Interested in dog mushing, need resources/advice
Looks like I will be staying in Fairbanks for the long haul and am interested in dog mushing. How does one go about getting into this sport? I have no expereince. How do you start from scratch as far as learning, gathering equipment, obtaining and raising dogs? I don't think it is a good idea to just go out and buy some dogs and a sled and start training them. How do I get my foot in the door and learn to be a musher?
Also, how do I convince my fiance from Kentucky that this is a good idea as opposed to just getting a snow machine (she's in her 4th year of vet school by the way, and isn't crazy about most breeds commonly associated with mushing)?
Any advice or links to resources would be greatly appreciated.
Volunteer to be a handler for a season for an already established musher in exchange for training. That way you learn the ropes with out the expense of starting your own kennel and investing in a sport that you may find isn't something you are that interested in after all. Or you will find out that it is everything you thought it was and start spending all your money on dog food and gear hahaha.
Visit Aliy Zirkle's blog for a great overview of a musher's lifestyle.
I'll go against the conventional wisdom just a little...
Yep, go visit some kennels, learn what you can, ask alot of questions, see if you can help out with some chores and maybe run a small team...
Then if your still interested and serious, get 3 or 4 dogs FROM A MUSHER. Make sure they are experienced SLED DOGS. Maybe they'll let you borrow them for the season if you take care of them. Get some old beat up harnesses and a junk sled.
Then run those 3 or 4 dogs on short runs...alot. Those 4 dogs will teach you alot of what you need to know as the basics. After one season you will know if you do or dont want to continue and having only a few dogs may not overwelm your wife with the "lifestyle".