Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )
   Mobile App






Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

> Dog Mushing 101, For those that know nothing.
Bookmark and Share
Dogshirt 
Posted: 10-Aug-2006, 09:07 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





Let me start by saying that only SOME of what you see in Iron Will, Snow Dogs and Eight Below is factual, HOWEVER there is something in each of these movies that is relevant. So let me take each movie and pick out some of these points. And if our friend Swanny should put in an appearance, I will welcome any input from him. Also I will not try to cover everything (I couldn't if I wanted to tongue.gif ) but will be glad to answer any questions that might be brought up as we go.
First, since I started with it, is Iron Will. The dogs used are much the same as the dogs I have. The Alaskan husky has been bred to be tough, fast and smart. Many of these dogs are exceptionally bright which can go one of too ways. You can end up with a dog that will get you out of situations that range from inconvenient to life threatening. Or you can end up with a dog that will run JUST fast enough to keep a tight tug line and do no actual work. I was running one night when the batteries in my headlight went dead. I couldn't see a thing. I told my lead dog to take us home and I made the last 2 1/2 miles just barely able to see the white butts of the 2 dogs in front of me. I never hit a rock, tree or bush, Princess knew the way home and never left the trail for a short cut, or cross country route.
These dogs can also be fiercely loyal. The dog in the movie was the boy's father's dog, and he was not about to give himself to the boy until the boy proved himself. Once again the amazing intelligence comes up.
Let's touch on Snow Dogs for a bit. The attitude of the dogs is similar, but more important are some of the things Cuba Gooding learns, like NEVER let go of the sled. MANY is the team that has crossed the line without the musher, gotten off the trail and tangled in the brush. At this point a dog fight is apt to erupt. You may have seen 2 dogs fight, but a whole team of 4 or more is not something you want to experience.
Also, he had to earn the respect of the dogs. If you don't have that, you'll never get them to work for you.
In the movie Eight Below, you see the toughness of these dogs. They were bred in a very harsh environment and capable of surviving where most dogs would perish. They are also very capable of hunting for themselves, the predator is not very far beneath the surface. I have had dogs bring home a wide range of things, rabbits, muskrats, and several snakes, just name a few.
Well, this is long enough, so I will end, but I will gladly answer any questions. More later.


beer_mug.gif


--------------------
Hoka Hey!
The more Liberals I meet, the more I like my dogs!
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
Swanny 
Posted: 10-Aug-2006, 11:52 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



Celtic Guardian
********

Group: Celtic Nation
Posts: 1,108
Joined: 08-Jun-2003
ZodiacBirch

Realm: Two Rivers, Alaska

male





Dogshirt, I think this is applicable when discussing the breed specific traits of Alaskan huskies, and you will probably find it pretty interesting. A couple of months ago I convinced Dr. James Serpell to add some of the working sled dog breeds to U.Penn's "CBARQ" database (Canine Behavior and Research Questionnaire). I then invited mushers who frequent the Sled Dog Central forum to enter their dogs into the database. There are now enough Alaskan huskies in the database that we can compare their average scores to those of average dogs in general and get a scientifically valid comparison of behavior and temperament traits of Alaskan huskies to those of the "average" dog.

The results thus are are pretty interesting and I think consistent with the anecdotal observations of most mushers. They are certainly consistent with the traits you described above.

Alaskan huskies tend to be less aggressive toward humans and other dogs than most dogs. Here are the applicable scores:

Stranger directed aggression. Average dog score = 0.60. Average Alaskan Husky score is only 0.28.

Owner directed aggression. Average dog score = 0.13. Average Alaskan husky score is only 0.05.

Dog directed aggression/fear. Average dog score = 0.80. Average Alaskan husky score is only 0.61.

Familiar dog aggression, average dog score = 0.56. Average Alaskan husky score = 0.33.

Many mushers have commented that sled dogs tend to be more "shy" around people than typical pet dogs. The behavior we refer to as "shy" is symptomatic of mild to moderate fearfulness and the CBARQ database confirms that observation as well. Here are the numbers:

Stranger directed fear. Average dog score = 0.54. Average Alaskan husky score = 0.83.

Nonsocial fear. Average dog score = 0.71. Average Alaskan husky score = 0.86. Nonsocial fear refers to things like fear of loud noises, fear of vehicles, &c.

In measures of trainability, Alaskan huskies show a lower score than average dogs. Average dog score is 2.67 while Alaskan huskies average is 2.42. That may in part reflect a bias within the questionnaire though. Questions regarding trainability are aimed at common trained behaviors such as "sit", "leave it" and housebreaking which mushers often don't train their dogs to do. A better measure for working sled dogs might be "jumping on top of house on command" or "gee/haw" or "whoa" response. On the other hand this finding is consistent with data gathered on Siberian huskies using the same tool, which showed that Siberians are only slightly more trainable than basset hounds (the least trainable of all breeds studied).

Alaskan huskies didn't score as high in chasing behavior as I thought they would but they nonetheless show a considerably higher than average prey drive. The average dog score for chasing is 2.15 and that the average Alaskan husky score is 2.41. I'm not at all surprised by that as during one training run I had a leader literally drag half of a six dog team up a tree trying to catch a red squirrel. (That one cost me a bruised knee, upset sled and barely averted a fight in the team).

One finding that really surprised me is that Alaskan huskies show a slightly higher incidence of separation related problems than other breeds. The average score for all dogs regarding separation related problems is 0.48 while that of Alaskan huskies is 0.53. This reflects that exceptionally close bond with their human that you mentioned in your initial post here.

Alaskan huskies are much more excitable than typical pet dogs. The average excitability score for all dogs is 2.07 while that for Alaskan huskies is 2.67. They also score much higher for energy, with all dogs receiving a score of 2.0 and Alaskan huskies scoring 2.16.

Every musher I know has escape artists in their kennels, and the CBARQ scores show that Alaskan huskies are much better at that pasttime than most dogs. For escaping/roaming the average dog score is 1.31 while the average for Alaskan huskies is 2.26.



--------------------
user posted image "You can't run with the big dogs if you still pee like a puppy".

Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs, Two Rivers, Alaska.

"Aut pax, aut bellum" (Clan Gunn)
PMEmail Poster               
Top
zeryx 
Posted: 13-Aug-2006, 06:09 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



Celtic Guardian
********

Group: Celtic Nation
Posts: 2,235
Joined: 28-Mar-2006
ZodiacHawthorn

Realm: St Andrews ~ Scotland

female





That's really interesting to read about smile.gif thank you for sharing it. How many dogs do you have of your own?


--------------------
user posted image

Friends are like quiet angels who lift our feet when our wings forget how to fly
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
Dogshirt 
Posted: 13-Aug-2006, 06:28 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





My wife and I have 33, and we have 2 girls that live with us that have 25. They are mostly Alaskan huskies, but we have a couple Siberians and sometimes a Malemute or two.


beer_mug.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
Swanny 
Posted: 13-Aug-2006, 06:50 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



Celtic Guardian
********

Group: Celtic Nation
Posts: 1,108
Joined: 08-Jun-2003
ZodiacBirch

Realm: Two Rivers, Alaska

male





Dogshirt, everyone I handle for runs Alaskans, some have a lot of Siberian in their bloodlines - but I've not been around anyone running Mals much.

How would you compare the temperament of Malemutes vs Alaskans and Siberians?

My ultimate goal is cross-country touring, so blinding speed isn't an issue. A team that can manage 10 to 15 mph for forty to fifty mile runs would be excellent. I need to keep the team down to manageable (read "affordable") size, no more than 10 in the kennel, so I'm leaning toward the larger village dogs and larger Siberians, but it occurs to me that some Malemute or other larger frieght-dog blood would be beneficial. What do you think?

Swanny
PMEmail Poster               
Top
Dogshirt 
Posted: 13-Aug-2006, 07:24 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





I have found the Mals to be very tough,both physically and mentaly. They are very people oriented, I've never seen a Mal that was aggresive towards people that hadn't been abused.
The problem is that they CAN be very aggresive towards other dogs. Many times a dog that is unknown (Not part of the team) is the target of some fierce fighting.
This is not to say that they can't be trained and socialized away from this behavior, but I never take my eye off a Mal when a strange dog is around.
I used to go to races put on by a Malemute club, but a the years went by there are fewer Mal teams. They just can't compete with the lighter dogs. But if you want to carry camping gear and tour, I don't think you could go wrong with a few of them. I ran 2 Mal hybrids with my alaskans for a couple years. They had to run as fast as they could just to keep up. Until we came to a hill, then their tug lines snapped tight and they trotted up the hill like I wasn't back there.
And they have lots of stamina.
I'd say get to know a few and see how you feel about them. I love the big dogs and will always have a few, as long as I have dogs.


beer_mug.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
zeryx 
Posted: 14-Aug-2006, 03:08 AM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



Celtic Guardian
********

Group: Celtic Nation
Posts: 2,235
Joined: 28-Mar-2006
ZodiacHawthorn

Realm: St Andrews ~ Scotland

female





WOW I can't imagine having so many dogs to care for - obviously they aren't quite the same as my GSD in pet terms but the sheer number is overwhelming. I have a friend who has a Malemute - what beautiful dogs they are smile.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
Swanny 
Posted: 14-Aug-2006, 07:54 AM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



Celtic Guardian
********

Group: Celtic Nation
Posts: 1,108
Joined: 08-Jun-2003
ZodiacBirch

Realm: Two Rivers, Alaska

male





Thanks for the info on Malamutes, Dogshirt. It gives me some things to think about. There is a guy up here in Two Rivers who runs malamutes, even tries to race them from time to time (I chose these words intentionally - TRIES to race them ) Maybe I can hunt him up and learn more about them - mushers are truly generous folks and it's likely he'd even let me drive them.

I'm a bit nervous about their reputation as fighters, but in a recreational touring team it shouldn't be too much of an issue as they generally wouldn't be in close contact with other teams except when passing on the trail.

I probably ought to look up Bill Cotter and see if he and Stephanie have some dogs available. For many years now he was focused on keeping the old Nome Kennel Club blood lines alive, so some of those old-style freighting types might be a better choice and it could be a lot of fun helping with that project. Hedlunds or old-style Mackenzies would be GREAT, but they are so darned rare and expensive I doubt I could afford a full team.

Have you had much contact or experience with Chinook huskies?

PMEmail Poster               
Top
stevenpd 
Posted: 14-Aug-2006, 12:06 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



An American Guardian of the Realm
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,894
Joined: 15-Feb-2002
ZodiacReed

Realm: Fountain Valley, Calif.

male





Gemtlemen ( I am using the term loosely so don't be offended) this information is fascinating! Keep up the excellent work! This will add so much more enjoyment of the upcoming sled dog racing season.


--------------------
2013


user posted image


Vote in the 2013 Music Awards


Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer "am I worth dying for?" - Eleanor Roosevelt

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
PMEmail Poster My Photo Album               
Top
Dogshirt 
Posted: 14-Aug-2006, 08:46 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





I don't have any experiance with Mackenzies or Chinooks as they are rare down here and don't come through my rescue yard. I have read good things about them, but I think that the aggresive tendancies of the Mals would be there too. I do not know this for sure, just a hunch. Also, Mals LIKE to fight amongst themselves, but this seems to be a "sport" for them with no real damge done to either party. BUT, they can hold a grudge for life, and if two dogs have a bad history, they will never get along. I have run two like this in opposite ends of the team, but never where one could reach the other. This is rare, but I have seen it 3-4 times in almost 30 years.


beer_mug.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
Swanny 
Posted: 14-Aug-2006, 10:04 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



Celtic Guardian
********

Group: Celtic Nation
Posts: 1,108
Joined: 08-Jun-2003
ZodiacBirch

Realm: Two Rivers, Alaska

male





Dang, Dogshirt, Mals are starting to look less and less attractive to me. Maybe I'll go back to "plan A" and focus on larger "village" or "trap line" types. Those larger dogs are not particularly common anymore, though. We'll likely start seeing more of them if the price of gasoline (for snow machines) stays high.

Swanny
PMEmail Poster               
Top
Dogshirt 
Posted: 14-Aug-2006, 10:29 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





They aren't ALL like that. tongue.gif I know one lady that had a team of obiediance trained Mals that were almost too good to be real dogs. And it DOES depend on how socialized they are. Like I said, take the time to get to know some and then see how you feel.


beer_mug.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
stevenpd 
Posted: 20-Aug-2006, 04:45 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline



An American Guardian of the Realm
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,894
Joined: 15-Feb-2002
ZodiacReed

Realm: Fountain Valley, Calif.

male





What can you expund about the gear that connect the dogs to the sled?
PMEmail Poster My Photo Album               
Top
Dogshirt 
Posted: 20-Aug-2006, 08:21 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





I'll get to gear after dinner. Just taking a quick break before I toss the meat on the grill.


beer_mug.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
Dogshirt 
Posted: 22-Aug-2006, 10:01 PM
Quote Post

Member is Offline





Lord of the Northern Plains
Group Icon

Group: Founder
Posts: 2,400
Joined: 12-Oct-2003
ZodiacElder

Realm: Washington THE State

male





Sorry, didn't make it back here after dinner. Just to beat to think.
Let's take a look at the lines hooked to the sled, that the dogs are hooked to.
Back in the day I'm sure these were leather . By the time of the Yukon and Alaskan gold rushes this had been replaced with rope. When I started in the early 70's it was still rope, but polypropylene or polyethylene was the material of choice. After a few years we found that the polyethylene deteriorated in sunlight so it was dropped.
Today many mushers use cable lines, but I don't care for it since you can't cut it easily if you have a tangle, especially if it gets wrapped around a leg or neck.
The main line is the one that runs from the sled up to the lead dog. Coming off the main line at intervals are the tug lines that fasten to the back of the harness with a swivel snap. A little further along are the neck lines. These are spaced so the dog does not pull on it. Although if you need to get more control due to steep icy trails or any other bad conditions, you CAN unhook the tugs and just run on the neck lines since the dogs can't pull as efficiently.
Together these are known as the Ganglines and are usually made in 2-4 dog sections so that you can run as many or as few dogs as needed.
The lead dogs(if running a double lead) have tug lines, but as there is no more line past this point, are connected to each other by a short line that runs between collars.
I will look for some graphics to show this when I get a bit more time.


beer_mug.gif
PMEmail PosterMy Photo Album               
Top
0 User(s) are reading this topic (0 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

 








Celtic RadioTM broadcasts through Live365.com and StreamLicensing.com which are officially licensed under SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SOCAN.
2014 Celtic Radio Network, Highlander Radio, Celtic Moon, Celtic Dance, Ye O' Celtic Pub and Celt-Rock-Radio.
All rights and trademarks reserved. Read our Privacy Policy.
Celtic Graphics 2014, Cari Buziak


Link to CelticRadio.net!
Link to CelticRadio.net
View Broadcast Status and Statistics!

Best Viewed With IE 8.0 (1680 x 1050 Resolution), Javascript & Cookies Enabled.


[Home] [Top]

Celtic Hearts Gallery | Celtic Mates Dating | My Celtic Friends | Celtic Music Radio | Family Heraldry | Medival Kingdom | Top Celtic Sites | Web Celt Blog | Video Celt