Wolfsong Dog sledding - feature

Dog Sledding in Wisconsin

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Wisconsin is known for its winter activities. As winter loving Canadians we knew we were going to love it in the coldest of seasons. There were so many activities we could choose from. We could ice skate and glide across one of the countless frozen lakes. Or perhaps we would find ourselves careening down one of the many sledding hills in Wisconsin. But what had us most excited was the chance to go dog sledding.

Wolfsong Dog sledding-008

“You ready?” Mary me asked with a gleam in her eye, knowing full well that her fur children certainly were. They were yelping, jumping, howling, and pulling their ropes tight, eager for the brake to be released so they were free to run. It had to be their favorite time of the day.

I was as excited as they were, I knew I was in for a fun time. I had only been on a dog sled once before back in Canada, but never with full control of my own team. This time I was on my own.

“The colder the better.” John, the owner of Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing, had explained earlier in our training. “if it’s too hot, just think of it as your car overheating, it’s not good to run them that hard.” We laid out the food for the dogs and received careful instruction on how to handle the sled and our team.

Dinner time

He made sure to tell us something personal about each pup and the story of how they arrived at Wolfsong and started their “dog sledding in Wisconsin” adventure. The dogs all sat quietly, waiting patiently to be introduced and then be indulged in a barrage of attention and love. “You need to make sure they know you are confident and in control. Otherwise they won’t trust you.”

Wolfsong is a company that takes great pride in their dogs and their business. From the well manicured grounds that were kept extremely clean, to an enormous playpen where the dogs sleep at night and have lots of room to run around, you could tell the owners loved every single one of the pups.

And really, look at those faces! What’s not to love?

Ready to Go
Happy pup

They’ve even adopted a theme-based naming system and some of the following names I thought were very clever:

The Egg Litter – Benny, Mickey (short for McMuffin), and Diablo (deviled)
The Dr. Seuss Litter – Cindy Lou, Horton, and Green Eggs
The Tea litter – Ice and Earl Grey
The Steak litter – T-Bone, Porter, and Minnie (short for Filet Mignon)

Diablo and Horton led my sled, followed by Benny and Mickey.


My brake was released and my dogsled adventure was off to a flying start.

We winded around corners, dipped through valleys and ran around frozen lakes. The dogs were in their element, and I was just along for the very joyful ride.

Wolfsong Dog sledding

When we stopped to rest I made sure to give praise to each one of them. The dogs rolled around in the snow and continued pulling at the reigns, they just wanted to go again. Even after just a couple of hours I felt connected to my team. I jumped back on the sled and we took off, but only because this time it was the dogs telling me: “Let’s Go”.

Pete and his team

There’s something so magical about Husky dogs. Their eyes, their beautiful coats, the strength they have to run and pull the sleds, and their pure ecstatic joy in doing so. Dalene grew up with two of them as pets, and she has many stories of them pulling her around town on a toboggan. I was a city boy, I only saw major dog sled races on the TV. This was an unforgettable afternoon.

If you have never experienced sledding with a team of Huskies, then you will really enjoy this video. It is unbelievable how excited they get to start running!

**Special thanks to Diablo, Horton, Benny, Mickey, and all the great staff of Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing in Bayfield, Wisconsin for hosting my dog sledding experience.

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  1. Wow, what a great experience. I haven’t been dog sledding yet but when I do, I want to make sure they love their dogs and treat them well. The dogs look happy and always ready to go.

  2. So cool! This is in my bucket list, I hope it happens soon. By the way, I didn’t know it could be done in Wisconsin…and I’ve been there many times!

    1. It’s waaayyyyy in the North, so if you venture up that way make sure to look these guys up. The dogs are in heaven right now the temps are about -20 degrees.

  3. This is so on my bucket list.

    I get weirded out by huskies sometimes with the coloring making them look like they are pissed off all the time but these guys look amazing.

  4. I love the naming system! So fun. I saw this advertised in Iceland and was definitely tempted, but it was actually too warm while we were there. Next time!

    1. I loved the naming system too, so clever! I imagine you have to be though with 46 dogs 🙂

      Too bad it was so warm, but yes there’s always a next time!

  5. Aww this is incredible! I love dog-sledding! I also have my own husky x named Scotia and she is the greatest. I have such a fondness for huskies in general, they are such magnificent dogs indeed. It looked like you had such a great time. Can’t wait to read more about your winter adventures (especially those upcoming in Finland!)

    1. Thanks Chrystal! And we’re definitely looking forward to the possibility of dog sledding in Finland. Dalene was bummed she missed out on this.

  6. I adore huskies and once visited a sled dog farm near Whitehorse, though it was pre-snow season and I was taken on a run with a 4 wheel bike instead. Walking down the lines of kennels and meeting a few of the dogs was such a pleasure, though the cuteness factor went off the scale when I go to hold a puppy! Hope to experience such a place again one day – in snow.

    1. Lots of fun for sure. I don’t imagine too much snow where you are? That only means you’ll have to make it over to snowland and do it 🙂

      1. Nope! 37 degrees C here in Melbourne tomorrow… just another excuse we need to get over to North America in Winter! Hope all is well with you two! 🙂

  7. i really want to do this.

    as a new dog owner, i can really see how certain dogs just WANT to do certain things, based on their breed. my dog wants to herd people/other dogs. these doggies just wanna pull. so cute.

    1. Thanks Annie. Yes, these guys definitely want to pull and run and run and run. It’s so much fun if you get the chance to do it!

  8. Isn’t Bayfield amazingly magical too? Just moving back to Wisconsin (lovely -15 F this morning…) so loved reading about your adventures here. Now anxious for your sun-drenched stories!

  9. We got to go dog sledding twice last year and it was such a great experience both times. I’d love to see a dog sled race like the Iditarod in person one day.

  10. Aloha Mr&Mrs Heck
    When you travel to Finland
    Let me welcome you warmly to cafe Murunen (Sweetheart) to have best super hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted 🙂

    Welcome to the north!

    Kalle/ Murunen
    (Fb : Murunen , instagram : Murunen )

    1. Aloha Kalle!

      Thank you so much for your invite and I hope we have the opportunity to come to your Cafe! We are big fans of hot chocolate 🙂

      Best wishes,
      Pete and Dalene

    1. Samoyeds are SO cute! Any of those fluffy dogs I would love to take around the world with me, as long as they carried their own backpacks. 🙂

  11. I have a Samoyed, which is also a sledding dog, and can just imagine how much fun it’d be taking her out in the snow like this! Loved this post, what a great experience!

  12. They’re such beautiful animals.Those eyes get me every time! This looks like such a fun experience, I have to try it myself sometime!

    Great video and wow, did that one pup ever howl. 🙂

  13. Really would love to go dogsledding like this someday! And I love hearing about sledding companies that truly seem to love their dogs. I’ve met some sled dogs before (Iditarod dogs in Alaska, no less!), and they are so sweet – and so in love with pulling that sled!

  14. Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan offers sled dog rides on Thursdays in February, along the river. Always wanted to take my daughter. It sounds like you had a great time!

  15. I loved that video! Benny (or Mickey?) is clearly so excited to get moving. This sounds like such an incredible adventure.

    1. They have to be one of the most beautiful breed of dogs, for sure! We had two growing up, and I LOVED them (even if they were a bit too hyper!)

  16. That looks great. I would love to try it, but worry I wouldn’t be able to control the dogs. It takes me quite a while for my confidence to develop in a new situation like that.
    That and convincing Ali to come to a place that cold could be difficult. Wonder if they have dog sledding in Iceland?

    1. They really aren’t hard to control at all – very well trained. I think it’s actually quite relaxing! I bet they do have it in Iceland (and we just did it in Finland today)!

  17. This looks so much fun!!! I would Love to do this some day. Have to get my husband to go too. The Dogs are beautiful and look happy.

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