2020 Best Dog Joring Equipment

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Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about the best dog joring equipment helpful. When the snow begins to fall and the temperature drops, try a new outdoor adventure with your furry friend and go winter DOG JORING!

Dog joring is skiing or snowboarding while being pulled by a canine. Any medium to large, active dog that loves to run will enjoy this activity and it’s a great way to bond with your favorite four-legged friend. If you have been thinking about dog joring, check out these tips and suggested dog joring equipment to get you started safely and quickly with all the right tools. Have fun!


Types of Winter Dog Joring


Ski Joring – Cross-country ski behind your dog while he pulls you. You are helping your dog by using your skiing skills and pushing off with your poles to give additional momentum.

SnowBoard Joring – Snowboard behind your dog while it pulls you. Since you are not assisting in this version it is important to do this on a flat, snowy surface that is not too hilly and for shorter periods of time.

Kick Sled Joring – You are on a small, light sled being pulled by your dog or dogs. This type of sled allows you to easily assist the dog by creating additional propulsion by pushing (kicking) with alternating legs/feet.


See Also: Lighted LED Dog Collars


Dog Joring Tips


All three dog joring options require:

  • A dog harness, a shock absorbing tow-line (leash) and a hands-free waist harness for the person. The bungee cord tow-line absorbs pulling shock, allowing dogs and owners to run without constantly yanking on each other
  • Relatively flat trails with gentle hills because you want the dog to be constantly and consistently pulling. The dog should not get to far ahead or behind, you need to keep the movement fluid and continuous.
  • When first starting try to keep your dog joring excursions under 15 minutes and then keep working up to longer tow duration based on what your dog can handle comfortably
  • Before beginning dog joring your dog must be taught basic voice commands for stopping, turning, speeding up and slowing down. Commands should not be words that are used often in common conversation

Important dog joring voice commands:

  • Whoa or Stop
  • Gee- Go to the Right
  • Haw – Go to the Left
  • Forward

Types of Dog Harnesses


Cross-Back or X-Back Harness

Specifically designed for typical sled dogs like Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes. This classic harness is designed with the straps ‘crossed’ on the dogs’ back ending at the tail. The tether is attached at the tail end. The x-shaped back strap design provides the optimal transmission of force and ideal distribution of the load on the body of the dog.

This harness must fit precisely since it cannot be adjusted. The neck opening should be relatively tight but not so tight that is choking or leaving a mark on the skin. The end piece of the harness should begin at the base of the tail and the side straps must be located within the costal arch (not behind it). The whole harness should not slip, it should move with your dog – even in curves. A great harness for kick sledjoring.

H-Back Harness

Perfect for the beginner dog jorer because there is more room for error because the harness can easily be adjusted. It is also a great tool to help inexperienced dogs find the right pulling direction. This harness is a great choice for long, lean dogs and dogs that do not have the typical sled dog shape

The H-Back Harness is easily identified by the H-shape of the back straps which removes all pressure of the back. In addition, its special shape allows unrestrained breathing while the dog is pulling load. This type of harness offers a nice balance between transmission of power and freedom of movement

Half Back Harness

The shorter Half Back harness is suited for small dogs or deep chested dogs. It looks just like a harness used for leashed walks but it is designed to pull some weight. This type harness is not recommended for kick sledding.

Wheel Dog Harness

This harness is perfect for kick sledding as it does not put any pressure on the dogs hind end.


See Also: Dog Sledding in Vail, Colorado


Dog Joring Equipment


Ruffwear Omnijore System

Everything you need to start dog joring in one complete, easy to use kit. Includes a dog harness, human hip belt, and tow-line. The Omnijore System is perfect for lighter pulling like skijoring and snowboard joring but not really suitable to pull a kick sled.

  • DOG HARNESS: The pulling-specific design harness has four places to adjust sizes so the harness is very customizable no matter what size or shape dog you have. It also features reflective trim, which is perfect for nighttime dog joring and a light loop for attaching the Beacon Light (not included) if you need even more illumination
  • TOW LINE: The shock-absorbing webbing minimizes bounce. The clip provides a secure connection. The color-coded ends make gearing up easy.
  • HUMAN HIP BELT: The hip belt has a comfortable, load-dispersing design that allows for 180 degrees of tow direction. It features a quick tow-line release, removable leg loops, a water bottle holster, and two zippered pockets.
  • The dog harness comes in three sizes
  • The human belt comes is one size and fits waist sizes 27-48″

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Long Haul Dog Joring Bundle

Another great kit that offers everything you need to get started with dog joring, in one, very convenient kit. Includes a high quality dog harness, bungee tow-line and a human hip belt. This very adjustable, comfortable harness will fit most dogs.

  • DOG HARNESS: A fully adjustable harness with a top handle and a back D-ring; reflective trim; lightweight, and comfortably padded.
  • TOW LINE: Constructed of a 1″ tubular webbing for durability ; easily adjusts to fit your needs; short bungee extends from 76″ to 100″; Long bungee extends from 108″ to 132”
  • HUMAN HIP BELT: features quick-release strap to quickly and easily disconnect from your dog; lightweight and fully padded for comfort; has four pockets for storage and water bottle holder. This can also be used as a versatile day pack if you remove the leg straps.

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Northern Howl X Harness & Hands Free Leash

This classic, heavy duty harness is perfect for sled-dog shaped dogs, breeds like Husky or Malamutes. Harnesses are not adjustable and must fit precisely so make sure you take all your dog’s measurements (twice)before ordering or contact Northern Howl directly to confirm you are ordering the correct size harness for your dog. This is a great harness for heavier pulling like kick sledding but will work well for all types of dog joring.

  • Features breathable air-mesh padding to keep your dog comfortable.
  • The harness is not adjustable but it won’t come loose when your dog starts pulling, which can happen with adjustable harnesses.
  • Classic harness design offers optimal power transfer
  • Features reflectors on the side of the harness
  • Comes in Blue/Green, Red/Black and Green/Black
  • This professional weight pulling dog harness will not let you down.
  • You will need to buy human hip belt separately as this is the dog harness and bungee tow-line only

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Non-Stop Dogwear Half Harness

Half-harnesses are perfect for smaller dogs and dogs with deep chests. This is just the dog harness, so you will still need the tow-line and the hip belt to get started. Best for light-pulling activities.

  • Features excellent padding and fits the dog comfortably.
  • Harness is fully adjustable and ensures a proper fit and that the dog does not get loose.
  • Bungee tow-line attachment on top AND bottom. Attach to the bottom so your dog can still use its nose if you are training your dog to track by scent.
  • Reflective material on the harness allows for good visibility in the dark

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Non-Stop Dogwear Freemotion H Harness

Very adjustable harness will work on most dogs and dog breeds, especially dogs that don’t fit a typical X-Back harness. This is a great harness for anybody new to the sport. This is just the harness you will need to buy the tow-line and human belt harness separately to get started.

  • A popular, best-selling dog harness
  • Designed by a Norwegian company with input and product testing from World Champions.
  • Adjustable fit insures that this harness will fit most dogs comfortably and correctly. Perfect for tough to fit dogs.Innovative design does not constrict dog’s lungs or airway, even while pulling as hard and fast as he can.
  • Offers maximum freedom of motion and utilization of power in each stride.
  • Side bungees allow for extra extension and protects your dog’s skeletal system

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Non-Stop Dogwear Belt

The human harness/belt is one of three items you need for fun, safe dog joring. The belt attaches to the human around their waist. Then a bungee tow-line is connected from the belt to the dog with an open hook so if needed, you can quickly and easily release the dog from its connection with you. Lastly the tow-line is attached to the dogs harness so it can pull you.

  • This comfort belt is adjustable to fit all sizes.
  • Perfect for beginners and professional dog jorers
  • Evenly distributes the weight and does not ride up the waist
  • Open hook to attach the Running Line insures easy release when needed.
  • A small pocket on the back holds tools or essentials
  • Sturdy construction with large buckles and wide Nylon webbing.

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Dog Joring Bungee Line

This is the element that connects your dog’s harness to your waist belt. The elastic bungee acts exactly like a shock absorber. It dampens the energy if the dog pulls or accelerates suddenly or there a need to stop abruptly. Protects both the person’s back and spine as well as the entire skeletal structure of the dog from injury.

  • 8′ long strong and durable dog line expands to over 9′ length
  • 1 inch wide tubular webbing with built-in extendable elastic
  • Both ends have a high quality swivel snaps
  • This bungee line is also available for two dogs. So if you want to drive a team, get the two-dog bungee tow-line.

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Wooden Foldable Dog Kick Sled

This folding kick sled is so much fun! Small seat allows a child or your pack to be stowed in the seat while you stand behind and help kick the sled forward to assist your canine. Can be pulled by one dog or a team of dogs. It is recommended to use an X-Back harness and/or a Wheel Dog harness with a Kick Sled.

  • Size: 43” L x 32” H x 18” W , Weighs approximately 18 lbs
  • Made of solid maple wood with a Teflon band under the runners for a smooth ride.
  • Incorporates a simple step brake system. Step your foot down to the ground to stop.
  • Traditional rawhide weaving on the seat back of sled.
  • Comes assembled
  • Folds up so it can be easily stored in a closet when not in use

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Skijor with Your Dog

When you want a little more instruction and guidance for you and your pooch, pick up this informative book about everything you need to go skijoring with your dog. The authors; Mari Høe-Raitto and Carol Kaynor are both long-time dog mushers with tons of experience and knowledge to share. 2nd edition.

  • This book is geared towards beginners but all enthusiasts can absolutely benefit from it.
  • A popular and practical guide that covers equipment and how to teach a dog to pull properly
  • Includes racing tips and how to train for competition,
  • How to get children involved
  • Summer dog joring activities like canicross and bikejoring.
  • This is the perfect book if you don’t want to learn by trial and error and just want to know what to do.

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Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Wax

Keep your dog’s paws protected with this easy to apply cream to keep his feet happy, injury-free and wanting to keep pulling all through the winter.

  • Apply to paws to protect them from sand, hot pavement, ice and salt
  • All natural 100-percent wax-based cream
  • Perfect for mushing or dog joring
  • Contains vitamin E to moisturize and help heal wounds
  • Available in a variety of sizes

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See Also: Dog Friendly Parks & Trails in Vail, Colorado


Comments

Have you ever participated in a winter dog joring activity? What type of dog joring do you do? Do you use any of the items and brands of dog joring equipment recommended above? Did you like them? Do you have tricks or tips to make winter dog joring more fun for you and your dog? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments

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  • Loved the post about the best dog joring equipment, I thought it was spot on.  Yes, dog joring is tons easier with the right gear and not jerry-rigging something to work.  Also, just like you said, my first harness was an H-Harness because my dog is not a typical sled dog and because they are totally adjustable, super easy to make it fit properly.  I pretty much knew most of this info, but the real gem in this article was the Musher's Secret Paw Protection Wax. This is exactly what my dog needs, she is always getting sore paws, whether we dog jore or not.  I am going to try this and see if it helps her.  She also has a hard time on asphalt in the summer so this might protect her from that as well.  Thanks so much for this suggestion I am psyched to try it!

  • Hello I have just moved to the area and me and my dog, Skipper, love skijoring we have done it for years back in Michigan.  Would love to get started here in the area but don't know where to go.  Can you give me some pointers as to where is a good friendly dog trail in the Vail Valley? Thank you.

    • Hi Ken, welcome to the area, it is a wonderful and welcoming community for dogs.  We do not have a ton of dedicated dog joring here, which is beyond me, because everybody and their brother owns a dog and takes it with them everywhere they go.  But that being said, there are some great trails that are perfect. The Vail Nordic Center allows dogs on their snowshoe trails, as does the Nordic Trails in Eagle-Vail. Vail Pass Recreation Area also allows dogs and it is beautiful up there.  Check out the post 10 Reasons to Love Snowshoeing in Vail for more ideas about what trails in the area allow dogs.  Unlike cross country ski trails, that get torn up by dogs, most dedicated snowshoes don't mind if you go ski joring.  But make sure the trail does allows dogs, follow the rules, be respectful and have fun!

  • Thank you for the article on Dog Joring Equipment. This sounds like a fun activity to do with your best four-legged companion. This article is filled with a lot of useful tips and I loved the info on the recommended equipment to do this. I was wondering if there was a way to do this without snow? I live in the desert and it is an hour or more drive to get to the snow. Thanks for the post.

    • Hi Geoffrey, thanks so much your kind comments about the best dog joring equipment article.  Yes, there is an alternative to doggie skijoring.  In the summer or in areas without snow, you can take your pooch Canicrossing (when you run behind your dog and your dog helps to pull you) or Bikejoring (where your dog pulls you while you ride your bike).  For Canicross you use the same equipment as recommended, Bikejoring you will need the dog harness and a special leash that attaches to your bike. This is also great training for winter dog joring!

  • I would like to start dog joring with my own labrador but I am a little confused as to which harness would be right for him.  Also can I just keep him on a leash and have him pull me that way.  Also do you have any tips on how to train your to pull you? I think my dog we be great at this, I feel like he has the perfect personality for it but I just don't know how to get started.One last question, where did the word joring actually come from?  It sounds like a Scandinavian word?

    • Hi Len, Thanks for reading the Best Dog Joring Equipment and I can answer all of your questions.  First, I would pick up a copy of the book Skijor with your Dog by Mari Høe-Raitto and Carol Kaynor. It will tell you step by step everything you need to get started and how to teach your dog to pull as well as voice commands, it is perfect for the novice dog jorer.  As for the harness because your dog does not have a traditional sled dog body (like a Husky) I would recommend the Long Haul Joring Bundle because it includes the dog harness, the bungee tow line and the pull belt for person.  Yes, get all three items, it will be so much easier and more enjoyable for both you and your dog.  Lastly, the word joring is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring which means ski driving. Hope this helps.

  • I have been a dog owner for years. And cannot believe I had not heard of this before. What a great way to exercise my dog during the winter months when we have snow on the ground. My dog loves a good romp in the snow. This equipment all seems reasonably priced, durable and if you get the fit right, comfortable for both the dog and the person. Thanks for the article and for opening me and my pooch up to a brand new adventure!

    • Hi Glen, so happy we could introduce you to winter dog joring, a fun winter, canine sport.  Yes it is a fabulous way to exercise your dog especially if he loves to run and has a tendency to constantly pull you when walking on the leash. Put all that energy towards a good workout.  Dog joring gear is very durable and does last for years but yes do take some time to make sure you get the right fit, and always measure your dog at least twice to make sure you get it right. Make sure you check out the video for tips on a correct dog harness fit.

  • Hello thanks so much for the helpful post about the best dog joring equipment.  My Husky, Shilo, and me have just started dog joring this winter, we are totally terrible at it but we are having lots of fun.  up to this point we have been using handmade equipment mostly webbing and a leash but we are ready for some real gear.  I think it will be even more fun once we have the right stuff!  I am so proud of how well my boy has been at picking this up!  I am interested in the Ruffwear Omnijore kit because it has everything in one package.

    • So happy this article about the best dog joring gear helped you.  Yes I bet your pooch is awesome at this, it is just in his nature and he probably just loves to pull, just like a real sled dog!  Yes with the right equipment you will see another big leap in improvement as it just makes everything so much easier and you won't feel as much bounce and pull with the bungee tow line.  Hands free also makes a big difference.  Enjoy the Ruffwear Omnijore System and have fun with Shilo out on the trails