SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Traffic on the Trail

Two Rivers, Alaska has no lack of dog mushers. There are many dog teams out enjoying the trails. Some mushers wear their serious "game face" and are training for races whereas other teams are just out for fun. Whatever the intent of the musher we all share the trails.

I started thinking a lot about traffic on the trail when I came out of the kennel yesterday and in the first two minutes we passed a sprint team training with an ATV 4-Wheeler and a Siberian/Malamute team training with a sled. Both were generally good passes. Then I thought, people might not realize how dog team actually pass. So, here it is:

When one dog team passes another there is a general "protocol".

  1. When the teams are coming from opposite directions, it is best if both teams keep moving. That way the dogs don't have a chance to mess around or "visit".
  2. While passing, the dogs can share the trail, but the sled or ATV 4-Wheeler must try to get off to the side so as not to interfere with the dogs.
  3. When one team is faster than another and it comes up from behind, the slower team is expected to stop or at least slow down in order to let the faster team pass.
  4. Dogs are supposed to mind their manners. "Alligator" dogs are not looked on very highly in a community like Two Rivers where your prized Lead Dog is worth more than your neighbor's car.
Some training runs we will see no other dog teams but other times we will pass two or three. Some passes go well and some don't. Generally, you try to expect the unexpected - which is challenging.

Here is a video that I took just the other night. Allen, Meghan and I were all out on a similar training run but we had left the kennel at varying time intervals. I passed Allen twice and Meghan once and was able to get one good video. My camera doesn't always focus when there is a lack of light. (Sorry... there is generally a lack of light much of the time while training in winter at night.)


12 comments:

Connie loveall said...

Wow!! That was some good video. Kind of gave me the chills when they passed… Thanks so much for sharing..

Nessmuk said...

That was cool....your dogs are so focused....all it took was a "straight ahead" request from you and smooth passing! Wow!! Good manners are surely a must too in such close proximity!! I'm VERY impressed!!!

Dawn E said...

Love these videos. THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

Nice pass.

Anonymous said...

Awesome!!! The team just kept to their knitting!

And yes, I could see enough to be able make out the whole thing and the swift "pass." The SP dogs are pros!!!

Woof! Woof!

Dennis Nielsen-Wisconsin said...

All I can say is; WOW!! Thank you so much for that footage!

Anonymous said...

WOW! WOW! that was so cool Aliy!
Thanks, good dogs! Virtual passing.
Padee Santa Rosa CA

Marilyn Cozzens said...

What a cool video, Aliy. And a excellent explanation of passing on the trail. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for this (no pun intended) inSIGHTful nighttime video of dog teams passing!!!

I forget that in Alaska winter Solstice (officially to come Dec. 21 for the race of the same name) means there are only about 4 sunlight hours in the day in December. How awesome that the sunlight-darkness hours are the most similar in Fairbanks and Nome (and I'll bet they are precisely the same in...Two Rivers).

The dogs probably knew that already!!!

--Margaret
http://www.absak.com/library/average-annual-insolation-alaska

YoLynn said...

Boondocks in lead! She did good!!! I'm so proud of her! As her sponsor I'm a little partial but I love all the SP Kennel dogs. They are such good dogs and real pros.

Lourdes, VT said...

Those dogs of yours are so very well behaved!!! They are Angels of the Trail!!! Great video! Loved to see Mr. Tatfish on wheel! Go Tatfish!!!! :) ... and all the rest of the beautiful pups!!!

Linda Toth said...

If they are worth more than a car, then I guess the offspring from Quito, Olivia, and ChaCha are your insurance policies, right?

Analogy doesn't follow through, unfortunately, since replacing a car is very easy. But, thinking of it that way kept my mind from fretting for a whole minute, at least.