The Gee-Haw Problem

July 1, 2010

Robert Forto

The Gee—Haw Problem

Lead Dog RevengeSome mushers expect a leader to turn instantly on command; others give the command some yards ahead of the turn so that the dog can absorb the situation. This explains why some mushers have trouble missing turns. A dog trained to turn instantly will jump straight into deep snow even if he sees a fork ahead. Serious training is required to make a dog leave the trail. The dog must respond automatically, without thinking. A dog less strictly trained often will miss the fork if the musher waits until the team is right on it.

The musher must learn to read his dogs and watch for the communication signals given by them when the dog approaches a fork in the trail. The lead dog will lift his head when he realizes that a decision must be made. The ears will go forward (which way?) or turn backward (what does the boss think)? He might even glance backward. The leader is most receptive to the musher’s commands at this instant. He will not have sized up the situation any earlier than this exact point. A split-second later he will have already decided which way to turn. He might not be able to collect himself and the team in time to change direction.

____________________

Dr. Robert Forto is the Dog Sledding Examiner, a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner, and the host of the Mush! You Huskies Radio Show

Advertisements
, , , , , , ,

About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

Follow Us

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s