Ivan’s run #7. He is coming along nicely. He is faster than Cooper. But Cooper knows his commands. Puppy brains are still in effect. Coop outruns him at the start but he gets outpaced at the last. Ivan is still showing great promise and speed for his age. I don’t doubt he’s going to be a great sled dog.
Training regime: All dogs get a 1.5 mile walk by foot every morning at the crack of dawn. They also get a second foot walk in the afternoon with the distance determined by temperature (Huskies do not like warm temps and it can cause them to overheat.)
Bike runs for the pup don’t exceed 1.5 miles and are very infrequent and based on temp/humidity, age, and general body condition. Ivan is now 51 lbs. and has more strength than my 6-year-old male. There is much to be said by almost everyone about running on a hard surface. You’ll hear that it will damage the dog because the growth plates are not fully developed. Running on hard surfaces causes damage to joints and pads. Running and having a dog pull before two years old will cause them to age quickly and end up with arthritis etc. I know several professional mushers who have completed the Iditarod and Yukon Quest multiple times. I asked them about this. They don’t agree with any of it. They start training dogs at 4-6 months using judgment, not the calendar. They have retired dogs who have completed those 1000 mile races multiple times and lived to be 15-17 years after retirement.
All I can tell you is my own experience. I’ve been running dogs on asphalt for over five years and have never seen any of this to be true. I’ve never had a dog come up lame, damage a pad, or anything else. Is hard packed dirt, Ice, or snow any softer than asphalt? Are sharp rocks, sticks, glass, trash anymore dangerous than smooth pavement? I guess as the owner you have to decide about that. The only result I’ve seen is their toenails get worn down. Too me this is a plus as they never need trimmed.
It takes time to learn your dog breed before you can judge what you are doing. Error on the side of caution if you are new to this type of exercise. In time you will be able to watch your dog walk around the backyard and be able to tell if there is something not right about their gait, health, and mental condition. That comes from paying close attention to everything they do. They are not vehicles that give you a warning light if something is not right. They are living sentient creatures that rely on us for everything in their short lives. Food, Medical, Exercise, Companionship with humans/dogs, and above all Happiness.