Dog Sledding F.A.Q.

Sled Dog Excursions and Educational Programs Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. Where do we go dog sledding?
A. We have several  trails and seasonal roads in the Southern  Adirondacks where we do most of our fall touring and snow sledding excursion rides. This  includes our beautiful “home” trails in Stratford and Northville. Exact locations will be given to you before your excursion day. You’ll find us on location at many seasonal festivals including the Lake George, Mayfield and Northville winter carnivals. For your special group/event,  we can also offer limited demos and short rides in most park-like locations.

Q. How do I contact you for services?
A. Please read through all of our F.A.Q.’s first, go to our Dog Sledding tab for up to date pricing and info, watch the Meet Kate Video, and email or Facebook us if you have further questions. I want to provide the most amount of fun, safety and unique experience on the trail. A good place to start that journey is here, on my website or on my Facebook page.

Q. I want to have the dog team visit our school for an educational program and dog sled rides! How can we do that?
A. The dogs love visiting schools, students and showing off their skills! If you are just inquiring about an education program, we can offer as many hours of education as you would like. Younger students in K-6 grade seem to like best 45 minute to 60 minute programs and older students seem to like 60-90 minute programs. We bring 2 dogs from our team with us, an Alaskan husky named Singer and a Siberian husky named Timber. Timber is a certified therapy dog as well. Any student who is comfortable with petting the dogs may, and if any student just wants to view the dogs is certainly welcome to join us without touching the dogs.  We teach the differences in the two breeds, talk about how those breeds are better for running races like the Iditarod race in Alaska, and what it’s like to run a dog sled team. We bring a sled and a 3 wheeled training cart for hands on activities with students. We also can show a short 10 minute video of the full team working in various sled sports such as bikejoring, skijoring, sledding and dryland touring.  We have gear on hand that is the same gear used by many professional racers in the Iditarod. If time allows we turn the students into the sled team, “hitching” the students up to either the sled or 3 wheeled cart, teaching Gee and Haw (right and left) and having the students take a spin! It always proves to be a difficult task for any students and teachers who participate, but shows how hard the dogs mentally and physically work to create a team.

We can provide an additional insured endorsement for your school if requested/ required. Please keep groups to smaller than 30 students for each program.

If you are also interested in having the dogs provide rides for the students, let us know how many student to be prepared for. We give short rides, and can double up students with one friend if they are younger student. Our sled is small and two students should be comfortable with each other. Each ride is approximately 4-5 minutes and we can provide 15 circuits in one hour. For the dogs to run on snow, we require the dog team to have a groomed or well packed path that is approximately 3 feet wide. Most schools use a soccer field and groom the perimeter. If we are providing rides with our 4 wheeled touring cart, we can use a soccer field as well as it is not muddy or very soft ground. We cannot have the dogs run on pavement or gravel. After each ride, we encourage the students to go up to each dog and thank them for their work- advocating that the dogs are live animals and not an amusement park ride. It also provides a rest for the team in between the rides. For rides, we have a team of 5 dogs and will work the dogs for two hours. We then take a 45 minute rest to switch out the team for 5 rested dogs and will start more rides. Please do not provide treats for the dogs, as we feed them a high quality athletic diet. For safety, we do not allow students to feed or water the dogs.  For students to participate in sled rides, we require each student to have a parent/ guardian signature on a waiver.

Q. What do I need to wear?
A. Dress warm and for the weather! We will still run our team in sleet and snowy weather. Bring extra layers. Upon request, we will provide hand warmers for you if you need them, at no extra cost. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind the dogs touching or getting muddy. Remember, once the dogs are hooked up and we are on the trail, anything left at the trail head- stays there! We cannot turn back unless for an emergency. If you have children not properly dressed for an excursion, we reserve the right to not provide the ride with no refund given.

Q. Can I drive the sled or touring cart?
A. We get this question a lot! We know some of our guests are more adventurous than others so we acquired a sled for the snow that has two driving positions- so yes, any one over the age of 5 is able to drive the sled! This specialized two person sled has two sets of brakes and handle bar- so no “new driver” accidents will happen.  For fall touring, we have only one driving spot, so at this time we cannot offer guests the privilege to drive.

Q. Am I too heavy to have the dogs pull me?
A. People often worry when the dogs really get into “work”. Like when we go up hills. Kate has done extensive trail research and we will not be going on any terrain that is very hilly. Our excursions have a 350 pound weight limit with any combination of passengers.

Q. How many dogs will be pulling the sled/ touring cart?
A. That depends on terrain, weight of each passenger and conditions. Our teams usually consist of 4-10 dogs.

Q. I have a family member with limited physical abilities. Can they have a dog sled ride?
A. Our fall touring cart is specifically designed for comfort, safety and accessibility for all abilities. Hoyers will roll under the cart and shoulder harnesses can be provided for extra support.  Before reserving your excursion, if you have further concerns, please contact Kate for more details. The sled is much more difficult for getting into and out of. It may prove more difficult for people with limited abilities. We will always try our best to accommodate any one who would like a ride.

Q. My child wants to go for any excursion, but I (an adult) don’t. Can my child still go?
A. Yes, your child can ride alone in the sled as long as they are 5 years old and older.

Q. Is this safe?
A. We take several steps to insure everyone’s safety while on excursions. Upon request we can provide chest protectors and helmets. We do ask everyone on excursions to read and sign our waiver. We love our dogs and they are our family, we wont put our dogs into any danger, likewise we would not put any guests into danger. We reserve the right to cancel a sled run if something is unsafe such as trail conditions.

Q. How fast do we go?
A. We can go as fast as 15 mph, but our normal speed is around 6-8 mph. We ask our dogs to run slower most times, to help ensure safety.

Q. How long is an excursion?
A. Active sled time is 45 minutes. Please allow one hour for an excursion though. The first 15 minutes we educate the riders on safety while in the sled and an introduction to each dog.

Q. Can we pet the dogs?
A. Yes!! They all love being pet, thanked for their work and appreciated! Please wait to pet them until after your excursion as the dogs will be so excited about going for a run they will likely jump, bark and lunge to get running. They have a lot of energy before an excursion and we want to ensure everyone’s safety. Please keep other dogs at home or secured in the car when arriving at the trail head. Please don’t offer our dogs any treats or food. We have our dogs on a maintained diet structured for working dogs.

Q. Do the dogs like dog sledding? Is this cruel?
A. These dogs love work! They are bred for dog sledding, conditioned and trained for the work, and if they didn’t show an absolute love for it, they would be home next to our wood stove.

Q. What insurance do you carry?
A. Run By Dogs has two different insurances. Pet Sitters Associates, LLC is for dog training. Outdoors Insurance is for our dog sled educational programs and excursions.

Q. What is your booking and cancellation policy?
A. All excursions require a 50% deposit to secure your booking.
Excursions are paid in full the day of your ride.
Cancellations less than 7 days prior to your excursion result in a 50% charge.
No shows are 100% charged. We will wait at directed trail head no longer than 20 minutes.
Because we live in the capital region, be advised that we reserve the right to reschedule your excursion if we have lack of snow.