Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't been around much lately. Been busy with the furkids! I just thought I'd share some pics of our first outing this year. They LOVED it! We all had a blast, and we just got 4-5 more inches yesterday! Yeah!
My husband made ours. It's pretty involved, and you need quite a bit of space to get it done. Otherwise, we get all our gear (what we don't make) at www.adanacsleds.com. They are very reasonable with ganglines, harnesses and such, and also have survival/cold weather camping gear. Their X-back harnesses are the best made, they handmake them and they are reinforced with leather at the connections. They just slide on, no hardware to mess with! Plus, they are like $15-20; great when you are trying to outfit a number of dogs. Or in our case, have a "fat" harness (ie: fat jeans!), and a harness for when they are in shape for each dog. LOL! I have emailed and talked to Jack and his wife. They actually sled competitively themselves, so all of their products are trail-tested! Hope this helps!
That's great you're training them with a bicycle! I used to do that before we got our ATV. Another great way to teach commands is to have a leash on them, plus their harness. Take the leash in one hand and the line in another. This is most easily done in a parking lot, where you can weave in & out of stationary cars. You can go around the cars giving the commands (Haw, Gee, On by, etc), and reinforce the commands with a tug on the leash. It gets them used to following commands when they are in front of you. You'll be surprised how fast they start making these decisions on their own (a quality of a good lead dog). They should listen to your commands and follow them, but be independent enough to make a split decision on their own. Many musher's lives have been saved by a smart lead dog!
We trained our dogs by doing basic obedience, but using the mushing commands. Instead of 'right turn', we would use the 'gee' command. Instead using the 'stop' command, we would use 'whoa'.
Sounds like you know what you're doing! Good Luck!!!
oh man! Ive been wanting to make a sled for Tito. Do you think he could pull for a short while? Hes a pit mix. How much do sleds weigh? Hes already learned left right forward and stop. in German too. Im sure he could learn the sled commands.
zero: You can just use the commands you have already taught. It's tough with one dog. When we run just two, we don't get very far before they get winded. Sleds weigh different amounts depending on what they are made of. Ours is made of white ash, and is fairly light. You'll just have to watch since he is a pit mix, he will get cold very easily! He doesn't have the coat to be out for long. He also might not have hair between his toes like Huskies do. His feet may not be 'hard' enough to handle the snow and ice. Other than that, go for it! There are many breeds of dogs who can pull a sled. You should try skijoring if you'll only have the one dog. Or bikjoring in warm weather.
Thanks everyone! We've been having a blast going every other day or so. The other day we checked Sierra's growth and decided that she was ready to handle pulling weight. She did great! You could def. tell she was a pup, a bit unfocused. We had Yukie in the lead (he's a natural born leader, for dogsledding anyways!), and Everest and Sierra at wheel or team position. I'd like to see what Sierra will do without Ev right beside her. He is a great therapy dog, but not really cut out for sledding. He lacks the focus and the drive. He just ends up screwing off (trying to play while in harness), and messes everyone else up! LOL! My goofy baby. It'll be great when we have a few more dogs, then we'll really be flying! I've got the puppy itch again! Boy we need to get our building done if I'm gonna have a place for all these guys! Can't wait to start the rescue! Still willing to help transport Wiley? Teeheehee! I'd love to finally meet you in person anyways!