April 11th, 2012 by LittlestMusher | Posted in Be The Lead Dog, Your Dog is Your Coach
Tags: Applying the Lessons From the Dogs, Be the Lead Dog, dog training, dog training tips, dogsledding on wheels, dryland mushing, how to teach dogs, Human Canine Bond, Team Leadership, Training Consideration, urban mushing
It’s that time of year (at least for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere)…
- •Perhaps the last couple of sledding or skijor runs before the snow trails disappear
- •Dealing with mud, mud and more mud as winter turns to spring
- •Critters from bears to bees coming out of hibernation
- •Lots of cushy bird nests as all those double coated dogs shed their heavy winter fur
Yes, no doubt — spring has sprung!
The great news is, it’s time to think about the fun and easy way of exploring by dog power: urban mushing!
Most everyone with a medium or larger sized dog (any breed), and a desire to get their dog some quality exercise and quality time together can enjoy urban mushing (also called dryland mushing). Dog requirements are minimal (you just need one), equipment requirements are very basic (a bicycle or scooter to be pulled on, a line and a harness for your dog), and with some fundamental training on the basics of pulling on command, you’re set.
Your urban mushing team is ready to hit the road, whether it’s your home neighborhood, local park or beach, or forest or mountain road on a getaway. All you need is some basic knowledge, and know where and how to get more.
To start urban mushing, first and foremost all dogs need to be taught to pull on command. Even dogs with a genetic instinct for pulling need to be taught to do it on command, when YOU want them to vs. when THEY want to — it’s a lot more fun, controlled and enjoyable that way! I show you how to teach your dog to pull on command.
You need basic health care and conditioning information — how to keep your dog hydrated, how to deal with heat stress, how to care for their feet, coat, weight and physical conditioning. If your vet has told you your dog needs to lose some weight, this is a super fun way to do that!
Next you’ll need some info on your equipment, gear and supplies — what you need and how/where to get it. Like any sport, gearheads can go crazy, but you don’t need that to get started having fun. I recommend a few fundamental pieces to start with, try it out, find out exactly what you and your dog really need, then add to your collection.
Warning! You might be tempted to add dogs! Start small and add when you really can handle more dogs — dealing with multiple/many dogs while you’re still learning can be an exercise in frustration unless you’ve got a good system to learn from. If you already have multiple dogs, go here for more info.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to learn how to take all this into the real world. The world of urban mushing where you can’t control your environment. You will always need to be able to handle tons of distractions: Loose dogs. Kids running up to you while you’re scootering/bikejoring. Horses. Squirrels. Cats. Other people’s food. That inviting bush that is shouting to be peed on. The list is endless…
You can’t control your environment, you can’t eliminate distractions…but you can and must control and focus
- •Yourself and your attitude
- •Your dog’s reaction/response
- •Your equipment
- •Your commands and physical response
So you simply need to learn and practice those skills, techniques and mindset which give you — AND YOUR DOG — the confidence to handle anything and everything the world can throw at you. That’s when urban mushing becomes a blast!
Believe me…once folks see you out in your neighborhood or local park having fun urban mushing with your dog, you’ll find people coming out of the woodwork who want to know more and run with you. This sport is growing like crazy and it’s super fun to get things rolling (pun intended) for your area, your community…and most importantly, your dog and you!
Want to find out more? No training in your area this time of year…or ever? Your local club doesn’t cover this in depth? No local clubs or no one to train or run with? No problem…gotcha covered. Check out Urban GO Dogs – Everywhere!
This unique training offering works wherever you are…Florida, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Netherlands, Maine, Arizona…I’ve had inquiries for this training from literally all over the world…you asked for it, you got it. I am committed to making this a reality for our sport and our community — urban mushers all over the world enjoying exploring with their dogs, promoting responsible trail development, usage, etiquette and access. Go For It!