What is Dryland Mushing & 5 Reasons To Try It
Have you ever had or met one of those super high energy dogs? A beautiful Husky or Doberman, that is just bouncing off the walls as their owner throws up the white flag after trying ‘everything’. What if there was a way that this proud pup could run as fast and far as they want, in a safe and controlled way…all with their human in tow.
Introducing, Dryland Mushing. Dryland Mushing is an activity and sport in which a dog or team of dogs pull a human on…you guessed it, dry land. Dryland Mushing was originally adopted to train sled dogs in the summer months when the snow would melt, but has since turned into a year round and worldwide dog sport. The human can be on a variety of things such as a skateboard, cart, bike or the most popular and practical being the dog scooter. While Dryland Mushing is generally carried out in more rural areas, a new form called Urban Mushing is emerging and growing fast in major cities like San Diego, Chicago, New York and Dallas. Urban Mushing is essentially the same as Dryland Mushing only in urban towns and cities, usually through parks and nature trails but for highly trained dogs, you can cruise right through town or around your neighborhood.
So, now that you know what Dryland Mushing and Urban Mushing are, why should you try this hot new thing…
Yea, big ol’ shocker there. With the exception of a few overly relaxed breeds, most dogs like to run…check that, they love to run…check that, their most favorite thing in the entire world is to RUN! The problem is they usually run faster and farther than we can. On a Kickbike (dog scooter) or a cart, dogs are able to run as fast and far as they want in a controlled and safe way. Leading to a tired, relaxed, and happy dog (and owner).
2) Dogs Love To Pull
Dating back to at least 2,000 BC, dogs were used by American Indian cultures to transport humans and deliver loads of food, supplies and medicine. Pulling is in a dog’s DNA, it is intuitive and they thouroughly enjoy it. In recent years, we have seen some ‘mushing’ rigs that place the dog behind or next to the bike or human. This is counter-intuitive and confusing for most dog breeds, especially Huskies, Malamutes and Shepherds which are hardwired to pull.
Next to running, the thing your dog loves the most…is you! The best thing about Dryland Mushing, and any dog sport, is that you and your pup become a team. Dryland Mushing uses ancient, tried and true mushing commands and brings you and your dog closer together in a way that nothing else can. You work together in a beautiful dance as you navigate trails and explore new places. Every ride is exhilirating and memorable. The look on your dog’s face will be all the reward you need, and they will sleep better than ever before knowing that they fullfilled an ancient ritual ride and made their human happy.
4) Any Dog, Any Place
The biggest misconception about Mushing is that you need a big hulking dog to do it. While northern Husky breeds are the iconic sled dogs and powerful dogs are necesarry in remote, extreme situations, non-competitive mushing is just about having fun and exploring the outdoors. For this, almost any dog and any place will do just fine. Of course with smaller dogs, they will do less pulling, so you will do more work, but you usually cover less ground so it is not that big of a deal. Plus, if you are treating this as a way for you to get exercise as well, you will welcome the added effort and will feel as exhausted and rewarded as your pup.
Dryland Mushing is now a sport on all major continents, and is officially recognized by the IFSS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports), the IMGA (International Masters Game Association) and is in the process of joining the IOC (International Olympic Committee). So things are going good on a BIG level…at the city and state level things are moving just as fast, with local meetups and races picking up steam all over the country. If there is not a group in your area, now is a good time to start one or see if there is already one that you just don’t know about.
You can find more information about this activity/sport and find local groups and races at www.madetomush.com