When I started training our sled dogs to race, I would hook up the dogs and run them, bring them home panting and tired, thinking we had a good run. Wrong!
After a couple of seasons of not reaching the finish line at distance races, I sarted to re-evaluate my thinking. If I am trying to build a team that won’t loose their confidence then why am I running them until they are tired. Why not run them slower and bring them in happy and ready to run again. Slowly, I saw their trust level build and their desire to go further increase. They looked more excited and ready to go, even though it could be an above average warm day.
They learned that I would not ask them to do more than they were able, and I wasn’t going ask them to go further than they are able. It was then that the bond that is needed for a distance musher to succeed, is created. It is slowly from that bond that the most important connection that man and canine can form to produce their goals,…………………………………….TRUST
It was that season that I finally turned it around. After two years of not finishing with my alaskan huskies, we went on to finishes at Oregon’s Atta Boy 300 and Montana’s difficult Iditarod Qualifying Race, Race to the Sky 350. We were the first team from California to complete the Race to the Sky, taking 14th place of 28 teams!
Build the trust first and the rest will begin to fall into place in whatever your goals are for you and your canine buddy.
Next blog. Different tools to use to get your dog into condition.