Scootering Information...where to start?

Susie from Orange County recently posted this inquiry...

"I have a 3 year old husky who's never pulled anything before. She loves to run and I feel that she's simply not getting the exercise she needs. What do you recommend for people looking to get involved in this? Where should I start? Besides a scooter, what equipment do I need? ...and how naturally do most huskies take to this?"

Pretty much like fish to water! Both instinct and over 3000 years of breeding are ingrained in their brains (and their hearts) and so they can't help but want to run and pull. Your husky may have "never pulled anything before" but more than likely, she has tried to pull your arm out of its socket when going for your daily walks. 

Initially, the challenge would be more of getting your husky to run and pull in the direction you want her to go and also to do it consistently and with focus so that she isn't stopping to smell every bush along the trail. And that's one difference between just taking her to the dog park and getting her involved in a dog-powered activity --- not only does she get to run but she needs to be able to think and take her cues from what you tell her to do. So not only are you giving her the physical exercise but you are also giving her the mental stimulation. And she now has a job, and working breeds need to work in order to make their lives more fulfilling (which also leads to more cookie treats and longer naps). 

Please note --- this activity is NOT just for Siberian Huskies. There are a number of other northern breed type dogs that would love to be given the opportunity to answer their genetic calling. Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds and the Canadian Eskimo dog (and let's not forget Alaskan Huskies, which are now the breed of choice for running the Iditarod) are among those that were bred specifically to pull sleds. On the other hand, other working and sporting type breeds simply have a LOT of energy to burn and likewise find fulfillment in running and pulling. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dalmatians, Portugese Water Dogs, Akitas, Jindos, Australian Shepherds, German Short-Haired Pointers (these dogs can sometimes hit speeds of 30 MPH or more!) --- these are but some of the breeds that I know of that have taken to dog scootering and other urban mushing type activities. Whatever breed your dog might be, even the lovable mixed breed mutt, if they have a lot of energy and love to run and pull, then this could be the perfect exercise for them.

In a nutshell, besides a scooter, you would need a harness and a scooter line. Click Here for more information on the gear you will need. 

Note that you don't have to use a scooter --- you can also use a mountain bike (the sport is very popular in Europe and is known as bikejoring). A scooter though does make it more fun as it is stable and easy to dismount and so you worry less about losing your balance and gives you more confidence in controlling your dog. And dog scootering gives you a closer feel to what it would be like to ride on the runners of a dogsled.

As far as getting started, I suggest that you come out to one of our weekend fun runs, so you can see for yourself and try out the different equipment and gear and maybe even experience a trail run with your dog. Weather permitting, there is almost always a group run at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa every Saturday and Sunday and there is also a group run in the Lancaster area, usually on Sundays. We post our schedules for these fun runs via this Click to join our Yahoo Group Yahoo Group list.  The group at Fairview Park assembles starting at 8 AM and on Saturdays, we give a crash course on dogscootering basics, just enough so that you and your dog can feel comfortable joining us on the trails for as short or as long as you want. We have harnesses that we can loan out to your dog as well as scooters that you can use (we give priority to newbies when loaning out scooters but you may have to share it with other new people depending on the attendance).

There is no fee involved and all we ask is that you be able to reasonably control your dog's behavior and that you show up at 7:30 AM (Send me an email and let me know that you will be doing so)if you want to be given an introductory session on dog scootering.  In the meantime, you can start doing some groundwork with your dog by familiarizing both you and her with the commands most often used in urban mushing activities. You can already practice using the basic commands when you are out on your daily walks.