Intensive 1 week Sleddog Training Weeks

Our intensive 'experiential' guide training programmes are 1 week in length and are available in both Autumn and Spring.


Autumn is the season when we are out with the dogs from dawn till dusk building up their strength and reflexes and then developing their speed and conditioning. In other words, it is the time of year when the guides (and visitors) have the most ''hands-on'' time with the dogs.

Autumn is also a glorious time to visit this region because of the fall colours. Indeed, Lapland gets more Finnish tourists at this time of year than at any other. There are no longer any mosquitos around and the colours of the landscape are magnificent. Nights can already be sub-zero in September and mornings will be crisp and cool, sometimes with a layer of hoar frost on the ground. Daytime temperatures are pleasant although these get progressively colder until there is permanent snow cover on the ground and we switch to sleigh training.

We start Autumn training in the non-snow months using quad bikes and then we progress to sleighs once the snow is deep enough and the marshes sufficiently frozen. Hence, depending on when you visit and how long you stay, you may experience both types of Autumn training. Beware, however, that when we start training with the sleighs for the first time, the conditions are challenging and you will need to be fairly athletic and with a fair amount of stamina to enjoy the experience. There is also a chance that we might get a few days which are too icy to do anything much with the dogs (for both our safety and ours) other than individual training, so part of learning to guide at this time of year is to be ready to cope as best possible, with whatever the conditions throw at us. Depending on which week you choose to come, you may experience pretty much anything from full-on quad training to full-on sleigh training.

Autumn Husky Training Dates in 2020

These dates cover the start of our autumn training season which kicks off, always, with work on the quads, fat-tyre kick bikes, buggies etc. When the dogs first start running again they are more fiesty than later on in the season, so guides have to be skilled in the combinations they pick and the calm speed at which they work. This is a full-on training time with the dogs and extra hands to calm excited dogs, are always useful.

AUTUMN COURSE DATES

7-day Sleddog Training Course

Availability

Week 41: Oct. 5th - 11th Places Available
Week 42: Oct. 12th - 18th Places Available
Week 43: Oct. 19th - 24th Places Available
Week 44: Oct. 26th - 1st Nov Places Available

Most dogs, particularly leaders, will have had individual training through the summer months, but now is also the time to see if they can put their GEE and HAW (turning) knowledge into practise with a whole team around them. And, whilst the adults are remembering the joy of running together, pups from the previous year are being introduced to the concept for the first time and doubtless causing havoc around them.

During Autumn training you not only get to learn the importance of selecting the right combinations to run beside each other but you see dogs developing in skill and expertise from one day to the next. It is an amazing time of year to be part of a husky farm and, for the right visitor, a truly memorable experience.

Our 1 and 3 day programmes are essentially 'taster' insights into life on a husky farm. Those taking part in the week-long package will have learned enough by the end of the week to feel like they are actually contributing in some way to the day by day life on the farm and you will have made friends with many of the guides. If you are interested in staying with us even longer, then look, instead, at our guide-training programmes.

Autumn is one of the most dog-intensive times of year in the life of a guide. From a training perspective, we are out with the dogs conditioning training them on quadbikes or sleighs all day, every day, and in-between, somehow finding time to work with the new pups that are born at this time of year. Hence, this is the time of year to visit for those with a real interest in dogs and dog psychology. By the end of your week, you will not only have a good insight into all the work that goes on behind the scenes in order to get the dogs ready for the running season, but you will leave with a true appreciation of both the rigor and rewards of being a husky guide. You will also, no doubt, find it hard to leave your favourite dogs behind!

Whilst here, you will be put in charge, (alongside your personal mentor), of a specific group of dogs that you will rotate through both conditioning, gee and haw and individual training through the week. These will include a mixture of leaders, trainee leaders, pups, 2nd season dogs, team and wheel dogs and seasoned veterans - all of whom, you will quickly learn, have slightly different training needs.

You will be given the opportunity to learn as much as you want to about the behind-the-scenes planning that goes into the training - for instance, how we compile the teams using computerised systems ahead of time - and you will have a chance to discover the best of the trail network in the greater Hetta area if you want to take your favourite dogs on evening hikes. Finnish people think that Autumn is one of the best times of the year to visit Hetta and trek in the nearby National park since the Autumnal colours of the landscape are truly breathtaking.

Some people want to really get stuck in and will turn up for morning watering and pooping and will stay for evening feeding but this is not necessary if you do not want to and you may find that you need a rest from this on at least some of the days since Autumn training is also physical for humans!

If you want time off during your week to visit a local reindeer farm, to souvenir shop or to hike or bike more - that isn't a problem at all. These weeks are generally very flexible. However, expect that the bulk part of most of your days will be outside on the quad-bike or the sleighs working continually with the dogs in the Arctic landscape.

If you think that 7-days of intensive husky training might be too much for you, maybe consider a 3-day guide-training school followed by a 2-3 day guided hike in the National Park?


2021 Spring Course Dates

This period, towards the end of our winter snow season, is a time to play and work on GEE HAW training, speed training etc with the dogs. It is also when the new pups are generally introduced to running for the first time. The mushing we do at this time can be quite challenging as we work on trails we have just opened specifically for directional training but that makes it one of the most fun times to work with the dogs in teams.

SPRING COURSE DATES 2021

7-day Sleddog Training Course

Availability

Week 14: April 5th - 11th Places Available
Week 15: April 12th - 18th Places Available
Week 16: April 19th - 25th Places Available

COURSE CONTENT

We cover the same modules, year-round. However, the training that we do with the dogs differs with each season. Hence, think carefully about when you want to be here in order to get the most out of the experience. Summer Training Week, an Autumn Conditioning Week and a Spring Fine-tuning Week

The course is presented in a modular format. Some of these modules are consistent through all courses and all seasons (for instance helping with basic care routines and basic meds) whilst others can be selected or left out depending on the interests of the participating group. If there are big differences in interest within the group, we may also be able to split the group to a degree if some, for instance, are more interested in ethics or dog care and others in the preparation of equipment. In other words, there is a high degree of flexibility built into the course structure and one of the first things we do at the end of your first morning on the farm is to sit down and talk through what it is that you really hope to get out of the week, so that we can then structure the rest of the week accordingly.

Depending on how busy the time frame is, you will also have the opportunity to 'play' in the area with the guides after work on at least a couple of evenings. In autumn months, for instance, participants have participated in local hikes and paddles and have even attended local events with the guide group after work hours. In early winter and spring, snowshoe hikes and ski trips are possible.

Price: €1400

Price Includes: 3 nights accommodation in either a traditional farm kota (with electricity but no running water) - or a combination of the farm kota and a wilderness cabin - and 3 nights in a local hotel.