Do you ever watch the Iditarod and dream of participating in the famous race? While it might take you a while to get to the winner’s circle, you can certainly start joring or urban mushing right in your own town or city! Dog joring (known to us dry-climate folks as urban mushing) is a super fun sport that you and your dog can do together. The best part? It’s so easy to get started!
What is Joring?
The word is so obscure that even my grammar check doesn’t recognize it. “Joring” comes from the Norwegian word kjøre, which translates to the English word, driving. Think of joring as a sport where your dog drives your bike, skis, rollerskates, or skateboard.
You can also equate it to mushing, which is the pro-level version of the sport. It’s as simple as this: you attach a special harness to a lead, then attach it to your bike or a belt on your waist. Your dog pulls you to your destination, and everyone is happy and exercised. This sport is ideal for dogs over 35 lbs and whose physical condition allows them to pull significant weight (i.e., you). The running version of the sport has been branded as Canicross, and is ideal for runners whose dogs are their best workout buddies!
Disclaimer: Not all dogs are fit for this sport. We do not recommend mushing for dogs under 35 lbs, short-nosed breeds, or dogs with back/hip problems. However, if you have a larger dog who can just run or has what feels like an infinite amount of energy, joring or urban mushing is likely a good fit for them. You should never force your dog to pull you if they aren’t into it, and if they aren’t, you’ll know.
If you’ve been looking to try something new with your dog, joring might just be for you. Here are 7 reasons to try this sport!
1. Equipment is accessible
If you already have a bicycle, skis, or skateboard, you have half of it right there. If you’re a runner, then it’s even simpler. Fidogear sells joring kits that make it easy to get started. You’ll need a belt, which should be secured snugly at your hips (not your waist), a harness that works well for your dog, and a tow rope. Tow ropes are available in either 6′, which is recommended for running, or 8′ for anything vehicle-powered (skis, bikes, skates, etc.).
Use this code to get a discount off your order at Fidogear!:https://fidogear.com/discount/FitDog10
2. Easy to learn
No classes? No problem. Learn on Youtube:
3. Bond with your dog
Exercise is one of the best ways to interact and bond with your dog. They’ll love you so much for providing them safe and stimulating physical exercise, and you’ll have a good night’s rest to follow!
4. Exercise for both dog & human
Take care of two things at once, making more time for you to do the things you want or need to do. It’s a great feeling to be efficient!
5. Elevating an existing exercise
You are essentially taking a sport (biking, running, skiing, skating) that you already love or know how to do, and adding your dog into the mix. Half the work is already done, so you may as well bring your dog into it!
6. Dog is fulfilled and tired
Believe it or not, dogs love to have a job. By giving them the task of pulling you to your destination, they get the satisfaction of a “job well done.” Additionally, they will get adequate exercise, which is so important for your dog’s quality of life.
7. Adaptable to all environments
Literally, people do this in the snow. So there’s no reason why you can’t try this wherever you are. While we are NOT telling you to go out in unsafe conditions, it is a good sport to help you kick the winter blues, or just to get some outdoor exercise and fresh air! Whether you’re skiing slopes or running on an urban sidewalk, joring (AKA urban mushing) is adaptable to your lifestyle and environment.
This is a low-cost, low-risk investment in you and your dog’s health and wellness. Seems worth it to us! If you give joring a try, let us know how it goes in the comments!
A special thanks to the kind folks at Fidogear for their help with this blog post!