Here on Karnes the focus is always on the dogs. Their well being is the first priority.
That is why all the dogs have their own kennel (except for Mie and Søte who insist on living together) They all have their own doghouse raised off the ground. In the houses they always have a madrass of dry straw. Anyone who has slept in a wet sleeping bag will remember the feeling of it…
None of the dogs here live their life chained to a pole, although this is still legal in Norway.
In addition to the dogs kennels, I have built a small park of about 15×30 metres. In summer there is green grass for them to play on there. The dogs can run loose and play together, while the kennels are cleaned. I try to ensure that they can play in the open yard for at least one hour every day, even in summer. They often get far more than one hour!
I think this yard/park has several benefits. The main thing is that the dogs get to be the social beings they are, even in the period of the year when it is too hot to train in a team. They know each other very well, and this prevents friction and fighting. Introducing a new dog, or have a dog visiting for a period of time is also unproblematic. The new dog becomes part of the “gang” in a few days.
In addition to this I think the fact that they get to run and play free, also has a preventive effect on injuries in the race season. Athletes among people are encouraged to vary exercise to prevent injuries. Why would it not be the same for dogs?
The dogs get food twice a day. The days that they exercise/work they get fed three times.
Although it costs a lot, they get top quality food all year round, even in the summer when, due to the temperature they cannot be trained by pulling anything.
If the snow conditions in the winter are icy or in other ways bad, to prevent the dogs paws being injured, I always use booties. This is not only for training or racing, but also on the tourist-jobs we do. If the conditions are really bad, I will cancel the trip if no other options or areas is available, although this means lost income. If I do so, it is only to protect the dogs.
When it comes to the clipping of claws, I’m now pleased that I spent a few hours extra, getting them used to this by “playing” through it when the dogs were puppies. Now I can cut all the 228 claws in under an hour, and that hour can be regarded as a cuddle for both me and my dogs.
I put my pride in doing all I can for the welfare of the dogs. In the long term, I think that will be rewarded in some way. At least I can go to bed every night and know that the dogs will sleep just as good as I will…