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any dog can be a sled dog | gunner x colorado mountain mushers
03-12-242 mins read
2
"Any dog who has an interest in running can be a sled dog. It gives them purpose and exercise in a structured environment so when they go home at night, they’re exhausted in a good way."
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Dog Stories

Words by Molly Schriber-Cushing | As told by GUNNER

Molly Schriber-Cushing is the President of Colorado Mountain Mushers, a club is dedicated to fostering novice and family racing, as well as promoting a variety of working dog associated activities. To learn more about CMM or become a member, visit www.colomtnmushers.org.

I’m the current president of Colorado Mountain Mushers, but before that, I met my husband because he was a dog sledding instructor. When we moved to Colorado, I wanted to get more into sled dogs with the snowy climate, so I started volunteering with CMM.



All mushers and sled dog enthusiasts find that, all of a sudden, they have a surplus of dogs they’ve brought home. My husband and I have five dogs. We didn’t pick them all to be sled dogs, but we have a habit of collecting dogs that no one else wants. One of our dogs, Violet, was getting into fights with other dogs and her owner needed to rehome her, so we took her in. Now she’s our lead dog.

We bring all of these dogs in because in some way, we’re trying to prove that any dog can be a sled dog. First and foremost, dogs need responsibility and jobs, as well as exercise. Our dogs all work together to teach new dogs, and they pick up skills and commands from each other. We assess what each dog can handle individually, and we always put new dogs in the middle so they get a pretty immediate grasp of what’s going on. Then they just go with the rest of the team because they aren’t leading, just following the other dogs.



Any dog who has an interest in running can be a sled dog. It gives them purpose and exercise in a structured environment so when they go home at night, they’re exhausted in a good way. A tired dog is a good dog.

I know I’m the president of a sled dog racing club, but my favorite part isn’t actually the races or events. It’s training my own dogs in the silence of the woods and listening when they get it right. It’s this meditative thing, especially when all you can hear is the sled on the snow and the swishing of the dogs’ feet as they run. When I call out for them to turn, all you hear is birds and maybe a distant snowmobile.


Seeing the whole team come together and respond to each other is pure joy. Our lives are so busy and full of overstimulation, and I’m always looking for peace. Whether we’re on a training run or a whole camping weekend with the dogs, that's how I find true peace.

I’ve always believed dogs are our best spiritual teachers. They teach us what’s most important in life.



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GUNNER tie-down straps are used to securely anchor your dog crate to your vehicle and are the only ones that we recommend for 5 Star Crash Test certified safety.  Read why it's important to use GUNNER straps for safe travel. 

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