About me...

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Hi! My name is Conor Maguire. I live in Dublin (Ireland) and I want to tell you about my Alaskan Malamutes. Since first reading Jack London's "The call of the wild" when I was 10 or 11 years old, I've been fascinated by everthing outdoor and dog related. (NOTE: Conor can be contacted at IronMountain-Malamutes@hotmail.com ) So, if you wouldn't know an Alaskan Malamute from a Siberian Husky if it drooled all over your face, read on...

... and my dogs

Their names are Kodi and Buck. Kodi is the ‘lead dog’ and is three years old. Buck is a one year old and is learning his commands very fast. Both dogs are very strong and robust, but Kodi is more solid than Buck. Maybe Buck will grow into his skin and fill out as he gets older, but already he is very strong and very fast (for a Malamute). Mals are generally used for their strength and endurance, rather than speed. If you want speed get a Siberian husky ...

COMMANDS: when giving a command to a dog it is essential to be consistent and relatively firm. The dog wants to be told what to do, not asked. The following are the traditional instructions for sled dogs and they seem to work fine:

Left turn is ‘go haw’; right turn is ‘go gee’; straight on is ‘go along’; and most importantly to get them to run I say ‘let’s go’ and to stop them I say ‘whoa’.

The only people who say "mush!" are the folks who roar it at me as I pass them on the streets. They get a great laugh at this ... and I pretend it's the first time I've heard it...! Although dog-sledders are referred to as 'mushers', we never use the word as a command. The word itself is an anglicization of the French word 'marche', which the French trappers once used.

26 September 2008

Shane ... trainee musher ...

A quiet day on Dollymount beach!

01 September 2008

Then there was three....

'Whisper', a 14-month old female join the team in early September and settled in immediately. She is much smaller than Kodi and Buck but, hopefully, she will have as much enthusiasm for running in harness. She already makes herself very much at home in the team. Her and Buck are like puppies... chasing and playing together! This is her first time in a proper harness. She's got the right idea.

View from the 3-wheel sled. Taken on a phone camera, so a little shook up. They say that unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes!

Just for info, the video does not show all the other people and dogs using the beach, so the instructions to the dogs are given to direct them past or around other users. 'Gee by' means to pass an object on the right hand side. 'Walk by' and / or 'Go along' means to ignore something (a turning or another person or dog) and just keep on running in the same direction.

07 August 2008

Waterdogs ... just as well, with all the rain we've had!!

They're paddling... not pidd.....

16 July 2008

The Alaskan Malamute Club of Ireland

Alaskan Malamute Club of Ireland Club Rules & Code of Ethics 2008 The Alaskan Malamute Club of Ireland requests that all members, breeders and owners subscribe to the following code of ethics and club rules to promote and foster the highest standards among breeders, owners and fanciers and to encourage good sportsmanship and co-operation in the movement and advancement of the Alaskan Malamute. HEALTH: To maintain the highest standards of health and care for the Dogs and guarantee the health of the puppies at the time of sale. The Club suggests that before breeding all breeding stock has been health checked i.e. vet checked, hip scored and eye tested. VACCINATIONS: Vaccinations must be administered in accordance with local requirements. An external and internal parasite control programme must be maintained. Sick dogs be kenneled separately from others to avoid cross infection. Bathing and grooming should be administered as required to maintain proper health conditions. SOCIALISATION: A daily regime of human interaction is necessary to ensure the development of good temperament also where possible the interaction and socialization with other dogs is advisable i.e. Obedience or ring craft classes. WASTE DISPOSAL: The kennel area must be cleaned of all fasces and urine daily, solid waste disposed of as per local councils regulations. FOOD and WATER: Clean water MUST be available at all times, care should be taken to ensure water dishes are not easily knocked over. Dogs to be fed at least once daily, a well balanced diet is necessary for good health. Food containers and dishes to be cleaned regularly, it is also advisable for this breed to feed and water from raised dishes. SHELTER: All dogs must have access to dry weatherproof housing. The shelter must be properly maintained in relation to climatic conditions. Regular inspections of housing are necessary to ensure sanitary bedding and protection from objects harmful to pups and adults. SAFETY and PROTECTION: Should the kennel owner choose to kennel dogs together there must be attention given so that dogs are not in danger of harming one another, ensure that all fencing is adequate and maintained. RECORDS: Every member is responsible for keeping accurate records of their dogs and accurate registrations of all documents and will report any person who falsifies or knowingly misrepresents a pedigree to the proper registration outlet. BREEDING: Each breeding is to be planned to the paramount intention of improving the breed, the stud dog and brood bitch should be selected with an eye to confirmation, temperament, working instinct and ability and genetics. The dog or bitch will not be breed until both are physically and mentally mature, before entering into any breeding programme members will study the pedigree of each dog keeping in mind the ideal of the breed and will refuse the breeding if in their opinion it is not in the best interest of the breed. The stud dog owner will fully explain the reasons to the owner of the bitch. Members will fully subscribe that only dogs known to be free from defects should be used for breeding e.g. those who show temperament problems i.e. vicious or excessively shy and any other defects addressed in the breed standard. The club suggests all puppies bred are endorsed and this is not removed until it is hip scored and eye tested and of suitable breeding age. WHELPING AREA: The whelping area must be warm, clean and roomy and easily accessible for cleaning and inspection, for both pups and mother the kennel owner must provide a healthy whelping area for maximum growth, survival, exercise and socialization with humans. CONFINEMENT: Each litter must be segregated or properly identified. Dogs must be confined in such a manner that prevents their escape yet provides adequate room for individual mobility. Crated dogs must have exercise daily. Females in season must be separated from males (other than the male she is to be bred from) for the full season cycle. SALES: Members must be discriminating in the sale of their puppies and concerned with the type of homes in which they are to be placed, also ensure all necessary paperwork is available at time of sale, upon time of sale members will provide the purchaser with a diet sheet, an inoculation record if applicable and parasite record also a health guarantee at time of sale and will not release any puppy before 8 weeks of age. Members must explain about the endorsements clearly. ADVERTISING: Members must ensure all advertising is factual and honest. EXHIBITOR/BREEDER RELATIONS: Members must understand that exhibiting dogs is a sport and are expected to express at all times good sportsmanship in all activities and as an exhibitor will refrain from criticism of other peoples dogs, as matter of ethics will pledge to help educate the general public as well as to assist the novice breeder. MEMBERS: Shall consist of an unlimited number of members whose names and addresses shall be entered onto a register, which is to be kept, by the secretary and a copy record by the treasurer. The club is to make a list available for inspection if so requested by members of the club or kennel club. All candidates for membership should complete an application form to be proposed and seconded by fully paid up members. New members cannot be voted onto the committee unless they have a minimum of 3 years subscribed AMCI membership and voted unanimously into a committee position by all committee members. COMMITTEE: The committee shall consist of a maximum of 12 members of Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer. EXPULSION OF MEMBERS: Any members who shall be suspended under the kennel club rules and/or any member whose dog(s) is/are disqualified shall cease to be a member of the club for the duration of the disqualification or suspension. If the conduct of any member shall in the opinion of the committee be injurious to the character or interest of the club the committee may at a meeting pass a resolution to expel him/her. Notice of the special general meeting shall be sent to the accused giving him/her particulars of the complaint and advising him/her of the place and date and hour of the meeting so he/she may attend and offer an explanation. If at the meeting a resolution is passed by two-thirds majority of members present to expel the his/her name will be forthwith erased from the list of members and will cease to be a member of the club. MINUTES OF THE MEETING: The secretary shall be responsible for the preparation of the minutes and circulation prior to meeting and shall be available for inspection upon request. SUBSCRIPTIONS: All subscriptions will cover the period 1st January to 31st December. The annual subscription shall be 15 Euro (10 pound Stg) single, Joint and Family 20 Euros (15 pounds Stg). Members failing to pay their renewal subscriptions by March will have their names erased from the members list. CLUB ACCOUNTS: A bank or Building society account shall be held in the name of Alaskan Malamute Club of Ireland and maintained by the treasurer into which all monies shall be paid and from which all expenses shall be paid. NEW RULES and REULATIONS: The rules of the club cannot be altered except at an A.G.M or special general meeting notice of which includes details of the proposal to alter the rules. For the new rules to be accepted they must be passed by a two-thirds majority of all members present. KENNEL CLUB AUTHORITY: The Irish kennel club is the final authority for interpreting these rules and regulations of the club and in all cases relative to canine or club matters. IMPLEMENTATION: In as much as this is a code of ethics and club rules it is a guideline for each member to adhere to, the rules do not carry an enforceable punishment but are expected to be adhered to at all times by each breeder and member. Kennel owner must meet all local government requirements for kennel operations and are solely responsible for this.

15 July 2008

Evening on Dollymount strand ...

Dollymount Strand, on the BUll Island, just north of Dublin City, is 3.5 miles long. It is famed for its use by sports enthusiasts and is a great place to watch surfers, kiters and those of us who wish it was snow we were running on rather than sand. Anyway, depending on tide and sand conditions, the dogs love to run on it and they take between 45 minutes and an hour to complete the 7 miles. They love it! (And so do I!). I built the rig myself, and must thank Mark and Christof (Kiting Ireland) for accommodating me with the wheels and axel, which are off a sand buggy. <

Before you think of buying a Malamute...

These great dogs are beautiful to look at. As pups they are just like living teddy bears. As adult dogs they are delightful to watch, at work and at play. HOWEVER, they are a large and strong dog; they are strong willed; they need a strong leader or else they will fulfill that role themselves; they are clever and robust; they needs plenty of space; they need lots of exercise and personal attention. If you cannot give them the care and attention they need to thrive, PLEASE do not be tempted to buy one! Although they can adapt to 'apartment' living, they much prefer access to a garden. They can live indoors IF your house is big enough to accommodate and if they have constant access to the great outdoors and to plenty of exercise. They tolerate other dogs, providing it is large enough not to look like a tasty snack and, of course, provided the Mal has been properly socialized. This breed, like most other large breeds, suffers from hip displacia and from eye problems. A buyer should always check to ensure that the sire and dam of the puppy have been hip scored and eye tested and that both are healthy in that regard. Breeders should NOT breed unless they have had these checks carried out. IF YOU STILL THINK YOU'D LIKE TO BE A MAL OWNER: JOIN THE IRISH MALAMUTE CLUB. Elaine Walker is the club Secratary and she can be contacted at darrenwalker@lueldar.com I'll attach a copy of the club rules and objectives shortly.

Running dogs at -30C in Finland

14 July 2008

Ready for the off...

Getting harnessed

07 July 2008

So who said Alaskan Malamutes don't pull sleds anymore?

OK, so there's not much snow around, but these dogs seem to adapt well to their environment. With so little snow and so much rain (I sometimes think I should have invested in water spaniels!) around we have to make do with wheeled rigs. My own rig is a three-wheeler, built in the UK where the sport is more common than in Ireland. The rig runs on grass (as you can see from the attached video clip, which was shot in the Phoenix Park), on sand or on the roadway. I run my dogs on Dollymount strand when the tide is low and the sand is fairly well packed. If it's too soft the wheels just sink in and make it difficult for the dogs. On evenings when the time just is not available to go for a beach run, I take the dogs for relatively short runs (4 - 6 miles) through Glasnevin, Finglas or Ballymun. If you see me with the dogs in harness feel free to wave or shout a greeting (mush...?) as I pass by. I don't like to stop when running them, so excuse me if I seem rude. The dogs get a little impatient if stopped for anything other than crossing a junction or something similar. They also sometimes turn and tangle the lead lines, which is a hassle. If you have a dog with you, I'd much appreciate if you would give me room to pass. The smaller the dog you have, the more room I'd appreciate. Although Mals are a gentle dog by nature, they still have a hunting instinct and if your toy dog looks like a cat, or a rabbit, or lunch in one form or another, be aware that if it comes inside the bite-range of a Mal, it could have some very sad consequences. The VERY LAST thing I want to see is anyone else's pet either terrified or hurt. Please give me room to pass. I frequently cross to the other side of the road to avoid meeting other dogs, but sometimes its easier for a person walking a single dog on a lead to cross, than it is for me with my two dogs on an 8-foot long lead, with the rig behind. And don't get me started on dogs who are off the lead and come running over, barking and growling... On the other hand, Mals DON'T eat children (or big people!). They are the friendliest dog breed you could come across. The worst they'll do is give a big sloppy lick. Some people like that. Others don't. Because of their friendliness they sometimes 'nose' a hand as they pass people by. If you are wearing head-phones, with the volume up high, and don't hear me calling you as we approach from behind, and you don't hear the dog's bells ringing and the dog touches your hand with his wet nose ... don't hit the roof and certainly don't hit the dogs! We haven't sneaked up on you with the intent of causing a heart attack! One unfortunate lady on Ballymun Road took great fright when Buck nosed her hand in passing. SHE hit the roof. I was very apologetic up to the point where she became abusive. Yes indeed!

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, fáilte!

Hi! My name is Conor. I'd like to introduce you to some real dogs...