Friday, January 27, 2006

Does anyone have tips on teaching leaders (or everyone) how to line out?
Whenever I stop, and if there's a team behind me (or sometimes if there isn't a team behind me), my leaders turn the team around. This even happens when I'm ready to leave the dog yard!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2004


We teach dogs to pass using many turnouts along our trails. This works for 2 or more teams running together. The lead team pulls into a turnout, stopping with the sled barely off the main trail. Following team(s) then has no choice but to go straight. This method eliminates close contact, which prevents tangles, snapping, etc which can be distracting (or worse) for young or inexperienced leaders. We live on a remote trail system where our dogs rarely see other teams and with this method, our dogs were able to pass nicely at races.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Training single skijor dogs...

I have found the following steps almost foolproof in training sled dogs to be good for single skijoring.

First, use a much longer line than what is normally used (1.5 to 2 times longer). Most sled dogs are worried by being so close to a skier, and ski noise, especially on icy trails, can really distract them. Even a dog that doesnt seem to be affected by ski stress when running with a second dog will most often revert back to ski stress when training alone. This worry and fear not only makes them run erratically, or not at all, out front, but it also prevents them from concentrating and learning commands as fast as they might if not worrying.

Two, if you have a trained skijor dog already, DO run the new dog with them initially in a conventional two-dog set up. Then every few runs, lengthen the new dog's line so that it gradually assumes single lead. This gives it the comfort of running with another dog, while letting it take over more and more of responsibility of being out front. So far, every dog I have tried this with has quickly made the transition (two to three weeks) from a nervous single skijor dog that wouldnt go forward very well to one that knows all basic commands and runs out front with no hesitation.

Timing is everything! A well timed word or action will get you further than all the yelling and stomping after the fact. In larger teams, true control is more of a shell game. But if you've trained the dog to trust your word, and you time your words correctly, and follow them up with actions that hint at control, you can train your way through most anything.
(This post submitted by Lynn via Steve)

Training animals has more to do with the attitude of the trainer than the skills or abilities of the animal. I've seen it over and over again where somebody teaches their dog to fail by being uptight or stressed themselves. I personally seem to be very good at "forcing" mistakes! If I back off and trust the dogs, they choose the right thing, but if I get "bossy" I usually end up pushing them to do the wrong thing.
(This post submitted by Lynn via Steve)

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