Questions & Answers Wk 07

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Every week Team GoNorth! answers ten questions related to the module topic from student explorers -- so stay tuned and submit YOUR questions!

It is a rare-occasion that a dog gets loose from the line. Typically when this happens it is during the stake-out at night or for lunch and they don't leave the camp area.

Sometimes we are surprised by a Polar Husky head popping into our tent! :)

Sometimes while we are mushing the lure of an animal on the horizon proves to be too much excitement and someone is able to "break-out" of their collar or harness... and "kick it into high gear!"

When this happens, there is a chase that results... we work as a team and no one wants to miss the excitement. More often than not, the escape artist gets bored because the other Polar Huskies have caught up. They might even be cheering him/her on! But when they are not running together it isn't quite as fun, so the loose Polar Husky will look to us to hook him or her back up with the team.

As long as we don't panic and over-react, s/he will come back rather quickly and want to rejoin the pack.

What do you do if one of the dogs gets loose?

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We take a shovel, walk a short distance away from camp, dig a hole, sit down take care of business ... and enjoy the beautiful view! And if it is stormy, we get it done real quick!

Learn more on the Outhouse page in the A to Z

Where will you go to the bathroom when you are on the ice sheet in Greenland?

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We yell Woooaaaaaaaaaaaaa. We use our voices and commands to let the dogs know what we would like them to do. We may grab onto the front of the sled or run into the team if the dogs are not stopping and we need them to do so immediately. We do have brakes, this piece of metal with teeth, on the back of the sled - plus what is called a snow hook - but that really can not stop the sled. However, the dogs do know that when we use one of these two it s because we are asking them to stop.

How do you get the dogs to stop?

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The dogs are like family to us. They are our very best friends. We know them from the day they are born to the day they pass and we spend almost everyday of their lives with them. We go our on expeditions together, we have incredible experiences with them, we never forget they make this all possible! They mean everything to us!

We love'em!

What do the dogs mean to you?

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Each Fall training begins once the temperatures drop enough so that we don't need to worry about it being too warm for the Polar Huskies.  Depending when this happens and when we leave on the expedition, this can result in months of months training at Expedition Basecamp (hopefully with some nice snow cover on the ground!).

As much as the dogs rely on commands and reassurance from us, they also get 'on the job' training from each other. There is always something to learn so it is many expeditions and miles under their paws before one is 'a veteran.'

How long did it take to train the dogs?

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The Polar Huskies are very important to the expedition. They do much more than just pull the sled.

They are the first to alert us to possible danger. They have wonderful abilities of sight, smell and touch and can sense danger often well before we can.

Our Lead dogs, for example, are very very smart and can detect changed in ice and snow conditions before we can. Just by how the ice feels under their paws! Sometimes, we think they are just being stubborn and not listening when they pull us off course. But it usually turns-out there is something they have noticed that we haven't, like a lead in the ice! And that is why they aren't doing something we are telling them to do.

They warn us of other animals. Good Thunder and Lightning learned from Retired Polar Husky Timber how to detect polar bears by smell and then alert us! Timber has warned us of many many bears over the years and in 2006 he taught Goodie and Lightning to do this too.

Why do you use dog to do your work?

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Polar Huskies, just like people, come in all kinds of colors (with all kinds personalities, sizes, likes and dislikes...)!

After surveying Team GoNorth!, it seems that we all would like to be whatever color we were born with. After all, all of the Polar Huskies are important, and they are all different. But they still all try to get along with each other and to do their jobs as part of a team, despite their differences.

So whether it's fur we're talking about here or something else, we like the traits we are born with and try to use our strengths to make our world better!

We noticed that some of the polar huskies like Trigger, Jupiter and Lightning and Baffin, Yoik and Luna look alike. Others look totally different. If you were a Polar husky, what would you look like?

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Sam & Julia

You will find-out the answer to the first part of this question *very very* soon!

As far as how the dogs are going to act: The Polar Huskies LOVE to fly. You can bet that Beacon will tell you all about it in his weekly Blog posting once the Polar Huskies land in Greenland. :)

How long does it take from where you are now to Greenland and how are the dogs going to act in the plane?

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Yes we do miss our friends and our families. But, the thing is, it seems like our friends and family are always with us in spirit and thought. Our families know that we do what we love, that this is who we are, and that it is our way of life. They give us tremendous support and love which helps when it gets tough out on the trail. We actually think it may be tougher on our families the months before we depart, because the "getting ready to go" pretty much consumes our lives...

And yes... the Polar Huskies are like our family too. So in a way, we are always with some of our family which makes the cold seem a little less cold and the distance from home seem not quite so far.

Do you ever get homesick?

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The quick answer is: We won't.

We either heat up our food to eat it or we simply eat it frozen, attempting to warm things (like Clif Bars) in our mouths. At times it is rather challenging.

How will you stop food from freezing in Greenland?

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