Joring is Norwegian word ‘driving’ or ‘pulling,’ and dog joring is just that – having your dog pull you along, whether you’re skiing (skiijoring), skateboarding, or biking (bikejoring).
Dog joring refers specifically to the practice of having your dog tow you. Simply riding a bike with your dog running alongside isn’t joring – your dog must be pulling you for it to be considered joring.
Most dogs 35 lbs and over can join in on joring. Sometimes smaller dogs are capable of joring as well, but they’ll likely need their owners to help out a bit more.
One big aspect of bikejoring and skijoring is personality. Some dogs love to pull, while others aren’t so into the idea. Your dog has to have energy and want to run. Some dogs aren’t so into running, and that’s absolutely fine – but that means they aren’t the best candidates for bikejoring or skijoring.
Some breeds have an instinct for pulling and will pick joring up immediately. Other breeds need to be taught how it’s done. Either way, dog joring requires practice and training for both you and your dog. If your dog finds that he or she enjoys joring, it can be a very fun sport for pet and owner, building a strong relationship and bond through fun physical activity.
Remember, both you and your dog will need to be in decent physical shape for joring. Owners will need to have a strong core and good general physical endurance, which can be developed alongside your canine.
Curious about what exactly dog joring looks like? Take a look at this video!
The first step to skijoring, bikejoring, or any dog joring training is teaching your dog good walking manners. If your dog wanders around when you walk, he’ll wander when you run as well!
You absolutely can’t have your dog zigzagging after rabbits while bikejoring or skijoring. Bad doggie behavior can be dangerous, as you could be thrown from your bike, skis, or other means of transportation.
If your dog is chewing at the harness, jumping all over the place, and generally not listening to your commands, you may have to work more on basic doggie obedience before moving on to joring.
Using a joring system means surrendering physical control of your dog. Instead of you leading the way, your dog is in physical control, with your ride will following the dog’s pulling path. This is why it’s essential that your dog learn proper walking manners and how to listen to your verbal cues.
Since skijoring and bikejoing requires you to surrender physical control of your dog, you must substitute physical guidance with verbal guidance. Both your safety and your dog’s safety requires the understand and obedience of verbal commands.
A big thanks to BikeJor.com for providing information on many of these commands. Check them out for more bonus commands.
You don’t want to rush training, and you may need to accept that teaching your dog how to respond to voice commands and helping them get adjusted to the joring system may take time. Allow several months for your bikejoring or skijoring training.
Many dog joring commands can be applied to daily walks. When walking along the road and turning right, say “right” or “gee.” You may need to put your hand on the leash and guide your dog where you want him to go, to help him get started.
Remember, always give plenty of praise when your dog does what you want him to. Repetition is key!
Once your dog gets the hang of voice commands during walks, begin practicing walking with the joring system (we review a few of the most popular dog joiring systems here). Slowly get your dog acquainted with towing practice sessions, and never make the sessions more than 15 minutes.
You may have trouble getting your dog to lead rather than follow. Skijoring and bikejoring requires that your dog be walking in front of you, and some dogs aren’t used to this. For this reason, it sometimes helps to have a 2nd person ahead of your dog, encouraging him and giving praise.
Don’t overdue it. Know your dog and his limitations, don’t exhaust him. Dog’s need to slowly work up to get in shape too!
You and your dog will need to be outfitted with the right gear before beginning your bikejoring or skijoring adventures. You may wonder, why won’t a collar and leash suffice? Here’s why:
If you’re wondering what gear to get, we recommend the Ruffwear Omnijore. It’s one of the most popular dog joring systems and provides optimal safety and comfort for skijoring/bikejoring.
Want to get exercise with your pup, but not up for joring? You might want to try canicross – it’s a similar concept, but has your dog helping pull you along while you are both running on foot!
Dog joring is a rewarding activity that helps humans and dogs get exercise while also building a strong bond between pet and owner. We hope we’ve provided you with the information you need to begin you adventures in dog joring!
Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!