Learning how to run a dog team

For years I have toyed with the idea of having my own dog team, and this winter I find myself with three retired Inuit sled dogs and a whole lot of enthusiasm for dog sledding! It's every bit as fantastic as I'd hoped. So much to learn, and so much fun.

I got the dogs in early December, and by mid December was able to move them from the beach to the sea ice near my home. I slowly began taking them out skiing one by one to get used to them, and by late December tried running with them for the first time, with the gracious support of Markus by snowmachine. On January 8th I took them for the first time on my own. With only three dogs this may not seem like a big deal, but it was a big step for me and I'm really proud of the accomplishment! Being able to go alone means I can take them out more often without having to wait for someone to support me. I have two wonderful "helpers" in town, but they aren't always available when I'm keen to go for a run. Here are some photos from our first solo trip.

We started out with 30 minute and 1 hour trips, but later in the month we tried two hours. We're slowly increasing strength and teamwork, and therefore increasing distances and time. This was the first longer trip on January 15, two hours and a total of about 20 kilometers.

Break time!

I'm becoming very fond of those bums!


First skijor of the season.

First skijor of the season with Sola, in September! It was an excellent run. Thank-you to Markus for making us a trail. We missed all skijoring last winter, so this was especially fun for us.


The dog team

For this winter, Delia acquired a sled dog team of three dogs. These are all retired dogs from Iqaluit dog teams. Nuvuja is a female and will be the lead dog, the two others, Gobi and Gibson are brothers. The dogs arrived trained and socialized, a perfect way to start dog teaming.

Today Delia took them out for her first run of the winter, and the first one of her life. It went as expected: there were some hiccups but otherwise things went ok. No runaway dogs, no concussed drivers. An exhilarating experience.

I was watching them go, go and go. And go. Eventually I caught up with them by snowmachine to suggest they turn around before the dogs get too tired, being a bit fat and out of shape after the summer. At this point Delia tells me that the lead dog does not seem to know how to turn around.

This is a dream come true for Delia and something she has been talking about for years. It's going to make for some fantastic trips, good laughs and excellent photo opportunities.

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