Activities for you and your Siberian
Siberians excel at many, many different kinds of activities, from being your constant companion and bedwarmer to pulling a sled, to running Agility courses! Being a high energy, highly intelligent breed, it is very important for owners to find ways to exercise their dogs' bodies and minds, and once you start to explore these activites, you will be amazed at all the things that your Siberian can do! These activities are great ways for you to bond with and interact with your dog and are great fun for both parties!
- This is what Siberians were bred for! The breed excels at sledding, and if you have the space, number of dogs and the trail access, this is a great activity to try with your Sibes! Usually two or more dogs are required, depending on the size and weight of your sled. Many Siberian lovers don't think that they would ever want to dog sled until they get a Siberian, and then they get bitten by the bug. Some sled only recreationally during the Winter months, and others become Iditarod competitors. Sled dog titles are offered by the CKC, as well as the SHCC, under their Working Dog Program.
Skijoring, Bikejoring and more!
- Not everyone can afford to have enough dogs to run a dog sled, but that doesn't mean that you can't train your dog to pull! Skijoring (the dog pulls you on cross country skis), bikejoring (the dog pulls you on your bike), and even rollerjoring (on rollerblades) for those who live in the city are great activities that allow the dog to do what he was bred to do, and are great fun for both dog and owner! These kind of activities are great for anyone with one to two dogs, and is an excellent outlet for the energy of a Siberian! Many people benefit from doing some kind of pulling activity with their dogs, as this gives them an opportunity to exercise their dogs more fully without having to invest in a sled. Usually the owner provides some kind of assistance, such as actively skiing or pedaling on the uphills. The SHCC offers a Working Skijoring Dog title for serious skijorers and their Siberians.
- Scootering is somewhere between dog sledding and bikejoring. The dog or dogs (usually one or two) is hooked up to a special scooter. The handler can push off to get the team started if need be, and has hand breaks to slow down the rig when necessary, but otherwise, the dogs do most of the work, as in dog sledding. The scooter has no seat and the handler stands on the scooter as the dog pulls him, so it is more similar to dog sledding than bikejoring or skijoring, and offers safety in that it is very easy to get off of the scooter if necessary! Dogscooter.com has more information on this activity as well as different types and brands of scooters for sale.
- Canicross is basically running with a dog attached to you by a harness similar to those used while Skijoring. It is not the same as running with the dog's leash in-hand; the dog actually pulls you as you run. Canicross is used by many as a way to train sleddogs, or separately as a fun activity to get exercise and to exercise your dog. More information on Canicross including photos can be found here.
- Contrary to popular belief, Siberians can and have excelled at Obedience. Obedience training with your Siberian takes ingenuity, excitement and a sense of humor! The Canadian Kennel club says this about obedience: "The purpose of obedience trials is to demonstrate the usefulness of the purebred dog as a companion of man, not merely the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring. The basic objective is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs in a manner that reflects credit on the sport of obedience." Registered Siberians can compete in Obedience, which is a fantastic way to bond with your dog and to channel the intelligence of this magnificent breed. Competitive Obedience is offered by the CKC, and consists of three levels: Novice (CD), Open (CDX) and Utility (UD).
- Rally Obedience (affectionately referred to by its supporters as "Rally O") is a relatively new form of competitive Obedience. "Rally Obedience is a fun dog obedience sport, open to ALL dogs, purebred or mixed breed, pets or titled champions as well as physically challenged dogs and/or handlers." (from the CARO website.) The trial is set up like an obstacle course, except that each "obstacle" is an obedience behavior! An emphasis is placed on attitude and fun over accuracy. In Rally O, handlers are encouraged to talk to their dogs and give hand and body signals to the dog. Rally O is offered by the CKC and by CARO (The Canadian Association of Rally Obedience). Many Siberian owners prefer Rally Obedience because you are permitted and even encouraged to talk to and praise your dog lavishly throughout the course.
- Weight-pull is a competition where different breeds of dogs compete to pull the biggest weight in the fastest time! Siberians can do well at this sport, and it is a great way to utilize the strength and energy of the breed. Some competitions also offer awards for the dog who pulls the highest percentage of their own body weight. The SHCC offers a Working Weight Pull Dog degree.
- Agility, with it's jumps, turns and weaves can be an excellent way to exercise and stimulate your Siberian! It is extremely fun for both dog and handler and is a great source of exercise for both. Agility is essentially an obstacle course that is run by the dog as the handler directs it, and includes such obstacles as jumps, tires for the dog to jump through, A-frames and weave poles. The CKC offers Agility trials, as does the AAC (Agility Association of Canada). Most Siberian lovers who participate in Agility do so during indoor trials only, as Siberians cannot be trusted off leash outside of a secure area.
- If you like hiking and/or camping, Backpacking is a great way to spend time with your dog and utilize his natural abilities. The dog (on-leash of course!) carries a specially designed pack on his back that can contain camping supplies, his own food or water, and/or food and water for you! This is a great way to lessen the load on you during hikes or wilderness camp-outs, while giving your dog a job that he will love to do! The SHCC offers a Working Pack Dog degree and a Working Pack Dog Excellent Degree for serious backpackers and their Siberians.
Conformation (Dog Shows)
- If your Siberian is registered, you may be able to compete with him in dog shows! While dog shows are sometimes difficult to understand as an impartial observer, they can be extremely fun to participate in, for both you and your dog! Many Siberians love to show, and it can be a great way for you to interact with him. Talk to your breeder about if showing your dog is possible, or check out our Events to see when a dog show is taking place in your area!