Friday, November 25, 2005

Things I've learned over the years...

- A musher's biggest weakness is his own ego. Stay humble and willing to learn at all times;
- Despite ones' best intentions, in the heat of the race one is likely to revert back to bad habits looking for an easy way out;
- Dogs come first!!
- It's comes down to not how strong you are physically but how strong you are mentally;
- Being a good care provider is the key to success;
- On the back of a sled silence is golden. Talking too much distracts the dogs and they learn to tune you out.
- Learn how to read your dogs and give pep talks accordingly;
- When a dog isn't running properly it's your fault not theirs. i.e. change their position in the team, check their feet, wrists, shoulders for injuries. If necessary even put them in the sled for a short rest break;
- A team can only go as fast as it's slowest dog;
- All dogs have the potential to do well - it's up to the musher to cultivate the talent;
- Personal pain is part of the game; deal with it - no whining allowed;
- Don't feed every dog the same. Feed according to body type, metabolism, eating preferences;
- In messy situations keep your cool; the dogs will be able to tell when you've lost control. The dogs need to have confidence in their leader;
- Always be positive with dogs. Dogs will emulate your mood they'll be bummed out if you are or happy when you are.
- Dog mushing is problem solving. Always look for a way to solve the problem rather than dwelling on the negative;
- Share the love. We all have favorites but all the dogs deserve to be respected and rewarded for thier effort;
- Give as much attention to your B team dogs as your A team dogs in order to see them excel;
- Communication is number 1. If problems arise share the information. Problems snowball if not dealt with immediately;
- Dogs and musher's health is priority number 1.
- Take care of yourself and plan ahead. When running a team make sure you have supplies in case your trip takes longer than expected, i.e. bring extra food, axe, fuel etc.;
- Learn to be thrifty. Mushing is expensive. Bills will topple even the best musher;
- Dog mushing is a unique, treasured existence we live but everything is earned. The freedoms that a dog team opens up also include responsibilites;
- Respect mother nature - she's your number 1 competitor;
- Never trust or listen to hearsay and gossip at checkpoints;
- If need be help other mushers along the trail while keeping an eye on your own safety;
- Learn to take criticism from officials, other mushers, vets etc. in a positve way or else you'll never learn to grow. Knowledge is power.
- Discipline in yourself and your dogs is necessary however love should be your main motivator.



At 10:18 PM , Blogger George Forgan-Smith said...

Interesting... I am still looking for a great alaskan malamute dog do you know of directory or something?


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