Dog Carting in Vermont      
By Ken Haggett

What is there to do in Vermont during the fall? There is hiking and enjoying the
foliage but for the more adventurous how about dog carting?

You might ask “what is dog carting”? It is an increasingly popular activity
offered by several Vermont dog sled tour companies in the cooler months before
and after the arrival of snow. Most people don’t think if dog sledding until the
snow comes but in reality dog sledding season has started months before.

Most mushers begin running their dogs once fall temperatures arrive with
wheeled vehicles of one sort or another. They are beginning to get their dogs in
shape for the winter season after a summer of relative inactivity. Depending on
where they are and what type of dogs they have some mushers are able to do
some running over the summer. A few mushers have even begun cross training
their dogs by having them swim in the off season. This allows them to keep in
shape and stay cool at the same time.

For the rest of us without the funds to have a doggie swimming pool or a lake on
our property our dogs spend much of their time during the summer laying
around in the shade trying to keep cool. Just like humans when they begin to
exercise at a higher intensity they have to ease into it starting out with shorter
runs than they were used to at the end of last season. As the season progresses
the teams become stronger and stronger and are able to do longer runs.

Some kennels have carts for their fall
training that allow passengers to ride
along with the dog team. This is a great
opportunity to go for a dog team ride
and view the fall foliage at the same
time. Cart rides are just as fast as sled
rides but are generally warmer for the
passengers. Most aspects of the cart
runs are the same as sled runs with
the exception of the wheels and the
fact that there is no snow.

When running with the carts the same harnesses are used for the dogs. The gang
lines attaching the dogs to the cart are generally the same as the lines used on
sleds and the same commands are used.

Carts are easier to get in and out of than the sleds due to the elevated seats. These
seats will make the ride more comfortable for most people. Going for a cart tour
is a great way to enjoy fall in Vermont and beat the winter sled season rush. The
next time you are visiting Vermont in the fall in addition to leaf peeping, hiking,
craft shows or hunting give dog carting a try. It’s guaranteed to be a memorable
experience that you will never forget.

About the author:

Ken Haggart of Lake Elmore, Vermont, is the owner of  Peace Pups Dogsledding and
Vermont Bicycle Tours. He is a musher, tour guide and custom woodworker.
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Ken Haggert with pup
Dog Carting in a road in Vermont
Dog carting is fun with kids
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