Activity 61/150

Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is a mode of transportation and an activity in which a sled is pulled by several dogs. It’s a great way to travel through the Canadian winter landscapes.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

History
Dog-powered transportation has been used for hunting and travel for many centuries. Before they began to use dog teams during the fur trade, Aboriginal peoples in Canada used dogs only as pack animals. The Inuit may have used dog teams well before the fur trade.

Where
Dog sledding takes place in all regions of Canada with an abundance of snow. Any dog that is of sufficient size, strength and weight could be used, but it has to be trained for running in a team. 

How to play
It takes time to train a dog for running in a dog team, and it takes more than one or two dogs to build a team. It is probably easier to find an outfitter who will take you dog sledding rather than to invest in the dogs, the equipment, and the time and effort in order to try this uniquely Canadian activity. A fun variation on this activity is skijoring. The skier wears a skijoring harness which is connected to the dog's harness by a tow line, and the dog pulls the skier. Another variation is the kicksled, similar to a dog sled, but without the dog. Kick sleds are human-propelled sleds.

Suggested equipment
- Dogs
- Harness (1 per dog) and tug lines
- Winter clothing
- Sled

Adaptations
Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.

Sensory

No adaptations are required to enjoy this activity for those with a visual impairment except a sighted guide.

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities

No adaptations need to be made to this activity to enjoy it to the fullest.

Mobility Limitation

Dog sledding can be enjoyed by all. There are different types of sleds that accommodate riders to have the full experience. Assistance should be made available should there be any transfer help required.

Benefits of Dog Sledding

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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Michelle Murray
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