dogs, mud, snow, horse poop

yep…

 

Denali is a demure little girl. She would like this dog yard to be carpeted, and not in horse poop. (It is also a horse pasture). She is trying to teach Rev some manners.

Rev is new here, and thinks horse poop is the greatest thing since mud.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaas. He will roll in it.

He has discovered that if he comes to the fence when called, he gets bikkies.

Unfortunately, for the fence, he does hakas, and shreds the electric rope. Fortunately he is airborne while he touches the electric rope. Fortunately for him, not so much for the fence.

 

Both are Siberian huskies. Both were rehomed from other folks. They appear very different: Denali is a typical Siberian, slightly fluffy coat, medium size (about 45 pounds), blue eyes (they can be blue or brown or combinations of both).

Rev is a racing type, taller, leaner and shorter coated, bred for speed and not type. He is high energy and very loud. He sits nicely for dinner. Strong like bull, smart like tractor. Did I mention he loves horse poop?

 

Mushing, bike-joring, ski-joring and other “sled dog” sports are perfect for any dog who loves to run (most of them, except perhaps very short legged, or short muzzled (brachycephalic) dogs. Max the 16 pound Schipperke ran with my Siberians (at his pace) for a couple years. To learn more, look here: http://www.swordwhale.com/mushing-101.html

So you think you want a Siberian?

Check out the rest of that page there. About halfway down is a heading shouting DO YOU REALLY WANT A HUSKY???? It outlines the wonders, and dangers, of this breed.

 

  • Expect your Siberian (or other northern breed) to be independent minded. It’s rather like training a fifty pound cat. He might be a cute puppy, but he WILL GROW UP.
  • Never, ever trust them off a leash. Ever. Really. Seriously. People running well trained huskies in the Iditarod have lost dogs on the trail (usually finding them a week later, when they follow the trail into the next checkpoint) because there was a tangle and someone got loose. That’s the wilds of Alaska, where the biggest danger is moose and cold. Your neighborhood is worse: it has cars and perhaps evil people.
  • Use real serious fence; 6′ tall. A foot underground, or otherwise made undiggable. A secure kennel is undiggable and has a wire ceiling. You dog may stay in a lesser fence… until he sees a squirrel or the neighbor’s cat.
  • Have airlocks. Your yard fence, your kennel fence, your house doors…should all have an “airlock”, a space between gates or doors, so you can’t open a door and have the dog blow through into the wilds of suburbia.
  • Never leave them alone with small children or other animals (like cats). Sibes are very kid friendly, but small kids or babies can make prey item noises and trigger the prey drive. Some Sibes are good with cats… but ALWAYS under supervision.
  • Keep a really good grip on that leash. Or hook it into a dog-walking belt.
  • Haltis or Gentle Leaders fit around the dog’s head like a horse halter. They make it easier to lead your gung-ho Siberian. Make it a game (with treats) when you introduce the halter to the dog (they will try to rub it off at first).
  • Never tie your dog with something she can chew through: use chain or cable. (we’re talking a temporary tieout, as in, to a dogtruck on a mushing run, or in your yard for a short time). Let me tell you about the time B’loo broke a rope tie at the truck and ran through Carlisle’s 250th Anniversary parade… chains, use chains. And don’t use those breakaway buckles on collars you are tying a dog with.
  • Never underestimate the power of a high value treat. Some Sibes are boooooored by balls and toys, though furry ones that squeak resemble dying rabbits and are fun.
  • Get a good set of shedding tools: rakes and such. You’ll need them.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Make learning fun. Think from the Siberian viewpoint, which is: “what’s in it for me?” Being fun and consistent, setting solid boundaries, being dependable, makes you the pack leader, not being aggressive.
  • Give your dog a job. None of my Siberians like to chase balls or fetch or play frisbee. Booooooooring! They do like to run for miles on a new trail. Hook them up to a bike or scooter, and go for a run. If you run (in sneakers) they’ll like that too (it’s a legitimate sport called canicross). They might enjoy agility, or dancing with your dog (freestyle), or even swimming. If you want to do obedience and win, get a Golden Retriever.

 

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