Tuesday, January 11, 2005

It's not just me!

I just bought this book and training gear :
Training Lead Dogs
It is an excellent book and it has been very encouraging to read. It turns out that it is pretty common to buy a trained lead dog and have it end up not leading for you.
Mushers have different personalities and different styles and their lead dogs adapt to their way of doing things and style of running.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
"...Yet it is a common experience to invest $500.00 or more in a lead dog only to find that the dog does not suit the driver's style, is too temperamental for him, or is too old or too slow. Worst of all, a highly trained leader often knows too much; the beginning driver can't keep up with him mentally"

This seems to have been my experience. Note this book was written in 1979 and those are 1979 dollars the late author is talking about. My "best" lead dog I got for free (Pumpkin) and my other two "JJ" and the injured dog "Fir" I paid $350.00 and $400.00 respectively. Neither one of these dogs were sold as serious racing prospects from big name mushers.
But as I began having problems, some advice I got was to invest in a "real lead dog"
Meaning a $1,000.00 or more dog from a serious racer. Well I don't have the money and I'm glad I didn't take that advice because a $1,000.00 or even $5,000.00 dog(which are available) may not have worked out any better for me. Then I would have 4 lead dogs that won't listen to me and I would be broke.

One thing I began to notice is that I had been having better luck with my yearlings that I got for $ 100.00 or $200.00 a peice and don't know anything.

The author had his best luck training a dog he got at the pound. His philosophy is that your best lead dogs will be ones you train yourself. I am pretty excited about training my own lead dogs now. I think maybe my season will be focused around that. I may not log 1000 training miles like some other mushers this winter, but I think it will be a lot of fun. I am kind of an independant person, and I like the idea of having the satisfaction of running lead dogs that I have trained myself.
From what I have read so far the three yearlings I have been considering working with have the types of personalities that give them good apptitude for this type of work.


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