The answer is simple…You don’t. These dogs pull and run because it’s been instilled in them by selective breeding over thousands of years. The animal rights activist claim that races like the Iditarod are done by evil humans that “Force them to Run” for a thousand miles. Watch this training run of mine and tell me how I managed to “Force” these two dogs to pull me, and a bike with a combined weight of over 200 lbs. at speeds up to 20 mph.
Nobody can force a dog to do this. If they don’t want to do it they simply stop and refuse to go any further. I’m their guide and dead weight. They do it for love and adventure. These dogs love to explore and see what’s around the next corner. Even if they’ve seen it a hundred times before. They want to be on the move. They don’t mind the minor inconvenience of pulling some weight to get there. I live with them 24/7. I eat with them, I play with them, and we run together. It’s called a team, or family, and to the dogs, it is their pack. And this is what the pack does. It runs and has many great adventures.
Ivan’s run number 11. He’s getting better and better. Not to mention faster, but he is that as well. Distance 1.5 Miles, Top speed 19.7mph, Pace 7 min./mi. Average speed 8.5mph.
Took Ivan and Cooper on a run last night in the dark. This morning it snowed. That’s how things work out most of the time. He did very well and is now a bit over 53 lbs. and 23 inches and the withers (That’s shoulder if you don’t know.)
Hat’s off to the Iron Paws virtual racing. It’s a very positive way to get people and dogs away from the T.V. It’s a way to give working dogs a job. A way for us owners to build a bond with these amazing dogs, that doesn’t just involve a food bowl. It’s more than just taking your dog out of the back yard to show company. If that’s all you do, I hope your dog pee’s on their legs! It covers every area of dog sports. You should check it out at the link below. Pure genius!
Looks like my Kennel partner in Maine… Hannah Lucas is on her way to her second consecutive Iron Paws win in the 6-dog sled class. She’s built up a considerable milage gap from second place. With only 2 stages out of 8 remaining. It would be hard to catch her and the 6-dog Seppala team. Ivan’s mom and dad are the lead dogs. No wonder he’s crazy to run! Good luck!
Not my words, and from a post on FaceBook. No truer words were ever spoken as far as I am concerned.
Your Dog is Not a Baby!
Todays culture is absolutely ruining dogs and as behaviourists we are seeing more and more preventable problems appearing not only at our facilities but in the public domain! People are treating their dogs like children, and no matter how much you say it, or what you believe, they are not children. They are dogs… An apex predator with forty two teeth in their head and a bite pressure that can break bones. They deserve to be treated like dogs!
Somehow treating your dog like a dog has become a taboo subject and it’s because of the warped generation that’s flooding the industry. Can’t say no to a dog. Can’t go in cold weather with a dog. Can’t let a dog get muddy. Can’t give a dog a job. Can’t feed a dog raw meat. If your dog is in shape it’s too skinny. We are walking around in a world where giving your dog a job is cruel beyond belief but having a dog 30kg overweight with diabetes is absolutely fine.
It’s warped and twisted and wrong. They are dogs! Treat them as dogs. You cannot take any animal on this earth and pretend that it’s a baby. Oh hello, this is my whale, he is my baby. It doesn’t work like that, and if you respect the dog, it doesn’t work with them either. We have to push back on this mentality because it is literally killing dogs.
Dogs are being euthanized every day purely because nobody taught them what rules they were supposed to follow, or because they weren’t given a job they so desperately needed. Let’s start honoring our dogs for the absolutely amazing creatures they are. Dogs are magnificent, majestic, intelligent, robust. For me, they are the best animal on the planet so let’s stop killing them and treat them for exactly what they are. Honor your dog.
Animals are not humans. That is plain and simple. Understand the difference between them.
We have snow and here are a couple of photos of Ivan during his first encounter with it. They know what snow is from DNA memories, and they love it. It’s like going home to a place you have never been before. It’s like eating in the finest restaurants, or sleeping in your own bed after a long vacation kind of good!
The Case of the Missing Chicken: SOLVED
All of my dogs have their tales to be told. Each has a distinct personality and disposition. I’ve written many of Nikki’s stories. Ivan being a normal Siberian, thought he needed one.
I woke up today with my phone buzzing “WARNING!” Being 4 AM, I wasn’t inclined to read the details, but you know how things can set your mind to wondering? I tried to go back to sleep, but I had this nagging feeling that wouldn’t stop. What was the Warning about? The dogs seemed happy to keep sleeping. I didn’t hear any howling winds or someone with a crowbar trying to break in the house.
I gave up and read the important message. It was a storm warning for the D.C. area. We expect 4-6 inches of snow starting Sunday at 1 AM and going through Monday. Now, this may not seem like the end of the world to most folks. But here on the East Coast, where snow is as rare as hen’s teeth. It certainly scares the bejabbers out of the locals.
People in Virginia can’t drive to start with. Throw in a few flakes of snow, and you are taking your life in your hands. Travel the roads with these dry-landers is an exercise in luck. The last time we had that much snow, it shut downD.C. for three days. People abandoned their cars and walked. Which probably saved some lives! The mindset driving this plays out like this: You can’t expect a 35oo pound vehicle to go through 2 inches of snow! Are you mad! I’m not driving in this sh*t.
Okay, back to the story. Being one of those who have lived through the significant power outages and ice storms of Oklahoma. I’ve gotten wiser in my old age. I now have a generator and a Hemi-powered snowblower in case of emergencies…like a few inches of snow. Seeing how I hadn’t started them in 2 years, I thought I might want to check that they still work.
But first, I needed to beat the crowds heading for the grocery store to buy bread, milk, toilet paper, and alcohol. Some things are universal, and you need lots of booze to deal with potential life-threatening snow.
I made a trip to the store and got the essentials. Including a couple of whole chickens to cook up for the dogs. I can put a 6-pound whole chicken in the “Instapot,” which makes enough to feed four dogs for 3-4 days when mixed with kibble. At .99 cents a pound, it’s a great buy, and they love it almost as much as pizza.
I return from the store with the essential 24 pack of toilet paper, three 12-packs of Soda, Beer, and two whole chickens. I also grabbed a 30-pound bag of kibble and a few other needed items. When I got home, I unloaded all of this stuff downstairs, where I have a spare refrigerator for unique things like this. I gave the dogs each a snack and put the food away. The mistake I made was leaving one of the chickens on top of a five-drawer dresser next to the fridge. Why I have a dresser next to the refrigerator? Only a dog runner would understand. I use it to keep the myriad of harnesses, lines, winter clothes, etc., related to running dogs.
The dogs left happy, and I planned to put that chicken in the pot after making sure my generator and snowblower still worked. They did with a little tweaking, but I let them run for a while and wondered why the dogs were not bothering me. I should have realized that something was afoot. I didn’t, and it took time to make sure all the machines were right.
I put the machines away, satisfied they would work if needed. I was feeling pretty good until I went back into the house to get my chicken. It wasn’t where I’d left it! I went upstairs and asked my wife if she took my chicken.
She looked at me with that, “Did you start drinking early today?” look. I ran for the yard because I knew who stole my chicken. I only hoped those three dogs hadn’t eaten already!
I went to the front ¼ acre and heard a sound of cats being boiled in oil or a dying calf in a mud-hole. I spied Ivan standing over his frozen bird and fending off the swooping attacks of Cooper and Nikki trying to get it away from him.
I yelled, and the jig was up. Cooper and Nikki backed off, and that was all the room Ivan needed to pick up that 6-pound frozen bird in his mouth and run for it. He ran like the wind with this old man yelling and chasing him. Even if I were a world-class sprinter, I would never catch him without a brain.
He ran for the pool area, and I shut the gate behind me. He was mine now, but Ivan wasn’t going down without a fight for his bird. In his mind, he stole it fair and square. I cornered him finally and gave him the old scare tactic. Yell and run for the prize. It surprised him, and I picked up the chicken. It didn’t look too bad, with a few tooth marks on it. That’s okay because it was going in the cooking pot for them anyway.
That was my first Ivan tale, and I’m sure others will follow. We are ready to “Ride the Storm Out.”
Was I mad at him? Of course not, he’s a dog and doing what he does. I’m a human and doing what I do. Together we have some stories to tell. I wouldn’t change our relationship for the world!
Ivan keeps showing progress in his journey to be a sled dog. Now at 6 months and 52 pounds, the long-legged galoot is downright fast. Not to mention he has a huge amount of endurance. If you’ve been following his journey you’ll notice the improvements. He’s becoming more focused and also being exposed to new things. Today was his first encounter with another dog. They yanked me over to see him, but it didn’t take long to get them back on track. The other new thing was to ignore the vehicle in a head-on pass.
Run Metrics: Temp 36F, wind NNW22mph. Distance 1.5miles. Top Speed 17.4 mph, average speed 7.8 mph. Rider and Recumbent Bike: Weight 200 lbs. Music by Boz Scaggs. 1/28/2021
I went on a trip a couple of years ago. I drove to northern Minnesota to meet Doug Willett and Togo. Doug and I had worked on his book for a year, and I wanted to meet him. I fell in love with Togo from the first look. He was Doug’s last Seppala and probably the best dog genetically he had produced in all his years and over 500 dogs.
Togo never got to be a sled dog during his prime as Doug had retired. He had all the tools but instead became Doug’s closest friend. Togo was an escape artist that has no match that I know of. Togo was true to his name as a free spirit. One that just could not be contained by a fence or walls.
Things change in our lives, and I was fortunate enough to have Doug offer to sell him to me much later. He wanted him to be bred because of his genes. I drove to Minnesota and picked him up. I then drove him to Maine to join a new pack and a new life. I’ve felt the pressure of having Doug’s last dog. To keep him safe and to let him run. And to hopefully have him reproduce and carry on what Doug started.
True to his nature, Togo could not be contained for the first year. An 8-foot fence was child’s play to the master of escape. During that 2000 mile drive, I fell in love with him and wanted to keep him in Virginia. But that would have been a discredit to him. He stayed in Maine, and we did, and still are trying to breed him. He may have passed his prime for producing progeny. He can breed but has so far produced no puppies. His best days for that are probably past. That doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying, on the off chance a miracle may happen.
He gets to breed with every female that comes in heat. I suppose that is not such a bad thing in retirement. He also gets to run where there is snow and lots of his kind to live with. Going on 12, he’s slowed down the past year. He hasn’t jumped the fence in a year but still can run like a Seppala does. He may have passed his prime, but he hasn’t been forgotten.
Last year he ran several 30, and 40 mile runs during Hanna’s victory in the “Iron Paws.” He was on several of Hannah’s grocery runs during the Pandemic. It may not have been the serum run of 1925, but he played a part as a team member. Hannah and that team received a letter of appreciation from the Governor of Maine. The letter was for their work to deliver groceries to the elderly and those at risk from the virus by sled dogs.
Today he ran lead in shorter distances, but the important thing is he gets to be a “Sled Dog.” He can still do it but at his age, but he is certainly past his prime. He is also part of this year’s “Iron Paws” challenge. I’d say he has a pretty good retirement.
I’d bring him here to live with me, but then he’d miss out on what he needs. Thanks to Hannah for taking care of him in his golden years. He is a great dog in personality and everything else you measure a dog by. And thanks to Doug for trusting me with his care. I think he is enjoying his golden years! He’s pulling sleds as Seppalas have done since Leonard invented them. He loves his life, he has 17 dogs and two humans as companions.
I don’t think it gets much better than that for any dog. This is an example of a life well-lived. First he gave up his desire to race to be with DW in his golden years. Now he is doing what he can to enjoy his own golden years.
There is now a statue in Central Park, New York to fix the wrongs done to Togo. Balto claimed the credit but it was Togo who actually did the most.
Togo’s plaque reads: “In 1925 Togo led a dog sled team in blizzard conditions to Nome, Alaska, to deliver a life-saving antitoxin during a diphtheria epidemic. He traveled nearly 300 miles, farther than any other dog in the relay. His courage saved many lives.”
He was 12 years old, and would never race again. His efforts took the last of what he had. He did live on to produce pups that some of us still have of that unbroken line. He and Leonard were examples of what heroes are.
DEDICATED TO THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF / THE SLED DOGS / THAT RELAYED ANTI TOXIN SIX HUNDRED MILES OVER ROUGH ICE / ACROSS TREACHEROUS WATERS THROUGH ARCTIC BLIZZARDS FROM / NENNANA TO THE RELIEF OF STRICKEN NOME IN THE / WINTER OF 1925
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.
So, the civil war continues. Soon to be gone are the great dogs of the North. First was the Greyhound and now the sled dogs. PETA is a brain jacked organization that hopes in time for the demise of all pets. They have money and where does it come from. It comes from those who give it to them. What do they do with it? They destroy the lives of working dogs first, and your pet next. Their ultimate goal is to return all pets to home (Death.) If you support this so-called calling you are contributing to the end of all pets. If you don’t believe me do some research about the nut job running this so-called organization. Keep contributing and you are next on the list, and so are your pets.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the world’s most famous sled dog race, has lost another major sponsor as it prepares for a scaled back version of this year’s race because of the pandemic, officials said Thursday.
ExxonMobil confirmed to The Associated Press that the oil giant will drop its sponsorship of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The move came after ExxonMobil, which has been a race sponsor since 1978, received pressure from one its shareholders and the race’s biggest critic, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“After careful review of sponsorships in light of current economic conditions, we’ve decided to conclude our sponsorship of the Iditarod following the 2021 race,” ExxonMobil spokesperson Ashley Alemayehu said in an email to the AP.
“The health and safety of the dogs, and everyone involved in the event, has always been an important consideration for us,” Alemayehu said.
Messages seeking comment from Iditarod officials were not immediately returned.
The loss amounts to $250,000, PETA said, but ExxonMobil could not immediately confirm the sponsorship amount. In 2009, ExxonMobil committed to giving the Iditarod $1.25 million over the ensuing five years.
“We’re glad that they have recognized that it’s absolutely bad for business when corporations support abusive industries and events like the Iditarod,” said Colleen O’Brien, a vice president for the animal rights group.
PETA has lobbied ExxonMobil to drop its major sponsorship of the race since 2007. In December, the organization submitted a shareholders resolution to “end all sponsorship of activities in which animals are used and abused and killed,” O’Brien said. PETA owns 102 shares of the company’s stock.
ExxonMobil executives met with PETA on a teleconference on Tuesday, in which they confirmed they would end sponsorship. O’Brien said PETA then withdrew the resolution and canceled ExxonMobil-targeted ads it had planned to run on buses in Anchorage, in the Anchorage Daily News and the Texas edition of The Wall Street Journal leading up to the March 7 start of this year’s race.
PETA also called off planned protests for at least a dozen ExxonMobil locations around the countrdropped
The animal rights group has been targeting national sponsors of the race to end what it sees as the abuse of dogs it says are forced to run the thousand-mile race.
The group claims more than 150 dogs have died since the race began in 1973. The Iditarod disputes the number but has not provided the AP with its count despite numerous requests over the years.
PETA last year took credit when Alaska Airlines and Chrysler, through an Anchorage dealership, dropped their sponsorships after PETA conducted protests at the airline’s corporate headquarters in Seattle and the carmaker’s in Detroit. At the time, neither company confirmed PETA’s protests played a role in their decisions.
Other national sponsors that have dropped out include Wells Fargo and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
The loss of ExxonMobil leaves only one national sponsor of the race, Millennium Hotels and Resorts through its Anchorage location, the Lakefront hotel. It also serves as the Iditarod’s headquarters during the race.
O’Brien said PETA will contact Millennium Hotels and Resorts and “urge them to sever their ties with the race before they’re targeted next. We’re not going to stop until dogs are no longer forced to race until they’re dead.”
A message sent through the Millennium website seeking comment was not immediately returned.
The race’s other sponsors are Alaska-based businesses or those with close ties to the state.
The Iditarod normally starts in Willow, Alaska, about 50 miles north of Anchorage, and takes mushers and their dogs nearly a thousand miles over rugged Alaska terrain to the finish line in Nome. However, this year’s race has been scaled back to about 860 miles and will start and end near Willow.
Twelve mushers, including defending champion Thomas Waerner of Norway, have dropped out of this year’s race, leaving 53 teams.
That’s among the three smallest fields in the last two decades, and all in the last three years. Last year, 57 teams started the race and 33 finished. In 2019, 52 teams began the race.
This story previously misspelled ExxonMobil