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Meet the Dogs: Alma


Team Dog

3 year old


Alaskan Husky

Alma is one the Deadwood pups. She is always willing to please and ready to run!


Training Run: 8-4-2011

Date: August 4, 2011

Distance: 6.99 miles

Weather: 51 degrees and rain

Equipment: ATV

Trail Conditions: dirt road, trails

Dog Positions: 12 dog team: MagpieMarble, CozyJewel, Alma-Joanie, TrixieRaegan, SophiaPiglet, ZambonieShifter

Music Choice: None

Notes:  A great run today. We did a lot of switching around with the leaders. We started off with Marble and Magpie in lead then switched Cozy with Marble and finally finished the run with Shifter in lead.

Lots of mud puddles to run though. Great fun!

It was a good run with no problems!

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works


Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

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Training Run: November 21, 2010

Training run

November 21, 2010

14 dogs

20 miles – General: iMapMyRide: Nov 21, 2010 5:28 PM on 11/21/2010.

Profile: ISDRA

Profile: The International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA)

Lead Dog RevengeThe International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) was formed in 1966 by Canadian and American mushers to organize and unify the sport of dog sled racing. Beginning in the New England Sates and lower Canadian provinces, ISDRA sought to standardize the rules for “Nome style sprint racing”.

Today, ISDRA annually represents over 100 days of dog sled racing and thousands of individual race performances. Traditional sleds, wheeled rigs, ski-joring and most recently bike-joring competitions are held for Adult and Junior Divisions from “unlimited” to 1 dog. The racing action begins in mid-October and ends in late March with multiple ISDRA events occurring on any given weekend during the moths of January and February.

ISRDA gives the highest priority to the welfare of the the canine athletes that are our partners in the wonderful world of sled dog sports. To underscore that commitment, each sanctioned event is provided with its animal welfare policy as an important component of ISDRA’s sanctioning materials. No abuse is tolerated and all injuries are documented and investigated.

ISDRA medals are awarded in a points base program that ranks on average over 1500 race performances each season. National, State/Province and Club rankings are also calculated and maintained on it’s website

ISDRA publishes a renowned magazine, Dog and Driver, six times a year and covers sled dog activities around the world and includes ISDRA medalist interviews and much more!

For more information on the International Sled Dog Racing Association please visit

Dr. Robert Forto is the Dog Sledding Examiner, a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of Mush! You Huskies radio show.

Achieving Success Using Mental Performance Training Part 1

Achieving Success Using Mental Performance Training Part 1

By Robert Forto, PhD

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

Japanese Proverb

Many competitive human/canine teams, whether in the ring, on the trail, or on the field, are so busy preparing and being busy that they have no idea where their busy-ness is taking them. In contrast, some teams have expressed their visions, but do not appear to be directing much of their activity to achieving them.

After a human/canine team (hereafter just referred to as ‘team’), has a well defined vision, they need to move on to making that vision happen.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What needs t happen for [vision]?
  1. Is there anything else that needs to happen for [vision]?

Repeat the second question until no further actions emerge, and then ask:

  1. What is the first thing that needs to happen?

After you answer this question the seeds are sown, and your team’s attention is on the vision and the steps you need to take to start to move towards it.

This is just the first installment in a series that I am working on for my first book, Run With Poodles. The book is about creating success in your business and personal life through the eyes of a dog team. I am a professional musher and I am training for my first Iditarod in 2013. I am also a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistics (NLP) and I am using my training to harness the power of my team and teaching others leadership through empowerment.

If you would like to learn more about leadership through empowerment please feel free to contact me a

Tags: NLP | Denver Dog Training Examiner | Robert Forto | Michele Forto | Iditarod | Team Ineka | Dog Training Denver | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Duluth Dog Works | Minnesota Dog Works


Dr. Robert Forto is a professional musher training for his first Iditarod racing under the Team Ineka banner. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at

Influential People in the Development of Learning Theory Part 3

Influential People in the Development of Learning Theory Part III

By Robert Forto, PhD

Skinner, Keller, and Schoenfeld

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) continued the work that Thorndike started.  He was the leading advocate of a more modern version of Thorndike’s Law of Effect, which states, “The frequency of a behavior increases or decreases according to the result it [the behavior] produces.”

When Skinner was pursuing his doctorate at Harvard University he discovered that he could methodically change the behavior of lab rats by rewarding them with food.  This study proceeded in the following stages:

“First, the rat was rewarded simply for facing the correct end of the cage.  Next, the rat was rewarded only when it stood next to the lever.  Later stages delayed the reward until the rat touched the lever with its body.  Eventually the rat learned it had to press the lever to receive a pellet of food.”

Skinner’s viewpoints were unique in that he felt the proper study of behavior should be limited to “observable events” of behavior, and instead of how the subject might think.  He consistently argued against making interpretations based on events that could not be observed.  Skinner did not discuss intervening variables, such as hunger or thirst, when interpreting behavioral learning.

In 1938, B.F. Skinner published The Behavior of Organisms (New York: D. Appleton-Century Co.).  Many consider this milestone work the leading authority on the science of operant conditioning.  Today many dog trainers are using clickers for training canines; clickers are conditioned reinforcers that have been used by conditioning experts since the 1940’s.  Skinner wrote about clickers, which he called “crickets”, in a paper called How to Teach Animals in 1951.

While on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, Skinner’s study of operant conditioning principles was expanded to include pigeons.  He was studying a phenomenon known as extinction when it occurred to him to ask himself, are theories of learning necessary?  As previously discussed Skinner felt the study of behavior should be limited to events that were observable and measurable.  Skinner maintained that the science of behavior should actually deal with behavior in its relation to variables that could be systematically manipulated.

Skinner was a leading advocate of Expectancy Theory; it was his contention that learning theory was in reality nothing more that expectancy.  He wrote, “When we assert that an animal acts in a given way because it expects to receive food [or any reinforcers], then what began as the task of accounting for a learned behavior becomes the task of accounting for expectancy.”  Skinner is also partially credited for moving the science of operant conditioning beyond the lab, and towards a viable technology for changing behavior.

Fred S. Keller (1899-1966) is well known for his work on a teaching method known as Personalized System of Instruction (PSI).  Keller was a classmate, and lifelong friend of B. F. Skinner. While it is true that Skinner ultimately wound up on the faculty at Harvard, where as Keller taught at Columbia, they remained colleagues throughout their lives.

In 1947, Fred Keller teamed up with William Schoenfeld (1915-1996) at Columbia University and began to teach the first college psychology course employing Skinner’s methods.  Undergraduate students taught rats to respond to stimuli in order to obtain reinforcement.  Keller and Schoenfeld published the first text in the emerging field of operant conditioning in 1950 entitled Principles of Psychology.

This is will be a multi-week series on the influential people in learning theory and the dawn of modern dog training. You can read about Huxley and Darwin and Pavlov, Thorndike and Watson as well.

If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you at

Tags: Learning Theory | Robert Forto | Michele Forto | Iditarod | Team Ineka | Dog Training Denver | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Duluth Dog Works | Minnesota Dog Works


Dr. Robert Forto is the training director of Denver Dog Works and the host of the Dog Doctor Radio Show. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at

Who Are These Dogs That Pull Sleds? Special Sled Dog Breeds

Who Are These Dogs That Pull Sleds? The Alaskan Husky and Village Dog

By Robert Forto, PhD

Are they purebreds or mongrels? What sets them apart from other dogs and enables them to work with man under brutal weather conditions? What sort of strange dog is it that yammers and yowls to be a part of a team, preferring to work or race than rest in a warm kennel?

Written pedigrees are not required to enter a sled dog race, nor does the dog have to be a northern breed, although a majority of dogs on the racing trail are related to working dogs of the North. These dogs have a strong instinct to pull. These dogs can be everything from an American Kennel Club registered Siberian Husky, a “one-quarter husky” mixed breed, or any variety in between.  These dogs can be Irish Setters, Walker Coonhounds or even a Border Collie. In search of an unbeatable dog team, dozens and dozens of cross-breedings, in-breedings and line breedings have been tried. Some breeders work within a recognized breed, seeking to refine that breed’s natural talents; others select the fastest and strongest or whatever dogs come to their attention, caring more about performance than good looks or a fancy pedigree.

Special Sled Dog Breeds

South of Alaska other dogs have been interbred to make up special sled dog breeds. Arthur Walden’s Chinooks, the Targhee Hounds of Idaho, and the Quebec Hounds of Canadian breeders are examples of these special racing dogs. The original Chinook’s ancestry is somewhat subdued in public relations mystery, but his offspring, many resulting in a breeding with a husky, served as credible sled dogs for Walden in eastern races during the 1920’s. Chinooks are still bred at a kennel in Maine, but most are sold to recreational mushers or strictly as pets.

The Targhee Hound was originally bred in Idaho, the result of a cross between a Stagehound and an Irish Setter. These were fast, sprint dogs who dominated the American Dog Derby held in Ashton, Idaho for years. They were also capable of hauling a sled full of mail after a blizzard. Targhee Hounds still appear on teams in the west, not only in their “pure” form but also as offspring of further cross-breedings.

The Quebec Hound, also called the Canadian Hound or the Canadian Greyhound is a name that describes the dogs resulting from the propensity of Canadians to breed a lot of sleek, racy-looking hounds into their northern sled dogs. These animals have short hair and long, strong legs. Their racing record is exceptional as evidenced by Emile St. Godard’s many victories in the 1920’s and through Emile Marlett’s top team of the 1930’s, to most of the Quebec teams of today. Quebec hounds race annually at the World Championships in Laconia, New Hampshire, placing well in the standings.

Tags: Robert Forto | Michele Forto | Iditarod | Team Ineka | Dog Training Denver | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Duluth Dog Works | Minnesota Dog Works


Robert Forto is the training director of Denver Dog Works and a musher racing under the banner Team Ineka. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at


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