This school year is a fast moving trail, isn’t it?
December is here and that means it’s training and racing season for my K9 pals!
While you sit in your classroom, work on the computer, figure out solutions to math problems, think scientifically, practice your writing, and read books, the sled dogs are in school, too.
Their school, of course, is a lot different than the school you attend. You are inside the building, sitting at a desk or a table, going to a computer lab, and working on the skills that your teacher tells you are important to learn.
The sled dogs are attending school outside. Instead of books, computers, pencil, and paper, their tools are harnesses, ganglines, and booties. Instead of walking down the halls of the building to go to the gym, library, or the lunch room, they get to run through their school! But their classroom and their school is outside and run they do! They run along the trails through the area they live. Sometimes they run fast but most of the time, they run at an even pace to build their endurance and skills of the trail. With their musher as their lead teacher, the dogs practice working as a team and traveling together. The dogs ‘harness’ their energy and practice pulling the sled and their musher along trails. Every mile they take is in a way, like every page you read in a book. The more you read, the more you know. The more miles dogs run, the stronger, smarter, healthier, and more physically fit the dogs become.
Sometimes a musher takes the team on overnight camping trips. These camping trips are opportunities to practice skills needed for long distance racing. During the race, when it’s time for the dogs to rest, the dogs have to sleep on a bed of straw and stay hooked up on the gangline instead of sleeping in their dog house. When on camping trips, the dogs get to practice things they’ll be doing while racing, like running for longer periods of time, resting with their team mates, having a snack, running again, taking a long snooze on a bed of straw, eating outside while still hooked up to the gangline, and smelling the smells of daytime or night time.
While you are learning, you have your parents and teachers to guide you. You have other students in your classroom or family to learn along side of you. You learn from what others you are with are learning, too, because you all share what you know. Your books, videos you watch, computers, and other tools guide you throughout the school year. While sled dogs are learning, they have their musher and handlers to guide them. They have the other dogs on the team to learn from, too.
I’ve heard many teachers say that while they are teaching students, they are learning, too.
The same goes for mushers. While they are training their dog team, they are learning, too. It’s important that before racing in Iditarod, mushers know everything they can know so they are successful in their race. It’s important that the dogs are well experienced and trail ready, too. Together, the mushers and dogs build the skills they need during their training season.
SO, Boys and Girls, it looks like going to school is the thing to do! As a matter of fact, I like to think that I am in school every day of my life because we can learn from experiences outside of school, too. What do you think I mean by that? Do you learn ‘outside’ of school? I’m not talking about the homework you are supposed to do, I’m talking about the other things you do while you aren’t in school. I’m talking about the everyday, normal things, like playing outside, helping your family around the house, being on the computer, ore spending time with your friends or family. Take a few minutes and talk with your teacher about this!
Lots of Tail Wags,