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Equipment, commands, etiquette, training tips, and techniques are covered in our powerpoint and pdf presentation (click below).

Prior to attending any of our clinics, please view our Skijor101 presentation as well as a RACING 101 presentation at the  "Training Information" page (in PDF format).

For more detailed and in-depth discussion on all things "jor-ing", current members can log onto to the "Member Forum" in the member area of this website.


Equipment and Commands are below


XC Ski Equipment: Skis, poles, boots and bindings

Harness for your dog

A skijor belt for you



Command Training Lead and Belly Band



Costs of Getting Started (excluding ski equipment and a dog)

Harness: from $15 to $75 or maybe more.

Skijor Belt: from $25-$200

Towline: from $12-$25

Dog booties: from $2 each to $50 or more/for 4

Skijor packages: from $80 to over $250


*** (Chuck and Dons' carry UltraPaws skijor "package"  for $126.85 and Ruffwear Omnijore system "package" for $149.99 or just the Omnijore belt for $59.99)

Books: FREE (from the library) (We can provide a resource list of useful reading)



Skate skis are most commonly used on groomed skate ski trails.

Classic skis for groomed tracked trails.

Skijoring has been around a long long time. Skate skis became popular in the mid 80s' (so a whole lot of skijoring history happened on classic skis long before skate skis)

Back-country skis work best on ungroomed trails or where you may be cutting your own trails.

Rock Skis (old beater skis) for use in poor trail conditions


Skate skis use glide wax only.  (match the wax to the snow temperature)

Classic skis use both glide wax (tips & tails) and kick wax (In the pocket), these waces are also temperature specific.

Waxless classics should still be waxed for better glide.

HARNESSES: ($20-$80) There are several styles of harnesses designed for dog powered activities (ie sledding,skijoring, bikejoring). The X-back (~$20) is the most common and most popular and works very well at a reasonable price.  Note: The pulling harness should not be the same harness you use for walking your dog. (think workwear/work uniform -vs- play clothes). Like wise when the work harness is on reinforce the desired behavior (pull) while not reinforcing undesired behaviors.

Some harness brands have only 6 sizes, some have 16 or 20 sizes. Can 6 sizes fit all dogs? No of course not.

For your dogs' sake, learn what a good fit is so you are not relying solely on the advice of a sales guy (cause his sole job is to sell you a harness).

Custom harnesses for non-typical dogs are available from most distributors for a nominal up-charge.

There is also a growing number of good adjustable harnesses available.

Do your homework. Find a harness that fits your dog well, your dog deserves it.

Ask any and all distributors how long they have been selling the particular harness, who makes it, where it is made. I don’t care whose label is on it, many are manufactured in China, private labeled, and imported to the USA. (See our harness articles under files in our Midwest Skijorers Facebook group)


You will need a skijor belt for yourself. Belts are available with reflectors and pouches. (prices range from $30-over $250)

Your towline (tow=pull) connects from your belt to your dogs’ harness. Technically the length range should be 8-12 feet per ISDRA rules and 2.5 to 3.5 meters or 7-11 ½ feet per IFSS rules) measured "elongated" from skiers belt/waist to the end of the snap at the dogs harness.

Towlines are available for 1 or 2 dogs ($12-$25)

The towline should include a bungee that absorbs the shock of sudden starts (a trained line-out also alleviates much of the take-off impact). NOTE: A modular design allows for more option flexibility than one piece lines. (more or less bungie, shorter lead sections, in-line or off-set lead sections)

Typically the towline connects to the skijor belt via some form of a release (hook, snap, clip or a soft release).  IFSS and ISDRA rules both only state “some form of a release”. Note: mechanical releases can, do, and will fail.


The neckline is used when connecting two dogs in tandem. (side-by-side)

Note: Two dogs can also be connected in-line (single file) or offset formation.

A 2 dog (tandem)towline with shorter (20-36")

tuglines is less likely to tangle.

COMMAND LEAD AND BELLY-BAND: are great training tools for individualized leader training of dogs in harness. Very useful for teaching dogs to stay out-in-front(line out) , to move out on command, change pace (easy and faster), learn the directional commands for turns (gee and haw), ignore distractions (on-by or leave-it), and stop(whoa).  It is also great for training passing(in a controlled fashion). The command training lead attaches to the collar and the back of a harness, giving you control at both ends of the dog, allowing you to emphasize control at one end or the other. The belly band attaches to the sides of a harness and runs under the stomach. It keeps the dog from backing out of the harness and is used to move them forward when teaching a dog to pull on command. .


Booties are used to prevent pad injuries in adverse trail conditions.

Booties prevent accumulation of snow between the toes on furry breeds. (you can also trim pad hair)

Booties come in many styles and a number of fabrics. Simple nylon (Cordura 330) booties work great.

Bootie prices run from $2.50 each to $50.00 or more for 4.

Booties offer better protection than any paw waxes, salves, or ointments. There are ointments that can be used together that can aid in healing (diet/nutrition and rest also aid in healing).

Since prevention is key there is always the option is to seek out and go to different trails with better terrain, surface and conditions


COMMANDS:  Basic Commands

Line-Out or Out-Front = Get Ready but Wait (it is a Stand-Stay)

Hike = PULL, while moving forward (with a snug tug)

Easy = Slow Down

On-By = Continue past any distraction (or Leave-It, Ignore/Focus, and Straight-Ahead)

Gee= Turn Right (pronounced with a SOFT “g” as in Gee-Whizz or geometry. Think of it as spelled with a "J" for a jee sound.)

Conversely Ghee (pronounced with a hard G as in GO and a long E as in GLEE), is a type of clarified butter that originated in India. Butter may be good for somethings but not skijoring.

One way to remember which direction is gee, think spelling, Right has a "G" in it.

Haw = Turn Left

(***using left and right for left and right will work too, just be consistent)

Whoa = Stop

For training commands we have created a skills proficiency course. Why a Skills Proficiency course or why do we promote all the repetition? Here is an excerpt from the "Simple Secrets to Skijor Dog Proficiency" article.

Many dog training books and articles often use the phrase consistency and repetition, but very few stop and actually quantify the concept. It takes many repetitions for a dog to merely recognize a word. The learning (or linking a reaction to a command) may take from 50 and more likely 100-200 repetitions. But that is still just to recognize a word and associate it with an action), not get to the conditioned state where a learned process that through integration (consistent repetition under various conditions) becomes a subconscious reaction.

Most commands will take anywhere from 200 to 600 meaningful (and successful) repetitions to become concrete in the dogs habits. You heard it right. That 200-600 is not a typographical error."


Our Skills Proficiency Course is designed to practice successful commands in a controlled environment allowing you to achieve many many repetitions.

For more detailed and in-depth discussion on all things "jor-ing", current members can log onto to the "Member Forum" in the member area of this website


Also a reminder that the skijor yahoogroup at has ~400 photos (with informational text) on many aspects of dog powered sports.

The yahoo group is at