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FAQs

We appreciate the fact that you may be shopping for the best product experience featuring the best prices, which we would ultimately do for ourselves with respect. Therefore we have provided the following information for your consideration. Also, we encourage you to be very watchful in your research as unfortunately, as in every industry, there are sometimes misrepresentations in participating in the sport in general. To help you avoid buying into claims that the experiences are “the same” within each company or to identify those companies who misrepresent others, we have provided this information to you so that you can easily compare in an informed and honest manner with the goal of saving you time and money. Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours is the reputable company that strives for perfection in creating tours that will please everyone, whatever the need! 

Experience Real!

Winter ToursSummer Tours

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Q: When does your season start and how long do you operate?
A: Our season generally starts at the beginning of  November. Given that we are a weather dependent company we need to await  Mother Nature’s delivery of her precious “white gold”.  Our season will  typically last until the end of April depending on snow conditions.  In  the summer our huskies relax and enjoy their “spa time”.  We do offer  summer kennel tours as well, from mid June to mid October.  You can read  more about our Dog Daze of Summer here!
Q: Discounts or sales?
A:  As industry leaders we truly do provide the best rates for the best    product!  It may sound appealing to  receive a discounted rate on your   dog sledding tour.  However, the industry  of dog sledding cannot be   comparable to that of the snowmobile industry for  example.  A   snowmobile only requires  seasonal, six-month care compared to our sled   dogs that require careful  attention 365 days a year.  Therefore our    annual overhead is much, much higher in caring for dogs vs.   snowmobiles.  This is the main reason that we are very  careful when   offering discounts as it has the potential to compromise the very    important high standard of care our huskies receive.  In our company,   our huskies are the most  important dynamic in the success of our   company, without them we simply would  not have a business; as such we   must ensure we provide the best quality care to  them year round; this   is something we cannot and will not compromise, which is  the exact   reason we are considered the most reputable company.    In addition to this, our company contributes  to many charitable   organizations, etc. to support our communities in other very  important   ways.  As a seasonal  company we price our tours to benefit you, the   four legged team of Snowy Owl as  well as our important two legged   team.  Cheaper is not necessarily the better option!
Q: What should we wear and bring?
A: We ask all our participants to dress as if they  were going  skiing.  Snow pants, winter jackets, warm boots with a good  grip, warm  toque and gloves, scarf or balaclava, and warm under layers.   If you do  not have any of these items let your reservation agent know  upon  making your reservation.  We will give you info on how to rent  clothing  at a location near you.  We rent boots to those who will need  them,  for example if you are wearing sneakers, summer hiking boots, any   boot/shoe that does not go above your ankle, high heels, and high heel   boots. If you’re not sure how to dress click here! If you would like, you can bring a small day pack  with water, extra  clothing, camera, sunscreen and Chap Stick.  If you  require any  medication such as insulin or an inhaler, be sure you bring  it along as  the high elevation can have an adverse effect on some  medical  conditions.
Q: When is the best time to go dog sledding?
A:  For your convenience we  offer different touring departure times that suite your  itinerary and  your group!  9am offers  guests “first tracks!” This is definitely the  most pristine part of the day;  the sun is just rising so a lot of the  wildlife is active, this tour is also  very exhilarating, a good way to  jump start your day!  11am still offers guests an early start to  their  day but also the warmth of the sun while out on the trail in the  Canadian Rockies. 1pm is  the warmest part of the day and still enables  you to enjoy a relaxing morning  but an invigorating afternoon!  3pm   offers guests a more relaxed, leisurely experience…we suggest  finishing off with a  nice dinner!   Certain times of the year also   offer a different experience…Christmas, Valentines, Easter and Spring  Break  are all very busy times for the entire tourism industry so expect  to see many people  enjoying a dog sledding adventure with our  company.  If your preference is for a quieter more  exclusive program we  recommend choosing a longer tour or a less travelled time  in our  season for example mid January or mid-week.   Snow conditions are  generally the best from mid January thought to mid  April; please click here for a more in depth analysis of  our weather conditions in the Banff/Canmore area.
Q: Do we require experience to join a tour either riding with or driving a sled dog team?
A: There is no experience necessary! The reason for  this is that our instructors receive,  at the very least, one month of extensive in- kennel   training, which includes dog care and handling as well as an entire   month of intensive safety,  guest instruction and trail/sled training   each season, no matter how  many years they have worked with us!  Also,   we feel you should know that the type of  training a “guide” receives   compared to that of a “professional  instructor” is evaluated at two   very different levels as you can imagine.  This is why your tour begins with a very informative 30 minute introduction and instruction,  as   opposed the “learn as you go” methods.  We understand that learning to   drive a dog  team is important and crucial to you prior to actually   participating in the  sport, providing you with a much more enjoyable   and  safer experience, before the sleds are actually moving!  Our   instructors will teach you how to safely  drive the sled and manage our   “touring” dog teams accordingly and then coach you at all times on   tour.  In fact with our comprehensive instruction,  our guests inform us   that they feel the sport of dog sledding is actually much  easier to   learn than skiing!  Go  figure!  Because our huskies are also  very well   trained, our company can offer our guests the opportunity to drive    their very own teams directly behind our instructors.  This of course is    an option, however a very popular one.   The majority of our guest’s drive their own dog team…they claim its mush more fun than only riding or  standing on the back of the sled!  Some    companies may choose not to offer these terrific options as they simply   do not  have the infrastructure within their company to do so.  We all   have a choice and our choice is to  offer the best experience with  every  opportunity and option presented to you! We hope this busts the  myths  regarding driving dog teams that may circulate from time to time.

Here are some examples of what we’ll be covering:

  • Brief history of the breeds and the sport of dog  sledding.
  • How to control and operate the sled safely.
  • Proper demonstration of equipment you will be using to drive the sled.
  • How to drive tandem. (2 people on the back driving.)
  • ‘Rules of the trail’, for example: no  passing the sled in  front of you; use 2 feet to stop your sled and  where we will be  stopping to switch drivers.
  • Commands to get your dogs to go, stop, pass   distractions, slow  down on the down hills and how to keep your team  happy and  positive.
Q: How many people per sleigh and do we get to drive our own team?

A: We  like to keep the sled  weights reasonable for the dogs so they  are treated  humanely.  Each  sled will carry up to 3 adults or around  500 pounds.  Permitting our  dogs to pull over  crowded sleds by  allowing 3 or more adult guests plus  the addition of a  guide are not  practiced here.  This is not the  standard in our  company!  In addition  as said, our instructors are very  well  trained and are able to adjust  the dogs on our teams based on the  weight of the  sled to ensure a  safe and fun tour for all!   Here are  your options:

  • Relax       in a cozy sled having one of our instructors drive your team.
  • Drive       the dog team (one-on-one) with one of our instructors.
  • Or, drive your sled dog team with the company of  your family or friends following your instructor.

As a family run operation, we  understand how important it is to  experience adventures together. With  Snowy Owl, when you book as a  group, we strive to keep your group  together. When you make your  reservation, ask how we can keep you and  your group exclusive!

Q: Do we need to be physically fit to drive or ride a dog team?

A: To drive – you need  to be in moderately good shape and  willing  to assist the dogs by  jogging or peddling with one foot up the   inclines.  Because  dog  sledding is a sport, when driving your own team  behind our instructors,  it’s  beneficial to have the ability to  actually participate in the  action of driving  the team.  When you’re  driving on the  back of the  sled with one of our instructors, fitness  is not as essential.

To ride– No, we recommend people with specific  needs,  infants and  seniors request riding with our instructor’s teams  to ensure your   comfort and enjoyment. Children who are old enough and  capable, can  drive with  an instructor or parent at the instructor’s  professional  discretion.

To put  it into perspective, we are a company  who believes in  teaching our guests about  “real” sled dog touring, not  biased  imitations.  Dog sledders or companies who brag about not  having  to  assist their dog teams up inclines when carrying weighted cargo are    considered unprofessional and inhumane within the etiquette of the   sport.  Our sled dogs are not machines and definitely  not meant to be   taken advantage of!  As  said, our company creates an interdependent   working relationship based on mutual  respect for everyone concerned.

Q: Can anyone join the tours and what are the sleds like?

A: Absolutely! Because of our  experience and expertise,  everyone is  welcome! Singles, expectant  mothers, large groups, infants,  guests  with special conditions, etc!   Snowy Owl sleds are equipped with a  moisture resistant custom made  cordura sled bag; they are lined with an  8 inch  thick comfortable  padding as well as luxurious velour blankets  or soft goose  down  duvets.  In addition, if you require extra  comfort, please notify  your  reservation agent, as we are delighted to  offer you beautiful, cozy  sheep  skins or extra blankets when required.

At  Snowy Owl it is also mandatory to bundle our guests who are  riding  inside the  sled, safely with security buckled attachments which  are  generally included as part  of the sled design.  In fact you  should  be  aware that companies, who either don’t provide security  straps on their   sleds or simply don’t feel it’s important to even  close and secure the  sled bag  for you, should be questioned.

Q: Will we receive any snacks or refreshments on tour?
A:  Of course!! Each of our tours includes warming refreshments and a    snack. Longer tours include a hot lunch, hot beverages and many tasty    snacks! In addition to this, we are the only company in the area that    provides a terrific, simple warming camp fire on all trips for our   guests to  enhance the ambiance, comfort, safety on colder days and your   overall enjoyment!
Q: Will we see wildlife on the tours?
A: Since the animals can  smell us before they see us, it is more     the exception than the rule  to see them. However, it is possible to  have an    encounter with a  moose, deer, elk, coyote, lynx, wolf,  cougar, squirrels or    rabbits on  the trail!  Have your camera     ready…they show up when you least  expect it!
Q: Can we pet your huskies?
A: Certainly!   Our huskies are our friends first and work   associates  second!  They love attention  and because we reward our  huskies with  lots of praise and love, that is what  they are expecting!
Q: Does pulling a sled hurt the huskies?
A: There is no question that our  huskies LOVE to run and  pull!  Because we have a limit of 3 people per  sleigh and a sufficient number  of  REAL, traditional touring huskies  pulling each sleigh to keep the  work load  light and enjoyable for them,  they truly love what they do!   There are dogs with jobs and then there  are  dogs that love their  jobs!  Our  main trainers  ensure our huskies have a healthy run/rest  ratio by keeping track  of  when each dog runs, including the terrain  and mileage involved.  By  doing this we are able to switch and  change  the teams up daily so that  our dogs can enjoy running with a different   partner, instead of set  teams which prove to be very boring and even   limiting for them!  Our  huskies also run on a large variety of trails  as opposed to  out and  back on the same trail everyday. This also helps  reinforce our rule of  no fighting in  our kennel which is truly an  important asset on the  trail.  Because the dogs run with a different  partner  regularly, it  creates better performing acceptance among them  all.  To put it bluntly,  the dogs get more days off then we do! Even  though  these huskies are  bred for pulling we never take advantage of  this trait. If  you have a  close look over our site you will see that  we go to great lengths in   providing outstanding care from what our  huskies eat to how much weight  they  pull!  In the end, we’ll let you  be the  judge once you meet them  in person!  We  care that you care!
Q: What breed of huskies do you use?
A: We are the  only company that uses 4 traditional pure breeds of  husky as opposed to 1  crossbred “grey hound/husky racing breed” that   many other companies  use.  Even though greyhounds are classified as the  fastest dog on earth,  they have zero endurance and weight pulling  ability. The dog sledders  that use this breed for touring and  freighting are very limited in how  much their dogs can pull, the  distances per day they can run, the  terrain they can run on, etc.  Because we understand you want to  experience real, we use the famous  and beautiful Siberian husky;  the  mysterious Canadian Indian husky,  which are the closest living relative  to  the coyote; the stunning  Canadian Inuit husky, which are the closest  living  relative to the  wolf; the powerful Alaskan Malamute and; the  very exceptional  Alaskan  Husky. Learn more about the breeds here!
Q: Can we take video and photos of our tour and the huskies?
A: Of course!  You’re going to need to have some proof and bragging material to show your family and friends!
Q: Do the huskies get anything to eat or drink between tours and are they rested properly?
A:  Absolutely!   In fact, we  are the only company that uses  thermoses to keep their  “Doggie  Gatorade” warm and fresh throughout  the day!  Here’s why:   Just like  us, eating the cold snow dehydrates  the dogs, as they spend too  much  energy warming up again, so watering  the dogs with cold water is not   serving any purpose other than  dehydrating them further.  We care about  our huskies health and in  order  for them to stay happy and eager to  perform we serve all their  meals warm in  the winter…after all what  would you rather drink, hot  tea or cold tea?

This  “Doggie Gatorade” is made up of a few key elements:

  1. Hot water which is refreshing, comforting  and hydrating.
  2. Chicken fat which is high in energy, calories  and oils which  is  excellent for our working huskies who are burning  around 2000 calories a day!
  3. Tripe which is full  of very important and  helpful digestive  enzymes, oils and vitamins.  So on average each dog  drinks 3 liters per day!

Ensuring that all our huskies drink  and stay  hydrated is very  important so often times we will even mix in other   tasty meats such as  turkey, buffalo, duck and salmon!   We  also offer  delicious treats to  our huskies once they have finished drinking  their  water and are  enjoy their rest.   Variety is the spice of life so we  offer many  different types of treats  such as duck, chicken, yams  wrapped in  chicken, Milk Bones, beef liver etc!  Learn  more about our  dog care here!

Our huskies enjoy a minimum 1 hour break between  their  tours where  they receive their “Doggie Gatorade” and treats.  We do not  load our  huskies into their travel  boxes after running as this causes  their  muscles to tense up and become stiff,  also because they eat and  drink  so much they need to be able to relieve  themselves whenever they   please, if they are in their travel box they have no  alternative area   to do so.  Another  benefit of letting our huskies cool down and rest in   their team formation is it  allows our guides ample time to give each   dog loving attention and thank them  for their hard work on each tour.   Any dogs with thinner coats are offered a  nice warm dog coat while we   clip their nails, groom them and prep their feet  (some huskies have   sensitive feet and require paw protection ointment and  booties) for the   next outing.  Our  huskies only enjoy being in their travel boxes for   very short periods of time, not  for 2 hours like some other companies   allow.  Read more on our dog care!

Q: How do you choose a lead dog?
A: It’s not the musher who chooses the lead dog;  it is the dog that  in  fact chooses to lead!   A lead dog can be compared to the CEO of a   company.  They direct the team in a certain direction  for the greater   good and success of the company; a lead dog does the same.  A leader’s   personality can be different as  each dog is an individual just like   people, some are quieter and relaxed others  are more excited however, a   good lead dog is just like a good human  leader.  They’re focused,   driven, hard-working,  and independent, have a positive attitude and are   very responsive to directions  given by the musher.  A lead dog’s job   is  also to keep a strong and steady pace for the team to travel at, it   is a common  misconception that lead dogs are the biggest in the   team…generally it’s the  other way around!  Most lead dogs tend to  be   the smallest of the team but don’t let their size fool you…they run   the  show and are quick to move a team of 10 dogs left or right when   asked!  A bigger dog generally means it will be  slower, those dogs are   found at the back of the team!
Q: How many dogs on each team?
A: This will all depend on snow conditions,  terrain, cargo and the   duration of the tour you’re taking part in. If the trail  is slow due to   fresh snow we will maximize the teams to ensure safe pulling for  our   dogs and an enjoyable speed for guests. If the trail is fast we will    minimize the teams speed to make sure it is safe for all who are   participating.  If the sled is lighter due to small children we will   again make adjustments in  the team to ensure a good pace for the tour.   It is possible to see teams of 5 dogs up to 10 during your tour with  us.
Q: Is allowing a guest to drive their own sled dog team dangerous?
I was told by one of your competitors it is comparable to driving a vehicle on a freeway with no driving experience.

A: For those competitors who make such comments – it  is  possible  that they are providing you an inside look at what it would  be like if  you  were to drive one of “their” sled dog teams!   When speaking with an disreputable sled dog touring company  who’s  attitude is to “never trust the  dogs”  as they have not trained  them  to  be trustworthy, then yes, driving a dog team with  uncontrollable  dogs who fight  and do not listen to commands would be  dangerous.  With these scandalous companies, their sled  dogs are a  direct reflection  of who they are.  Here at Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours we  can trust all  of  our sled dogs as they are all very well trained – in  fact so well  trained  that owners of other sled dog touring companies  comment that  our guests, after  their instruction from our company, can  drive a dog  team better than their own  guides based on what they have  witnessed!    Even though this is a credit to our company, we worry that  some   companies admittedly don’t train their guides or their dogs  properly.

Mindless treadmill training in an enclosed building  with no  real  trail situations is not the standard here.   We go the  extra mile which  obviously takes more time and effort on our  part.   Nevertheless we  will only do what  is best for our sled dogs – not what  is easiest for  us!  Chaining sled dogs to a treadmill and  watching  them run we feel  is sadly inhumane in many ways.   By running our sled  dogs during cool  early  mornings in the great outdoors, it supports  keeping them  stimulated, working on  real trail situations and getting  them out of  the kennel facility which is  refreshing and fun for them.   The   difference is, we are creating a dog that loves to run and play vs.  a  dog with  a job – read about our training program here!

What our guests say about driving their own team:

“I  would like to thank you all for such an amazing and fun   experience that I will  never forget! Riding my own sled was so much   fun; the dogs are so awesome and I  couldn’t ask more from the whole   team!”

“My wife and I wanted  to thank you for a wonderful day with your   outfit. We had an exceptional time  and enjoyed the great independence   that you allow with your trustworthy teams.”

“I  of course thoroughly enjoyed the experience and loved driving – heck  with being in the bag!”

Q: What are the positions in a sled dog team and what are the requirements?
A: At the front of the team we have our leaders.   They are the most  responsive to voice commands and the fastest dogs in  the team.  Their  job is to keep the gang line (line all the dogs are  attached to) tight  at all times, take direction from the musher and to  keep the pace in  the team.

Behind the leaders we have our point dogs.  Think of  these dogs as  the assistant leaders or leaders in training.  From time  to time a lead  dog can have a bad day and if they do we will simply just  make a minor  adjustment in the team.  We will put one of the point dogs  in the lead  position to create a less stressful atmosphere for all the  dogs; this  will improve the rest of the team’s behaviour.  Believe it or  not if  the lead dog is having a bad day the rest of the team can feel  it.  You  may also find that this point dog may soon be a proven leader.

Behind the point dogs are the swing dogs.  This is  where we start  our pups for the first time.  We also run our yearlings  here with a  veteran dog, one who will be calm and relaxed when he/she is  working  this way they won’t frighten the new pup.  Sometimes the  situation  calls for a veteran dog that will do a little training of its  own.  If  the yearling is well…silly like most of them are the veteran  will be  quick to let he/she know that they must behave by giving a small  nip.   The Veteran dog will do this without hurting the pup but letting  it  know that it better behave or next time it just may hurt!

Behind the swing dogs we have the biggest and usually  the slowest  dogs.  These are the wheel dogs and they are the weight  pullers of the  team.  Think of them as the Clydesdales of sled dogs.   They come in  very handy on the up hills and in deep snow conditions.   Because of  their size they may never get a chance to run in the lead  positions  since they are much slower.  But never the less, a very  important part  of the whole team!

A dog sled team is managed in a similar manner to a  human team so we  have set up a tour based on this.  For a work group  that needs some  help in team enhancement click here!

Q: How many dogs does Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours have?
A: We know how essential it is to be able to  spend quality time with   each dog.  This is why our kennel stays between  150-180 dogs; any   more dogs would be very difficult to look after properly.  Many people look at the number of furkids we share our lives with and wonder how it is possible to provide the highest quality of care for so many!  Here at Snowy Owl we are all dedicated to our family of huskies – the entire 2-legged team from our kennel managers, insructors, office managers and even our transporation team.  Everything we do here at Snowy Owl is for the dogs and by viewing our website or joining us on one of our programs it is easy to see how much dedication and time we put into giving our sled dogs the very best!   To us they are not just “the dogs” they are a part of our team and are our very best friends!  So, why does the number of dogs change in the kennel?  Our 4-legged family can increase and flauctuate much like a human family would!   Planned new additions, loss of an older dog or one of our oldies heading out on a new path of retirement as a house pet!   We require a large number of husky hereos so we can gurantee that they all have proper and healthy run/rest ratios during the winter season.  As we always say:  “there isa difference between and dog with a job and dogs who love their job!  As most can understand, our dogs do work however,  they require the same care   as a house pet would. We know our dogs so well and  treat them all   equally while also catering to their needs!   We know their names, nicknames, where they live in the kennel,  what their   bark sounds like, who their brothers and sisters are, where they run    in the team, their favourite spot to be scratched and their eating habits!  As we always  say, it shouldn’t be the   size of the kennel that impresses you, but the quality  of care each  dog  receives!
Q: At what age do your dogs retire and what do you do with the dogs once they are retired?
A: Just like us, dogs age  differently.  We generally let our  huskies run until they are 10  sometimes even 11.  When we run them at this  age we are very careful to  make sure they are not pushed too hard.  Like  most working dogs they  are happiest when they’re working but there comes a time  when they must  hang up their harness…even when they don’t want to!

Each and every dog we have works hard for us in  their own right.  As  difficult as it is  for us to let go we always want to see our dogs  happy.  When they are ready to retire we place them  up for adoption,  this gives them the opportunity to have their very own human  who will  give them an amazing home to live out their golden years!

Visit our  Adoption page here!

Q: Are Alaskan huskies the authentic and original sled dog breed of North America and Canada?
A: No, pure bred huskies  such as the Canadian Inuit, Alaskan   Malamute, Siberian and the now rare  Canadian Indian huskies are the   indigenous breeds developed and employed by our  First Nations and Inuit   communities, long before the European population  arrived with their   greyhounds.  These  pure bred huskies carry very important and   instinctive traits from their wolf  ancestors such as a thick weather   proof coat, tough feet and excellent  endurance.  These resilient breeds   are  not specifically bred for speed but for their power, stamina and   natural  ability to handle the elements as well as pulling weight.

The Alaskan husky is  typically 50% grey hound or short haired   pointer and the remaining 50% is  usually Siberian husky. Crosses were   introduced by speed racers to make their  huskies faster to qualify for   prize money.   These Alaskan huskies tend to be quite small averaging   40-50lbs, sport a  thin coat and usually have sensitive feet.   When the   hound was crossed with the pure bred husky their natural  ability to   withstand cold, snow and ice was not nearly as prominent, a sad but    true reality.  Hounds are not equipped to  pull weight which puts the   Alaskan husky at risk, while the hound is bred for  running and the   husky for pulling combining the two creates a sled with lots of  will   power and speed however, lacking in their ability to pull weight.  Using   them as freighting sled dogs is definitely  a choice but not the   suitable and authentic one based on our many years or  expertise.  Any   company using a cross  breed should consider promoting safe pulling for   their teams such as booties,  dog jacket’s and light sled loads to  pull.

Q: Are sled dogs supposed to be thin?
A: No,  sled dogs are supposed to be fit, not lean,  thin or skinny especially when  they’re being used to pull weight.        And what is fit?  Vets generally  recommend being able to feel the ribs  of your dog but not see them!  No dog should ever be kept in a manner  in  which you can see ribs and hip bones.   In a kennel facility it is  possible to have a few picky eaters however;  when the general  appearance of all the dogs are thin that is a concern.  There are  differences between fit and  healthy, which is comparable to humans.    Both thin and overweight sled dogs can be unsafe, an overweight dog can   strain joints and muscles while a thin dog has no fat reserve to burn  therefore  their body will resort to burning muscle.  Also keeping in  mind that most sled dogs live  outdoors which means even with proper  housing and cozy straw bedding it is  possible for them to burn calories  to stay warm…you could only imagine what  would happen to sled dogs  with thin coats and no fat reserve to help keep them  warm living in a  plastic barrel for a house. Only the highest standards in dog  care are  acceptable and essential to the success of the industry of the sled  dog  sport and it should be the number one priority of any reputable dog  sledding  operation.  If it isn’t, it will show in  the inward and  outward appearance.  Never  settle for lower standards or enable others  to practice them. Don’t be afraid  to speak out against such  practices…after all, it’s all about the dog’s isn’t  it?!

Learn the truth here!

Click on a question to expand.

Q: Why do you choose to use an all-terrain vehicle to train your dogs?
A: We understand how important it is for our 4-legged family to have a fun, stimulating experience. By allowing them to exercise outdoors during the cool morning temperatures the dogs are able to run through thick, lush forests where they can play in the grass and socialize with their furry friends all while learning real trail situations. Using equipment such as treadmills is still providing dogs with a workout nevertheless, they are only learning mindless running. It is so essential for sled dogs to understand how to pass other dog teams, wildlife, cross streams and stay focused with all the outdoor sounds and smells. Dogs in general require mental inspiration and by running our sled dogs outdoors in our natural environment it provides our husky heroes with the motivation and dedication our 4-legged team is so well known for!

There are dogs with jobs and then there are dogs who love their jobs! It is our professional option that chaining dogs to a treadmill and forcing them to run is inhumane and it can also be a serious health hazard. At Snowy Owl, we always stop for our husky colleagues to go to the bathroom because we value and respect our hard working friends! Many sled dog kennels will simply force their dogs to go to the bathroom while running and believe it is ok for the dog to be dragged down the trail. Now imagine what can happen on a treadmill. Not only can the dogs get seriously injured but other dogs will be running through urine and feces over and over again. We only believe in providing a safe, fun, clean and humane training environment– read more about our training here!

Q: Do the dogs pull the all-terrain vehicle?
A: Even though sled dogs love to run and pull and many of ours are capable of pulling around 300lbs on their own we would absolutely never allow them to pull our ATV. Our ATV is fully functional as we do not feel it is fair to ask our dogs to pull such a heavy machine summer or winter. Our instructors will carefully drive and maintain  the same speed as the dogs to ensure they are not pulling weight but simply running at a nice, fun speed enjoyable for the whole team. As many are aware, our sled dogs are very enthusiastic about their job and out of pure excitement and delight they may hurt themselves if pulling too much weight. No matter the season, we only ever ask our 4-legged team to pull what they are respectfully capably of. Keeping it light for the dogs makes their run much more enjoyable!
Q: Is it too warm to be running the dogs in the summer?
A: At times it can be too warm to run the dogs in the summer. For example, this is why we run our sled dogs in the mornings when the temperatures are nice and cool yet, if temperatures are too warm even in the mornings we will not run our dogs. On these days it is much more enjoyable for our huskies to lounge about in the kennel while they cool off under our sprinklers! We can still exercise our puppies and retired dogs by bringing them down to the Bow River for a swim!
Q: Does Snowy Owl offer any discounts or sales?
A: As industry leaders we truly do provide the best rates for the best product! It may sound appealing to receive a discounted rate on your summer kennel tour. However, the industry of dog sledding cannot be comparable to that of the snowmobile industry for example. A snowmobile only requires seasonal, six-month care compared to our sled dogs that require careful attention 365 days a year. Therefore our annual overhead is much, much higher in caring for dogs vs. snowmobiles. This is the main reason that we are very careful when offering discounts as it has the potential to compromise the very important high standard of care our huskies receive. In our company, our huskies are the most important dynamic in the success of our company, without them we simply would not have a business; as such we must ensure we provide the best quality care to them year round; this is something we cannot and will not compromise, which is the exact reason we are considered the most reputable company. In addition to this, our company contributes to many charitable organizations, etc. to support our communities in other very important ways. As a seasonal company we price our tours to benefit you, the four legged team of Snowy Owl as well as our important two legged team. Cheaper is not necessarily the better option!
Q: Do we get to see the whole kennel?
A: Yes, of course! We have nothing to hide! Our kennel facility is very open allowing our guests to see each and every husky we have! We do not just designate our visitors to one specific area but instead offer full access to the entire kennel with supervision from our instructors of course!  Some of our 4-legged family were rescued therefor; those dogs are a little more reserved with guests as they have had a much different up brining than our home raised sled dogs. Because some of these rescue dogs have been abused and neglected in the past, they still have difficulty trusting new people. We only ask that our customers respectfully move on to one of the many dogs who want to be pet if one of our huskies shies away.
Q: Why are the tours only offered in the morning?
A: As one can imagine, operating a kennel facility  is very time consuming and requires a lot of dedication and care. There is a routine that we must provide to our 4-legged family daily to keep our them comrotable and happy. This starts with the instructors arrival at our kennel nice and early where they begin cleaning, feeding and watering the dogs. After this our kennel tours begin as well as training and exercising the dogs. By 12pm the temperatures are fairly warm which in turn makes our sled dogs sleepy but also a little hungry so we hand out some snacks and then the dogs find a nice shady area for their afternoon snooze. During this time the 2-legged team continues cleaning and maintaining our kennel. The dogs generally enjoy their “doggie siesta” until 2pm and once awake we will prepare our puppies and retired dogs for their walk! After the walk we groom the dogs, clip their nails and spend more one on one time with our husky family! Once temperatures are a little cooler in the late afternoon it is then time for supper and of course this is followed by a good night’s sleep!
Q: How many puppies will you have in the summer?
A: This is always dependent on how many dogs we have retiring in a year. Sometimes it may just be one litter, other years maybe two and sometimes three. There may even be a year where we do not have any. We do not sell our dogs or puppies in order to make profit – we believe that there are already many other dogs that need good homes at local SPCA’s and shelters. There are hundreds of dogs who are in desperate need of homes all around the world and this is something we do not wish to contribute to. We only breed for what we need – to read more on our breeding click here!
Q: What happens to the old, retired dogs?
A: We have a special part of our kennel facility just for our older dogs. This free run pen allows our wonderful senior huskies to play and keep active together! We rotate the group of dogs in this pen every 2 weeks so each senior gets a chance to have fun and mingle!  Just like us, dogs age differently. We generally let our huskies run in teams until they are 10 sometimes even 11. When we run them at this age we are very careful to make sure they are not pushed too hard. Like most working dogs they are happiest when they’re doing what they love which is running and pulling yet there comes a time when they must hang up their harness…even when they don’t want to!

Each and every dog we have works hard for us in their own right. As difficult as it is for us to let go we always want to see our dogs happy. When they are ready to retire we place them up for adoption, this gives them the opportunity to have their very own human who will give them an amazing home to live out their golden years! Visit our Adoption page here!

Q: Do you have any Iditarod or Yukon Quest sled dogs?
A: We do have some dogs that are from Iditarod Champion bloodlines however, we do not believe that it should impress our visitors.  It is our opinion that putting “Iditarod champion bloodlines” before a dog’s name does not make them any more valuable or better than any other dog. We promote the traditional and authentic approach to dog sledding and sadly we feel that these well-known historic races have lost their traditional value. For example, the very first sled dog breed to run a portion of the Iditarod trail was the Seppala Siberian sled dog. In fact, the Seppala ran this trail before it even became a part of the Iditarod!  How so?   In 1925, the people in the town of Nome became sick with Diphtheria.   A fellow by the name of Leonard Seppala along with his Seppala Siberian sled dogs left the town of Nome to pick up the anti-toxin in Nenana and brought it back saving Nome. This historic event contributed to the very Iditarod race known today! Unfortunately, the breeds running the Iditarod and Yukon Quest today are mixed with grey hound and short haired pointer and are no longer the traditional sled dogs but a mix of whatever if the fastest at the time and will put mushers on the winners podium.