Ask a Dog Handler - ???

Claire Tixhon-Harris
Whitehorse, Yukon

Preparing for the Yukon Quest is a full-time job between August and February. Claire is partner and dog handler for Yukon Quest musher, Doug Harris. It is doubtful that any musher makes it to the starting line without support from others. Dog handlers, partners, community, family and friends all provide invaluable support.

Dog handlers spend a great deal of time preparing food for the dogs, cleaning the dog yards, training the team, and providing emotional support to an exhausted and sometimes overwhelmed musher.

To see sample questions click here

Here is a list of the dogs that have been tentatively selected for Doug's team: to see more pictures of the dogs, click here.

Gee & Haw leaders are lead dogs that understand and carryout the verbal commands directed from the musher. These dogs generally demonstrate confidence, reliability and intelligence.

Trail leaders differ in that they don't neccessarily initiate the response to the musher's commands, but they will pull the team along and work alongside the Gee & Haw leaders.

Last year Jane Vincent was Trevor Braun's dog handler for the 1997 running of the Yukon Quest. Entries from the journal she kept while preparing for the Quest give an inside perspective on the demanding training program required to compete in the race.

Stay tuned to this page to learn about the role a dog handler plays in preparing musher and team for the Quest.

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