canadian Eskimo Dogs with the right training can adapt to more modern dog activities.
Skijoring is very similar in many respects to canicross or bikejor but with the human wearing ski’s. Cross country ski’s are used as they are shorter and also your feet are not completely fixed to the ski as with nordic ski’s; this means you can aid your dog up hills. Again this is a sport in its own right usually in regions that get the right weather conditions. Skijoring can be great fun, fitness and stimulation for a working sled dog.