One of the most highly ranked excursions I did in Skagway was to visit the Sled Dog and Musher’s Training Camp. Here are some quick facts about the dogs and the camp:
- Alaskan Huskies are used for dog sledding
- They are bred for: intelligence, speeds, endurance, and to be good eaters
- In races, the dogs need to consume 10 000 – 15 000 CALORIES PER DAY!
- The dogs in the front are the most intelligent, and the dogs closest to the sled, is the strongest
- Training for sled dogs starts at age 10 months
- The camp is used as a training base during summer to make the dogs stronger
- Normal sled with cargo weighs about 300lbs/136kg
- The car plus passengers at training camp weighs about 2000lbs/907kg!!
- In races, the dogs gets little boots to protect their paws, and when extremely cold, they sleep on straw and get covered with blankets
- The dogs have a double layer of fur: outer layer to ward off water and protect against wind, inner layer for warmth
- Races like the Iditarod and Yukon Quest are 1000miles/1600km long!
These dogs Live for the run! Mushers have many dogs which they train. So say a mushers has 40 dogs and goes out to train, they have to pick only 8 dogs. So when the dogs realize the picking is starting, they will bark, and jump, and wag their tails, and completely freak out really :)! And when the sled drives off, leaving many behind, you can hear their broken-hearted crying (howling)! Haha, it’s so sweet. So if you ever thought ‘those poor dogs’ when you see a dog sled, that’s not the case at all! The mushers Loves their dogs, and cares extremely well for them. And the dogs truly cannot get enough of it!