dog & horse books: breeding, training, showing, judging, performance
MUSHER'S ADVICE HELPFUL FOR ALL DOG OWNERS
Some time ago we published a book called The Joy of Sled Dog Racing by Noel Flanders. In the introduction, she wrote of her love for driving her team Huskies over our western trails. “The joy of running a team of sled dogs down a snow-packed trail early in the morning is the most fantastic way I know to start out a day. Getting away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday chores is great for mind and body. It's also a lot of fun getting together with a few other drivers and their families to go on an overnight camping trip with your teams. You can explore areas you might otherwise never see. For instance, Yellowstone Park is a great place to visit in the winter. You'l need special permission to bring the dogs, but winter tourists are always welcome. Contact the ranger station to make reservations. Once you become proficient in dog sledding and have some basic winter survival training you can go almost anywhere that there are snow packed trails. In the summer you can use a cart."
That book is no longer in print but the sport of sled dog driving is alive and well.In their book Dog Driver, Miki and Julie Collins write about a more serious aspect of the sport from the perspective of their experiences in the Alaskan interior. They use their dogs to haul supplies and run a trapline, and when they're not working they take extended wilderness mushing expeditions or compete in sled dog races. Their lifelong and diverse experience with sled dogs has given them a great deal of insight into sled dog behavior. They write: “Once when Miki and I were mushing together down a trackless ravine, our leader Sunny glanced back right before leading the dogs over a cut bank. We simultaneously shouted “Whoa!” We had run this dog for years and he had never looked back, so that glance immediately registered for both of us. Our sled stopped on the bank of a 20-foot precipice.
BIG RIVER CHECKPOINT
“We responded to subtle cues based upon observation and long association with each dog. If you take anything away from this book, [we hope] it is that you must understand dog behavior in general and your dog’s behavior in particular. Know your dogs! Know them physically and mentally, as individuals and as team members. Study them, interact with them, learn what’s normal, what motivates them, how they react. Know their past, whether they were ever hurt or developed bad feet in cold weather. Does this dog never pick up a right lead? Has he always paced? Has he always had that lump? Spending time with your dogs is the best way to do this. Mushers are dog lovers and investing this time satisfied the addiction, but noticing and remembering all these little quirks and specifications isn’t always easy. Pay attention!”
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Good advice for any dog owner, but especially important when you are in the wilderness and your life or the life of your team may depend upon it There is so much more in Dog Driver: A Guide for the Serious Musherof help to anyone who drives a dog team, whether for recreation, income, or racing, or who wants to learn about dogs in general and the work they do.
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If you enjoy reading about sled dogs and sled dog racing, we have a few copies ofA Fan’s Guide to the Iditarodby Mary Hood, which inlcudes many ineresting facts, interviews with competitors and volunteers, and a really in-depth inside look at the "world's greatest race." Officially out of print, the copies left on our shelf are at a bargain price while they last..