“Tonight’s run in the rain. Cooper and Ivan pulling a combined deadweight of me and the bike 250lbs. Top speed, 20.7 Mph. The average speed of 9.0 Mph. Baby they were born to run.”
If a Siberian Husky has a major fault it is being so beautiful! This is a huge detriment to the breed. Not because it’s false, but because it causes them to be purchased by those unaware of what they require to lead happy lives.
If you purchase a dog because of its beauty you are not only fooling yourself but doing damage to that magnificent creature. A true working husky requires a lot of work. There are no days off from this responsibility. They need to run and exercise regardless of rain, heat, freezing cold, or anything else nature can throw at them.
They are built to survive, and with DNA built over thousands of years, that says…run! Seek adventure, see what’s around the next corner…with a zest that says live like this is your last day on earth. Yesterday doesn’t matter to a husky, today does. Every day they wake up with a fresh start. Free of worry and wanting to find that next adventure. It may be as simple as chasing a squirrel or smelling a strange animal on the trail.
Everything new is exciting! The wanderlust in this breed is partly why they don’t mind running a thousand miles. New trails, new smells, new adventures await in front. What’s behind is soon forgotten. The journey is more than the destination for these dogs. It’s what they live for, what they were bred for, and what they require every day. Not just when you have time.
Would you buy a new car based on looks only? I would think you would want to know what’s under the hood. Maintenance requirements and cost etc. A dog should be no different. Do you want a Corvette or a Vega? Each comes with its own peculiar requirements. A fluff bunny or a working dog. A high-maintenance animal or a couch potato? Choose wisely, because it’s not only you but the dog that will suffer your mistakes.
Don’t ask if a husky is good enough for you. Ask yourself if you are good enough for a husky. It’s a huge life-changing comitment.
The Big Boys Team
Ivan turned 10 months old today. We celebrated with a run on the bike. Now at 60 lbs. and 25” tall at the shoulder he is reaching whatever his DNA has planned for him in size. He crossed 80 miles total in harness today. This video is a great example of the difference between a standard pure-bred Siberian vs. a racing line Seppala. The body lines are most self evident. Ivan has more of a “Hound” type body, and a short coat compared to Cooper.
True Ivan is an outcross and a product of two lead dogs. But, I’m very happy with this breeding. Cooper Lee on the left has his flag tail up and waving in the wind. Ivan’s tail is down and he wastes no motion in his gait. Coop when loping or galloping is somewhat of a rocking horse motion. Ivan is straight-line thrust. Ivan always has a least one foot on the ground pushing forward. A dog that runs with air-time is known as a “Floater.” Why is that important? Mainly because that air-time means a momentary lack of forwarding thrust. It’s the little things that matter. Constant thrust is better than momentary air-time where no thrust is being applied.
Rocking horse loping is not smooth. It is a series of jerking movements of thrust. In other words, it’s a lack of efficiency of motion. Coop is strong as a horse, but he cannot produce the speed that Ivan can. You can see in the video that at times Ivan is pulling him along. Attitude is another attribute, Ivan never stops. He always wants to go faster and eat up the ground. Coop wants to enjoy the sights, which is good unless you want a racing dog.
So is Ivan perfect? Hardly, he has quirks. His latest is being a klepto-maniac. In particular, he favors stealing the basement toilet brush and taking it outside like a toy. Nikki had the same fetish for toilet brushes. Perhaps dog toy manufacturers should just sell toilet brushes? I’ve countered this new tendency with some toys. Hopefully, his fascination with toilet brushes will subside with the introduction of fuzzy squeaky toys he can shred!
Ivan is a hard charger with issues dealing with his enormous amounts of energy that needs an outlet. This would not be a dog for a first-time husky owner. You have to understand so much about them that a novice would give up and take them to a shelter. Mainly because they just can’t understand it. If you don’t find a positive outlet for this energy your house will be eaten. That may sound funny but it’s truer than you think. If you have a car with 700HP and drive it to church on Sundays only, eventually it will break down. Same with high-performance dogs. They need to run, not because they want to (which they do), but because they have to. If they don’t get that release, they will break down, in ways that will come out in various forms.
This year so far my kennel partner in Maine has had her dogs win four International Championships in the show ring. I’m not of the “Show” mentality, but in this case these are actual working dogs that pulled a sled over 1500 miles this past winter to win their 2nd title in the Iron Paws 6-dog sled competition.
A husky that does what he was bred to do, is so important in letting that dog fulfill his purpose in life. Winning show titles is nice, and just icing on the cake. This is really a big deal! Complete Siberian Huskies, who work, and can win dog shows at the championship level. It doesn’t get any better than that for a breeder.
Int Ch/Ch Black Soul of Northlane Wilcza Dusza (Kennel name Damarion).
It’s been a while since Ivan committed a sin. The last time was the case of the missing whole frozen chicken I bought for them. This time it was a little more expensive.
I was rushing around the other night, busy cooking supper after feeding the hounds. I ran upstairs to check on the food in the oven and left my Kindle on the bed. I’ve done that a million times and never expected the dogs to mess with it.
After supper, I came back downstairs with a cup of coffee and looked to finish my book. Guess what? No Kindle on the bed. At first, that didn’t seem like a big deal because I wasn’t positive where I’d left it. I took my coffee and went out the back door to finish it. I noticed something strange-looking laying out in a mud hole. It had been raining all day, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.
I went out and found my Kindle lying face down in the mud! Not only that, but it looked from the digging under it that someone had tried to bury it. Now there is only one dog in this house that would do something like that. You guessed it, Ivan. I went a picked it up, and washed it off. It had a few scratches on the face but still worked. Except for the fact, the book I had been reading was no longer on the screen.
I guess this was his way of telling me I spend too much time reading. Never mind that he gets a walk and a run every day. This boy is driven to be active all the time!
I looked at Ivan, “Did you do this?” I asked him. He lowered his ears and ran for safer places. I had to reload my book and find my place again. It wasn’t too bad, but I learned nothing is safe from this dog. He came back later looking guilty and went to sleep.
Yes, this is why I named him Ivan the Terrible. Hopefully, one of these days, he grows up and out of his mischief behaviors. I can’t seem to catch him in the act, but I know it is always him doing these shenanigans.
Quick run last night with Cooper and Ivan. We did a mile in 6 minutes with two turn arounds and a poop incident. They were moving last night for sure.
Well, Ivan is now at 9 months and 60 lbs. Ivan is becoming a force of nature when he’s hooked up to something to pull. He can trot up to 9.5 mph and top speed so far is 21 mph. I might see if he can make someone’s team that runs the big races like the Iditarod or Yukon Quest. To be continued as he grows.
I’m so fortunate and so are the dogs to have a great kennel partner in Maine. The purebred Siberian side of the house now has 7 Champion Siberians, 4 have made International champion status. Not only that they pull sleds and work like they were meant to.
Also, Seraph is currently the #4 fastest dog in the USA at “Fast-Cat” competition. This is a 100 yard dash chasing a rabbit lure. He’s clocked at 25.26 Mph. Pretty fast for a show dog?
On the Seppala side of the house, the Sepps took Hannah to her second win in the Ironpaws 2021 6-dog team sled classic. They completed 1526 miles by sled, topping second place by 1000 miles. We aren’t done yet.
Ivan is a cross between the Seppala lines and his cousins, the Purebred Sibes. So far he is a monster bred from two lead dogs. His future is bright, but time will tell what this outcross produced.
2.53 miles in 18:40 minutes. My boys, Mr. Cooper Lee, Left (6 years), Northlane’s Poison Ivy (Ivan), right (9 months). Both weigh around 60lbs; 24-25” tall at the withers. This was a daylight run which means there were lots of distractions out. It was good training for Ivan to learn to ignore them. He didn’t, but having them become commonplace is the point. Eventually, he’ll learn to ignore all of this. He has to be exposed to it first, in order to do that. Music by Deep Purple: “Highway Star,” because that’s what these guys are to me.
Last night was not much different than any other one except for the “Rain.” Ivan is acclimated to the night runs. When the sun goes down after his supper, he is ready to run. Me not so much, especially when it’s raining.
Using the recumbent bike does have some disadvantages and that is two wheels next to you with no fenders. This creates water spraying all over you especially at speeds exceeding 19mph. I just hold on and hope they see what I can’t. Disc brakes are cool but skinny tires don’t do much on wet pavement.
Do you know what “Drifting” means? Well, Cooper and Ivan together can make my 3-wheeler drift without any problems. We met a couple on the run-walking their dog. Their dog was well behaved and had the good sense not to bark at the flying Dutchman Husky mobile. They huddled down in the ditch and let us nut jobs go by. Even so, Cooper and Ivan thought it would be fun to say hello. I hit the brakes as they did a 180-degree turn.
The sensation of sliding sideways on wet pavement is similar to being on an inner tube behind a boat! We ended up behind them, instead of passing them. I really need to work on the “On-Bye” commands a bit more. No harm was done, and we got back on track to turn in the best time so far. I didn’t see much of it, but we clocked a good fast run.
Maybe I’ll get a scuba mask and snorkel for next time. Ivan can trot at 9.5 mph. I’m so impressed with his abilities. I just need to get more in control of him. The work never stops unless you have a death wish. After 20 years of motocross, I’m pretty used to this kind of thing. It still amazes me how silent and fast they are. No screaming motors, just acceleration. The throttle is how much control you have over them with training and voice commands. It takes work, and nerves of steel to run with these clowns.. lol. Great dogs and they always keep it exciting!
I wanted to take a little bit of time to explain about hooking up dogs to a bike or any contraption be it ski’s, scooter, or your body without some basic knowledge of what you are doing.
– First and foremost you don’t just get a wild hare and do it. If you do, you probably are going to sustain a crash and possible injury to you or the dog(s)…maybe both! There are two things you must do before you ever hook them up and get on board.
1. You must be fully competent with your own skills at riding a bike or scooter etc.
2. Your dogs need a minimum amount of training. The more the better!
In my case I started riding mini-bikes in 7th grade. That quickly progressed to riding motorcycles and racing moto-cross, and trials over the next 20 years. I’m completely at ease on two wheels. That doesn’t mean that you need twenty years of experience but you must be able to balance, brake, and control the bike without any thoughts about it. Things happen fast, and the faster you are going the less time there is to fix it, or control it.
Basic training is pretty simple. Of course that depends on the breed. Some dogs are pre-destined to be pullers and runners. Huskies, Malamutes, and other northern breeds have it in their DNA. If you have one of these dogs the instinct is there already. The problem is training them to obey directional commands. At the bare minimum “Left and Right” have to be well known and acted on by the dogs. “Stop” is fun to yell but to a hyped up dog it goes unanswered for the most part. Do not count on that one at all…that’s when good brakes are your best friend.
In my case I use standard mushing commands. “Gee” is right, and “Haw” is left. “Hike” is go. And “Whoa” is just a wish. Any short distinctive words will work if you train them that way.
“So how do you do that?” you may ask.
With a naturally pulling dog it isn’t difficult. It just takes a lot of footwork. There is no shortcut for practice of commands. Some dogs take to it quickly, and some don’t.
I start walking a young pup and if they already are out front pulling I pick a spot and yell “Gee.” I immediately turn 90 degrees and walk to the other side of the road. Then we walk some more and I yell “Haw!” turn left 90 degrees and go to the other side. The dog on the leash gets the idea the more and more you do it. Eventually when you say either of these commands the dog will do it without you pulling on the leash. They go right and left on command.
“Hike” is probably the easiest. Especially if you use and excited voice, “HIKE-HIKE-HIKE!” It’s similar to telling a dog to “Get HIM!” when you want that dog to run off a vermin of your choice. They get excited and they go for it.
“Whoa or Stop” is pretty much a wish, but in time some smart dogs figure it out. How much? That depends on the dog and the level of excitement. Deer or rabbits running across the road in front of me? Not much is going to stop the prey drive from kicking in. That’s when “Disc” brakes make a huge difference in crashing. Good brakes are the safety valve!
Next on the list of important things is your equipment. You must ensure the rope does not get into your front wheel. If it does your front wheel will lock up and you will find yourself doing what is called an “Endo.” That is when you do a front somersault and end up with the bike smashing you into the ground and on top of your back. Not fun as you might imagine!
There are cheap and expensive ways to prevent this. A simple small pipe of PVC that extends past your front wheel is the cheap method. Your tug rope goes through the pipe and attached to your bike frame. More expensive is a device that automatically keeps tension on the rope at all times. It’s like a power reel that can let more rope out, or reel it back in as the dog goes faster or suddenly slower.
Eventually you have to take that first ride. Go slow and make sure your dog is obeying the commands. Be prepared with your hands on the brakes at all times! You only have a second or less if a squirrel decides to make a suicidal run in front of you. This I know from the only crash I’ve had when I first started out doing this. You would be amazed at how strong a dog can pull, especially when a meal appears in front of them!
It is a slow process to become a disciplined team. I’ve known folks that said, “Hey that looks cool!” and hooked a couple of dogs to their bike and made it almost a block before they crashed. Heed my warnings!
In spite of the work to train, the miles walked, the equipment bought I can tell you this. There is nothing that compares to running down the road being pulled by dog power. It’s exciting, it’s amazing, and it’s satisfying to know you did it. People stare, people yell about how cool it is to see. But they have no idea what it’s like to feel the surge of power and speed as you cruise by with a big smile and wave! Nothing comes without work. Dogs are work that never ends.