If You Mush Know: Time to Harness Up and Train

This month’s question comes from….


What does it mean when the mushers say they are in “fall training?”

Time to Harness Up and Train

A chill is in the morning air, fog swirls as the morning sun rises, and an extra bounce is in the dogs as they sense the change in seasons. It is fall, and time to train.

There is a freedom to the dogs as they can unleash their stored energy and run! There have been many hot summer days, too hot for anything but a free run to a lake, river, or creek.

Fall training is a slow build-up of short distances, gently working the dogs back into physical condition. It’s a time for the pups who were harness broken in the spring to run next to mature team members and learn from them.

Fall is time to train routines, manners, and leaders. using an ATV. In fall training, the ATV provides the musher the ability to control the speed of the dogs, and to safely stop, in order to carefully train the dogs’ muscle development. You can train and reward leaders and work on teaching the dogs to stop and wait without chewing equipment or hammering to go. It takes many miles and hundreds of hookups to have a team ready for a race start line.

With frost on the ground, cold on my cheeks, and the sight of the dogs’ breaths in the air – I know these dogs are at their happiest. Time to harness up and train!

Fall Training Pictures courtesy of Jaye Foucher of Sibersong Kennel.

Jaye recently moved to Alaksa to train for the 2022 Iditarod!