Susan Butcher, Trail Breaker Kennel’s founder, and four-time Iditarod champion accredited her groundbreaking career in the sport of dog mushing to her deep connection with her Alaskan husky teammates. Susan raised all of the dogs she raced with from the time they were puppies. She believed that bonding with her teammates early in their lives created a unique relationship that would guarantee safety and success out on the trail.
How Did Susan Butcher Bond With and Train Her Alaskan Huskies?
During the first week of her dogs’ lives, before their eyes even opened, Susan would pick each puppy up and blow across their nose so they could grow accustomed to her scent. As the puppies grew, she would take them for walks in the woods and encourage them to overcome different obstacles. These exploratory hikes would build their confidence in her and one another. It would also give them self-confidence. The dedication and time that Susan invested in her dogs paid off. The result was a joyful bond between Susan and her dogs that led to four Iditarod victories.
Trust and Be Trusted
In a 1989 interview, Susan Butcher said, “We are just trying to teach them to respect us and trust us, and vice versa. I have to trust my life in their hands all the time, and they should learn to trust me with their life. And then when you are out there racing, that trust is what is going to make you able to win.”
Susan’s belief in “trust and be trusted” is the founding principle of Trail Breaker Kennel. It’s something all of us at Trail Breaker Kennel stand by to this day. It’s also the foundation of the relationship between musher and husky.
In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to trust your family, your neighbors, and your teammates here on earth. The more mutual trust and respect we have for all of our human and animal friends, the better off we all will be.
Visit our Mushers & Huskies
We would love to see you at Trail Breaker Kennel on your next visit to Alaska. We are located in Fairbanks on the Chena River, only a couple of miles from Fairbanks International Airport.