Thursday, December 15, 2005

That's It, I'm going!

I am not sure how I am going to do it, but I am not staying here another month. I am going to Alaska, if I have crawl there on my hands and knees. Eee Gads! I hope I don't have to do that!

I'm broke, so hopefully I can figure out a cheap way to get up there and still have some money to settle in and get a job. Maybe there is still time to handle for somebody and get free room and board! Then I will just get a job in the spring. But whatever I do I am going up. No more over thinking it and coming up with the perfect paln. I'm kust going, Damn it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Kind of dogs I like

Check out this profile of Russ Bybee on the Yukon Quest website: Russ Bybee

I assume that dog on the right is Chester, which he describes as an 80 lb lead dog. I think that is awesome. Most racing dogs are 40-50 lbs, 60 tops. That is my kind of dog. Big husky looking alaskans.
The Denali Ranger dogs look like this. Big long legged thick coated dogs. They aren't bred for looks but some are quite beautiful anyway.

Another Guy with dogs like this is Frank Turner
I think these are the best kind of dogs. Better than malamutes. These are large race tested dogs, that hearken back to Gold Rush days. So they are dogs bred to high performance standards, but still retain old fashioned qualities.

Purebred dogs like malamutes retain old fashioned genetic characteristics, but they haven't been bred for performance for many generations.

I'll be following this man in the Quest.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sled dogs

That last post obviously didn't have anything to do with sled dogs. But sled dogs are on my mind this winter. It always happens when there is snow on the ground. This time last year I began my first sled dog runs with my new team. Now the key members of that team are in Alaska with Clint Warnke. Who knows if they will ever race? Jack, Fir and Doppler, each had their draw backs as sled dogs. Otherwise I wouldn't have gotten them. Still, they were some amazing dogs. I think having a small team, allowed me more time to bring out their leadership skills. One thing I learned is that buying a pre-trained leader is somewhat of a myth. Its a handy myth for selling a lead dog, but in reality, it seems to me that dogs lead for their masters. They lead based on the bond that has developed with their master through the training. I never got any of my "lead dogs" that I bought to consistently lead for me.

And when I gave my dogs back to Karen Land after I got divorced they no doubt were not then lead dogs for her. They had far less miles on them than her other dogs and they were used to leading a six dog team not sixteen. A six dog team of racing culls and retirees. So they were sold back to Clint Warnke, who had originally bred them.
But they without a doubt knew Gee from Haw and how to hold out a line. I think their greatest gift to me is the coinfidence of knowing I can train my own lead dogs. Although I only had them a short while, I will never forget this team.

Jack, I think had the most potential. He looks a lot like Joe Runyans famous lead dog "Furlin." He is a medium sized dog, with a thick wolf colorored coat and rippling muscles. Karen Land's mentor, Terry Adkins, a bit of a lengend himself, showed an interest in the dog after I returned him to Karen. But Jack has this annoying habit of getting so excited at hook up that it is nearly impossible to put his harness on. As a small time recreational musher, I simply thought it was funny and a bit annoying. I tried to work on him and break the habit. My solution seemed a bit counter intuitive. I hooked him up first and trained him to hold out the line and began training him to lead. It was the only thing that could channel his boundless enthusiasm.

But to a serious racer with several dozen dogs and not a lot of time to waste, its no laughing matter apparently. So Terry, neutered Jack, to prevent this annoying habit of being passed on, and gave him back to Karen, who sold him to Clint.

Who knows if I will ever see him again? Maybe he will find his way to the iditarod. In my opinion he is a great sled dog. I miss him quite a bit.