It's time for the next article of the QRILL Pet Mushing Team stories. Read on to learn how important sleep and recuperation are for a long-distance sled dog and why you need to train on this as well.
A major skill you can teach a long-distance sled dog is to master the art of resting. It will never successfully complete a long-distance race if it doesn't have the ability to slow down. The dog can be the best runner in the world, however, if it doesn't manage to recuperate fast, it's game over.
A dog will get just as worn out as a musher if it doesn't get the rest it needs. It might be sustainable for a little while, but once it hits the wall, there's no way back. Rest training is therefore of great importance to both me and the dogs. It all comes down to not wasting energy on unnecessary activity when it's time to sleep.
On the trail, I want full action when it's time to perform, and complete tranquility of both body and mind when recovering. I, therefore, train my dogs to not get distracted or stressed when they get into a checkpoint for a break.
A QRILL Pet Mushing Team story: my four-legged teachers
It's not difficult to understand that during a race, when the adrenaline is pumping, it's hard to slow down. It's therefore important to have dogs that are used to various environments, different people, and noises so that they can easily push the off-button even in unfamiliar situations.
I and my dogs are constantly training on the on-and-off switch, even if we're not tired. Rest training has become a regular part of our training program so that we can enter a race with the confidence that we will get through any challenges ahead.