Toys & Training

Pictures and video: Conserving sled canine completely satisfied, wholesome in summer season – Duluth Information Tribune

FINLAND, Minn. — Taking good care of sled canine is a year-round affair, which suggests they nonetheless must be cared for lengthy after the racing season ends.

Sled-dog racing is an intense winter sport. Some races, such because the John Beargrease Sled Canine Marathon, take mushers and their canine on journeys a whole lot of miles lengthy by way of snow-packed trails and ever-changing chilly temperatures, together with attainable polar vortexes.

For Blake and Jennifer Freking, who race groups of Siberian huskies, the coldest occasions of the 12 months are the best climate circumstances for his or her canine. In response to Jennifer, who’s additionally a practising veterinarian since 2004, “they love the chilly.”

“We thrive once we get a pleasant polar vortex at a race. They assume that stuff is nice, in order that they have good thick coats,” she mentioned.

Because the temperature rises, the snow melts away together with a lot of their skill to coach. As soon as they enter March or April, they start “de-training,” the place they progressively begin coaching much less. With the canine being much less energetic, they slowly drop their meals rations to a few quarter of what their winter rations could be.

Jennifer and Blake Freking every petting a canine whereas a number of others run round and play on their property in Finland on July 13.

Wyatt Buckner / Duluth Information Tribune

After the temperature rises above 50 levels, they maintain off on harness coaching till it cools down within the fall. To assist preserve them cool, every of their 62 canine has their very own kennel, the place they will lay within the shade in the event that they get sizzling, they usually have common entry to wash water.

Woman lays her hand on a mother Husky as she's nursing 2-day-old puppies.

Jennifer Freking lays her arm round a Siberian husky, who’s mothering her 2-day-old puppies, on July 13.

Wyatt Buckner / Duluth Information Tribune

Small puppy sitting patiently.

A 9-week-old Siberian husky pet patiently waits for meals.

Wyatt Buckner / Duluth Information Tribune

All through the summer season, they will preserve their canine energetic by having them free run in giant teams of their 2.5-acre fenced in yard.

“It simply lets them mess around and be canine, nevertheless it additionally helps preserve them in form as properly,” Blake mentioned. To stop them from overheating, they preserve the exercise restricted to when it’s cooler within the early mornings.

In response to the married couple, coaching does not actually exist for them in the summertime. As a substitute, they’re targeted on retaining the canine completely satisfied and wholesome, which, in response to Blake, is what they take pleasure in in regards to the summer season.

“Through the winter, we’re fairly targeted on actually placing miles on, coaching and conditioning, whereas through the summer season, we will actually concentrate on simply having enjoyable and allow them to have enjoyable,” he mentioned.

With the Frekings unable to coach in the summertime like they do within the winter, they now have time for one thing else: puppies. As of July 13, they’ve 12 puppies: 5 9-week-old puppies and 7 2-day-old puppies.

Man playing with two young puppies.

Blake Freking performs with two 9-week-old puppies.

Wyatt Buckner / Duluth Information Tribune

Within the early levels, the puppies are fully depending on their mom. “When puppies are born, they can not hear or see,” Jennifer mentioned. As such, Blake and Jennifer’s focus at this stage is simply to assist the mom and assist her increase her pups.

By being there from the start, they hope to construct a bond with every pet and slowly develop that bond and belief till they’re prepared to begin coaching with the opposite canine at round 1 12 months outdated.

“And so they take off, instantly,” Blake mentioned. “We have by no means needed to train a canine to tug; they only go. From there, it is simply care and consistently constructing on that belief till we’re to the purpose the place we’re asking them to do 300-mile Beargrease or 1,000-mile Iditarod, or one thing like that.”

Jennifer, who’s been racing sled canine since she was 8 years outdated, says it’s a ardour of hers to boost and prepare Siberian huskies. “I like the breed,” she mentioned. “I like the approach to life. Being out with the canine is my completely satisfied place, working with them. They’re simply your finest mates and buddies. They really feel like your loved ones.”

Woman smiling as she's circled by multiple dogs.

Jennifer Freking smiles as she’s surrounded by just a few of her canine July 13.

Wyatt Buckner / Duluth Information Tribune

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