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Hey everybody! Thanks to the fabulous advice from forum members, Baron and I are going to investigate the wonderful world of dog scootering and possibly bikejoring.

I just ordered his harness from Alpine Outfitters as well as the double scooter line, though it will be awhile before we can invest in the scooter itself (looking at Diggler). While we intend to run with just Baron for now, there is a chance we may be taking in a second dog in the next six months so we want to be prepared (hence the double instead of the single scooter line).

Baron and I have been playing on regular walks with "Gee," "Haw," "Easy," "Woah," and "On By." We've been at it for a whopping three days, but to be honest I'm not sure how to communicate to him what I want from him. Does anybody have any internet resources as to how to train these commands?

Baron is also under treatment for Giardia right now, so we've been avoiding the dog park and doggy daycare to avoid spreading it. Simply walking him only goes so far, so this morning I mounted the Dog Jogger (by Bike Balance) to the bike and we did two very short practice sessions. My husband LOVES to roller blade, so Baron got to experiment with running beside him while he skates. I wanted to wait to introduce him to these things until May-ish (when he is 18 months old), but his weight gain has been tapering off and we've kept the sessions very short and fun just to give him a taste. And, he's going crazy without a running outlet, so we started earlier than originally planned. Baron took to the dog jogger like a duck to water and pulled to try to run at a faster pace than I would allow, which just further concretes my thoughts that he's a great candidate for scootering (or bikejoring if I can get myself to be more comfortable with the idea, lol).

So, all that background info aside, who here has experience either dog scootering, bikejoring, or skijoring? I'm all ears and ready to learn anything and everything I can about these outlets. We're also located in the Chicago Suburbs, so if anyone knows of any active groups/clubs/etc we could get involved in, that would be wonderful.

And since threads are WAY more fun with pictures, here's our handsome man (and his husky playmate buddy):
 

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Welcome to a great sport! I started canicross and scootering about a year and a half ago primarily as dryland training for skijoring, but the winter of 2011-12 we never got enough snow to ski, so at this point I have way more experience scootering than skijoring (although this year at least we've gotten enough snow here to skijor at all).

My favorite resource for help with teaching basic commands is the book Ski Spot Run. The book as a whole focuses on skijoring, but I like their discussion of teaching the foundations of the basic directional commands, which are the same for all of the mushing/joring sports.

Basically, for Gee and Haw just go for your walks like you normally do (or canicross - I started almost always walking my dogs in harness with my skijor belt once I had the equipment). Prior to turning, just call out the verbal command. The dogs won't know what it means for awhile, but eventually they will start to make the association with a lot of repetition. In my experience, the first sign that they sort of get it is that they glance in the correct direction after you give the command. If they are accustomed to training with a clicker or verbal marker, you can start marking and rewarding when they give you that glance and then work up to marking and rewarding the turn, but they will learn eventually regardless. For dogs who like to pull, the motion itself is a good reward, you don't necessarily need treats.


There are a handful of urban mushers on the board, so I'm sure you will get a lot of good advice. Mushers and jorers in general are a friendly, helpful bunch in my experience. Also check to see if you have a local joring or mushing club.


ETA: Sled Dog Central is a great resource for finding other local mushers of all types, not just sledding: www.sleddogcentral.com
 

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Hello! I do mostly Scootering but I've dabbled in Bikejoring as well. If I had a way to get my bike out to the bike paths I'd do that more often with my dog Peanut. We did our first race this year, first time ever even doing Bikejoring, and took 3rd out of 7 teams. Just to make me even prouder, I lost my chain on my back half way into the race so I was scootering for the last half of the race and we STILL came in 3rd place.

I just ordered his harness from Alpine Outfitters as well as the double scooter line, though it will be awhile before we can invest in the scooter itself (looking at Diggler).
Keep an eye out on Craigslist as well. Sometimes you can find an old scooter on there that's really cheap. I picked this scooter up for $25 about 4 years ago. My dad has modified it a few times now but it's great:


I like this scooter a lot more for being out in the city since it has a break and since it's a tricycle, I have a ton more control on it, well until I get on ice. Nothing like taking 2 dogs out, running into a dog behind an invisible fence with one of your reactive dogs (who is fine if dogs are behind a fence but loose dogs make him want to fight) and being on ice. I was drug about 25ft before I got them under control. It was not fun, but got them stopped before they reached the dog, and got them back under control (and they got their butts reamed since they didn't listen).

Baron and I have been playing on regular walks with "Gee," "Haw," "Easy," "Woah," and "On By." We've been at it for a whopping three days, but to be honest I'm not sure how to communicate to him what I want from him. Does anybody have any internet resources as to how to train these commands?
I did it while out on walks to start off. Also My dogs somehow picked up "Yes" means correct and "no" means "incorrect" so I"ll say "Haw" the dog will start to go that direction and I say "yes" which is how they both learned their commands. That came in handy for the race I did. Peanut wasn't sure how to turn at a fork, and started to go the wrong way so I said "no" which she then corrected herself to go the opposite way and when I said "yes" she took off as fast as she could. "Wait" is a command that I have ingrained into my dog's minds since the first day I got them which means "stop and wait for a command". Since I do most of my scootering in the city on city roads, "wait" is life and death. I do not fool around with that command that they know it. It's a kill switch in them. I would not even attempt going out in the city without that stop command at 100%.

Here's a photo of Peanut and me in our first Bikejoring race:


I came up with the system the day before the race since it was a last minuet decision. I do recommend buying a setup for your bike since it will work a ton better and be safer.
 

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Thanks for the feedback!

I had never heard of canicross until you mentioned it-- looks like fun! I jog a bit with Baron (very minimally as I am very out of shape) and I have a problem with him pulling, which tends to pull me off balance when I run with a leash in hand. I'm not sure I could handle him pulling me on foot, but it does sound like a great deal of fun!

I've been eyeballing craigslist for a scooter, but it has been a challenge to filter through all the results. I get everything from toddler scooters to mopeds to (a lot of) Razors. When I do find something that looks promising, it's kid sized, lol. I also found out that some folks use "kick bikes" (which I didn't know were at thing either-- amazing what you learn!). They seem cheaper than Diggler scooters, but I'm sure there is a reason for it. Any thoughts?

Darkmoon, how did you find races in your area? That seems like a great achievement to work up to, but I can find barely anything in the Chicago suburbs. :c (and congrats on your fabulous 3rd!)
 

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There is a group on Facebook called "Mushers Exchange (North America)" where people put up used equipment for sale of all kinds from harnesses to sleds to scooters. If the seller is in the same area as you, you could grab some pretty good deals.

Personally I find bikejoring a bit terrifying, but I love scootering and skijoring. I think it's because it's harder for me to bail off of a bike easily. I have the Diggler Dirt Dawg and I do like it quite a bit. It is sturdy as can be and the only maintenance I've had to do is replace the brake pads about once a year (and any good bicycle shop should be able to do that for you). I definitely recommend something with brakes, not only for safety but because it can help you teach/reinforce your "whoa" and "easy" commands. If I didn't already have mine and was buying a scooter for the first time, I would probably save my pennies for one of their higher-end models... the anti-mud casing would be nice in the spring around here, and I'd love the disc brakes. :p
 

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I've been eyeballing craigslist for a scooter, but it has been a challenge to filter through all the results. I get everything from toddler scooters to mopeds to (a lot of) Razors. When I do find something that looks promising, it's kid sized, lol. I also found out that some folks use "kick bikes" (which I didn't know were at thing either-- amazing what you learn!). They seem cheaper than Diggler scooters, but I'm sure there is a reason for it. Any thoughts?
I've seen Kick bikes out there being used for scootering. I don't see why it wouldn't work, it would just take some modifying to make sure the rope doesn't get caught in the wheel. I'm personally all for cheap as you are starting out. If you end up starting to do races then you might want to look into something better.

Darkmoon, how did you find races in your area? That seems like a great achievement to work up to, but I can find barely anything in the Chicago suburbs. :c (and congrats on your fabulous 3rd!)
Quite by accident. A few years ago I heard that there was some dog sled teams out in a state park that is very close to me and went out and talked to some people since I had just started scootering. Well I ended up making friends with one of the leaders of the sled dog teams that host all the races out there, and they ended up starting a facebook page just for that state park for snow conditions and races. So that's how I ended up stumbling on it. I don't know if you are interested the state park is only about an 2 hour drive from Chicago depending on traffic. I know there's a lot of sled dog races in Northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Some in Indiana, and them a lot in Minnesota. Try googling "Illinois Sled Dogs" or "Wisconsin Sled Dog Teams" and seeing what comes up. The mushers around here are wonderful to new people. I've learned a lot and have been welcomed with open arms, even though my dog isn't a northern breed.
 

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Ok I admit I have never heard of Scootering before...but now I'm insanely interested.
I looked around today to see if I could get supplies here but, nope.

No worries because Manna is no where near old enough for it yet (I can still teach her the commands while walking though) but wow, I want to do it now.

Any advice on what not to do? I plan on doing tonnes of research but common sense is not always so common, and any advice is good advice.
 

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I ran my one dog on a scooter - but we were having a fun run "race" and I borrowed a friend's two Huskies. WHEW. 3 dogs pulling all 100lbs of me and on a kid's mountain scooter no less, was excitin' stuff! Especially when they started trying to race each other.

Another thing I have done in the past to learn commands is to do tire training. I don't think many people do it now but I felt it helped us, especially since I didn't have another dog to teach her how to pull initially.

I got an old tire (small enough she could pull easily but heavy enough so she could make the line taut), drilled a hole, and screwed in an eye bolt securely in it. Put dog in harness, tire on trimmed grass, and hooked dog's harness to tire. I had a collar and leash on her too. I would basically click and treat for making the line taut and essentially taught her to line out. I then would work on "gee" and "haw" and reward her for moving in the right direction.

I would encourage her to pull the tire just a smidge and reward. Then a little more. Then enough to work a little on gee and haw. And so on. As I was teaching I was gradually moving further and further behind her so I was at the tire and she was moving forward, slowing down, going right, going left with me by the tire. I faded out food rewards to a verbal praise of "good girl" too.

When I hooked her up to the scooter she knew the commands (mostly) and took to it pretty well. And the tire training got her in a little better condition for the scootering too.

But if there is another dog or musher around that will let you hook up your dog, do that. From what I have seen, dogs learn best from other dogs when it comes to this sport.


Oh, and this site is helpful: Sled Dog Central
 

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I have been doing a bit of research so I thought I would add it here so if people search the forum in the future (or if others are interested!), they can find it.


Sled Dog Central - Recommended by members here and OUTSTANDING jumping off point for finding additional resources.
http://bikejor.com/home - This site has a lot of useful tips from experience, especially in their "Safety" section.
UrbanMushing.com - Home of the Southern California Working Snow Dogs. Website is a touch outdated, but their yahoo group appears VERY active.
http://urbanmushingclinic.com/ - Free online video series delivered via e-mail.
American Dryland Mushing Association - Great information regarding dryland mushing and other dog powered sports

Equipment-
Alpine Outfitters - Ordered Baron's harness from here last weekend, it should be here in 5-7 weeks. Great explanation in differences between X-Back Harness and Urban Trail Harness.
Diggler Scooters - Dog scooters! This is what we are saving our pennies for at the moment, assuming we do not find a suitable (safe!) alternative via craigslist.


Facebook Groups:
Mushers Exchange (North America) - closed group, requires approval
Mushers Exchange - closed group, requires approval
Urban Mushing (Dog Sledding on Wheels: Dog Scootering, Bikejoring, Carting) - Very helpful, goes hand in hand with Urban Mushing Clinic
Sled dog exchange - open group, appears primarily European
Sled Dog Equipment Trader - closed group
 
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