WorlDog > Tails ‘n Trails
Tails ‘n Trails is a Dog Adventure Club that hopes to bring together our dogs sharing a common passion for outdoor activities such as dryland mushing, canicross and backpacking. Tails ‘n’ Trails is open to all dog enthusiasts who want to share their ideas, questions, experiences and participate in dog-powered sports for their working dog. We aim to teach those who are interested in outdoor activities with their canine companion, how to do it safely, with advice on the correct accessories and techniques.
Formed in 2009, Tails ‘n’ Trails has grown amazingly over the last few years. Our local membership is constantly in the increase and we have members from all over Ireland. The Club caters for both recreational mushers and serious racers and is non-breed specific.
In 2011 the club held its first dryland rally series called the Tails ‘n’ Trails Irish Dryland Mushing Championship. Experienced and novice mushers attended travelled from all over Ireland to the first rally of the season to show their support for sled dog sports.
The rally series was held over 4 stages, in 3 different counties. The Mushers participating in these events would earn points based on their time. The series would measure musher and dog performance over the course of the season, and not just at one single event. Therefore, even though you might not have such a great run at one event, that doesn’t mean you are out with no chance, as you could put your 3 best times forward at the end of the championship. Each rally was a separate entity and there was a championship winner for each class. The classes were 1-2 dog, 3-4 dog rig, freight, bikejoring, canicross and juniors. The trail lengths on average were 4.5kms for 1/2 dogs and 3/4 dogs and 3kms for bike and canicross, with a shorter course for juniors. The races started early (8am) in order to allow both dogs and mushers the chance to perform in the coolest temperatures. The trail lengths were short due to the unseasonally mild winter we had that season that season.
If you are interested in joining Tails ‘n’ Trails and taking part in the activities the club’s membership form can be downloaded at www.tailsandtrails.ie or email the clubs secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Provisional rally dates for the 2012-2013 season.
November 3rd- 4th
Locations to be confirmed.
CANICROSS – of all the dog-powered sports, canicross is the easiest to take part in as very little equipment is needed. Pretty much any size or breed can participate as long as they are healthy and have a desire to run and pull. In fact, a smaller dog that does not pull quite so hard is easier on the human body than the hard-charging Husky or Pointer types. Ideally you want a dog that you can control with the weight of your own body. To get started with Canicross all your dog needs is a harness and a bungee line can help to reduce the jerks between the dog and runner. Special waist belts can also be bought that you can wear around your waist; this allows you to run hands free.
Canicross is also a good way to train your dog for dryland mushing. It is ideal for training leaders and learning your dog the mushing commands.
DOG SCOOTERING – Dog scootering is a sport where one or more dogs pull an unmotorised kick scooter. It is similar to mushing, which is done in the winter, but generally with fewer dogs and with a scooter instead of a dogsled. The dogs wear the same harnesses that sled dogs wear, and are hooked to the scooter with a gangline. The gangline usually incorporates a bungee to smooth out the shocks of speeding up and taking off.
Dog Scootering is a growing Irish sport and is well established in the UK and States. Cheaper and easier to transport than rigs, they make a great alternative for running dogs such as Huskies and Malamutes. But it’s not just sled dogs that can pull a scooter. They’re lightweight, fun and any dog who likes to run can be trained to use one easily.
An alternative is to use a bicycle instead of a scooter. This is seen as a more dangerous alternative, as it is more difficult to dismount a bicycle in an emergency. This alternative sport of harnessing dogs to a bicycle is known as bikejoring.
BIKEJORING - is a dog mushing activity related to skijoring, canicross, and dog scootering. It is a recreation or sport where a harnessed dog or team of dogs attached to a towline, pull and run ahead of a cyclist. Bikejoring is a non snow season (dryland) activity. Bikejoring and canicross are both dryland mushing activities that probably developed from skijoring and dogsled racing. Bikejoring is also sometimes used to train racing sled-dogs out of season.
Although any breed (or non-breed) of dog can be used, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Alaskan Huskies, Sled Hounds and Pointers are probably the most popular breeds for bikejoring. However, any type of dog that can be taught to pull, run, and to accept a few lead dog commands can be used to bikejor. Bikejoring and dog scootering are activities that can be beneficial to the health and fitness of dogs. It can be used to provide dogs with work and exercise, without letting them run off leash and endangering wild-life or livestock.
The dog or dogs are fitted with harnesses suitable for pulling and running in, such as x-back harnesses. The harnesses are normally attached to a gang line (if more than one dog is being used), and a bungee towline, which clips to the front of the bicycle. Many bikejorer’s use bayonets, antennas, or plastic pipes to suspend the towline above the front wheel, and to prevent it from tangling between the wheel and forks. If two dogs are employed on a gang line, they are sometimes also attached to each other by a neckline between their collars. Bikejoring can be fun but has its dangers.
DRYLAND RIGS – 3-4 Wheeled Rigs are gaining in popularity for running sled dogs in Ireland. A rig is what we use to work sled dogs in this country given our lack of snow. A rig is basically a 3 wheeled trike which is made from light steel or aluminium with an attachment at the front to hook the dogs up. A rig weighs roughly between 17-20kg once made. Rigs provide better stability when running 3 or more dogs and are used to condition sled dog teams. The more dogs you have the faster you generally go and the rig provides better handling for this. Most rigs are 3 wheeled, but you do find some 4 wheeled rigs. Many parts on the rig are standard bike parts so they can be upgraded and replaced easily.