Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Introduction to Micro Kennels

This is my first post to this blog.

I am Mike Callahan. I have been a competitive dog driver since 1995. I have five international medals in skijoring as sanctioned by the International Sled Dog Racing Association. (ISDRA) I am the past president of the Sierra Nevada Dog Drivers. I have competed in skijoring and dryland races in Alaska, Canada and several states in the good ol' USA. I hope to convey the methods needed and to discuss the equipment to help you and your dog to become a working team.
I have a small kennel of five dogs. Three are German Shorthaired Pointers,( Otto, Mojo, Seamus) and two are retired Alaskan Huskies. (Flash and Tempo). These dogs are the stars of this blog.

Flash is an Alaskan Husky and is fifteen years old now. He weighs 60 pounds and was my first lead dog

Tempo is ten. Tempo was a cull from another musher. She is an Alaskan Husky. She weighs 60 pounds. Tempo is also retired from racing.

Otto is five. Otto was a cull from a hunting kennel. He is 58 pounds. Otto is my main leader now.

This is Seamus. (Pronounced shaymus) Seamus was adopted from a shelter. He is about three years old and weighs about 50 pounds. Seamus is also a lead dog

This is Mojo. We adopted Mojo the same day we adopted Seamus. Mojo weighs 45 pounds. Mojo has huge attitude for his light weight. He is also a good lead dog. He pulls like a banshee.

Why this Blog?

I want to introduce the public to the sport of dog mushing on a micro level. You do not need a large number of dogs to enjoy mushing. Most people who live in the city or suburbs can not have a large team of dogs. Only one dog is needed to enjoy dog power while skijoring, (Mushing on XC skis), bikejoring, (Dogs pulling a mountain bike), scootering, (Dogs pulling a dog scooter), and canicrossing (Dogs pulling a runner). Your dog will love the opportunity to get out and run. The sport of mushing allows your dog to run under your control. You can go where leash laws are in effect because your dogs are connected to you with a line.

Walking a dog is too slow for most dogs. The speed of the walk is dictated by the human. If it was up to the dog then the dog would most like to run. The use of a wheeled rig will enable you to run your dog and really fulfill your dogs life. The most common wheeled rig for running dogs is a mountain bike.
This photo was taken at the Sierra Nevada Dog Drivers fall training clinic in 2007. I should have been wearing a helmet in this photo. Mountain bikes offer good control and stability. Until your dogs are well trained then you should only use two dogs at the most while bikejoring.
The other popular rig for running a small team is a dog scooter.

This is my team at a race in Chico CA in 2006. This scooter is made by Diggler and is very popular with the urban mushers. Your rig must have good brakes. V-brakes or disc brakes are the best. When your dogs pull hard then your brakes will allow control. When you have substandard brakes then mayhem could be your next moment. Another method to run dogs is skijoring.
This photo of me, Seamus and Mojo was taken by Mark Guillory at the Chester Sled Dog Races in 2008. Skijoring requires you to be a good XC skier before you hook up to your dogs. That narrows down the demographic profoundly. If you can not ski well then you might spook your dogs from too much falling. If you are not able to stop effectively then you could run over your dog and cause an injury.

Canicross is running with a dog pulling you. With a good dog you can profoundly improve your mile times. The dog is connected to you with a skijor belt so you can run hands free. Canicross is the dog sport that is most likely to grow because people love to run with their dogs.

This photo is of Robert Stradley at the "Not So Great Serum Run" in Fairview Park this past December in Costa Mesa CA. The event was put on by the Southern California Urban Mushers.

Training a lead dog

The most intimidating obstacle for all beginning mushers is how to get your dog out in front and pulling. Every musher needs a "Lead Dog". In the future posts I hope I can convey the methods to you all for training your dog to be a leader.

Go With Dog

Mike Callahan

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This dogs are amazing and strong, i love different kind of dogs specially now that i will go inside
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it will be great.