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Fall Training Checklist!

Are you ready for fall training?

This is just a beginning--add your items to the list by sending them to
info with "checklist" in the subject line!


  • As fall training approaches, pay particular attention to dog weights. You can't expect dogs to train well if they're too fat or too thin. Remember that calorie requirements go up dramatically as training intensifies and the weather gets cold or wet.
  • Check collar size and make sure it's comfortable, but not so loose that it's easy for the dog to slip.
  • Trim nails.
  • This is a good time to do a routine worming or run some spot fecal checks..
  • Order annual shots if you vaccinate dogs in the fall. Remember that vaccinations do cause stress and should be given two or three weeks before training begins. You may want to wait to give kennel cough vaccinations until a couple of weeks before you anticipate running with other teams (training or racing).
  • Purchase your straw early -- when the weather turns wet and cold the dogs will be looking for a warm bed.


  • 10/4/99 from Melanie Desotelle of Winona, Minnesota
    If you use a scooter or a bike, make sure you air up your tires, especially if you have a small team. It can be very frustrating for a dog when they have to work twice as hard because of flat tires. This tip does not apply to larger teams, because you may need something to slow you down. Also, check your breaks to ensure they are working properly.
  • Check the number and condition of your harnesses. Patch any worn or torn places webbing (patch on the outside!) Check the condition of the padding and ties! (Parachute cord makes excellent harness ties--always use two!) If you need to order new harnesses, do yourself and your supplier a favor and order now!
  • If you use cable lines, check carefully for wear. It's a good idea to replace the oldest section(s) annually.
  • The same goes for poly lines. Double-check how your harnesses fit in the line. Lines have a tendency to stretch over time which will change how each dog fits in the line.
  • Last year's brass snaps (especially neckline snaps) have a tendency to pop in fall training. Check them as best you can and make sure you have extras with you on every run.
  • If you train with an ATV, change oil and filter, check tire pressure and brakes, lubricate, etc. Be sure to check your bungee or other connecting point to your ATV. Always use a safety line that bypasses your regular bridle and connects directly from the ATV to the mainline.
  • If you use a cart, check welds, etc. and ditto on checking your bungee and using a safety line.
  • Check your supply of runner plastic and order early--it gets mighty scarce during race season.
  • Are your sleds in good repair? Order parts or new sleds early!
  • If you use a snowmobile to pack trails, make sure it's tuned-up and ready to go.


  • If you maintain your own trail, start now to mow, disk, pick up sticks or whatever it takes to provide your dogs with safe footing..
  • If you use public or private trails that require permission, get your paperwork done now.

Dog Truck

  • Did you have any trouble last season? Check thoroughly for any mechanical or electrical problems.
  • Is the exhaust system sound?
  • Do you need to replace tires?
  • Perform routine maintenance: oil change, lube, check shocks, etc.
  • Go over your dog box with a fine tooth comb:
    • Check exterior for any peeling paint or rotting wood.
    • Check the interior dividers for any holes or chewed spots.
    • Is all the hardware (especially hinges) in good condition?
    • Are all the screws tight?
    • Is the wiring in tact?
    • Do the lights work?
    • Are the eye bolts or other points of attachment solid?
  • Call your friends and have a box mounting party--but don't get too excited--typical mushers rarely get to this before November! [Just a joke for all our mushing friends who always seem to be running a couple of months behind on their "to do" lists!]


  • Review last year's dog records and honestly evaluate any problems you or your dogs experienced.
  • Take the time to set realistic goals for your mushing activity.
  • Make a preliminary training schedule but count on something screwing it up!
  • If you need new outerwear (boots, hats, mitts, goggles, coats, windpants), order early!
  • Have FUN!

If you need supplies or new equipment, check the Equipment & Supplies Page

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