Sled Dog Fundamentals Training Weekend
Back in May I was invited to attend a Sled Dog Fundamentals Training weekend held just north of Otaki. It was run by Curt and Fleur Perano, of Underdog NZ, who together have many years of experience running, racing and caring for sled dogs here and overseas. Check out their website for a full bio. This weekend was all about the fundamentals of training and developing a team of dogs by putting them in situations to expose problem areas. Then patiently working with dog and musher to overcome difficulties, move forward and create new behaviours.
Friday evening everyone gathered upstairs in the conference room where Curt gave an outlined of the weekend format, discussed different equipment, answering any initial questions from the group. Merlin, the Alaskan Husky, was along for the weekend to assist with demonstrations of how a seasoned sled dog behaves and works.
Saturday was filled with Pull Training, Leader Training Basics and a forest training run. Curt and Fleur explained the basics of sizing harnesses correctly for each dog, equipment, and good techniques. Then spent time with each team ensuring the set up was right for the dogs. They took whatever time was needed to make sure every person had one on one input from them, even if that meant running way past schedule.
It was obvious from the outset that they loved the dogs and what they do as well as have sincere commitment to passing on their knowledge to help others enjoy and thrive in the sport.
Late afternoon on Saturday the rains closed in so I chose to skip the training run. Before leaving that day I did spot this cool sketch that Kyle drew on the conference room whiteboard.
Sunday followed on with more leadership development, how to train dogs individually before harnessing in a team and practising these skills under the watchful eye of Curt and Fleur. The day ended with a forest training run. Watching all teams running, passing on by it really showed that all had made noticeable improvements from the two days of intense work.
And here I am with Merlin 🙂