Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the common questions we get asked at Howling Dog Tours. We hope you find them useful.
If you have further questions please give us a call on our toll-free number (1-877-DOG-SLED) or use our contact form and we'll endeavor to answer your questions.
- How do we book a sled dog tour?
- How far ahead do we have to book?
- When do your winter tours run?
- When is the best time to go?
- Where do you pick-up from?
- What clothing will I need on a winter tour?
- Can we drive the sled?
- Do you sell gift certificates?
- Where do you do the tours and what kind of scenery is there?
- What does your transportation look like?
- How old do you have to be to go dog sledding?
- Do you take injured or physically impaired participants?
- Can we pet the dogs?
- Can we take photos on the tour?
- What type of wildlife will we possibly see?
- How many sleds do you run?
- How often do the dogs run?
- Do you have weight restrictions?
- How many dogs pull the sled?
- What type of dogs do you use?
During the season (typically December to mid April), our office is open 8am to 8pm (Mountain Time).
If you would like to make a booking you can use our online reservation booking form, or you can call us and we will make a reservation for you over the phone. If we are closed, please leave a message and we will call you back to complete the reservation.
Toll Free (N. America): 1-877-DOG-SLED (364-7533)
Phone: (403) 678-9588
Alternatively, use our contact form to send us a message and we'll get back to you.
This depends upon the time of the season. We book up quickly for Christmas week, Family Day/Valentines weekend, and Easter, so you should call at least a couple of weeks ahead. We do not take a deposit unless your group requires more than 2 sleds, so you can book as early as you want. We do take last minute (even same day) bookings, so don’t think it is not worth calling!
This depends on the weather conditions. Typically we run our tours from December to mid April.
Time of Day? We can give you advantages to taking any of our 4 time options. The 10:00 am tour is the brightest, and it gives you a whole afternoon to do another activity. The 12:00 pm tour allows for a more leisurely morning, and it is usually the warmest. The 2:00 pm tour gives you time to take in a morning activity, while having a warm part of the day to dogsled. The 4:00 pm tour allows you to do more activity during the day (even skiing); it does get dark in December and January (the last half of the return trip), but it often has amazing sunsets or sky color – and it is very peaceful.
Time of Season? This depends on you – we can have great temperatures and snow in any month of the season, which runs from December to April. We have had wonderful snow in December or April (or any month in-between), and we can be above freezing any month, even January.
We pick up at all major hotels in Banff and Canmore. Out of town guests can meet at our centrally located Canmore office, where there is ample free parking.
Participants must dress in warm winter gear (ie: ski suits, or wind-proof shell over layers including fleeces and or sweaters), insulated winter snow boots (preferably above the ankle), and winter head/hand gear.
Warm winter boots are important - if you easily get cold feet and hands, or are not accustomed to the Canadian winter climate, we recommend purchasing toe/hand warmers from our office prior to the tour!
Howling Dog Tours reserves the right to turn away improperly dressed participants; no refund will be issued. We do not accept anyone in street shoes or running shoes. Please contact our office for more information.
Yes. We encourage all participants to take a turn driving the sled with the guide – you learn as you go, with the guide there to teach you and take care of all the safety issues.
Yes. Gift certificates can be purchased any time of the year, for all our different tour options. You do not need to book the actual tour time at the time of purchase – the recipient can call and book it in when they decide when they want to go.
We have a permit to run our tours in the Spray Lakes Provincial Park, approximately 17 km from the Nordic Center, just outside of Canmore, Alberta. Our 'Unleash the Musher Tour' runs on a campsite road beside the Spray Lake; it is a combination of flat land and rolling hills, with a view of the lake in some areas, and beautiful mountain treed trails most of the way. The 'Dog Day Afternoon' runs on the same lakeside trail, as well as on the Spray Lake itself. The views of the Canadian Rockies from on the lake are stunning!
We have 15 passenger vans with a large picture of a dogsled team, pink paws, and the Howling Dog logo on it.
The minimum age for our 2-hr "Unleash the Musher" tour is 2 years. The
reason we do not accept anyone younger than 2 years of age is due to safety
precautions, as one must be able to withstand 2 hours in the Canadian
winter. In addition, we do not have changing facilities at our site to care
for a baby. However, we can accommodate guests ages 2+ and will provide
sufficient blankets and gear needed to keep children of 2+ years
We will happily accommodate seniors on any of our tours, providing they are
in good health, as you can do as much or as little as you want on our tours.
Our half-day "Dog Day Afternoon" tour has a minimum age 10 years, due to a
longer time exposed to the elements. This tour requires one to withstand 4
hours in the Canadian winter.
Yes – because each sled we run is guided, we are able to accommodate most injuries/impairments. We will recommend that you take into consideration the temperatures – if a limb is immobile, there is greater risk of frostbite.
Of course! All of our dogs are friendly; we encourage interaction at your own comfort level. Some dogs love a good hug or ear scratch. We are the only company who allows you to feed the dogs cookies at the end of the tour!
Yes. There are several spots that make for great photos. We also have a professional photographer that takes a photo of your sled at the start of the tour – the only photo you yourself cannot get – you driving/riding the sled when the dogs are moving.
On the trail itself, it is pretty rare to see any wildlife, other than small stuff like birds and squirrels. On the drive up, however, we have viewed moose, wolves, coyotes, elk, and big horn sheep. This varies from month to month, and year to year.
We run anywhere from 2 to 16 sleds at one departure, depending upon bookings. Weekends and holidays will be busy with 12-16 sleds, and weekdays are usually 6-10 sleds.
We have a good run/rest ratio - the dogs can run 1-4 times per day (depends upon the season) and are on a maximum 2 days on, 1 day off schedule. We have 24+ teams available to rotate in the schedule, so we always have happy, eager dogs!
There is no weight restriction for groups of 2. We can adjust the number of dogs on the team accordingly. If there are more than 2 people, we have restrictions based on height (space in the sled) and combined weight of the people.
We use teams of 6 to 8 dogs to pull the sleds. We can adjust the number of dogs pulling the sled according to trail conditions and weight load in the sled.
We run Alaskan Racing Huskies and purebred Siberian Huskies. They are a very athletic breed – the same that you would find running dogsled races, both long distance and sprint. We have dogs in our kennel that have run the Yukon Quest and Iditarod, or smaller sprint races ranging from 4 miles to 50 miles. They are bred for endurance, speed and strength, not looks! Please see our webpage on 'Meet the Dogs' for a more in-depth look at these amazing athletes.