Husky Story

Everyone has their own husky story. Huskies change people’s lives and I wanted to share this with you.
This touching story is from my friend, co-owner and caretaker/trainer of Delta Dawn our Seppala puppy.
Why a Husky?
By: Heather Fulger
It all started in 1994, and that was the year Disney’s movie “Iron Will” came out. It was also my introduction to the Siberian Husky. Along with a glimpse into the world of “Mushing.” Although it was a fictional movie, from that point on in my life… I knew that I wanted one.
I was just a little girl of five years old, but I knew that I had to have a husky of my own someday. Seeing that movie set into motion feelings that would never leave me.
A year slowly passed and in 1995 the Disney movie “Balto” hit theaters. Again, I was reminded of my underlying passion for the Siberian Husky. But not just any Siberian husky…I wanted a Siberian Husky of my own. Although the hero of the movie “Steel” was a wolf/husky mix, I loved him just the same.
Steel was the lead dog as the movie began. I loved his coloring, he was such a beautiful animated dog! I also loved “Gus” who was the lead dog in the movie “Iron Will.” Gus a was more common black and white husky. 1995 would pass without a husky of my own, but my desire never stopped.
As time passed those feelings seemed to recede. Whenever I asked my Auntie for a husky she reminded me that money didn’t grow on trees. She just couldn’t afford to buy me my hopes and dreams.
In time, I quit asking because I knew the answer would be no. My dream wasn’t dead but at times it seemed so helpless that I tried to keep it out of my mind.
The husky dream wouldn’t die that easy.
In 2002 another movie came out called, “Snow Dogs.” The dream was still there but I had no way to chase it.
At the time, we still lived in the city, and I knew better than to ask for a husky. In 2004, we moved out of the city and I thought my life was over again.
No more friends down the road, no more walks downtown on the main strip of the city, or seeing my friends just two houses away. I’d forgotten about huskies, and worried more about how I would survive without my friends that I was used to seeing every day.
A few months passed and I ended up making friends with the neighbor named Brian. He owned the most gorgeous Rottweiler I had ever laid my eyes on. His name was Elvis, and that dog would change me, and make my dreams come true.
You see Elvis was an escape artist, and once free he usually ended up at my doorstep every morning, looking for some love and as many treats as I could give him.
When I think back now, it seems just like yesterday.
Elvis would show up in the morning just like he was on a schedule. He did it every morning for a couple of months.
One day when I was walking him back home…everything changed.
I was only sixteen years old during that walk and I spied the most beautiful dog in the world tied to a tree. Right there in front of us was a magnificent grey & white husky!
I could hardly wait for Brian to get home from work so I could ask him about that husky.
Brian told me that she had been given to him by a friend, and that he was looking to find her a new home. Suddenly my heart raced and the dream so long forgotten came back in a rush. I raced home to talk to my Aunt about that beautiful dog.
My Aunt was surprised that I still wanted a husky. She had thought it was just a kid thing that would pass but she saw how much it still meant to me.
My Aunt agreed to let me get that dog and it was the happiest day in my life. After all those years my dream had finally come true. Her name was Silver, but I called her Shay. Shay had a great personality, and her love for kids was beyond explanation.
For the next few months I was the happiest teen in the world!
Shay did that, she made my life better from the first moment I saw her. That big grey & white husky healed my pain, and made me forget all the little things that bother you when you are a teenager. But Shay wasn’t done teaching me yet. She had one more important lesson for this young girl to learn from her.
A few months passed and I was walking with Shay through Greenville one day. My Aunt had a job there at the time as a house keeper, and I had free run of the city. I happened to meet a younger couple with a daughter around the age of 5 years old or so.
The little girl had a bandana around her head, and they explained to me that she was a cancer patient. I can’t for the life of me remember the child’s name, but I remember her exact words to me “When I grow up, I’m going to get my very own husky!”
Emotions filled me in ways I really can’t explain.
I stood there talking to the parents as they had told me how they already had a husky at home, and hoped to have the funds someday to buy their daughter her very own puppy. They didn’t know if they could make it happen before it was too late.
As we talked I noticed Shay with this young girl, laying her head on the child’s lap. Shay just seemed so happy and content next to this sick little girl.
Now being a husky, Shay used to drag me on walks, and could pull my arm off. But when I gave the leash to this girl Shay never tried to yank or pull the leash.
Shay seemed to know that the little girl was very sick.
I don’t know what came over me at that moment but I knew Shay had a higher calling than me. I handed the child the leash and told her that Shay was now hers, if it was okay with the parents.
Mom & dad nearly cried as they thanked me and watched their sick child’s dream come true right before their eyes. And I really didn’t regret my decision. I had a long healthy life ahead of me. That little girl did not.
I knew I’d have another opportunity to own another husky. This sick little girl wrapped her arms around me and said thank you!
She told me she would keep her name and that she would never forget me. Shay licked my hand, but when we said our goodbyes, Shay knew she was going with them because that is where she was needed most.
I still feel like Shay walked into my life as a lesson.
A lesson in selflessness. In giving, and being kind to others. And at age sixteen I really was struggling with life, especially after our move. The fact that I had just changed a little girl’s life made my heart smile.
And to this day I remember her sweet little smile and her fragile and tiny little hands. The look in her eyes when hearing that she now had her very own dog was even better. I don’t know what happened to her or Shay in the end.
But if I know Shay they spent some grand days together no matter how long they lasted. All I have left is this old photo, but her memory will last a lifetime.
That’s why a husky.

The Trail


I love talking about my dogs. It does my soul good to let my feelings run wild.

First of all I want to thank my wife for her part in this Husky adventure. She walked all three dogs at the same time tonight because I had one of those days from hell at work. I’ve walked them like that, and I have nothing but respect for her. It is not an easy task by any means.

It’s a team effort, I can’t do it all by myself unless I retired. As much as I’d like to be, someone has to buy the endless amounts of rawhide chews, harnesses, and the other million things I want to give my dogs. I put my dogs first just like you would your own children. I mean after all they are my children, maybe not in the technical sense but I feel that way about them.

I took on the challenge of the Husky, and I’m forever grateful for them. I’m not a preacher but I suppose I sound that way. It’s because I believe so strongly that I can’t help but expound their virtues. I didn’t buy a Husky, throw him in the back yard and watch TV. They are part of me, part of my family, and they have taught me so much. Maybe you’re dogs can teach you just as much if you take the time to try to understand them like I have.

The animal world has much to teach us dumb humans if we only take the time to observe them. They have simple needs compared to the rest of us. But we bitch… just about everything we can think of. I’m just as guilty of that as you. But I’m changing for the better, I’m learning to think about others before myself. I owe that to my furry friends.

If you are lucky you have this moment in your life where things become clear, and epiphany if you will. A moment in time when it suddenly dawns on you…”I get it!” I’m not an educated man, well actually I am, but college doesn’t mean you know anything that really matters.

College taught me how to write papers, to fit into a job, to be a cog in the machine. No matter what your station in life is, you will struggle at some point. Even the rich have problems, there is no easy path for anyone. There is no reason to be jealous of anyone, they have problems just like you. Be thankful for the good things you do have. Don’t let hate burn you up, it’s not worth it.

My dogs have taught me so much more than college ever did. Like the things that really matter, love, acceptance, and peace that the world will be what it is. There is nothing any of us can do to change what we are more than a little bit, no matter how much we would like to. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to change the stars we were born under, you can improve your situation to some degree. But I believe our lives will be what they were meant to be, no matter how many lottery tickets we buy.

Live each minute like it was your last.

So today’s picture is of Cooper, content after eating a mouse. He helped me rid my garage of the vermin and I appreciate his efforts to help our family. I appreciate him for what he is, the good and the bad, because just like the rest of us he is not perfect by any means. But he means more to me than, “Just a dog.” He is family, just like Nikki and Sammie, and our three cats are.

Find your trail and run it.


The Rule of One (Queen Nikki Tales)

Queen Nikki

Another day has passed living with the Siberians. Today’s lesson is the “Rule of One.” This is a story that I should have written long ago but today seems to be the day.

Our Siberian People are very social, they enjoy living in a pack, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to rearrange the order of it. Picture a board room full of fresh new college recruits. Each one eyeing the other as their first real meeting begins.

They are constantly looking for an opening to assert themselves into a higher position with the boss, and company. They scribble notes, listen to each word anyone says in hopes of using it to their advantage. Scoffing inside when someone says what they perceive to be stupid.

To some degree this describes a pack of Siberians. They all want to be, “The One!”

If they cannot be “The One… of humans…well then, they must find a way to be The One of the Siberians!

In the old days before the Siberian People struck a deal with humans, it was as simple as the Tooth & Nail. Battles were fought to decide who would be the supreme leader of the pack. Those days have long past, but are not forgotten. For the hard wiring of DNA is not so easily tossed aside.

They can go to the Tooth & Nail if they have a weak human in command. And our job is to prevent that. If not a trip to “Club-Med” which is the “Vet” may be in your future.

The Siberians are a clever race. They observe and they learn. And once some idea gets into their heads… they will spend any amount of energy to achieve it.

They will escape by any means with feats equal to Steve McQueen in the movie “The Great Escape.” They will make fools of their jailers by using cunning, and sometimes unimaginable physical feats not thought possible.

Huskies are the equivalent of bored teenagers with the bodies and power of professional athletes, you must never consider yourself smarter than they are. For to do so, will leave you humbled and in awe. Sometimes so much so, that you can’t even be angry. You can only smile, and accept the fact that you were duped in some manner.

In my own observations of my pack, the recent trend to be the one, revolves around a marrow bone. This is the most highly prized treat my dogs have ever encountered. They love them, and will growl at each other like it is life and death. All of that in spite they snub all other forms of food designed for dogs. Most human food will trump the marrow bone but not by much.

I think for the most part… us humans, were raised in thinking things should be fair. Share your toys, equal the playing field for games, make rules so that everything is “Fair.”

This concept falls on deaf ears with the Siberians. They really don’t get it at all. It goes against the thousands of years of DNA that made them survive. To a Siberian, there is no such thing as “Fair.”

So, each morning when I let my people go. They go outside, and wait for the precious marrow bones to be distributed. They distinguish week days from weekends by my morning ritual.

When the alarm clock goes off at 4:30 AM I get up and turn it off. I say to them, “Time to go to work.” On the weekends this doesn’t happen of course, and they have learned that when I say “Work” I will be gone all day.

They also know that no amount of crying or fussing is going to change that. So, they wait for the treat I have. This payment is a tribute on my part.

Paying this tribute allows me to take a shower, get dressed, and have a cup of coffee in silence. I don’t have to run downstairs and outside to appease them. This works to keep my wife sleeping without being disturbed by my early morning hours.

Being fair-minded I give one to Nikki, and then Cooper, and they trot off as proud as if they had just killed a wildebeest. I take another up to Sammie who is waiting with just as much anticipation for hers. She just prefers her deck side penthouse in her old age. The young dogs have lost their appeal to her.

The weekend is a different matter entirely.

The marrow bones are kept frozen. It takes a while usually an hour before the dogs can eat that delicious marrow. Each one guards their prize and eyes the others intently.

You see the Siberians also have no problem with the concept of theft. They believe if you can steal it, you deserve to have it. Once again “Fair” does not enter into the equation at all.

Now Mr. Cooper being a gentle beast of large proportions, would be happy to enjoy his bone without the upstart Nikki constantly trying to steal it. It doesn’t matter to her that she already has one, the fact that he also has one cannot be tolerated!

Ms. Nikki lives the rule of one. She is “The One.” At least in her mind she is, and will do anything to remind all of that fact.

Somehow, she manages to steal Coopers bone from him. I’m not sure how she does it, but I soon hear the after effects of someone not happy.

Cooper will be whining and talking in “Roo-Roo” this is the native language of his people, Telling the world of his misfortune, and pain.

Being of fair mind, I go to help him. After all he is my child just as Nikki is, and I want them both to be happy.

I find Nikki with a bone in her mouth. Standing above the stolen bone and letting out this God Awful “ROOOoooodle!” whenever Cooper gets anywhere close.

Being very wise Cooper is afraid of the Queen, and he keeps his distance, and Roo-Roos his frustration of having been burglarized of his precious treat.

When the Queen sees me coming, she knows the tides will soon be turned. She stuffs her mouth with both bones and runs. Looking back at me and Cooper, she continues the call of the “ROOooodle!” Just to remind us that we are challenging the rule of one.

One time I found her guarding a pile of old chewie’s and a few bones. Now she will never confront me with Tooth & Claw but she is not happy about my interference in the Queens business.

In that case I took the pile of booty and threw them one by one, all around the yard. Very far as I have a huge yard.

Nikki looked at me with this face, “How could you do that?” shot from her eyes to mine. Then she ran to try and regroup her pile of stolen bones.

There was no way she could cover all that distance before Cooper snatched up one of the bones and high tailed it to safety. His precious bone clamped between his massive jaws with a force that would equal the “Jaws of life.”

To be safe, I’ve also thrown out 4 marrow bones at the same time. This befuddles the Queen, because she cannot fit them all into her mouth for safe keeping. So, the rule of one can be broken by us if we use the big brains we were given.

As smart as they are, the Siberian People can be out foxed at times. You just have to find their weakness, and use it against them.

“Is that fair?” You ask me.

No, but I’ve learned from the best.


“If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”
~ Erma Bombeck

Training Notes: December 17, 2016


Today’s topic is about training. Even though I train my huskies to be sled dogs or urban mushing machines, you can take these ideas and apply them to your own situation. Training to follow commands works in more ways than one.

My disclaimer is that just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it works for you, or your husky. Just like people… dogs each have their own personality, and you have to understand your own dog to find what works.

To start with I have three dogs. They are all very different from each other. My first husky Sammie (now 10 years old) is not a normal husky; she is an outlier from the norm. She likes to bake herself in the sun, doesn’t want to pull, and for the most part is a normal dog, but far from what you would expect from a husky.

Honestly this is probably the result of over breeding, and the loss of real husky traits like “Pulling.” I’ve been told that this can disappear in 3 generations if they don’t work.  I didn’t know that when I bought her. In spite of that she is a great dog…just not a working husky. She would be more suited to an apartment than a sled.

Imagine my surprise when I got Cooper!

He was the total opposite and I had to learn fast what the hell was going on. Cooper was my first insight into what a real husky is. Driven is the best way to describe him. He wants to go and if he has to drag you along with him…so be it. That is what a husky does when they pull and run.

His first year I walked him three times a day. Always correcting him and teaching him what I wanted. It was a battle of wills, but I won in the end. We walked an estimated 1000 miles his first year.

Cooper also slept on my deck at night, and to this day he prefers to be outside. By himself because I didn’t want to clean up any messes. (Yes, I was learning as well.)

As a puppy Nikki slept on our bed from day one, and to this day she prefers to be inside at night, but not on the bed any longer because she gets too warm.

Now the results of these two extremes are easy to see now that they are adults.

Cooper is quite content to be outside provided the temperature is cold enough to keep him comfortable. In his case the colder the better. Nikki on the other hand likes to be with us even if it is too warm for her in the house. She is more attached to us than Cooper. It took Cooper two years before he showed attachment like she has. And that only came from the bond we formed running together as a team.

There is a lesson in this. And that is what you do that first year leaves a lasting impression on these dogs. Both are very loving members of our pack, but they have different taste in sleeping arrangements. They also have different levels of attachment to us.

So, my assumption based on them is that huskies in that first year can be raised to be like normal dogs for the most part. Meaning indoor members of the family, or they can grow up thinking outdoors is king. Never mind the chewing, destroying toys and beds, and zoomies etc. Some things don’t change.

Cooper will be 3 this December. Cooper is so well-trained that just a little grunt of a command he reacts. His job is to go down the road and he takes it very seriously. I’ve not spent as much time walking Nikki like I did the Coop, but all is not lost. The work I put into him that first year made training Nikki much easier.

The time I spent with him makes it possible for him to actually train Nikki.

I tied her with a neck line to him, and off we went. He teaches her, and has the strength to make my life easier. Instead of two dogs pulling on me, Cooper resist her pulling and he deals with it instead of me. He pulls her back into formation or applies the brakes if needed.

Let’s face it, he has more strength than me, and all I have to do is follow along. Both of them learned directional commands right away. Cooper leading the way.

I always work directional commands. Because the dogs are in front of me at all times. It comes in handy even if you are not on a sled.

I hear a car coming behind me and give a “Haw or Gee” command and they switch sides of the street like clockwork. The same thing happens when we are approaching someone else walking their dog. One command and they switch sides of the street and we pass. All done with one word, no pulling and yanking of leashes etc.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that your dogs should learn their directional commands. It comes in very useful for many things. The command to slow down or stop is something that huskies don’t appreciate too much. Huskies want to run, and the faster the better as far as they are concerned.

Why is that important? This is the part about understanding the husky. This is where you need to get into their mind and understand why they do things. For if you understand the “Why?” you have a clue as to how to use it.

Huskies have a great desire to see new things. To explore, and to have new adventures. This is what drives them to escape and run for miles. This is what drove them to pull sleds and see new things. It’s the free spirit in them that makes it possible. Just like their masters, they were explorers and adventurers. They don’t care about risks as much as seeing what is around the next bend in the road. Pulling a human with them is just a minor inconvenience. They are strong enough to drag you along since we are too slow for a husky’s taste.

So now that we know that, the only way to teach “Whoa” is to give the command, “Whoa!” in my case, and pull them to a stop. Then when they want to take off again, you turn your back and go the opposite direction, or just stand there with your back turned. Not obeying means we don’t go forward. Obeying means we do and you dogs get to see more new things.

Even refusing to move until you are ready works. When they have given up hope you say, “Hike” in my case and off you go. They have to learn that you are in command, and it takes time. It takes a lot of time and repetition. In time they will get it, if you don’t give in. Most things with a husky are a test of wills.

Who is the boss? You or the husky?

They will test you every day until they realize you are in command. You don’t have to be mean, but you have to be firm and steadfast in what you want. Huskies understand strength, and will eventually accept you as the leader.

You earn this respect and obedience, and it is not easily won. Winning over a husky with your mind will give you a dog you can count on more than if you beat them into submission. They will accept you as a leader but only if you show them you are fair and consistent.

I think the biggest mistake all people make with dogs is they fall so in love with them that they give up who is in charge. They fall into the trap that dogs think and reason as well as we do. You cannot let this happen. They are not humans…they are dogs. And to hope that they will think like us is a huge mistake.

You have to think like a husky! Because they are not going to think like you!

I love my dogs to death! I want to give them the benefit of doubt because I love them so much. The hardest thing you will ever do is remember they are not human. You have to guide them into your world. You have to be strong first, because a husky will not accept a weak leader. And they will not accept an abusive one either.

Unlike us, the husky will not hate you for being strong and giving direction. In fact, they will love you more because that is what they understand. That is about putting yourself into the mind of the husky. That is about meeting them half-way. Understanding what they need and want, and teaching them what you need and want in return.

It all starts with understanding where this dog came from. For thousands of years he did one thing and you need to know why. That is the secret… if there is one to huskies.

I’m not here to tell you how to raise your dog. I’m just pointing out lessons I’ve learned along my own journey. You will learn your own lessons as well. You and your husky will run your own trails of life.

May your trail together be blessed with good fortune and fast snow.


Call of the Wild


Today I want to talk about the challenges of having multiple dogs. It’s similar to having multiple children. With one… you know who did it. With several… you have to grill them into confessing. That is easier done with kids than dogs.

When you find your new sneakers ripped up, who are you going to blame? You show it to your pack and ask, “Who did this?” and they all look guilty. I guess because they all would have liked to have chewed them up even if they didn’t do it.

The crime will go unsolved unless you catch them red-handed. All things of value must be put up high until they reach the age where they know better than to eat dad’s shoes. Just part of raising multiple dogs.

A new thing happened today. Nikki is recovering from her surgery (Spay) and I don’t want her to rip out her stitches. I’ve kept her confined with me now for 4 days. She did really well, but you can only keep a husky quiet for so long.

This afternoon she was laying in her dog bed with her favorite toy and suddenly raised her little snout and let out this long sad howl. My huskies for the most part don’t howl unless they are unhappy. She missed being with Cooper and Sammie… and more so being able to be herself.

The Call of the Wild, the howl to be free, and the free spirit bred into her for generations. I listened to her because that’s what a good leader does.

Because of the fight a few weeks ago with Sammie over a treat, I’ve had to keep them apart unless one is on a leash. Sammie got a chomped on the ear in the last engagement, but wasn’t about to back down. So now those two must be supervised when they are together, one with a muzzle or all hell might break loose.

This is one of those times when you must be the leader and make decisions for the safety of your dogs. Just like you would make a hard decision about one of your own children.

It is not unusual for dogs to not like each other over something. From what I’ve read this is pretty common since day one for those who run dog sled teams. The trick is to know your dogs and plan accordingly. Once again, they are not humans willing to listen to logic…they are dogs first, and your buddy second.

To compound the problems now that Nikki is feeling better I have to give each of them “Yard Time.” In this case it becomes complicated by Nikki’s surgery. You see her and Cooper play really rough. Lots of zoomies and crazy husky stuff.

To sum it up, I’ve spent all day rotating dogs from the deck to the yard. Also trying to give them some time to be with another husky. You see as much as they love us, they also need husky time with each other. I’ve seen how my huskies immediately gravitate towards a strange husky. They know who they are kin to.

This is all part of being a good leader for your pack…doing what is required no matter how tired you are or if a good show is on TV.

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” This saying has also been translated to “the only constant is change.”

This is so true with huskies!

They change quite a bit as they age. They change depending on the dynamics of the pack, they change just because they are bored. They change all the time as they grow and learn. Do not expect them to remain the same for very long. You must be on your toes as some of these changes are subtle but might lead to what seems like a sudden change that makes you think they have lost their minds.

You missed the signs leading up to it. That is why you need to spend time with them every day and actually observe them. That is how you learn about your own husky(s).

Multiple dogs bring multiple situations you have to figure out and deal with. All I can say is you have to do the best you can…weigh the risk to your dogs vs. the wellbeing of the pack (that includes your family.) Then select the best option you can. Just like kids you cannot protect them completely. And you will never be able to predict how they will act in any given situation until afterword’s.

You do the best you can, and hope for the best. You won’t always be right, but you will know you made the best choice you could, given your own set of circumstances. To not make a decision is worse than making one based on what you know at the time.

When you get more huskies, you have to become more in tune with each one. Just like people they each have their own personalities and react to others by the way they are treated. You not only have to look at each dog, but you have to look at the state of the entire pack.

The pack is made up of individuals. Each one unique in its own personality. But when combined these individuals can form a group mentality. It can be either positive or negative. What makes a good team of anything is when all the pieces fit to the benefit of all. That is called synergy: When the group produces a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects (good or bad.)

This is where you come in as the leader. This is when all you’ve done with each individual dog pays off.  From pulling sleds or living together as one big happy family. The work you put in, or don’t put in will show up.

An example from my friend Jonathan Nathaniel Hayes in his book, “MUSH, Leadership lessons learned from a lead dog.”

In my own words, not his:

Each dog learned that I can control him working one on one. I say stop and can make him stop. He learns the commands and knows I can enforce them. So, when you have 14 dogs hooked to a sled if they decide to run…I cannot physically stop them. But they stop for me.

Why? Because each dog on the team thinks I can.

The point I learned from this example is having a dog or a pack under control is the same. The dogs think you can control them so they obey. If they don’t think you can control them you’ve already lost the battle. It’s not about being mean or abusive, it’s about getting into the mind of the husky.

Learn how you dog(s) think and you will go far with a lot less trouble along the way.

Just food for thought on your journey with the husky.





From my archive: Raising huskies, November 23, 2015


I suppose you wonder why I write all these observations. To tell you the truth I’m not sure, maybe it will help someone who is brave enough to get a Husky. Maybe it will help dog owners in general. I don’t know but for me it is a record of my trials and tribulations.

Today’s observations are about the pack. Yes, the pack is a social network that only dogs understand. It’s in their DNA and no matter how much you’d like to do away with it, you can’t.

Observation 1: I’ve watched a hundred videos of Huskies howling and chomping at the bit to be selected to be attached to a sled. The funny thing is when I get out Coopers harness out he puts his ears flat and absolutely does not want his harness put on him.

I had a hard time understanding this behavior and wondered what I was doing wrong. Then after looking at the videos I figured it out. Huskies that work for a living are chained to a stake with a dog house nearby.

It’s not cruel but a necessity because if you let a Husky off his lead he is gone. The free spirit in these dogs is strong. They want to roam, hunt, and do the things wolves do. It finally made sense to me. They are a working breed and not all huskies live in the house.

Chained dogs want to escape their bonds and run. Anything is better than being tied up and I don’t blame them. So, when I compare Coopers somewhat freedom of a huge fenced property it makes sense to me. Once he is hooked up to my bike he loves it. He runs, and he does what Huskies have done for thousands of years. He loves to run, and it’s just getting started that is the problem.

Observation 2: This is the one that won’t win me any new friends but it is…what it is. The biggest mistake people make with their dogs is they fall into the trap of believing they are humans. I admit it is easy to fall so in love with your dog that you think he has the same brain power that you do.

Dogs do not have the same emotions that we have. They have a very structured society with its own rules. They are not PEOPLE! This is the thing you must remember above all else. If your dog has problems it is probably because you forgot he/she is a dog and not a person.

So, this part will not be taken well by those of you who think dogs are people. If you follow my posts you know that I love my dogs to death! But I remember they are dogs not my children.

Huskies are rough, tough, and have a spirit to dominate. That is what made them capable of surviving in the harshest climates in the world. They have a huge prey drive and are quite capable of killing smaller animals in order to eat. To a Husky, anything smaller than they are, is a potential meal. Cats, squirrels, yes and even dogs are on the menu.

Huskies want a structured pack. Having served in the Military I understand this more than those of you who have not. There is a chain of command and the leader must lead or all hell breaks loose. Huskies want to know where they stand, who the boss is, and who is not.

Cooper is feeling his oats and is almost a year old. He wants to lead and dominate the girls. He can’t take Sammie yet, and she is the Alpha female and will put him in his place even though he outweighs her. She is a tough girl, and won’t take any shit from him.

That leaves poor Nikki, barely 10 weeks old trying to find her place in our pack, and live another day. For the most part Cooper loves her and they play nice, but sometimes he forgets how huge he is. Nikki is a pup and not ready to hold her own yet.

That’s when I step in and remind him that what every he is doing is enough. I don’t do it out of hate, or some strange power trip. I do it because it’s required to keep order and my dog’s safe from each other. This is the part that people have a hard time dealing with. They forget that these are dogs and not people.

Dogs do not hold grudges, plan to burn your house down, or kill you in your sleep for applying discipline. They expect discipline, because that’s how it’s been for thousands of years. Someone has to lead, and as an owner that is you.

No human in my family will be subservient to our dogs. That is not acceptable if you want to have a great relationship with your pack. Human’s first, dogs second. The pack hierarchy below that is up to the dogs. But human rule is a must. Not for every little thing but for safety of all.

So, for today’s lesson: Cooper and Nikki are enjoying a healthy play session. I’m standing there running interference for the small one. Cooper has never been around puppies before, and for the most part he does really well.

But just like two siblings who start out wrestling, it can quickly escalate into a dangerous scenario in which someone gets hurt. I’m right there and Cooper has his giant alligator jaws around Nikki’s neck. Usually he controls himself but in the heat of dog battle he forgets and squeezes enough to make her squeal in pain.

This is the dog’s way of telling the offender, “Too Hard!”

I grab him by the scruff and yell, “NO!” And give him a good shake, not hard enough to hurt him, but it makes him jump back and look at me. Does he hate me now? No, thirty seconds later he comes over and licks my face.

This discipline is probably less than he would have received from another dog in the real world. He probably would have received a painful bite.

He’s learned that I’m in charge and that what he did was not acceptable. Most people say you should never man-handle your dog. I would agree if it is done in anger, but when you have big powerful animals. Just yelling “please no baby” does not faze them.

Nikki survived, and was back jumping in his face a minute later. She has lessons to learn also, and sometimes Cooper reminds her that she has gone too far. In the real world, this would play out to its natural conclusion.

Nikki might go too far, and receive a terrible bite. I won’t allow that to happen, so I do what is needed to maintain order, without disturbing their natural tendencies as much as possible. So, disagree with me if you want, but that is how you raise dogs. Especially dogs powerful dogs full of independence.

Sometimes you have to be the boss no matter what is going on. Just remember they are not people. It’s not cruel to maintain discipline in your dogs. They are stronger, faster, but not smarter than you.

Do your dogs a favor, apply the amount of discipline they need. Be the leader but fair at the same time. Don’t let your dog’s rule your life. It’s a partnership and all of you have to do your part.

You are the leader, be a good one.


From the annals of Queen Nikki – 3


As we prepare for winter here in the palace there is much to do. Cut and stack a supply of firewood, close the swimming pool, power wash the deck, get the driveway sealed, and my least favorite…stain all the wood decks.

This weekend I tackled staining the decks. This is a laborious undertaking and to be quite frank the paintbrush and roller just don’t fit my hand. Physically yes, but mentally no. I hate painting in all forms, and then the cleanup is the cherry on the cake.

So, this morning I worked on the front deck. This deck looks down and out on a quarter acre of fenced in grass (Weeds and clover) that make up the stomping grounds for the queen and her loyal subject Mr. Cooper.

I was not in the best mood but I got busy because I’m running out of warm days. From my vantage point above the grounds I got to watch another episode of “Huskiness.” Yes, the drama between two huskies who don’t know how to paint any better than I do.

Typically, each morning begins with the distribution of frozen marrow bones. Each dog patiently awaiting these royal delicacies. It’s ritual that started with me trying to take a shower and drink at least one cup of coffee undisturbed.

You see when I get up I need some time and “QUIET” until I’m a functioning person. I don’t like to hear dogs throwing fits over anything. I like to ease into the day, not be forced into the middle of some hurricane uproar and the bones help. With the bones, I get at least 45 minutes of peace and quiet.

I guess after several months of this Queen Nikki discovered she was being hoodwinked, bamboozled, and how her royal highness was being made a fool of in front of all dogdom.

Once she discovered this, the amount of time of my tranquility has slowly being cut shorter each morning. You can dupe the Queen for a while, but eventually she sees through the plan.

Queen Nikki has practiced her Ninja skills and honed them to a fine edge. A process made easier by Cooper’s easy go attitude and lack of concentration. He knows the Queen would like to have his bone as well as hers. In fact, she would like to have every bone in all the kingdoms be under her control.

And even though Cooper knows all of this he sometimes blinks. His attention going elsewhere to some dog walkers or a cat cry.

In an instant, the Queen becomes a supersonic black and white cruise missile. She races forward with bone in mouth and snatches up his bone. Even with two bones in her mouth she releases this loud “Roooodle!” To let the whole block, know that she is still, “The Queen!”

I’m still amazed that this little mouth stuffed with two bones can achieve the volume of a marching band on steroids! The tone is that of a dying calf in a mud hole. I’m surprised animal control has not been by to check on complaints of animal cruelty.

To add to this is Mr. Cooper. He Roo-Roos constantly until I come out and save him from the Queen.

I run out to stop the noise…the noise of two dogs that sounds like a pack being boiled in oil.

I’ve talked of this before but today things changed. If you followed me you know I’ve said how huskies never stay the same for long. They think and they learn. Even Cooper who is not so fast in the brain department learns and adjust his plans. It just takes him a bit longer to solve a problem than Nikki.

Today was Coopers day. I had a seat in the balcony of my deck and got to see the whole episode.

Now, I’m staining the railing and not really happy about it. Nikki has buried one bone and stolen Coopers as an extra bonus. She is laying down there in front of him taking her time knowing on it.

Coop is not happy and begins his “Roo-Roo” speech. I told him to shut-up as I’d only had one cup of coffee. This he does and plops down with his head on his front paws eyeing the Queen.

I take notice because he actually did something I told him. But for once his brain is clicking and I was lucky enough to witness it.

He rolls around and plays like that bone really doesn’t matter to him. He’s looking around goes trotting off snooping the fence line and such. This bother’s the Queen because her fun of teasing has ended.

The Queen is momentarily off her guard at this new display or lack of attention to her and the bone.

So, Coop comes back and plops down, not seeming to care in the least about the bone she stole from him. Only 3 or 4 feet separate them as he gets up and does the husky stretch. First the front leg bow, and then the rear leg stretches.

Dumbfounded Nikki watches him with the bone between her front legs. He appears to not even notice as he appears to be just trotting by her.

With the reflexes of a cat he snatches up the bone from between her legs and goes into full after-burner. He is 50 yards away before she even realizes what had just happened!

I swear she was blowing smoke out of her nostrils when she went after him. The Queen was pissed off!

Her one subject had just duped her and was quickly vanishing with the bone!

I was laughing as she chased him all over the property. Now Coop is 20 pounds heavier but several inches taller with a huge stride. Whenever she got close he just exploded in a burst of speed that made her even more mad.

After several laps around the acre of ground both of them were exhausted. Coop dropped the bone and settled down for a nap. Nikki was tired as well and joined him.

No walk was needed this morning after that display of husky sprinting. Cooper was content that he’d outfoxed his tormentor.

I went back to work on the deck. Another chapter in the behavior of my dogs logged in my head.

They are quite the pair, and I’m happy I got to see Coopers revenge.


%d bloggers like this: