There are many ways you can exercise your Husky or sled dog. Walking, jogging, hiking, cani-cross, scootering, or even sledging, Husky, Malamute and sled dog owners are lucky in that there are a wide range of activities they can undertake with their dogs. The main things to remember are;
- Make sure you take the proper safety precautions for any activity
- Never undertake any activities that involve letting your Husky off the lead in an un-enclosed area
If you are considering having a go at scootering or would like to find out more about working your Husky, the best thing to do is to get in contact with other owners who work their own sled dogs. Most would be more than happy to take you out with their dogs and ‘show you the ropes’. It is definitely worth going along to an organized rally to watch the sled dogs on the trail and meet other owners. Have a look at the websites of Husky, Malamute and sled dog organizations for rallies and events near you.
Walking with Huskies and other Sled Dogs
As a Husky owner, you are likely to be doing a lot more walking than the average person. A good pair of walking shoes, a waterproof coat, a good strong lead, and a secure, comfy collar for your dog are all essentials. A walking belt for you and a harness for your Husky are also highly recommended.
The exercise requirements of individual dogs will vary. Your dog’s age, health and breeding will all have an impact on the level of exercise it needs. On average, a good hour’s walk every day with longer hikes at the weekend should keep an adult Husky or sled dog fit and happy. Of course, more than this is usually fine too. We would tend to recommend that an adult Husky gets out a couple of times a day. You might aim for an hour’s walk in the morning and a shorter walk in the evening, or vice-versa.
Be aware that Huskies don’t fare too well in hot conditions. Sled dogs have evolved to survive in the freezing Arctic. As a result, they have thick, insulating coats, which make heat-stroke a very real (and very dangerous) possibility. During the summer months, we would strongly recommend that you only walk your Husky or sled dog in the cooler parts of the day – in the early morning and in the evening.
Hiking with Your Husky
One of the many joys of Husky ownership is the feeling of being out in the wilds with your dog, and enjoying a good hike through a forest or along a coastline together. Another joy of Husky ownership is that hikes are never quite as tiresome when you have a sled dog to help pull you up the hills!
Make sure before you set out on a hike that you are well prepared to provide for yourself and your Husky. Take enough water for you both, and a collapsible bowl (such as HiTravel Food & Water Bowls ) for your Husky to drink from. Do not rely on there being fresh water along the way for your dog – water in streams and rivers may be polluted even if it looks clean, and you should NEVER allow your dog to drink from puddles for the same reason.
Take snacks for yourself and your Husky, but only feed them lightly when out walking – a biscuit now and then as you stop to take in the view is more than enough, and heavy feeding ‘on the go’ can lead discomfort and more seriously, ‘Bloat’.
We would recommend you take a small First Aid Kit in case your Husky is injured along the way (See more information on our First Aid page).
We would also recommend that you carry a mobile phone with you at all times, and inform others of your intended route and expected time of return.
There are many companies that supply walking and hiking equipment designed specifically for those out and about with their dogs. The ranges of products available vary in price and quality.
Mountain Paws produce a really nice range of Travel Food and Water Bowls It is easy to spend a lot of money on such products. You will probably find that while it it worth investing in good quality products that will stand the test of time, it is not always necessary to buy the most expensive products available. Most of our own equipment is mid-range in price, and has done us well so far.
With some items you may it is worth the extra cost for the top-of-the-range product. Back-packs for dogs are one example of a product that you should choose wisely and opt for quality over price. As it is your dog who will be ‘wearing’ the pack, and it is important as such to ensure that the product is well designed. While cheaper versions are available (which may well be satisfactory in their design)it is worth the extra investment to ensure your dog’s comfort and well-being is ensured.
Below are a selection of the wide range of equipment available for hiking with your dog:
Walking and Jogging Dog Leads are used by many Husky owners. Huskies and sled dogs are bred to pull. Even if you have your dog trained exceptionally well to walk at your side, there will be times when your Husky rushes ahead (having spotted another dog or a squirrel for instance). Walking belts are wonderful for taking the strain off your arms, as the belt sits on your hips, it is your core that takes the strain, which gives you more stability and balance and allows you to lean back against the pull of the dog.
Rucksacks like the Dog Activity Rucksack have built-in attachment points to clip your dogs lead to. These are great for Husky owners, as they take the strain off your arms, acting like a ‘walking belt’. Obviously useful as a carrier for water, food, first aid kits and other supplies that you take with you on a hike with your Husky.
For shorter walks when you do not require a ruck-sack to carry your provisions in, it is useful to have a utility-style dog walking belt such as the(Hi-Travel) Pet Walkers Pack for holding smaller items, such as treats for your Husky and poop-scoop bags.
You can even share some of the load with your dog with a Doggy Back Pack ! Do be aware that care must be taken to ensure that your dog’s pack is well designed and properly fitting. You must also make sure that your dog’s pack is not overloaded. While a few other models are available, the Ruffwear Approach Pack Saddlepack seems to be very well designed and well fitted; perhaps one instance where it is worth spending a bit more money to invest in a high-quality product.
Collapsible food and water bowls are really useful for hiking and travelling with your dog. They are light-weight and fold down small so that they can be easily stored and carried. The Hot Dog Water Bowl is part of the Mountain Paws range, and is available through Amazon