Let’s Talk Mushing

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This topic contains 97 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Kay Lee Brown 7 years ago.

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  • #32243

    Anonymous

    Chester, there appears to be some neon greenish things on one of the dogs’ feet. Is your dog wearing booties or something? Or is that just the line?

    #32244

    Anonymous

    They look like the booties Esky has 😆


    dog booties and harness by 9114, on Flickr

    #32245

    Anonymous

    Ok, dumb question time, why do they need shoes? Kayla has long toe fur on her feet. I should probably trim it, but I haven’t. Doesn’t that help them in the snow? Do they try to take them off? Kayla doesn’t seem to have all of her grown up fur (she still has a mostly nekkid belly) so she does have a coat and a sweater to wear when its icky out. It took me a while to get that she wasn’t scared, she was freezing.

    She took to last week’s snow storm fairly well. She looked at that white stuff as if to say what the heck is that? Then the kids made snow balls for her to chase and eat (she loves ice cubes, I have a weird dog) and then she started running around and rubbing her head in it. Goofy dog. 🙂

    #32246

    Booties will protect their paws from from ice. If the surface is frozen over (dirt or snow) or has icy granules, the friction from running on it can wear down their pads. If you can drag your hand over the snow or dirt, and none of it moves, time to put booties on.

    Also, as they lose quite a bit of heat through their feet, if the air temperature is cold enough, the snow (even soft snow) can melt and then refreeze to their toe fur, forming really uncomfortable ice balls. Trimming that fur can help, but ice can still form.

    These booties are thin nylon, and cheap. You don’t want to run them in the ones with soles as the dogs can’t feel the surface they’re running on. Besides that, they’re bound to lose one or more, and at $2 each it’s a lot less painful to the wallet then the fancy $60 sets.

    They will try to take them off. And the first few times you put them on, it’s quite comical to watch them try to acclimate. Any discomfort is quickly forgotten once they start running.

    One bit of caution- in order to keep the booties on, you have to wrap the velcro cuff reasonably snugly. If you dog has his dew claws, the bootie can get up under the claw and rub his paw raw. I place a small piece of cotton between his paw and the dew claw and then wrap over it with vet wrap. another layer of protection.

    #32248

    Kim Kramer
    Participant

    @chesterh wrote:

    I have a unique perspective on this “when should we allow the puppy to run” stuff. Kris and I don’t typically communicate through texting or sexting (no snickers, please) – we use the old-school style of “nexting,” where she is actually next to me, talking.

    Nexting…that’s GREAT 😆
    And very appropriate, because on days when Steve works from home, I do confess that we send each other email 😉 but being equal-opportunity communicators, we also do a fair amount of shou-ting…

    #32249

    Kim Kramer
    Participant

    @chesterh wrote:

    We managed to get the boys (Birr and Henry) hooked to the sled and each other, but immediately hit a snag. Birr becomes insane at the prospect of running, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Henry, a sweet and normally quiet Chinook, copied Birr’s behavior. I was struggling to hold them back so that Kris could slink around and get on the runners. My two hands were no match for two crazed Chinooks in harness, the puppy Tibbs – by now fully engaged in the excitement and threatening to slip from his retraints – the camera bag, the leashes just removed from the Birr and Henry, and the nice new gloves I hoped to wear again.

    I was trying to make a split-second decision about which thing to let loose when the kindly German couple ran up to help. They took hold of Birr and Henry, Kris jumped on the sled, and I fell over backwards – loosing hold of everything but Tibbs. Kris yelled, “Hike!” and they were off in a flash.

    Oooo, I was really hoping that you were going to say that the German couple were going to give you some secret ‘dog whisperer’ hint on how to calm joy-crazed dogs. Atlin is EXACTLY the same way :pulling 😀

    #32250

    Kim Kramer
    Participant

    @Silvertree wrote:

    These booties are thin nylon, and cheap. You don’t want to run them in the ones with soles as the dogs can’t feel the surface they’re running on. Besides that, they’re bound to lose one or more, and at $2 each it’s a lot less painful to the wallet then the fancy $60 sets.

    Dan, where did you get your booties? I bought a ‘Cadillac’ set (actually three sets as we have three dogs) and they won’t stay on, no matter how tightly I Velcro them. 🙁

    #32252

    Anonymous

    I know I’m not Dan 😛 But my booties came from the USA from this website
    http://www.dogbooties.com/dogbooties.html
    (I hope it’s ok to post links in here)

    #32254

    COA Webmaster
    Keymaster

    Links are a good thing. No demerits for links…

    #32256

    @KimKramer wrote:

    @Silvertree wrote:

    These booties are thin nylon, and cheap. You don’t want to run them in the ones with soles as the dogs can’t feel the surface they’re running on. Besides that, they’re bound to lose one or more, and at $2 each it’s a lot less painful to the wallet then the fancy $60 sets.

    Dan, where did you get your booties? I bought a ‘Cadillac’ set (actually three sets as we have three dogs) and they won’t stay on, no matter how tightly I Velcro them. 🙁

    I get ’em at
    https://www.dozenbooties.com/index.htm

    I try to do a group buy to get the bulk price ($1 each)

    they’re also painfully easy to make if you have a sewing machine, and a slight bit of talent…

    #32258

    Kim Kramer
    Participant

    @Silvertree wrote:

    I get ’em at
    https://www.dozenbooties.com/index.htm I try to do a group buy to get the bulk price ($1 each)
    they’re also painfully easy to make if you have a sewing machine, and a slight bit of talent…

    I do, in fact have a sewing machine 💡

    #32292

    Susan Bragg
    Member

    I just want to try a short essay here on more practical uses/arts of Snub lines too, for those of you not yet using them, with or without an also Snowhook (we used to keep one of each coming off our Tullibardine sugarbush team sled bridles- one line back to a Snowhook hanging in a holder or over back of sled basket, as well as one Snub line with Panic Snap, also coming direct back to wrap around handle bars from gangline/sled bridle. The Panic snap can be set to either the bridle or truck/tree end, I’ll get to that…

    So those of you with strong 2 and 3 dog Chinook teams already too (as our own 3 dog teams were, Chinooks ARE strong dogs!;), get yourselves a wee case of commercial Snub lines, or loose panic snaps and make a bin of various types and lengths snub lines and leads for yourselves too now, aye. Then start practicing the art of using them too.

    For not only on rear (for the Musher/driver to snub the rear gangline & entire rig then (at sled bridle, NOT to the sled itself, you’ll bust it) to the truck or tree (vs. setting the Snowhook prior to takeoff)– BUT ALSO, start practicing ways to also ‘picket’ the entire gangline, front to rear– Like pro long distance and trapline teams do too–
    With one Snub line coming OFF the front of the gangline too front truck or tree then (where the panic snap end can be set to the front of the gangline, where the also leaders tugs attach to front of gangline), say. Then the panic snap end of rear Snub set to truck/tree end (the Musher will need PRACTICE the art of SAFELY COLLECTING this line at the hike/let’s go! and NOT ALLOW it to catch on ANY obstacle in the shoot/at trailhead before he collects it up from dragging behind him on the ground! Snubs and snowhook releasing is an ART, aye. Another art in ‘safety counts MOST!’ 🙂

    THEN, you’ll in fact be able to train the team to actually ‘stand’ at ‘picket’ where the ‘picket’ is also the gangline, aye.

    Imho, there is no reason not to train an entire team to ‘stand’ in harness on the gangline, full rig/sled also hitched/ready at the bridle even, in this way soonest then. Again, the pros use myriad snow hooks front and rear, in the bush on trail, to just ‘picket’ the team via front and rear hooks/snubs, utilizing the gangline (where leaders cannot be trusted not to use the team as a ‘whip’, where there are only show hooks or a snub set at the rear of the gangline, aye).

    So PLEASE BEGIN this art too ONLY IF you have a Musher and say TWO HANDLERs to begin teaching yourselves Safe Snubbing, Hooking, and full ‘Picketing’ the gangline/entire team and rig at a ‘stand’ then too in these ways and many more, likely.

    So buy a few commercial lines with panic snap ends or just buy the stronger equine/large panic snaps as individual hardware, then make your own various length and rope or leash or web Snub lines to fit your own needs, front and rear too now. (I’ll add some links below.)

    The handler on the front/Leaders will need to become a MASTER at HOW to release the PANIC at the front of the gangline while the leaders are banging it too, understood. And without harming themselves or the leaders or team. And release this front Snub always FIRST, aye, never attempt to hold the time from the front at the hike.

    If you want, instead of a real ‘picket’/panic snap at the front gangline here then, you could try making yourself a short/3’ handlers lead with a panic snap (short ‘snub’ then), to try connecting the panic snap end right on the leaders’ neckline too then, to give you more torque, if that’s all you need (so’s you don’t end up in the snowbank at takeoff OR on TOP of the leaders while attempting hold them at neckline with your hand, understood.) AGAIN though- You’d have to have enough WITS about you to be able to REACH IN and ONTO the neckline last minute, to PULL the panic snap OPEN, at the hike/let’s go! But Panic Snaps are indeed designed to release with minimum handler torque at the ‘panic’ or in this case, at the ‘hike’, aye.

    BUT, you’d have to train BOTH handlers and the Musher, NOT to have the Musher release the brake OR the rear handler EVER release the rear panic snap on truck/tree BEFORE the lead handler has time to safely release the panic snap on the leaders neckline, the REAR Handler then to remain on sled/ON BRAKE and/or DRAG; while the rear handler releases the rear panic snap at rear truck/tree, then the Musher is free to hike/go, and HAUL THAT REAR SNUB UP CLEAR PRONTO, wrap it around the handle bars, and you’re good to go. After the team’s left the shoot/trailhead, the lead handler just collects their front lead or snub of off the ground (where it should likely be allowed to drop as soon as that panic snap was reased, if the lead handler also didn’t get that lead/snub to fly free on release without whacking or harming any of the dogs. Just practice releasing that panic at the neckline or front of gangline then, whichever your lead dogs seem to require SAFELY while banging away if they won’t stand, aye; But let it DROP. Just let it drop to earth, without whacking the leaders or point dogs behind them in the face, say.

    Anyway, DO NOT TRY THESE THINGS at home without 2 Handlers and a MUSHER on SLED too, TO BEGIN by, please! But DO begin to buy and make your own various lengths and types, and strengths Snub lines WITH a single PANIC SNAP end too now. For you guys should be using more ‘panic snap’s and Snubs already, aye. That’s what my gut’s telling me here today, for those of you seeking safe ways to actually half or wholly ‘picket’ the team right on the gangline at hookup and hookdowns even, on trail/enroute, etc. If you get GOOD and SAFE SAFE SAFE at using snubs and panic snap leads too, they can be safer than snow hooks in suburban environs and on well groomed and well utilized trails, aye.

    And btw, Snubs really ARE a great way to trail a team to stand at ‘exhibit’ too. I mean, even if you don’t have SNOW, say– You can ‘picket’ and entire team & sled too (for kids to also simply hop on and squeal, even when you don’t mean to GO anywhere, see? 🙂 to stand at ‘exhibit’ with a STRONG snub from truck or tree to front of gangline then, the other STRONG snub from rear of gangline at the sled ‘bridle’, (NOT from the sled itself, ever!) directly back to rear/second truck/tree. YOU HAVE TO TRAIN the TEAM itself to STAND in this way too then, aye. Before it’s EVER safe to let kids hop on the sled and ‘pretend’ to be driving it too, etc. ALSO, if you should ever DO this, with a team that actually begins to understand and LIKE to ‘stand’ picketed on the gangline this way– Then maybe DO use strongest equine panic snaps on all gear, as well as consider the front Snub even to be a custom line with panic snaps both ends.

    My DISCLAIMER HERE is PLEASE DO NOT TRY ANY OF THIS ALONE, EVER. And DO NOT TRY IT WITH CHILDREN UNLESS YOU ARE COMPLETELY EXPERIENCED WITH EVERY DOG IN TEAM, as well as ALL THE GEAR YOU ARE USING.

    For those who work ALONE with their teams, aye, just get ONE Snub then, and begin to practice with it in rear, alternating between rear snubbing and the snowhook. Attach one of each on the sled bridle/rear of gangline, then run them both back under the basket, both hook and sub ends hanging on handlebars in reach of the driver.

    For me, I like my snubs, panic snap gear, and panic snap bungee gear even, more than my snowhooks. Snowhooks require strong snow and ice conditions, a lot of which doesn’t happen anymore south of the arctic circle itself, aye.

    So here’s a couple links, off the bat–
    This is a commercial musher’s Snub w/panic snap–
    http://www.countryhounds.ie/Product.aspx?ProductID=58

    But I use heavier equine panic snaps for my skijor setups (Kris, I use the equine panic snap BUNGEE ‘trailer tie’ here for my skijor and other short snub/leash combos. And I ALSO USE these equine flat nylon web ‘trailer ties w/panic snap ends, as well as the full 6’ equine standard ‘cross ties’ also w/panic snap ends. Although the 6′ ‘cross ties’ have metal hardware to adjust the lengths, which may NOT be best to use as a ‘snub’. But I use my equine cross ties adjusted to full 6′ length as also 6′ ‘Snub’ leashes from time to time. Up to you what you want to buy or make, aye. And whether you need the heavy equine panic snap vs the smaller dog sized. I use equine snaps for my own Chinook gear though. For even Jeffrey says Lander himself remains one of our strongest males in kennels here, we only have a handful of Seppala males match Lander’s strength then, it’s true. So I KNOW what you mean, if you have two strong Chinook males in lead…).
    http://www.statelinetack.com/Search.aspx?query=panic%20snap

    And PLEASE TRY and find Panic Snaps that are not the cheapest. Try to find some that are not both made in China and small/light type. If you can only find ones made in China, just go with the full heave equine size, please. For the stronger the better, imho.

    So there’s my not so short essay on my love of and recommendation you all begin teaching yourselves the art of more snub lines with PANIC SNAPs, aye. And do begin trying which of your teams will train to snub down or pick on the gangline even, aye. Rear first, then try it at front for a full ‘snub’ too then. THREE PEOPLE, though, PLEASE. ONE driver, 2 add’l handlers. Then, the MUSHER can begin to fathom what they can handle alone with MUCH experience through time. Then, you’ll get to where the Musher can handle the rear snub and sled too at the hike, aye. But please keep your leader handler for a LONG time, if your teams indeed remain stronger than one driver can manager (which MOST 4 and 5 Chinook dog teams remain, even FOR THE MOST EXPERIENCED!). So be SAFE and FUN, and SERIOUS, always with your WITS about you. And yet with a SMILE on every dog and human face too then, aye.

    For you need to start hooking more of your teams DOWN right at the shoot/trailhead. Down to the truck in full park/every break set on the flat. Or to a strong tree you can’t do damage too 😉 Rear first, then begin practicing the entire gangline at ‘snub’, aye. PANIC SNAPS are key, indeed. Build them STRONG. 🙂

    Susan

    #32293

    Susan Bragg
    Member

    @Susan E Bragg wrote:

    The Panic snap can be set to either the bridle or truck/tree end, I’ll get to that…
    Susan

    Oh, I never really did get ‘back’ to this fully. So, for those of you like my brother Jack in that he was also a master mariner and could tie many also ‘safety knots’– He used to prefer to hand tie a boater’s ‘safety knot’ at the truck/tree end (rather than have the panic snap that end). For he could tie such a knot with the loose end left just long enough hanging at truck/tree as to both STAND on runners as well as reach/lean over, catch that ‘loose end’ on the safety knot, the pull it safely at the ‘hike’ then, aye. All by himself out to sugarbush or in woods enroute, etc. But again– He was a master boater too, so had MUCH experience with tying safety knots. Many trapline mushers of old do too. But I DO NOT recommend this for ANY Novice Musher, PERIOD.

    I RECOMMEND more PANIC SNAPS, aye. Make some custom Snubs with panic snaps both ends too then, for those of you who may be cowboys/girls and want to try more rear snubbing alone. For indeed, if you ever get into trouble, you may be able to at least have one hand clear to ‘find’ the panic snap at either truck/tree or sled bridle, even if you fall to the ground, get hurt in the process, etc. Please, just BUY or MAKE ONLY gear that’s SAFE. Don’t EVER freak around with gear not safe nor strong enough. And please do as much as possible in twos and threes handler groups. Mushing alone is no joke, ever. Not even with one dog on scooter. All it’s takes is a simple bump, scrape, spraign, or break, and both you and the dog become immediately impaired, aye.

    Play in your back yards with your dogs and ALL NEW GEAR a LOT then first. Just frigg with it in the yard over every weekend family barbecue, and then hit the trail with it ONLY when you feel you know what you’re doing, aye.
    I>>>
    Bless,
    Susan

    #32295

    Kris Holleran
    Participant

    Thanks Susan, I am having a bit of a hard time envisioning this and will need to sit down with a picture of sled and lines to fully figure it out. The snub lines sound like they will lead to much safer situations once mastered. I can see where a lot of practice would be necessary to get the timing right and not have lines and hardware flailing about. Will also see if I can talk with some mushers when we are out and look at their set-ups. Sadly, that won’t be imminent. We just had about 2 inches of rain and it is in the high 40’s here. Winter is passing us by and to think of all the lovely snow that rain would have produced, if we had winter temps.
    Again, thanks so much for the advice. Will post questions when I run into them – as I am sure I will. Kris

    #32296

    Susan Bragg
    Member

    Rain?! Holy! Although I will admit now our 10dys of -40 temps have abated too, it’s returned to a mild winter here too. Jeffrey and I agree global ‘warming’ is here already too, to some degree. We had a mini ‘ice storm’ ourselves earlier this week, which is weird for January here. Usually it’s too cold to ice or rain here this time of year, unless within an also blizzard. And knock on big wood we haven’t had a single blizzard yet either. It can always get worse, but we agree it feels distinctly like a warmer winter, after a much warmer fall than usual to boot.

    Ya, I almost drew a picture. But in the end, sometimes long detailed verbal descriptions do garner more questions then too, which isn’t always such a bad thing either, aye. So Panic Snaps are your friend, aye, and on the ends of Snub lines and short handler leads even (nylon or bungee), a really a good way to ‘control’ and ‘train’ teams, in myriad ways, aye.

    At least the early rains may bring the crocuses to also early bloom then in New England, aye…sigh 😉
    Susan

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