Front in center is “Yara” from our “Y” litter of Seppala outcrosses. She is one of Ivan’s 3 sisters. Already a huge pup at six months. She is surrounded by 9 other of her tribe in Maine. 9 more didn’t fit in the picture.
Over the years the Sepps have lost size. I personally want to change that and also love big dogs. That may come from my years of breeding GSD’s. Erect ears, strong bodies, and strong attitudes mixed with intelligence is important to me.
For a sled dog, there is a fine line between size and speed. It depends on what you want them to do. Size is power but also can mean short endurance. Size can mean long ground eating strides, and tall enough to overcome deep snow. It can also mean a sprinter vs. a long distance runner. What is the perfect balance? That depends on what you need. That is what breeding dogs for a specific function came from.
I’m so tired of hearing the call to adopt not buy from a breeder. If you want a generic dog fine, adopt one and good luck. Why? because you have no idea what you are getting. You might get a dog that is fine, or you might get the devil. I know because I’ve adopted special needs children and raised them. Dogs are no different. They are the product of their genetic background and how they were raised. That affects them for the rest of their lives. Choose wisely.
Not all breeders are evil puppy mills. We are trying to save a historic line of dogs. The Seppala Siberians. The same line that delivered the life saving serum to Nome in 1925. That is our calling. That is why we work so hard with these dogs. They are not for everyone, but they won’t become assimilated into generic dogs if I can help it. They deserve better than that.
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” ~Jack London 1876 – 1916
Dogs live in the moment. They don’t stress over what happened yesterday, or worry about tomorrow. Jack London only lived to the age of 40. But look what he did in those few short years he had. Life is not about how long you live, it’s about what you do with the time you have.
You won’t find me being a Vegan, drinking bottled water, or going to the doctor whose job is to find something wrong with me. I’m always busy writing, painting, playing music, or working with the dogs.
“To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”
“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” ~ Bruce Lee
Ivan is almost 6 months old. He’s slowly transforming into his adulthood. You can see it in his body and I can tell his mind is getting better. He’s a real pain in the ass at times, but then what kids aren’t? Long of limb, strong of body, if not a bit weak in the brain department so far. He is becoming what he was meant to be. I think he will eventually be a good ambassador of his breed.
All dogs have some funny traits and I’ll tell you what his is. He is all about recycling. During a walk he looks for something to pick up and carry in his mouth. It might be a stick, or a discarded water bottle. Even a beer or pop can gives him joy. He will carry whatever it is all the way back home. We’ve since discovered this trait comes from his dad. Who never did this until recently. What does it mean? I have no idea but I know he is pretty proud of himself when he brings these treasures back home.
Great read from the CKC on these dogs. This is part 1 but the other 2 parts are linked in the text. If you are interested in Sepalas this is a great read.
What’s the difference between a generic purebred Siberian Husky and one from a working/racing kennel? Tons of things to be honest. Ivan is a good eater, a good rester, and a driven puller. All the things that make a competitive sled dog. In today’s video you might see some of those. It was easy to fix his pulling to the left problem. I put him on the right and he did much better. He’s got a name. His name is Ivan. I’m so impressed with him so far as a future sled dog. Once he get’s over the puppy antics he should be a well rounded dog that also lives in the house. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a trained sled dog.
Because he is a young dog I only run him on the bike no more than 1.5 miles and only after several days of rest (Bike.) Every day not on the bike we walk on foot twice a day, 1.5 miles each time. This “Walk” is not like what most people consider to be taking the dog for a walk. Try walking 3 huskies amped up from sleeping all night and it’s cold outside. This “Walk” is more of an aerobic workout with weights. The pulling power of these dogs is incredible and it’s no wonder I’ve lost so much weight and toned up. One more dog added and they would surely drag me down the street. That’s okay, I signed up for this. Huskies are not for normal people who like to relax. There isn’t much “Relax” to them. They have two speeds. Wide-open and sleep.
They demand exercise daily. If you don’t comply they will make you pay many times over. They can’t help it, they were bred to be exactly like this. There only fault is how good looking they are. People buy them on looks and find out there is a nuclear engine under the hood. Sadly, this is why so many end up in shelters. This is why I wrote my first book about them. I wanted those that actually research the breed before they buy to get the real story. The story of my first husky and all the lessons I had to learn. I think I’m a better person for it now. But it wasn’t easy to learn. I made a lot of mistakes but they forgave me, and taught me how we could actually work together as a team. You don’t ever “own” a husky, except in legal terms. If you work hard enough you become a life long partner, but you have to earn it by doing your part. Sitting on the sofa isn’t going to cut it with these dogs.
6 days short of being 6 months old. Ivan is now 50 lbs. and 23″ at the shoulder (withers). He can pull as hard as my adult dogs, but they are not from racing or Seppala lines. Even being only 3/4 Seppala, and the progeny of two lead dogs he is miles ahead of my standard Siberians in work ethic. This litter was an outcross to reduce the COI (Coefficient of inbreeding.) He still has a puppy brain but that will change in time. No doubt looking at his gaze, he is smarter than I am. My job is to try and help him become the best he can be. In return, I get a lifelong companion that will not one day decide he doesn’t love me. Dogs don’t have those flaws. Unconditional love. What more could you ask for?
Huskies are not like normal dogs. They have their own ways about doing things including relaxing.
When your neighbor calls and says to check on your dog because they think she might be dead. Nope that’s a husky.
Thoughts on the past year:
I look back on the past year, and man, was it a bitch! The world has changed so much in such a short time. Some folks can’t deal with it or have a challenging time, which is understandable. You take everything that you usually take for granted and throw it out the window. With that change comes some positives and, of course, the negatives…like dying.
The risk of death is always behind you, breathing down your neck with that cold breath. We try and stay a few steps ahead of it, but we all know it will win in the end. When I get those negative thoughts, I do the one thing that always works for me. I seek out advice from those that have been around for thousands of years.
I’ve immersed myself the last six years into the mind of those magnificent dogs known as huskies. Everyone knows they are incredible athletes that do amazing things. But I took a different route. I wanted and still do, want to know what makes them tick. I’ve done so much research and real-world experience to try and learn what goes on behind those eyes they have. The look they have is not from this world. It’s the look of ancient knowledge handed down from generation to generation.
If you don’t believe in reincarnation, then you need to spend some time with these dogs. Not as dogs but as sentient beings that have been through far worse for over 10 thousand years. Somehow, they know what matters, and it doesn’t include a Mercedes in your driveway.
It’s the appreciation for each day you get to wake up and see the sunshine, or rain, or snow. It doesn’t matter to them. They are happy to have one more day. I struggled to bring home a new puppy. Mainly because he might outlive me at my age, but then it doesn’t matter because I know he will survive if I pass and do what huskies do. They endure, and they take what life gives them and make the best of it.
They don’t complain, they keep positive attitudes and keep on driving down the trail of their lives until it runs out, and they are called back to wherever that place is the huskies go. And then, in time, they return to this earth in physical form as puppies and do it all over again. The crime is not to listen to what they try to tell us about life.
They might outlive me, but I’m not worried about them. They were surviving and flourishing long before I got here. I’m going to enjoy every moment I have left with them. Maybe I’ll be wiser for it if I get to come back as they do. If not, I’ve enjoyed trying to understand them and am amazed by them every single day. The silent lessons they have to teach are well worth the trouble that comes with them. You have to work hard to be part of their pack. No slackers allowed. Time is too short for all of us. Take it from the dogs of winter, they know.
If Leonhard Seppala is in an article. I’m going to read it and probably like it. He’s the top tier that all mushers and sled dogs aspire to be. A true legacy and hero to both man and dogs.
The Proper Way to Raise and Train a puppy:
BLUF: That’s military Lingo for “Bottom Line Up Front.”
BLUF: You raise and train them to fit your life, not the lives of others.
Now, you can join a bunch of groups that will tell you how it should be done. That is according to their own experience and does not take into consideration the personality of you, or your dog(s). In other words that information is for the most part useless. That’s like telling someone how to raise their children based on how they did it. There is no one case that fits all scenario.
There are a lot of people out there that think they now everything, about everything. Off leash is okay, biting is okay, and a lot of other topics that they demand you follow their rules. You cannot group all of this into one box. Especially with working dogs, they have their own way and it’s not the same for everyone of them.
It’s okay to seek information, but take it with a grain of salt. You have to find what works for you and your dog(s) and use what works, and throw away what doesn’t. It sounds simple, and it is, if you keep in mind your own goals.
Don’t get caught up into the mindset of people who claim to know it all. Dog ownership and training is about combing two worlds together into one compatible family. That’s what you strive for. That is the goal, the goals of others don’t matter to you or your dog(s). You have to find your own way. It takes trial and error, that is why experience from others can help. But there is no magic bullet to fix all problems.
You have to do that. Don’t be afraid to try.
Like all families, you will make mistakes, you will grow, and you will learn how to deal with each other. You accept the weaknesses, and strengths of each member. And out of that, you make it work. That is dog training that means something. Nobody can teach that, it’s a burden you have to take on and figure out. Not that trainers don’t have knowledge that can help. They do, but it may or not may fit your situation. Nobody can know your dog as well as you.
Learn everything you can about your dog and its breed traits. That is the key to understanding them as much as we can. You build your life around your dog’s needs, but they have to give back and accept your rules as well. You have to achieve a working partnership for all to be happy and productive. Easier said than done. It all starts on day one of bringing that new life to your home. Don’t fail that new life you have accepted. They are counting on you to be the guiding light in their lives. You have the power to make them have a life well-lived. Don’t let them down. They need you more than you need them.