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To train a bird dog requires a lot of basic obedience exercises. They must learn how to handle and carry game without destroying it. They must learn to work in the water. A dog must get to the point where it can use its hunting and tracking instincts to find game. The handler undergoes as much training as the dog. Developing into a finely tuned team takes practice and training. Hunting together creates a special bond between hunter and dog. We spent some time at the Diamond Brook Kennel in Brandon to get a taste of what it takes to train hunting dogs.
Skijoring is the sport of cross-country skiing while being pulled by a dog or dogs. It's an offshoot of sled dog racing and has been popular in Scandinavia and Alaska for many years. If you have a dog that's over 35 pounds and is trainable, you both may be candidates for skijoring. It's a terrific way for dogs and their owners to get out and exercise during the long winter months. Other than the cross-country skis, there is not a tremendous amount of equipment needed. Host Marianne Eaton takes a skijoring lesson at the Eden Mountain Lodge and enters a race sponsored by the New England Sled Dog Club.