Thursday, February 11, 2021

A question for the dog mushers

OK, Mrs ERJ and I took the dogs out on the open road. Between the two dogs we logged 3 miles.

Much easier pulling for the dogs on the packed snow rather than through the 8" fluff. I see that 40 pounds per dog will not be much of a challenge once the sled trace is firmed up.

I had between 15-and-20 pounds of ballast in the sled.

And I clearly needed a brake on the down-hill legs. In a few places the snow plow exposed dirt at the top of the crown. Running down the dirt strip worked OK.

Other places it worked better for me to unhitch the dog and pull the sled myself.

So what works best? A bundle of brush? A car tire? Logging chain? A partially filled sandbag? A welcome mat made of tire carcass? Any other suggestions?

Inquiring minds want to know.

13 comments:

  1. I'm the WRONG guy to ask... LOL

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    1. But if I ever want to know how to run eye-in-the-sky from a P-3 Orion, you would probably be the RIGHT guy.

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  2. If there was a handle on the back, you could use your weight and pull back on the sled?

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    1. The sled is a bathtub shaped of formed plastic. HDPE from the look and feel of it.

      I am on the front end with a leash on the dog.

      I have been unhitching the dog because I am behind the dog and the sled hits me. I prefer that to the sled hitting the dog. I know what is going on, but it is not a "production" solution. It is a training solution.

      It is pretty clear when we are at the top of the hill. The picture in my head is to toss the bundle-of-brush or welcome mat out of the back of the sled and then put it back into the sled at the bottom of the hill.

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  3. Put a piece of rough sawn hardwood on a bracket that you can engage with a handle. Work it like an aircraft flap.
    Or look at what real dogsleds have and copy it. Attaching to sled like yours is gonna require a little modifying.
    Maybe attach a cross member at the back and set a single bellcrank in the middle. Or on each side if the clearance works better.

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  4. Consider the snow spray when it's engaged. A face shot of broken snow pack could have a detrimental effect on the controllability, resulting in an involuntary directional conversion.

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  5. By dog mushing standards you really aren’t mushing. Try adding a frame with handle bars to the sled and maybe an old pair of extra long skis to the edges leaving enough hanging out the back to stand on. Attach a pad made from an old snowmachine track between the protruding skis for a brake. 3/4 metal conduit and a bender make a light rugged frame, bolted together and to the sled would make a good light weight frame. You should be able to train the dogs to follow commands. Back in the late 1980’s a couple of my kids raced three dog teams in kids races in Delta Junction Alaska with a sled built of tubing and skis.

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    1. Also you can hold on to the handle bar, stand on one ski and help kick the sled along in tough going or up hill.

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  6. We have a Husky German shepherd mix. I would like to try that with her, It sounds interesting. Where would I start?

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    1. If you cross country ski the easiest thing would be to start with skijuring. Get a harness for your dog and a waist belt like the belt on a pack. You use standard cross country ski braking. If you want to carry a load you could make a pulk by attaching two rods made from metal conduit to a fairly stiff kids plastic sled. Then fix a hitch on each side of your skijour belt for the shafts (rods). This controls the load on the downhill. You help the dog on steep uphills with your skis. You could progress from there but if you stick with one dog you might want to keep the load down. I don’t have a particular reference with pictures I can refer you to. Sorry.

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  7. I have not weighed in because despite my love for dogs, I must confess that I chose my name completely at random and I know nothing about dogsledding save what I
    have picked up from the movies and TV. I wish you luck, and give the dogs an extra treat for me.

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  8. Dog pulks are big in Finland. Varuste dot net sells the brake outfits. See:

    https://varuste.net/en/p2077/fjellpulken-brake-for-fjellpulken-xc-144-xp-154-168

    there's a video showing the basic set-up - I'm sure you could rig up something similar.

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