Dog sledding in Norway is an experience like no other. Gliding through the snowy landscapes, feeling the wind in your face, and the excitement of being pulled by a pack of strong and skilled dogs is truly unforgettable.
But have you ever wondered how these dogs navigate through the snow and terrain? Well, let me tell you, it’s pretty impressive.
Meet The Dogs of Dog Sledding
First things first, not all dogs are cut out for dog sledding. The Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and Alaskan Husky are the breeds that are commonly used. These breeds were specifically bred for endurance and strength, which is perfect for the harsh conditions of the Arctic. And let me tell you, these dogs have some serious energy to keep up with the long-distance sledding.
Training 101: Preparing the Pups for the Trail
Dogs used for sledding are trained from a young age, starting with basic obedience and gradually moving to more advanced training. They learn specific commands to direct the sled (such as “hike,” “gee,” and “haw,”) and how to navigate through different types of terrain like deep snow, icy conditions and steep inclines.
But the most important skill they learn is how to navigate through the snow. These dogs can detect changes in the snow and adjust their speed accordingly, they know when to slow down to avoid sinking in deep fluffy snow and when to speed up to maintain traction on packed and icy snow.
The Navigator: The Lead Dog’s Role in Sledding
The lead dog, also known as the “lead” or “point” dog, is the navigator of the sled team. This dog is the most experienced and skilled member of the team, and it’s trained to follow a specific path through the snow. The lead dog uses its sense of smell and hearing to detect changes in the snow and adjust the sled’s course accordingly.
It also uses its sense of sight to avoid obstacles and hazards on the trail. It’s pretty amazing to see how these dogs can navigate through the snow with such ease.
A Team Effort: Understanding the Roles of Wheel, Point and Swing Dogs
The other dogs in the team, known as the “wheel dogs,” “point dogs” and “swing dogs” follow the lead dog’s lead and help to guide the sled through the snow. The wheel dogs, who are the closest to the sled, are responsible for providing the majority of the pulling power, while the point and swing dogs help to steer and control the sled. Together they make an amazing team.
Dog sledding also requires navigating through different types of terrain like steep inclines and narrow trails. In these situations, the lead dog uses its sense of smell and hearing to detect changes in the terrain and adjust the sled’s course accordingly. They are truly amazing animals, I tell you.
Dog sledding is an experience that requires skill and training from both the musher and the dogs. The dogs navigate through the snow and terrain using their sense of smell, hearing, and sight, as well as their training and experience. With their strength and endurance, these dogs are able to traverse the snowy landscapes of Norway, making dog sledding one of the most exhilarating and unforgettable experiences you can have.
And let’s not forget, the well-being of these dogs is always a priority, they are well cared for and treated with respect throughout their training and mushing. It’s a unique experience for both the mushers and the dogs, and it allows people to connect and appreciate the beauty of nature and the strength and intelligence of these amazing animals.