Now I can only speak of huskies, I have never owned a Mal but I don’t think they are that much different other than size and a few personality traits. So, temper anything I tell you with your own knowledge of your dogs.
For thousands of years the northern breeds had one job. And that was to pull things, and for that they were fed and protected like any member of the family. The family of humans and dogs made up the pack. Each relied on the other to live in the harsh lands of ice and snow.
This is the essence of these dogs. Thousands of years of DNA drives them in ways you may not have considered. This is what a northern breed does better than any other dog on the planet. They survive and they work just like all of their ancestors did for thousands of years.
They need you, and you need them. A partnership that was formed many years ago. To really understand them you need to understand where they came from. How they survived and the ties they have to man. They have needs that are very basic, and for that they will lay down their lives for you if called upon. They will run until dead if you are a bad leader and ask it of them. That is a husky and probably a Mal as well.
They were bred to think, not go quietly into the night by a Musher with no clue. This saved many lives as the dog knew better than to follow a command that would kill the pack. And that is why a husky will look at you and think about what you ask of him. Then he will make his own decision of what is best and do it regardless of your commands and cussing.
There is nothing simple about these dogs. They think and they have their own way about almost everything. They are not slaves and will let you know it if you are a bad leader. You have to meet them half way. You have to be an active member of the team, and a partner, not a God who delivers ultimatums.
Keep this in mind as you make your journey with them. You want to mush dogs? Then you need to understand them as much as you can.
The first thing is to teach them some commands. This might seem as simple as using a turn signal but this is where it all begins. It’s not really all that hard as they are very intelligent and learn quickly.
Start with this: Gee means turn right. Haw means turn left. On-by, means straight ahead, Leave it, means you don’t want them to eat the dead squirrelly on the road, and “Whoa!” should be self-explanatory.
You teach by walking because speed will kill you. You walk and you give a command like, “Gee!” then you turn 90 degrees and you cross the road or turn a corner. A forceful command, not a wish. Command voice is command.
Then you practice “Haw!” the same way and mean it. They will follow and soon they will be doing it on command.
This is what you do before you ever hook them up to wheels. You walk and you work until you are confident that they will do it out of repetition. To not do so will end in disaster, at dog speed you don’t have time to argue the point. Things happen fast and you better have control.
My little video is very basic, but you will get the idea from it. You follow your own trail and modify it to fit your own dog(s) and then we will get to wheels.
I hope this helps you on your journey. The trail is full of dangerous things for you and your dog. But by training you will get better and better…you will become a team that trust each other. You will reach the point that makes you one, as you overcome obstacles. You will become as one, and that is when the magic happens.
I pen this post with a heavy heart. I see the future for my beloved huskies and it is not one that I would choose for them.
If a husky has any faults that will do him in, it is beauty. When God made this dog in all his glory he could not have done any better. The husky is a magnificently beautiful dog, but that is only skin deep. So many people buy them based on this. As beautiful as they may be, that is not even close to what they really are.
What lies beneath that exterior is one amazing animal. A free independent dog that thinks and probably was not designed for apartment life. For thousands of years they lived in lands that would kill most humans. They not only lived but thrived because they were bred for this very purpose. A purpose that most people don’t like or even understand.
They are constantly being bred to meet the demand. But not being sold to people who will give them what they need. They need to run and pull things. That is what they do and it pains me that nobody seems to care. People complain about how they destroy things and dig, and pace around.
It’s because they are not being allowed to be who they are. They are being forced into a world that they don’t want or understand. Sitting on a couch and looking pretty is not a husky. Yes, they can do that but only if what is inside of them is satisfied. The need to run, the need to explore, the need to be free.
It seems like human nature is to destroy things. To force our will and desires on to others no matter the cost. We have an idea of what is perfect in our world, and we find a way to force that on those less strong.
Sadly, that is the fate of the husky. He is to be looked upon and not heard. No matter how loud his heart speaks… it will be ignored, for he is only a beast we control. And if he can’t be controlled we will cast him aside and let someone else deal with his pain.
Now you may speak of all the inequalities in this world of ours. Black lives matter, right wing, left wing, gays, and transgendered. But who speaks for those who cannot?
We do, or we should. That is what God would do…he would speak for those who cannot. He would stand up for those forgotten, and those who slowly slip to the edge of the abyss. He created the husky for a purpose, and to deny that is truly a crime.
You cannot change a person or dog into something they are not. You should rejoice in what they are for it is unique and special. They have no voice, they have no vote, but you do.
Do not let this soul slip from us and become something less from what he was designed to be. Let him be what he was meant to be. Let him run, whether it be on a skateboard, bike, or anything else you can figure out.
Huskies need to run…just like they have for thousands of years. It is what they are, and to deny that is wrong. That is their job and what they do best. They are not ornaments, or conversation pieces for dinner with your boss.
They are Huskies!
Find a place for them in your world. Meet them half-way because they need you to help them fit into this world. And they have to be what God intended them to be.
If not, they will soon be gone, just a shell of what they were.
This is what they do better than any dog on the planet. I give you the Siberian Husky.
One of my long time friends wrote a post about his faith, and how most of us don’t call on it until its needed. We go through our lives for the most part, not thinking about it until a crisis. Hey, I’m guilty of the same thing. But it made me stop and think about it.
I’m not a church going guy. I guess all the scandals of TV evangelicals ripping off old people sort of made me not trust them much. Back when I was young and did go to church. And if the stories were true, many of the people there had a lot to be forgiven for. They only problem is they kept on making new stories… instead of changing their ways.
Now that’s not to say I don’t believe in a higher power. I believe in God very much, but like I said I’m not much for church. I don’t think God cares much if you go to church every Sunday, as much as he wants us to be decent human beings.
As in all things these days that I think about, I relate them to my dogs. Not just any dogs but Huskies. They teach things just by being alive. All you have to do is look and you might find an answer to what is bothering you.
Huskies are not normal in dog terms, they are unique. I feel so connected with them, that I sometimes wonder how I made it through most of my life without them.
Naturally I took my friends words that he had written, and looked to my huskies for guidance. I began to wonder if huskies have Gods, or a supreme husky that guides them when they are troubled. I looked at them in the eyes…and they looked back at me with those blue eyes that seem to know everything.
Not a word was spoken by them, but it suddenly dawned on me.
Huskies and all dogs for that matter have undeniable faith in us. They have faith that they will be fed. Just like a farmer has faith in God that it will rain on his crops, so he will be able to feed his family.
Dogs have faith in us to save them when they are afraid. Just like we have faith in law enforcement to save us if we need it. Even if they are abused, miss-treated, starved, or anything else we do. That faith may be questioned by them but the spark remains alive. If it didn’t, there would be no hope for dog rescues. It would be impossible to save them without them having faith that the next owner would be better to them.
Do I have faith in them the same way? No, not really because I’m a human. I wasn’t gifted with the same amount of faith they have. If I let them out of my fence they will run like miss guided children. But I think they have faith I will come and find them.
Now it’s hard to trust people for the most part. I’ve had that problem once I was burned a few times. But I’ve learned, that sometimes if you have some faith you will be rewarded for it. I don’t mean go to church and pray for the winning lottery numbers. I mean put some faith in others, and see what comes back.
Sometime you have to take the risk. Dogs don’t have this choice but we do.
Because of my connection with my furry friends I’ve learned a little about how faith works. You believe that who you give your trust to, will not disappoint that trust you put in them. Sometimes people just need that vote of confidence from us. Instead of ripping us off, they take a major step up in the world. All because someone had some faith in them. Just like my huskies have faith in me.
I’ve put some trust in perfect strangers I’ve never even met. I’ve trusted them with money, and something even more important to me…some huskies.
Without faith, there really isn’t much to hope for. You will spend all your time guarding everything and worrying yourself to death.
I’ve taken a lesson from my huskies on this and so far, I have not been disappointed. You see sometimes people will surprise you…you just need a little faith. Sure its a risk, a every owner is a risk to a dog.
But dogs have faith, and forgiving souls.
And that is a lesson we all can learn from.
It seems some of you like these, so here is one from my archives.
October 25, 2016
We had an incident around 1:30 AM this morning. I awoke to this God-awful sound and thought my Huskies had gotten into some kind of life or death fight over a chewy or something.
You know how you can usually tell what kind of commotion is going on by the voices you hear. This one had the Siberians throwing a fit in voices I’ve never heard before or since. I imagined it was somewhere between the sound of a cat being slowly ran over by a steam roller tail first, to several dogs being scalded with boiling oil.
I ran outside in the 40 degrees temp barefoot, in shorts, and a T-shirt with my flashlight in hand. The dogs are going absolutely nuts in the back corner of the fence. I look and cannot figure out what the heck is going on but they won’t stop.
In the corner, I see nothing and all three are screaming and whiling in circles that would make the Tasmanian Devil proud. It’s pitch black and I keep asking them “WTF is wrong with you guys?” Of course, they don’t answer and I look out with my flashlight to see if Deer are near the fence.
Finding nothing, I happen to scan up the fence with my light. At the very top which is about 8 feet off the ground and hanging on for dear life is a huge raccoon! He is an estimated 20 pounder, gnashing his white teeth, and hissing loudly. He does not look happy at all about his current situation.
He is hanging on the inside corner of the wire, and I wonder what to do about it. Keep in mind I just woke up and my bare feet are feeling the cold. In the meantime, the dogs will not stop their insanity. They are in full kill mode, and wanting that fat fellow to fall right down in the middle of their pack.
I’ve had experience with these ring-tailed varmints before and they can certainly hold their own especially when cornered. It is not a critter you want to get in contact with.
I see one of those aluminum poles for your swimming pool laying nearby so I grabbed it and gave him a poke to get him jump off the fence and escape. The whole time hoping he would jump off in the woods and not into the pack.
He hissed at me, as I prodded him several times amid the din of the dogs. Finally, he jumped off on the outside and landed with a large thump. 8 feet and a belly flop but it didn’t seem to bother him at all… into the woods he ran like a bear at full speed.
Denied of their prize the huskies want to tear down the fence and run him to ground. To a husky anything smaller than them qualifies as “Prey.” And I helped free their tempting prize of fur and fat.
All the rest of the night the dogs raced around at Zoomie speed. Back and forth and all around the property looking, and hoping for another raccoon encounter. The only good thing to come out of this was that the next day they were dog tired and zonked out. Not to mention unharmed by that ring-tailed burglar.
At least no animals or people got injured during this nocturnal adventure, and a word to the wise about these critters.
No joke, a raccoon can cause some serious damage to your dog or you. I have the scars to prove it from a pet raccoon when I was a kid. Watch out for vermin especially if you have a puppy. This was a big one but I think 3 Huskies would have dispatched him.
Even so, somebody would have taken some damage… and who needs another vet bill. And that’s not even counting the possibility of rabies.
Watch out for your dogs, there are lots of bad things out there in the dark.
Just another day at my Husky Haven.
Have you ever stopped and looked at that Husky sleeping on your couch and wondered what lies beneath that beautiful body? Or what goes on inside their head?
I’ll tell you what lies beneath that perfect looking exterior. Thousands of years of DNA that made these dogs unique. Survivors, and a free spirit that will not be denied. They have no fear, and they have confidence in themselves, and maybe even you… if you earn it.
I put myself into their world and try to keep up both physically and mentally. Huskies never cease to amaze me with what they can do. They fear nothing…but they need someone to lead and encourage them. If you open a can of pure Husky you will find an amazing animal!
Release the hounds and hold on to your shorts! The husky is everything you’ve never thought of, and more. We rode the dark trail last night and it was an eye opening experience for me.
Partnership and trust, that’s what it is all about. You will never know the ability of a husky or experience what they can do… until you put yourself out there on the line with them.
I understand that this is not for everyone. It may only be for us few that are husky crazy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love my dogs and they love me…we are a team! And there is nothing that compares to the feeling of accomplishing something together.
Yes, I’m out there on the edge sometimes in this urban environment. We take some risks, but I take it with them. You see…my huskies are with me, and I’m with them. We feed on each other’s confidence, and blaze any trail we want to take.
That’s what we do, like so many before us have done. Huskies and mankind, whether its snow or asphalt we won’t be kept locked up. For that is truly a prison around the soul… to a husky and some of us other free spirits.
Whenever I get a thought or two… I sit down and write. I hope that you find something you can learn or apply to your own husky.
Today’s post is about staying engaged. You see staying engaged with your husky is one of the hardest things to maintain. The longer you are together the easier it is to get lazy and begin to slack in your side of the partnership.
Hey it’s easy to do…life happens for us, and sometimes we get tired, or stressed, or any number of things that can take us away from the time we dedicated to our huskies. We do it to our own spouse and children, and we do it to our dogs as well. In fact, dogs are the first ones to be cast aside when life happens for humans.
Huskies, like all dogs live short lives compared to us. They have high energy requirements that need to be met regardless of how tired we are. I’ve walked my dogs in the freezing rain, and when my back hurt, and a lot of other times when I didn’t want to. Luckily my wife helps out, and that makes it easier for both of us when you have multiple huskies.
I tell myself I signed up for this, and I’m not going to let my partners (3 Huskies) down. Sometimes that is very hard to do, because I hurt or the weather sucks or whatever. The husky doesn’t understand any of those things in our world. They give us everything they have, and want the same commitment in return.
That’s why I always call it a partnership.
I don’t think anyone actually owns a husky, except maybe in legal terms. You are partners, and both of you have to do the best you can even when times get tough.
Working together to get through a tough time can strengthen the bond between you. It’s how you learn to understand this amazing dog. You do it by being engaged, and look at them with an open mind. You take mental notes of how they act for every situation.
So, I get out in the rain, and the snow, and the freezing cold when I have to. I spend the money for vet care, I think of my dogs first before me. For without me, they cannot even open a can of food.
They are my partners in life, and they won’t be here forever. I want to be the best partner I can while they are with me. I want to know everything I can about them. The Siberian people are a fascinating race that deserves to be understood the best ways we know how.
I want to make up for all the bad owners in the world, the abusers, the losers that give us a bad name to dogs. I wouldn’t anymore leave my dogs in a flood than I would my kids (See Texas.)
Stay engaged, enjoy the good and bad days…your husky partner will help you in their own way.
I don’t think there is any other dog on earth quite like a husky. Huskies are truly special in so many ways, you just have to experience it. If you don’t… that potential in your partner will never come to the surface.
You will have missed an opportunity to truly understand that they are so much more than, “Just a Dog.”