Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Meet the Dogs: Alma

Alma

Team Dog

3 year old

Female

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

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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

MapMyRide.com – 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 http://www.isdra.org

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 http://www.isdra.org

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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 leaddog@teamineka.com

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

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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 http://www.teamineka.com

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 live@dogdoctorradio.com

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

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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 http://www.denverdogworks.com

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

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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 http://www.teamineka.com

Who Are These Dogs That Pull Sleds? The Samyoed

Who are These Dogs That Pull Sleds? The Samyoed

By Robert Forto, PhD

The Dogs

Who are these dogs that pull sleds?  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.

The Samoyed

Less evident on the racing trails and the most striking when they are, are the Samoyeds. Pure white with dark eyes and curled, bushy tails, the “Sammy” is similar in size to the Siberian, but gives the impression of more hair per pound than any other sled dog.

Originally bred by the inland Siberian tribe called the Samoyed, the Samoyed dog served as a general-purpose work animal which hunted, drove reindeer herds and pulled loads at such times when reindeer could not be used. The dogs also acted as companions and watchdogs, and were used for both food and clothing.  It was said that a good dog was worth more than a wife to a Samoyed herdsman, and when British explorers first came across this amazing white dog it took all their bargaining talents to accomplish a trade.  In 1899 the first Samoyed dog was exported to Britain and from there his popularity has grown. Today’s Samoyed closely resembles the original sled dogs, for attempted improvements on such a dog as Moustau of Argenteau, the American Kennel Club’s first registered Samoyed in 1906, could have been to this natural breed’s detriment.

The best racing and working Samoyeds of recent times have been dogs of medium stature and structure, perhaps somewhat taller than the standard, which is 19 to 23 ½ inches at the shoulders but never exceptionally heavy in body or bone. The ideal working Samoyed ranges from 22 to 24 inches and weighs 42 to 55 pounds. Males have more “punch” and are ordinarily a more useful size for work, but smaller, racy females can certainly add to a racing team.

On the average, Samoyeds possess a more concerned personality than other Arctic breeds; they are capable of great loyalty and have a pronounced desire to please. They are somewhat more apt to stand up to pressure that is typical of a natural runner, and they often excel in less-than-perfect conditions, where other dogs lose heart. They have a natural stubbornness and a strong will which once tuned to the driver’s advantage will keep them working hard. Although most Samoyeds are not fast enough to compete in speed races against Siberians or Alaskans, the Samoyeds heart and loyalty make him an exceptional dog, and drivers of Sam teams will break no despairing comparisons with any other dog team.

Breed clubs, traditionally interested more in show or obedience activities, have begun to recognize racing teams or weight pulling accomplishments of purebred dogs. The Siberian Husky Club of America, The Malamute Club of America, or the Organization for Working Samoyeds, for example, seeks to reward those dogs, which excel at tasks they were originally bred for—pulling sleds.

Next Week: Other Northern Breeds

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

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Dr. Robert Forto is training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.teamineka.com

Mushing Legends: Scotty Allen

Scotty Allan

By Robert Forto, PhD

Scotty Allan journeyed to Alaska, attracted by news of the gold strike in the Klondike. Around him were men of action from many different countries, dependent on in a large measure upon animals. It was not long before Allan had a wife, a baby and a dog team, and with his uncanny knack with animals, was well on his way to being a first class dog-puncher. His first leader was named Dubby, a Mackenzie River Husky from the stock of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Dubby led the team the day his venturesome owner decided to sledge across the Bering Strait to Russia. While in Russia, Allan visited some Siberian Eskimos and then headed back to Nome, impressed with the self-sufficiency of those people.

Scotty Allan joined with Judge Albert Fink and other Nome citizens to organize the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, the first official series of sled dog races anywhere. From these races emerged a new kind of hero in the far North, the racing sled dog driver. In preparation for these 408-mile non-stop races, Allan put his team and himself into training. He watched everybody’s diet, gave up smoking and even practiced going without sleep. He must have done something right, for the first eight years of the Sweepstakes, Scotty Allan never finished lower than third and had three firsts and three seconds to his credit. His team consisted of lop-eared freighting dogs, mongrels, and he was proud of their ability on the racing trails.

In more than one race, however, Allan could look back over his shoulder and see John “Iron Man” Johnson’s long string of Siberians slowly gaining on him. Johnson led a team of culls from Fox Ramsay’s other two imported Siberian Husky teams to a record setting win for him in 1910. The handwriting was on the wall for the mixed-breed freighting teams. Johnson’s Siberians beat Allan’s team by nine hours in 1914, and then Leonhard Seppala and his Siberians wrapped it all up in the final three years of the Sweepstakes.

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Dr. Robert Forto is a professional musher training for his first Iditarod racing under the name Team Ineka. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.teamineka.com

Pacing the Team

Pacing the Team

By Robert Forto, PhD

It takes hard training to get a team in top physical and mental condition before race season. By the time the dogs are hardened, they have lost their eagerness and might even be in a slump. Depending on how tired the dogs are, the musher should stop the serious training before race season. The dogs should be allowed to rest. After resting, a few dogs can be taken out on some very short runs. They should be left on the picket line longer then they want to rest, and the musher should not run them as far as the dogs want to go. This will restore the dog’s attitude and they will be eager to run again. If a musher can manipulate the dogs so that they are crazy to go while still in top form and still controllable, then the team will reach it’s peak performance.  With skill and sound judgment a musher can “peak out” the team just in time for the biggest event of the season.

The musher need not be a behavioral scientist or a learning theorist to accomplish this peak. They need not know the nuances of Skinnerian conditioning, Ivan Pavlov, Karen Pryor or Conrad Most. They just need to be able to read their dogs and communicate with them in a way that allows for synchronicity in order to win races and make the sport fun.

Mushing has been termed a blue-collar sport, not a white-coated, scientific endeavor. The idea is to have fun and become one of the team—the musher is the boss/leader, the quarterback if you will, and the dogs are his teammates.

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Dr. Robert Forto a professional musher for Team Ineka and is training for his first Iditarod. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.teamineka.com

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