SC Dogsled Team Training Journal

dogsledding, dryland, carting, dog training, dog behavior

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I have been sick with heart problems the past few days and with the higher temps we have not been running. I thought we are supposed to be in the winter. 85 F is not winter. I have been working with untouchable animals though. I had an untouchable cat to allow me to pick it up and pet it. I had Buddy (the Malamute puppy) to come out of his barrel while I was in the kennel cleaning. I also took Sakari into the kennel with the four other untouchable pups and they had a great time. I was able to get the pups to come close to me and I even had one to take a treat from my hand several times and allow me to pet it. So I am making progress with these untouchables.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hey whats that?

Ltl. Bear-

54 F 2miles

This morning went well. The dogs ran hard for most of the way. Near the beginning of our trip we passed by a house that was having an early morning yard sale and people were out shopping. Well, Huskies love people and so they headed straight for the crowd and all the tables set up with stuff. Until the command from the alpha dog hanging on the cart yelled out to turn haw and go on by. The leaders listened and we left everyone staring at us and so I yelled out "good morning". The run was cut short because I did not want to run the dogs back past the yard sell. The rest of the day has been spent rescuing dogs from someone getting rid of them. We took 9 dogs today. I'm keeping 4 of the red and white Husky pups. They are about 8 months old and unsocialized with humans. I have some work to do but I look forward to writing about another success story.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Walking Dogs

Tonight I was only able to walk a few dogs. I have been very busy with my Husky rescue with 22 new dogs that are coming in. So tonight I chose to walk Sunka and Kiyiya. They are sister's to Ulric who is on the race team. I have ran with Sunka and Kiyiya before in the dirt in the woods and they do well, but when we run down the asphalt road to head to longer trails they both freeze up resulting in scrapped pads on their feet. I took Sunka first. We walked around the yard in the grass and she did well. We went up the dirt drive fine but when she got on the asphalt she froze up again. I figured out she is affraid of the asphalt. She ran in the grass on the side of the road fine. So I walked down the center of the street. (it is night and way out in the country so you can see cars coming far away). Sunka would walk 20 feet and stop and pull back against me. I would put my hand down and get her to raise her head and talk sweet to her and tell her to come on and we would walk another 20 feet. This went on all the way around the 1-1/2 mile walk. But she kept getting better. I will keep this up till she is confident. When I walked Kiyiya on the asphalt she was fine till she heard her toenails on the asphalt and that sent her bucking like a wild horse. I finally calmed her and she did well on the walk. Just a lot of new smells and sights and sounds. I sniffed the air more than I normally do and I could smell the houses where smokers were and I could smell who was cooking and who was doing laundry and many more smells. The dogs have really helped me to become more aware of what I am smelling. I can even smell deer as we run. Yes, its just a matter of time before I get down on all fours and start sniffing out an animal trail and chasing it down. I'm becoming more like a dog every day. I am hopeing that walking the girls will help them to feel more confident on the asphalt so they can run with the team. I have several young females that are small who I am going to start running seperatly from the big team. I am thinking of using Little Bear as the leader for them since she will always keep the line tight and keep them moving in the right direction. I will just have to ride the brake to keep them going slow so they all have a good time while getting used to the new experience. I will run them here in the pasture and in my woods before heading out on trails. I'm thinking of even grabbing some of the dogs from my rescue and running them with the slow team just for exercise. Lets see how they do. I find most Huskies want to pull naturally. When I first started I made the mistake of trying to walk Huskies on a leash wrapped around my wrist and clipped to a walking harness on the dog. That gave them too much power over me and kept me with pain in my arms and shoulders. I finally started using collars and prong collars for the bad ones but I designed and sewed a belt for myself. I used 2 inch nylon webbing and sewed a D-ring on it and made a belt. I then sewed leashes with clips at both ends so I can clip one end to the dog and the other to the D-ring on the belt. The soreness in my arms has gone away. My legs are much stronger than my arms and when I say stop we now stop.

Powerful dogs. Dogs once trained are capable of pulling about 1000 pounds each. As a team of dogs that increases to much more than 1000 pounds per dog. But true power is in the tounge of the musher who can encourage these dogs to work for him/her and have them to love you and love working for you and not break the dog's spirit. That is what I hope to be able to do by walking these dogs one on one and encouraging them and supporting them and having them to trust me that I will not let something bad happen.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Out of Town

I had to be out of town this weekend to work on some honey do projects so I'm now back and ready to run with the team. I have helpers who come in and feed and water and take care of the dogs while I'm gone. I am always happy with the work and help that my helpers do. The dogs love them.

Little Bear our youngest leader. A very focused girl and hard worker.  Posted by Picasa

Can Huskies and cats get along? Yes, Cosmos enjoys the company of Isabella.  Posted by Picasa

Sasha the youngest member of our team.  Posted by Picasa

Ulric who loves to cuddle and kiss. Posted by Picasa

Ulric smile Posted by Picasa

Ulric and Dancer barking and ready to go. Posted by Picasa

Dancer Posted by Picasa

Dancer...Speed leader and wheel dog. Posted by Picasa

A satisfied Yeti. Posted by Picasa

Yeti the LOVER. Yes, you must have a Yeti kiss. Posted by Picasa

Yeti going for the bottom of the food bucket. Posted by Picasa

Sakari gave up on getting Cosmos' food and is now trying to take Kenai's food. She is so cute that the boys let her try. But she was not successful in getting it.  Posted by Picasa

Team Eating Posted by Picasa

Team Resting LtoR Cosmos, Kenai, Sakari, Yeti, Dancer, Ulric. Posted by Picasa

Kenai resting. Posted by Picasa

Kenai...leader Posted by Picasa

But Cosmos can still show his teeth and growl at another dog who thinks he is finished with the food.  Posted by Picasa

Cosmos and his rescuer Jean. He gave up his food to sit in her lap and get a belly rub.  Posted by Picasa

Cosmos Posted by Picasa

Cosmos Posted by Picasa

Cosmos...leader Posted by Picasa

Some of the true workers of the team. L to R. Sasha, Dancer (speed leader and wheel), Kenai (leader), Cosmos (leader), Ulric (wheel), Little Bear (head peaking out of the dog house...great leadership skills. Posted by Picasa

Our Alpha dogs and leaders...Cosmos and Chapin in a trust building exercise. Notice who has the brains of the team and who is the worker with the paddle. Yes, really the dogs do the work but the lead dogs make the decisions for the team. FULL trust in the lead dog is essential. Posted by Picasa

Some of the stainless steel dog food bowls washed and stacked to dry. They are washed with soap and water after each feeding. Posted by Picasa