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Thread: meet team cheechako

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default meet team cheechako

    don't know what I'm doing, but sure is alot of fun! it's also very frustrating at times.

    No official lead dog as of yet, though I've tried all four of em up front. I've burnt two inches off the waste, and spend alot of time sliding on my a s s with the sled on it's side up in Hatchers.

    The big wooly red, is Neena. She's a 3 yr old malamute. She's the mother of the two white dogs, which are great pyrenees and malamute= bad pyramute.

    Their names are Mao Jr, and Reeba (sister n brother). They're both 15 months old

    The latest guy is Akita and Malamute. He's a knucklehead, does his own thing, but getting better. If he had a moto it would be : "I don't give a f!, I do what ahh want!" Very aggressive, he's attacked all other dogs, and me. He got some serious bite-force in his jaw, he tore my thick wool hunting jacket. He was very thin when I got him, not his fault. I double feed him, and he's thickening up well. He pulls good, but likes to wander, and tangle up the other dogs.

    I've only run the sled about six times, and each time gets better. Mao Jr. has the best work ethic of the entire group. He's 147 lbs at 15 months, and he LOVES to pull. Just him alone, he can pull me up a mountain pass.

    20 gallons of turd per week needs to be picked up. They eat 40 lbs of dry food and 20 lbs of moose scraps per week.

    There is so much to learn, it's way harder than jumping on a snow machine and joy riding. I've a new found respect for folks that run dogs!


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    Awesome. Are you more excited about losing the inches or learning?

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    reeba, and the "malkita" piva


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    Good looking team, Mike.


    Piva just looks like a handful, to be sure.

    It was cool running into you the other day at Vagabond, sorry I couldn't chat longer, it's pre-season time and we had a lot of stuff to discuss at that table. Good luck on the sledding!
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    thanks. in tenderfoot fashion, i'm thinking about inscribing an "H' on my left glove, and a "G" on my right glove. I keep getting them mixed up.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Good looking dogs, man.

    As a "former" musher who still has a dozen or so dogs, if you ever have any questions on equipment, training tips, etc , shoot me a pm or give me a call.

    When all the cylinders are firing in the correct order, there is nothing on earth as satisfying as being on a dogsled in the wilderness. It takes a while to get to that point, but the journey is fun too. You will learn a lot, and swear a lot, training dogs to be leaders that have never been leaders. If you have one good leader, you can let them do the training for you. The dogs learn from other dogs better than from you sometimes.

    A couple of little gems I learned from others who have helped me:

    Try to set things up so they succeed without your intervention whenever you can. Let them learn to do the right thing because it is the best thing, and not because its the thing you made them do.....for example: go out ahead of time and put a piece of brush in the wrong branch of the trail so when you call haw, they will want to follow that command rather than run into the brush.

    Anytime you let a dog get away with a undesirable behavior that the dog knows is wrong(key is that the dog knows it is wrong)...the dog has to do it right 10 times to get over having "got away with it" once. Dogs brains are funny that way.

    I know how it is to be a novice musher for sure....I spent a whole winter running a 4 dog team with little or no guidance, so I learned a lot of things the hard way and made some mistakes that came back to haunt me in later years...dogs learning habits that had to be unlearned...the day I bought a bonifide lead dog from a well known musher was the day the light came on in my head and I realized that I had been really limited due to my inability to train leaders adequately.

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Can you borrow an experienced sled dog from someone. That's the best way for your dogs to learn. Good luck and have fun. Gorgeous dogs by the way!
    Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    thanks for the advice folks, greatly appreciated. the malkita actually knows commands, as he's pulled before. I really need to get some neck lines made up, that might alleviate some of the frustrating wandering? been teaching them to wait patiently while I tend to other things. when I say, "go get em!", they take off like a rocket ship. that's the best time, the first hour when they pull fast, and don't wander.

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    Yes, good lookin' dogs. The Yupiit would call them qimulviit or qimugtarpiat- "real dogs", as in the long haul mushing kind instead of the mixed up, small racing dogs and pets. When I lived in a village, I had a team for just one year and then I had to move and sold my team and sled. It was fun while it lasted, but I don't think I would want that responsibility again. I respect folks who do however.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I had a pair of siblings that I got from Jerome Longo back in the day. They were 1/2 Greenland Inuit bloodlines. They were amazing, chose to sleep outdoors at -30F, worked hard, had perfect feet, and never refused a meal while I owned them. Neither of them would ever run lead for me and they were always in some sort of trouble. One of my mushing mentors called them "liquid plumber" dogs. Pour them in harness and let them do their job. RIP, Rich and Raven...

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    Those dogs look awesome! I have to say that a less stubborn human would likely start with less than 600 lbs of a dog team pulling him! I know nothing of mushing but love dogs and I wish you all the best with them.

    Thank you for being patient with the Akita mix- dogs can't help their pasts!

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    That looks great, really great, except your sled doesn't look to be quite wide enough to mount my recliner onto.... Do I need a smaller recliner, or you a wider sled?

    Maybe someone on here has a deader ATV you can get for cheap/almost-free, for those strong dogs to pull around during the summer? They'd love that I bet. All you'd need is the tires, running and steering gear - no running-engine required.

    Now that those pups are starting to work for a livin', you don't want to put a stop to that I bet.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    sometimes, I wonder if I have dogs from a detroit dog fighting ring, or sled dogs. The mother n daughter tore into each other last night. I kept trying to break it up, but I lack the strength to do so. Blows on the head did nothing. Finally, I got a 15 ft running head-start, and tackled the big red to the ground. I then kicked at the female pyramute as she came in for cheap shots. Brutal, and very daunting. All this over moose bones.

    Big red got two good gashes on the nose, the pyremute had a scratch on the ear.

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    Glad they weren't hurt worse (thick coats) and very glad you are okay. Determined dogs going at each other are extremely difficult to separate. It has always amazed me that dogs that realize one is alpha can still fight over food....
    Stay safe,
    Brian

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    I was taught to never break up a dog fight with my hands. i have a few scars from learning the hard way though. Dont know if it will be as effective with mals, but what you want to do when possible is use an empty bucket or something big, loud and harmless. Come down in the middle of them with that bucket hard, the surprise is often enough to break it up momentarily. Otherwise use whatever you have at hand, shovels trail stakes, feed scoop etc. A dog fight can be a serious fight to the death and can make dogs enemies for life. Some of my worse mushing days involved dog fights.

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    thanks dave,

    yeah, I was running out of options as blood poured over the snow. when I tackled big red, seemed like I went into a tazmanian devil-style tornado of hair, blood, and fangs. My neighbors must think I'm crazy, screaming at the top of my lungs, with one dog in a choke hold, laying on my back kicking at the other dog.

    It was my fault. I lost one of the dog's collars while running the sled, so made one out of webbing as a temporary thing. big red got three moose bones at her dog house now, but she didn't get her daughter's moose bone. looks like she met her match.

    brian, yeah that thick fur round the neck probably stopped alot of damage.

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    Ouch! If you have two people or one dog is on a chain, you can pull them away by grabbing their hind legs up and pulling them back. But that doesn't help much if they are in a free for all and you are by yourself.
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    thanks star, I'll keep that in mind. I'm uncertain, but big red is in heat, would this hormonal change make her instigate fights with other females?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    thanks star, I'll keep that in mind. I'm uncertain, but big red is in heat, would this hormonal change make her instigate fights with other females?
    I have seen with hog-dogs that when they are in heat they get more territorial and thus more aggressive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    thanks star, I'll keep that in mind. I'm uncertain, but big red is in heat, would this hormonal change make her instigate fights with other females?
    !! YES.

    One thing I've found works pretty well for breaking up fights is spray cleaner in the face. I've been bitten breaking up dog fights; hurts like a son of a gun.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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