Dog Scootering/Kicksparking

CONGRATULATIONS ARE EXTENDED TO KAREN SHOWN ABOVE FOR HER FIRST PLACE SHOWING IN THE SINGLE DOG SCOOTER COMPETITION AND HER SECOND PLACE SHOWING IN THE TWO DOG SCOOTER EVENT AT LAST WEEKENDS ESSEX DRYLAND COMPETITION NEAR WINDSOR ONTARIO. KAREN WAS RIDING A G3 CROSS COUNTRY KICKBIKE DURING HER RACES. SHE IS ALSO SHOWN ON THE MAIN PAGE OF OUR WEBSITE MID-RACE .  THANKS TO KAREN AND HER HUSBAND ROBERT FOR SHARING THEIR PICS WITH US.


Hi everyone:  I must apologize for not giving credit for the info shown below.  I did not write the notes shown below. Over the months I have lost the source - but in fairness asked permission to reprint and was given so.   I am only now learning the basics of dog scootering.  I was at a competition today, Saturday, Nov. 9th, 2013  in Kingsville Ontario.  It was called the Essex County International .  It was run ,quite sucessfully, by The Sleddog Sports Association of South Western Ontario. Great weather and surrounded by folks who trully love their working dogs.  It was very evident that the event was just as much about connecting with others who share their affection for dogs as it was about the actual competition side of things.

                                   Notes on one possible way to introduce your dog to pulling a scooter

Even a very young pup can learn about the idea of pulling. Just keep the distances very short, and the loads very light.

When Max was only a few of months old, I put a tiny harness on him and I let him pull a little 4 inch piece of 2×4 down the road, while I walked him on leash. His first reaction was to turn around and pounce on the little thing that was following him, making rattling noises. Soon he got used to the sound and the gentle tugging.

Later on when Max was older and stronger, I used a larger piece of wood, and took him walking off leash in a nearby field. The piece of wood was large enough to occasionally get snagged on a clump of grass. At first Max would stop, thinking that the resistance meant he was stuck. But after a few tries, he learned that a strong pull forward would un-stick the drag. This was the beginning of really learning to pull.
As he grew up, Max got to pull a full sized tire up the road, in exchange for praise and occasional treats. During these lessons, I taught him not to stop to investigate things beside the road. “On by!” means leave that squirrel and keep moving foward. I used the leash on his collar to tug him forward every time he began to veer to the side towards a distraction.


Scooter Training
Getting Started
Teaching to Pull
Some dogs are born knowing how to pull. Many dogs will pull quite strongly the first time a harness is put on them. Others have to be introduced the the idea gradually. Adults dogs who have been trained to heel can be very slow to adjust to the idea that pulling is allowed in harness. I like to start my puppies young. In the picture below, a lid with a dog treats on it gives my retriever pup a reason for pulling forward. Even a very young pup can learn about the idea of pulling. Just keep the distances very short, and the loads very light. When Max was only a few of months old, I put a tiny harness on him and I let him pull a little 4 inch piece of 2×4 down the road, while I walked him on leash. His first reaction was to turn around and pounce on the little thing that was following him, making rattling noises. Soon he got used to the sound and the gentle tugging.Later on when Max was older and stronger, I used a larger piece of wood, and took him walking off leash in a nearby field. The piece of wood was large enough to occasionally get snagged on a clump of grass. At first Max would stop, thinking that the resistance meant he was stuck. But after a few tries, he learned that a strong pull forward would un-stick the drag. This was the beginning of really learning to pull.
As he grew up, Max got to pull a full sized tire up the road, in exchange for praise and occasional treats. During these lessons, I taught him not to stop to investigate things beside the road. “On by!” means leave that squirrel and keep moving foward. I used the leash on his collar to tug him forward every time he began to veer to the side towards a distraction.

You can make your “On By” lessons very effective by planting your own distractions beside the road - favorite dog toys, food, neighbours with on-leash dogs, etc. That way one lesson you can practice “On by” twenty times. It’s an important lesson for your own safety while scootering and skijoring. It is worth going out of your way to teach it to your dog.

Over several lessons, Max became more confident, and started running ahead of me pulling strongly. At that time I moved the leash from his collar, to the back of his harness. Now he was pulling the weight, and a good amount of resistance from me too. He was ready to try pulling the scooter.

Scooter Training


When using a scooter with a novice dog, I find it is very important to keep the brakes on a bit at all times unless you are going up a hill. In spite of the training, novice dogs somtetimes stop unexpectedly. If your brakes are not on, the scooter will continue forward, run over the tug line at full speed, and the line will tangle in the wheel. This causes high speed crashes!!

Keep the speed slow and only rarely let the dog run as fast as he wants. This teaches the dog that pulling is part of the fun of scootering. Dogs that are used to running with little resistance will be completely confused as to what to do when they come to a hill. Most likely they will stop and look at you, hoping you will stop pulling on their harness so they can go forward.