Choosing a Sled Dog Operator

With so many dog sledding operators to choose from, it is important to do your research about how the dogs are treated and what ethics the operators possess.

The questions below, adapted from Mushing Magazine, should serve as a guide in what to look for when comparing  or choosing companies.

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Who actually conducts the trips and tours?  What are their qualifications, certifications, and experience?  What medical training do they have?
  • How many teams go out on a trip?  How many dogs per team?  How many people per sled?  How many guides?
  • How much are guests involved in handling, harnessing and mushing the dogs?
  • What kind of dogs do you have at your kennel?
  • Are the dogs well socialized to people?  children?  Do dog fights occur often?
  • What equipment is provided?  What should clients bring with them?  If gear is not provided, is it available for rent?
  • Do you provide a recommended gear list?
  • Do you have sleeping bags, comforters or blankets for guests who ride in the sled?
  • What kinds of meals are provided?
  • What kinds of accommodations will be used (tents, cabins, etc.)?
  • Is the trip self-supported, or will a snow machine transport some of the gear and supplies?
  • How much of the trip time is used for transportation, preparation, orientation and training vs time spent on the trail?
  • How many kilometres/miles do you cover in a day?  Is experience required?  What level of physical fitness is needed?
  • Will there be pre-trip training or information available?
  • Is everything available that is advertised in the brochure/on their website?
  • Does the business have liability insurance?  Has there ever been an accident in which a guest was injured?
  • Does the business possess a wilderness tourism license?
  • Does the business have all the permits necessary to operate commercial trips in the area?
  • What are the cancellation policies?
  • Has the company or the musher ever been recognized for their dog care?
  • Do they have references available?