This page addresses some of the typical questions
that people have about Maryland Sled Dog Adventures
LLC, sled dogs, dog sledding, dryland dog sledding,
mushing, dryland training, and our programs. It is a good idea to read through this page prior to making your reservation and before coming to your dog sledding program.
How many people can mush at once?
We are a small micro mushing operation. One person
can ride at a time. We do not allow children to ride in an adult lap because it is unsafe.
How many programs do you run per day?
With very limited exceptions, we run only one program per day.
How many sleds or rigs can you run at once?
One. We can give more rides when we return!
Are reservations required to go dog sledding?
Yes, all dog sledding tours and programs are by reservation
only. To make a reservation, please call (443) 562-5736
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on reserving
a dog sledding program, visit our Reservations
page. For more information on our wait list and how far in advance to book your dog sledding adventure, see below.
What happens if it is raining?
We run rain or shine, so be sure to check the weather
forecast and dress accordingly.
Can you run even if we get a lot of rain
the day before?
Yes. The Northern Central Rail trail is a former rail
road with a crushed rock surface. The surface is crowned
and most water runs off the surface. As a result,
we can be out on the trail even after a hard rain.
Will my dog sledding program be on snow?
Here at Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC,
we run "snow or no snow." Because snow here
in Central Maryland is rare and unreliable, the majority
of our dog sledding programs are "dryland"
using our wheeled carts which in dog sledding are
called "rigs" or "gigs." Our rigs
are custom built in Germany and are quite to fun to
ride on and drive. You can think of them as the German
sports cars of dog sled rigs. Rest assured, that should
we have adequate snow to run your program on snow,
we also have a traditional hand-tied wooden dog sled
that allows us to run dog sledding programs on snow.
If you absolutely must have snow for your dog sledding
program, check out our Maine
Winter Cabin Adventure program available for small
groups (4 individuals).
How much can the dogs pull?
The average rule of thumb is that a healthy dog in
good weather (i.e., low temperatures) can pull approximately
three times his/her own body weight. Our sled dogs
range in weight from about 35 lbs to 80 lbs. Together,
they can pull a combined weight including musher,
passenger, and rig or sled of approximately 100 lbs.
Our larger rig weighs approximately 150 lbs. This estimate, however,
is for short durations on flat surfaces with little
or minimal resistance in ideal pulling temperatures
(temperatures below 30-40 degrees). Frequently here
in Maryland our conditions are somewhat less than
optimal. As a result, in less optimal conditions when
driving dogs that are pulling a dog sled or a rig,
the musher must pedal with his/her foot to help push
the sled or rig along. The musher must also help push
the sled or rig up steep hills, maneuver the dog sled
or rig around corners, and/or run behind the sled
or rig to lighten the load. This means he/she needs
to be able to push the weight of the sled by himself/herself
and control the sled or rig through turns. Dog sledding
is quite physical for both the musher and the dogs,
thus we must limit the weight so that we can get you
up the hills and around corners.
Is there a weight limit for the rider?
Yes. Because we are a small team, our passenger weight
limit is 200 lbs. We must strictly enforce our 200 lb passenger weight limit.
How far in advance should I book my dog sledding
Our weekend dog sledding programs book first, often
6 to 8 months in advance, sometimes longer. So the
earlier you book your dog sledding tour or program,
the better chance you have of getting your first choice
of dates and times. If we cannot accommodate your
weekend request, we may be able to offer a midweek
date. We frequently have a wait list of individuals and groups waiting for program dates.
How does your wait list work?
The way our wait list works is that in early July,
before we open our calendar up for reservations for
the coming season, we send an email to those groups
and individuals on our wait list, asking if they would
like to book and, if so, when. Dates are then
booked on a first come, first served basis.
This year, our weekend days were booked within the
first day of that message being sent. Once you
have chosen your date, your deposit (50% of program
cost) must be received within seven (7) days or your
date is released. Last year, we had well over 200
groups and individuals on our wait list for a limited
number of weekends this season.
We also notify groups and individuals on our wait list of any cancellations. Cancellations are rare for us (usually only one or two per season) and usually relatively short notice (less than a week).
Also, because our wait list is done exclusively by email, if your email address changes during the year, please let us know. Each year, several people have not received the wait list email because of an interim email address change. You should also be sure that your spam / bulk filter does not catch our messages.
What happens if my reservation is cancelled due to non payment of my deposit?
Due to high demand, in general, we are not able to rebook programs that are cancelled due to non payment of the deposit.
Please be sure that your deposit is received by us within seven (7) days of the day you made your reservation.
What time will my dog sledding program begin?
The start time for your dog sledding program is selected
for the dogs' benefit based on the weather and trail
conditions. During the warmer months (April, September
and October), we often need to meet at the trail early
in the morning (before 7 AM) to get the coldest temperatures
possible. All of our group dog sledding programs including
our Girl Scout and Boy Scout dog sledding patch programs
begin in the morning at either 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM or
10:00 AM. Unlike the rest of us, dogs do not offload
heat by sweating. As a result, they are susceptible
to overheating in warm temperatures. Would you go
running or play basketball in warm temperatures while
wearing a fur coat? In addition, the later in the
day the dog sledding program is run, the more trail
traffic we encounter.
What should I wear dog sledding?
For winter excursions, please dress as you would for
skiing or snowboarding. We find it’s helpful
to dress in layers. If you have a snowboarding, skiing
or biking helmet, please bring it and plan on wearing
it. Warm boots and a warm hat (preferably one that
will fit under your helmet), gloves and a jacket are
necessary. Other recommendations include long underwear,
snow pants, and goggles or protective glasses. Also,
please wear clothing that you don't mind getting dog
prints, dog hair, and perhaps a little mud on. Our
longer educational programs and our Girl Scout and
Boy Scout dog sledding programs are a minimum of three
hours, all of which are spent outside so please check
the weather and dress accordingly. Please wear winter
boots. Sneakers are not warm enough on chilly days
for three to four hours outdoors. Cold feet and cold
hands are really no fun. For other season trips, we
recommend checking the weather and layering your clothing
accordingly. Please plan on wearing close-toed shoes
and long pants. No sandals and no shorts.
Please, no fur. Should our dogs see you wearing fur,
they will assume you are a small woodland creature
to be chased and will act accordingly.
What should I bring to my dog sledding program?
A good attitude! The dogs are very sensitive to negative emotions. If you are scared or mad they will
And don’t forget your camera, film, batteries,
etc. Beware that in cold temperatures, batteries can
die quickly so an extra set of batteries is a never
a bad idea. You’ll definitely want photos of
this. Things you don’t need to take along on
the tour are purses, other bags, cell phones, and
anything that can't get wet or muddy. We also ask that all food be left in your vehicle. Some of our dogs are very food motivated (Okemo) and will eat through a pocket to get a snack.
Is dog sledding dangerous?
It can be, but it is not inherently dangerous. We
advise that you take precautions such as wearing a
helmet to minimize risks. Even when the best preventive
measures are taken, incidents can and do occur which
can cause harm to passengers, the driver or the dogs.
The ride can be bumpy at times. People with health
concerns, back problems, and women who are pregnant
should consult their doctors and Maryland Sled
Dog Adventures LLC before booking a program.
All participants must read, understand, and sign our
Do you sell dog sledding equipment?
No. While there are some vendors whose equipment we
prefer, we do not sell or manufacturer dryland dog
sledding or mushing equipment. Please see our resources
page for a select list of vendors we regularly use.
Can I bring my dog?
No, please do not bring your dog to a group program,
our Yappy Hours or our tours. If you do bring a dog
to one of these programs, either you will be asked
to leave or the dog will have to stay in a vehicle
the entire time. Your own dogs should only be brought
to our Run What You Brung program. Our Run What You Brung
program is a training program for people and dogs
interested in getting into dog powered sports and
is only appropriate for adults. During a Run What
You Brung, we can concentrate on working with you
and your dog. For the safety of both your dog and
our dogs, introducing a new dog to a team requires
care, skill, and attention. It's not something that
is easily done with lots of other activity around.