Fall Training with Mickey

Mickey is headed back to Florida soon. She enjoys seeing the dogs in action, so she jumped on the back of the ATV 4 wheeler a few days ago to join Aliy. She quizes Aliy about the dogs. So... listen up!

During Fall Training, obviously we can’t use a sled. There is no snow and probably won’t be for several weeks or a month. But, since we consider early training miles very important, we need to get out and train. Therefore we use an ATV 4 wheeler to simulate a sled.

The plus is that the dogs really don’t care... they just want to run and pull! The minus is that an ATV is loud.

We use the ATV with the motor running and in gear. Yes, the dogs could pull the 500 pound ATV down the trail, but they would actually pull it too fast. We are trying to establish base miles at 7 to 9 mph. If the dogs were left to their own desires they would lope down the trail at 14 mph. So, in order to keep the speed reduced and not cling to the brake  for the entire training run, we gear the ATV into a lower gear and let the engine slow the dogs. It’s like using a “Jake Brake” on a dog team.

So, on many of the videos you will hear the ATV engine purring in the background. We apologize for this, but imagine how our mushers feel! (VROOOOMMM!) Anyhow, at least they are out with the dogs!