Social time is very very important in a huskies life (or any dog for that matter).  Even on the coldest of days when many of our dogs stay in the house or the dog barn, we let them out all together in a huge play group.  Dogs are very social animals and love to play and interact.  Some dogs only like 1 or 2 friends.  Other dogs love to play in a large group.  In our kennel there always seems to be one or 2 dogs that are the play instigators.  Shaman and Jenny are probably the hardest players.  They are both from the Fairbanks animal shelter and have been with us for several years.  Shaman is the cream colored boy in the video and Jenny is the black pointer mix.  They can always get the other dogs to join in and run around the yard at top speed.

People have often talked to me about shoulder and wrist injuries in sled dogs.  I rarely have that problem and I think it is because I let my dogs free run most of the time.  A dog on a chain often runs around in its circle in the same direction.  This makes muscles that are not balanced.  Too, with the chain pulling down on the dogs collar, many sled dogs can develop chiropractic problems.  With a free run kennel, the dogs turn, jump, run and are able to stretch out their bodies and their muscles on a daily basis.  Even after a summer of not running in a team or skijoring, our dogs are all in great shape and start off the winter training able to do more miles without any injuries.

Many people are worried about fights.  We have had a few and they are very scary.  All of the dogs are neutered and spayed so that definitely helps.  But we also respect the hierarchy of the dogs themselves and the dogs have great respect for us as the ultimate last word in the kennel.  I don’t suggest that people just let their chained up dogs loose if they haven’t done a lot of research on pack mentality and hierarchy.  I hate to see dogs chained up all of the time and try to suggest starting with just a couple of dogs at a time.  The rewards that come back from having a free run kennel are great and the bond that you have with your dogs can’t be described.