Click on the links below to jump to the corresponding sections:

Sled Dog Necessities
Activities with Your Dog
Health & Wellness
Behavior and Training
Rescue Links

Sled Dog Necessities

Regardless of where you obtain your Nordic breed dog, there are certain “necessities” you should have before bringing your new companion home.


  1. Securely fenced yard. Fence minimum height six feet, with cinder blocks or cement run along fence line to prevent digging out. Gates must be able to be padlocked. There must be shade and shelter available at all times of the day if the dog is outside.
  2. OR a covered kennel; we recommend the Magnum welded steel kennels available from Concord Feed. The kennel must be set on a concrete or patio block pad to prevent digging out. It must be situated so that there is available shade and shelter within the kennel at all times.
  3. A dog house within either the fenced yard or kennel area. Every dog deserves a safe sheltered place while it is outside. The DogLoo are nice because they are easy to keep clean. Electronic fences or hotwires may also be useful.
  4. A water bowl or bucket within the fenced yard or kennel. It should hold a minimum of 3 gallons of water which should be changed daily and the bucket disinfected weekly.
  5. A name tag that identifies the dog with your name, address and phone number and preferably an alternate phone number. This should be kept on the dog in addition to its NorSled ID tag and its local license tag.
  6. A strong, sturdy leash for walking your dog. Leather is easiest on the hands and will outlast most nylon leashes. Flexis are not recommended. Gentle Leaders, Haltis, or other no pull devices may be useful.
  7. A dog bed or mat of some sort that will be the dog’s sleeping place in the house.
  8. A safe restraint system for your dog while it is riding in the car. NorSled Volunteers can give suggestions. No dog should ride unrestrained in the back of any open vehicle.
  9. Separate food and water dishes that can be disinfected. Stainless steel works best.
  10. Heartworm preventative and flea preventative.

Example of a Magnum welded steel kennel available from Concord FeedExample of a Magnum welded steel kennel available from Concord Feed

Suggested Items:

  1. Pooper scooper and receptacle for the poop until garbage day.
  2. Shedding rake and dog brush and one of those steel combs. Nail clippers and styptic powder unless you plan to take your dog to the groomer or veterinarian for nail trims. Those tick removing tools are inexpensive and work well.
  3. A crate for your dog – it can serve as its den in the house. It also becomes useful when traveling or to keep the dog secure in the house if doors need to be open for some reason.
  4. Suitable items for the dog to play with – toys, marrow bones, etc. We do not recommend tennis balls or the rawhides with knots on the ends as they can easily become lodged in a dog’s throat.
  5. Many sled dogs enjoy the water. Try one of those inexpensive plastic wading pools.
  6. A sand or dirt box for your sled dog to dig in. The need to dig and tunnel is inherent in these dogs; give them a place to dig and spare your yard!

Just Plain Common Sense:

  1. Establish a relationship with a local veterinarian NOW, before there’s an emergency. Ask NorSled volunteers or your friends and neighbors for recommendations. Know the vet’s phone number, hours, location and payment options ahead of time. Have a back up just in case.
  2. Introduce your new dog to the neighbors so they know who he is. Let your neighbors know that you will work with them to ensure that your dog is never a nuisance. Understand and follow all the animal control ordinances in your city and county.
  3. Know the location of the local animal shelters and whom to contact in case your dog is missing. Always have a couple copies of a recent picture of your dog available to leave at the shelter and to use for lost dog fliers. If your NorSled dog ever is missing, contact NorSled immediately.
  4. Have a contingency plan so that there is someone who will know to take care of your dog if you can’t due to illness, injury, or emergency. Keep in your wallet along with your Driver’s License a card stating that you have a pet and to contact that person if you are unable to do so.
  5. Keep your dog’s tags up to date if you move or change phone numbers; check that the tags are securely attached to the dog’s collar and haven’t fallen off. Notify NorSled of your new address and/or phone number if you move so that we can keep our records updated.
  6. Keep your dog licensed and its vaccinations up to date. This will make things much easier if your dog should get out and picked up by Animal Control.

Kennel Resources:

Pet Insurance

Einhorn Insurance helps owners of all dog breeds get home, renter, condo or liability insurance.
You will not be discriminated against just because one of your kids is a Husky, Akita, Pit Bull, Staffordshire Terrier, Doberman, Rottweiler, Shepherd, Chow, etc. Contact Einhorn Insurance at or

PLEASE mention Norsled Rescue and for every policy purchased, Einhorn Insurance will make a $20 donation to help save these wonderful breeds.

Dog Travel Services and Your Guide to Places That Welcome Dogs

DogTrekker is a collaborative effort by a team of dog lovers who want to share their knowledge of the best places in Northern California for you and your pup to stay, eat, hike, splash and play. In addition to their pledge to provide accurate local information they are committed to supporting the amazing work that Northern California rescue organizations do every day.
To this end DogTrekker offers a dollar donation to the Northern California rescue organization of your choice when you sign up to receive a trial issue of the free bi-monthly newsletter. It’s a win-win for all.

Not every park, restaurant or hotel will welcome your sled dog. This website is another great resource for a variety of venues that are particularly dog friendly.



Activities with Your Dog

Classes & Books

Weight Pulling

The same sled dog who pulls you around on your walks together can participate with you in Weight Pulling events. There’s training involved, but that’s part of the fun. Basic equipment includes a collar and a properly fitted harness.


Any dog that can be trained can be taught to pull a cart. It’s fun, great exercise for a dog’s hips, and can be done without carting with your dog.


Something you can do with the dogs with minimal equipment, especially if you are already a cross country skier.
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HikingHiking with your dog is a pretty obvious activity. With the proper pack, your dog can carry not only his water and food, but your supplies too! Also consider that if your dog’s pads have not been toughened by trail walking, you might need protective boots to prevent pad injury.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Therapy DogsNordic breed dogs can be great therapy dogs – they are snuggly, with soft fur, and many are tolerant and enjoy being petted. They pay attention for food and can be very charming in order to get it. You will need to know your dog well to do this, but it is well worth the effort (and the baths). Two Samoyeds, Cassie and her brother Bear pose to the left. Both now 12 and in costume as part of their job as therapy dogs. Photo courtesy of Lisa Davidson.

Dog Play – Animal Assisted Therapy:



Health & Wellness

Here are some helpful tips for keeping your Nordic breed dog healthy and your reaction to dog dander.


Behavior and Training

Introductory Information

Dogs and Kids


  • Before You Get Your Puppy – Dr. Ian Dunbar (available as a free download online at
  • After You Get Your Puppy – The Clock is Ticking! – Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • Website with Puppy Training Resources:


Note: Boldface titles are part of the NorSled library
  • Feisty Fido – Help for the Leash-Aggressive Dog – Patricia McConnell, PhD
  • Click to Calm – Healing the Aggressive Dog – Emma Parsons
  • Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog Aggression – Jean Donaldson, PhD
  • Dog Aggression Workbook, 3rd Edition (advanced) – James O’Heare
  • How to Right a Dog Gone Wrong: A Road Map for Rehabilitating Aggressive Dogs – Pamela Dennison
  • Dogs are from Neptune – Jean Donaldson, PhD
  • Dog Aggression: Fighting! – Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • Dog Aggression: Biting! – Dr. Ian Dunbar


  • Help for your Fearful Dog – Nicole Wilde, CPDT
  • The Cautious Canine – How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears – Patricia McConnell, PhD
  • Leash-Reactive/Leash-Aggressive Dogs and Dog-Dog Aggression Resources

Wolf Dogs

  • Wolfdogs A-Z – Nicole Wilde, CPDT
  • Living With Wolfdogs – Nicole Wilde, CPDT
  • WOLFDOGS: Facts, Myths and What Trainers Need to Know – Nicole Wilde, CPDT

Assorted Links to Helpful Articles:
Sacramento Training Resource and Great Online Behavior Library:
Websites with Behavior and Training Information:

Other Videos

Note: Boldface titles are part of the NorSled library

Print Materials

Note: Boldface titles are part of the NorSled library
  • The Culture Clash – Jean Donaldson, PhD
  • Don’t Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training – Karen Pryor
  • How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks – Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • The Power of Positive Dog Training – Pat Miller
  • Clicker Training for Dogs – Karen Pryor
  • The Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments and the Psychology of Dogs – Dr. Nicholas Dodman
  • Oh, Behave! Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker – Jean Donaldson, PhD
  • Dogs Bite, but Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous – Janis Bradley
  • On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals – Turid Rugaas
  • Dog Language: An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior, 3rd Rep Edition – Roger Abrantes, PhD
  • The Other End of the Leash – Patricia McConnell, PhD
  • For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend – Patricia McConnell, PhD

Behavioral Articles


Rescue Links

Nordic Breed Rescue Links

Wolf Hybrid Rescue Groups

Breed Specific Rescue Groups

All Breed Rescue Groups


Shelters, Humane Societies, Etc.