Sled dogs are highly trained dogs. Seeing them pull a drag covering long distances under extreme conditions might make you wonder how these dogs were trained. Training sled dogs really takes a long time, and this could mean years. You must have the patience to teach your sled dog to pull and cooperate properly with a team of other dogs.
To train your sled dog, you need to have your own sled or drag. You must also prepare a harness, a leash, some rope (about 15 to 20 feet), and collar for the dog. The tips below will be helpful if you want to train your own sled dogs.
- Train a young dog. Training your dogs while they are young or while they are still puppies will make things easier. Make sure that you purchase and train a litter. It’s important that you will gain your dog’s trust while training them to pull. Thus, starting to train them at a young age is a better way.
- Get your puppies used to the collars and leashes. It is best to make them wear their collars most of the time and take them out for walks. Being with you regularly will allow them to be at ease and as a result, they will learn to have fun with you and trust you as well. The phase of learning to take commands from you will become enjoyable for them as well.
- When your puppies reach four months old, you should introduce to them the harness. You should buy a harness that is small enough and will fit your puppy. You should fasten something behind it that measures 3 feet long.
- Attach a rope that measures 15 to 20 feet long to the dog’s collar. After that, you can now give your start command. Try assisting your dog by running behind him while he pulls the sled. You should choose a lighter drag for your puppy to begin pulling with. This will avoid hurting or scaring your dog. An ideal choice will be a snowmobile truck since it is lightweight and it also slides well.
- After the dog has run about 50 feet, you can now give the stop command. While giving this command, be sure you step on the drag. Do not go in front of your dog when issuing commands. Your dog should learn to take commands while you are behind. But, if your dog is the kind that naturally wants to pull, you can walk next to him and try to gently tug the rope a few times.
- Allow your dog to rest and catch his breath after each run. Both of you should rest a bit and when you recover your energy, repeat the procedure.
- Teamwork should also be taught to your sled dogs. You can teach your dog this value by making him pull a sled together with an older dog. Five months old puppies will be ideal to harness with older ones. The older dog will guide the younger dog and teach the latter how they could work together as a sled dog team.
- You should train only one dog at a time for you to be able to give your full attention. Frequent and short lessons will assure you that your dog will remember everything. Don’t forget to give the necessary praise to the dog as you go through the training.
Training your sled dogs can be fun and at the same time helps you establish a strong bond between them. You just have to possess patience and passion in training your dogs. It will not be that easy, but the training will all be worth it.