But What If…? or, Coming Down

One of the most asked questions I get from people who are curious about trying skijoring is “but what if they don’t listen and try to chase something irresistible?” These are people who understand that dogs (and apparently my dogs in particular, since as they’re asking me the question they presumably think I’ve been in a position to experience such a calamity which, knowing my dogs, is a pretty fair assumption) generally aren’t automatons who execute commands perfectly 100% of the time.

So, what DO I do if they don’t listen and try to chase something irresistible? Say, a squirrel in the distance that, if successfully chased, will result in me getting dragged across at least one city street because I’m practicing skate skijoring in the alley?

This is what I do: I take a deep breath, remember that my dogs are attached to me and that if I were not cooperatively gliding along atop two slippery and easy to pull foot-sticks it would actually be kind of hard for them to drag me through the snow, and just let go. I become an anchor, dead weight, a physical impediment, and an enforcer of commands.

I’m not proud of my ridiculous number of LEAVEITLEAVEITLEAVEITs. But having said that, lt’s focus on what is truly important: This fall was a perfectly executed thing of beauty. I’ve taken plenty of accidental falls off my skis, but I’ve also become quite proud of learning over time to fall relatively gracefully and without injuring myself or even really slowing us down. Now, this might not be your style. It might not even really be the safest approach; in fact, it probably isn’t. But a bunch of people have asked me the question, and this is my answer, my style, and my approach. As with all free internet advice, take it or leave it.

After some more practice on the skis, the dogs will remember that ignoring a leave it in front of skis doesn’t really work. Not as long as The Enforcer is behind them. YES, YOU WILL LEAVE IT. THE ANCHOR SAYS SO.

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