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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 21 July 2006 Issue

Mushers have used electric shock, whips to make sled dogs run faster

When dogs won't run, Craig Medred thinks "there is nothing a musher can do but feed them, rest them, console them and hope for the best" ("Despite strong start, Currier's Iditarod hopes stopped in dog's tracks," March 18). But mushers have used force to make dogs run and make them run faster. Here are some examples:

Iditarod winner Joe Runyan wrote in "Winning Strategies for Distance Mushers" (1997) that he gave slackers blasts from electrical shockers.

Musher Jim Welch said in "The Speed Mushing Manual" (1989) that a whip is "an effective and humane training tool for sled dogs." He described his technique for whipping dogs: "Without saying 'whoa' you plant the hook, run up the side 'Fido' is on, grab the back of his harness, pull back enough so that there is slack in the tug line, say 'Fido, get up' immediately rapping his hind end with the whip."

In "Iditarod Classics" (1992), former Anchorage Daily News sports editor Lew Freedman quoted Iditarod winner Dick Mackey as saying, "As we came up over the sea wall onto Front Street, I reached in my sled bag and pulled out a whip just as he glanced around and saw it. So he reached in and pulled out his. And that's the way we came down the street, just driving those dogs for all there was in us."

Cruel and cold-hearted treatment of dogs is reprehensible.

---- Margery Glickman, director

Sled Dog Action Coalition

Go on to What To Do When Your Dog Is Choking
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