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The introduction of Extreme Sports provides a whole new way to exercise with your pet and enjoy new and off the wall challenges. While you may not want to backpack your dog on your back for a skydive, there's a whole new category of activities that you can now introduce your pet to.

A note about pet health: While you may enjoy the challenge of a ten mile run through the mountains, your dog may not be up to it. Before beginning any new and challenging routine with your pup, get the veterinarian's approval and the promise of a clean bill of health. Older dog owners don't necessarily need to skimp on the fun, either. Start slowly and allow your dog to set the pace. He'll spring into shape just like you.

Before Starting: It's always a good idea to equip yourself and your dog with the proper tools before attempting any new extreme sporting activity. Small purchases like harnesses or foot booties can prevent injury to your pet and ensure his participation in the future.

Equally important is your monitoring of your dog's level of exhaustion. Dogs tire, too. Although it's okay to push your dog from time to time, allowing him to set the pace is the best to understand how he's doing. The "no pain, no gain" theory is not healthy for your dog, no matter what his age.

Inline Skating: Skaters across the globe are enjoying the new phenomenon of skating with their furry friends. Not only does it provide great exercise for large and active pets, but it can give you a more intense workout, as well. Here's what you'll need:

1. A harness. Harnesses come in many forms. Decide first whether you want your dog to pull you or skate along side of you. If your dog will be lugging your weight around, pick up a padded harness that will protect his shoulder from strain and rubbing injuries. If your dog will be skating by your side, the traditional nylon or leather harness will work fine.

2. Leash. You have several options when it comes to leashes. The traditional leash that you hold works well for some, while others prefer a hands-free model, that hooks to your waist. Use whatever you're most comfortable with.

Beginner's Advice: Most dogs take to skating quickly, and little instruction or training is necessary. Older dogs are especially fond of going for a skate, so don't let your dog's age frighten you.

1. As always, start slow. Most take their first skate in an empty parking lot or wide open space, where traffic and noise won't distract your pet. You can also lace up indoors to familiarize your dog with your skates and his new equipment.

2. Allow your dog to pull you. Whether or not you plan on making this a habit, allowing your dog to pull you and then follow the "stop" command is the quickest way to train your dog.

3. Use your brake. Make certain to apply your brake often when practising with your dog. You don't want the noise or tension to frighten your dog later, when you're skating around traffic or people.

The majority of dogs catch on quickly and before you know it, your dog will be your best skating bud. When training puppies or especially hyper dogs, be sure to steer clear of high traffic areas until your dog understands the most basic commands.

Skijoring: Skijoring is done by donning a pair of cross country skis and taking to the trails with your pooch (or pooches) in the lead. Supplies you'll need:

1. Booties. Don't skimp on picking up foot protection for your dog. Booties especially made for cold and icy climates are a necessity when it comes to protecting your dogs tender paws.

2. Harness. Pick up a thickly padded harness to prevent your dog from injuring shoulder muscles.

3. Leash. Use whatever size leash your comfortable with. As a rule, a six foot leash is usually not long enough to provide room between the tip of your skis and your dog.

Beginnger's advice:

1. Introduce the skis. Going to a wide open area and allowing your dog to see you on your skis is the best way to start. Go ahead and harness the dog and begin a slow paced skate-ski. Your dog may be frightened at first of the tips of your skis, so take it slow and praise him for each effort he makes.

2. Follow the leader. Pulling comes naturally for most breeds of dogs. If your dog refuses to pull, try sending someone out ahead of you for your dog to chase. Often, this will get the dog going on the first attempt and he'll figure out the logistics from there.

3. Don't overdue it. Pulling your weight in a cold climate is tiring, especially for dogs new to the sport. Be sure to monitor how your dog is handling it every step of the way.

Jogging: Don't be afraid to grab your dog for a quick jog in the morning! Dogs love to stretch their legs and will eagerly join you. You'll need only a leash to bring along your buddy. Some prefer regular leashes and others swear by the hands-free models which are available at most pet stores.

Beginner's Advice

1. Don't run a marathon. No matter what the shape of your dog, don't go on a ten mile trek the first day. The pads on your dog's paws can't handle that much in one day. Work up to longer jogs by taking short, frequent runs.

2. Stay in control. Your dog will be tempted to pull you (especially if he also blades or goes skiing with you). Stop his behavior in his tracks. Teaching your dog a simple "heel" command will help to curb your pup's urge to pull you along.

Hiking: Dogs are great hiking companions and will willingly stroll the trails with you. Pick up a pair of booties from rock climbing expeditions and a short (six foot) leash, and you're ready to go. No special training is needed. Just hit the trails, making sure to keep your pet's wandering eye under control.

Rock Climbing: Yes, you can go rock climbing with your pooch. Special harnesses made for dogs and rock gripping booties are available at most sites and parks or can be purchased at specialty stores.

There really is no limit to what you and your pet can do together. The first rule of thumb before considering involving your dog in your favorite past-time is safety. If your dog can safely participate, go for it. Dog lovers all over the world frequently sail, play frisbee, bike and hike with their four legged friends.