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User / Robert Drozda
dr.ōzda / 6,609 items

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Running dogs always presents challenges, lessons, rewards. A few things are going on here and I will try to explain the image.

While running one of our regular trails on the Chena River we arrive at a fork; the right trail jumps up the bank while straight continues on the river. As the driver I've already decided on the route and as we near the junction two commands come into play; one is "straight ahead" and the other is "Gee!" meaning turn right. Beluga takes a command so well that I typically only have to give it once in a soft voice. But still I usually give the command several times so that the others may learn as well. Here I want to continue on the river and I have given the "Straight Ahead" command, but Churrie (on right in lead) has it in her head that we are going Gee, most probably because that's the way we went last time we came by here. So you can see Beluga is trying his best to pull her back in the proper direction, in addition to their tug lines attached to harnesses, they are tethered to each other at the collar by a neckline. With two good leaders I like to run without the neckline, but I've had some problems with Churrie, especially in head-on passing other teams, so I've gone back to the neckline on them.

All of this happens in a matter of seconds, or maybe less, and without stopping. You can see the wheel dogs are still in full running lope mode, while the leaders are almost completely stopped. So here it is the job of the driver to work the brake or drag matt to slow the team enough so the back dogs don't overrun those in front of them, which could cause a tangle or worse. At the same time I'm calling out a correction to Churrie, this time in a stern voice, "Haw, Haw" (left). She quickly corrects (With Beluga's help), I reinforce with a "straight ahead" command and we are smoothly running again down the main trail. I then reward both leaders with multiple variations of "good dog!"

This is an interesting spot. Some of you may have heard of this 800 mile oil pipeline that pretty much runs the length of the state. Right here we are directly over the pipe, which is buried and crosses under the river, you can see the right of way cut where the trail runs through the trees off to the right. There is almost always a bit of open water here, maybe it's related to the heat of the pipe, you can see some on the right. Beluga is very aware of it and nervous about open water. I like that about him, but I still have to reassure him when we pass leads. Open water is potentially very dangerous, so I'm most appreciative of his acute awareness of that lurking hazard.

We had a most enjoyable run today, a brisk temperature to be sure, but our light is returning.

Tags:   Fairbanks Alaska Chena River Alyeska Pipeline Trans-Alaska Pipeline river crossing dog team sled dog training commands gee haw lead dog wheel dog team dog Beluga Churrie BeingThere dr.Ozda

N 38 B 4.1K C 58 E Dec 2, 2013 F Dec 2, 2013
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This morning, 8:03 a.m., December 2, 2013.

Tags:   Fairbanks Alaska morning dark sled dog Alaska Husky comforts peace BeingThere dr.Ozda The little dog laughed

N 48 B 2.9K C 47 E Feb 10, 2014 F Feb 11, 2014
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Snapshot of a typical daily scene.

Tags:   Fairbanks Alaska sled dog Alaska Husky kitchen home Cholie Frodo Salty Ruby Sadie Sandy Musky dog team daily life BeingThere dr.Ozda

N 28 B 2.8K C 39 E May 13, 2013 F May 13, 2013
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15 years old.
b. May 14, 1998.

Tags:   Fairbanks Alaska sled dog Alaska Husky Sadie Wrinkle littermates Toaster's pups Biscuit's pups TwoSpot's sisters BeingThere dr.Ozda ldl portraits

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Beginning to relax.
Today after 12 days Wesley is like a different dog. He's becoming both relaxed and outgoing. I'm surprised by how quickly he has come around. (this photo too was taken on his second day with me). He's beginning to run and play more with the others, and he greets me vocally and by jumping and vigorous tail wagging. He's a very good dog, I have a sense his psychological wounds will heal very well. He doesn't seem to have suffered the trauma that Bozo and Cracker have.

He will be with me for about 6 more weeks before he goes to a tourist resort at Kantishna in the heart of Denali National Park for the summer. There he will be part of a small team of 6-8 rescue huskies demonstrating dog sledding to tourists. Part of me will not want to see him go, but I'm comforted knowing that Cracker went to Kantishna two summers in a row and each time he came back with more confidence in himself. In fall he will return to me and we will continue to foster him and try to find him a good home, or he will stay with me. We'll just have to see how that goes.

Tags:   Fairbanks Alaska Alaska Husky sled dogs Wesley shelter rescue Second Chance League SCL Being There dr.Ozda ldl portraits


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