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24 February 2014

God Given

Lead dogs set the tone for an entire team. Lead dogs are born gifted. I cannot pass on the knowledge of what makes a great lead dog. I see and feel it but it cannot be explained in words. It is created by instinct, dedication and effort.

My main lead dog is Loads. He is without question the finest lead dog I have ever had. In the early days his talent was raw and he could be difficult. But now he is beautiful to watch in action. His drive is hard. To him, to lead with steely focus means everything.

Loads, God given.
In his younger days Loads was intolerant of being paired with another leader. Last winter I slowly introduced Shocker up front with Loads to learn the ropes. When that looked as if we could build on it, I tried Treatment (Shocker's sibling) up front with Loads.

In the short video that follows (shot earlier this month) Loads is seen teaching Shocker what to do. A word from me and Loads nudges Shocker over. Another word and he pulls him the other way. This is a training run as opposed to a conditioning one.

The opening scene sees me halting a small team to check their feet before powering up the side of a mountain. In the second half of the video, we descend the mountain. A false move at great speed, when descending mountains with dogs, is best avoided. For this reason, before the steep descent, large rope rings were hooped over the prow end of the sled runners to slow us down. I remove the ropes at the bottom of the valley in the closing scene.

Lead dogs that make it look this easy are God given.

For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com

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