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issue 3 March 2012

Alan Stewart Do as I do

Claudia Fugazza

Zoya DeNure Yvon Lasbleiz

and the canicross in France

Roy Fonteijn Agility World Champion 2011

Agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann


March 2012



12 Agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann

30 canicross in France with Yvon Lasbleiz

44 interview with

Alan Stewart

20 in

4 interview with

nterview with

Roy Fonteijn

Zoya DeNure

40 Do as I do : Claudia Fugazza

CORRECTION FROM THE FEBRUARY ISSUE Due to a miscommunication outside our will, some errors wandered in the article on Skyhoundz competition on page 28 of the february Issue.

more informations here

The author of the article was Sven Van Driessche and not Jeff Perry! Unfortunately there were also a couple of typographical errors: Extreme Distance = Xtreme Distance Pairs Division =Pairs Freestyle Bull’s Eye = Bullseye Time Trial = TimeTrial Pairs Distance = Pairs Distance/Accuracy

interview with Roy Fonteijn

His first appearance at the AWC was in 2008 when he immediately gets a second place with the Dutch team. In 2011 he landslide victory in agility becouse he’s the first dutchman that took home the Agility World Champion title in the Large class. In the 2011 he also achieve the title of Crufts Agility International champion.

text : Luca Bartole Photos are a courtesy of Roy Fonteijn


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onteijn Fonteijn interview

interview with Roy Fonteijn

How do you feel about being the first Dutchman to win the Agility World Championship in Large? It’s still unbelievable. Now , a few months later I’ll believe that it’s happened. A dream that came truth. When I thinks of it, I get smiling agan. The 2011 was your year. Last year you won also the Crufts International Agility competition (after being 3rd in the 2010 ). What will be the most significant things that will make you remember the 2011? The moment that Tereza failed the long jump at the AWC. When you saw that the favorites (Lisa and later Tereza) have made the mistakes. What crossed your mind in that moment? After Lisa’s run I thought, oh I’m on silver. Meanwhile, Tereza walked the course I thought, they will get it. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the longjump fall. I had made it, I’m the World Champion!

“One thing led to another and I started my own dogschool in 2003”

interview with Roy Fonteijn

In 2008 you have participated at your first world championships in the individual competition wasn’t so bad and you’re finished 30th and in the team you’ve placed second. Looking back at 2008 AWC which are the earliest memories that comes to your mind? It was a great experience, I enjoyed it from beginning to end. What made you decide to take this career path? How did you get involved in agility? In 1995 I got my first puppy a Australian Cattle Dog. There were Cees and Sister a puppy. These people have me brought into contact with agility. One thing led to another and I started my own dogschool in 2003. In 2005, with Flinn we have start the path of refined and expanded handling

“We do stretching and breathing exercises, then I concentrated on the course”

“Th w an

The day we don’t have to work we go for long walks with the dogs and have fun, together with my wife nd son”

How change your preparation before a big event? I don’t, I always go for pleasure. But I always want get the best out of me and my dog. When we have fun we get the best out of us.  How do you prepare yourself and your dog before entering the ring?  We do stretching and breathing exercises, then I concentrated on the course.  Do you remember how was your first agility competition? A lot of stress. But i still can laugh about it. I had the leash still in the hands and my dog was already gone.

interview with Roy Fonteijn

How and how much do you train during the week? You separate the physical training of technicians? I train 1 hour with1 dog during the week. I don’t seperate the physical training of technicians.

A typical day in your life? Monday to Thursday I work from 7 to 16.30 in a printing office. After eating I go to the dogs school and teach there four nights. The day we don’t have to work we go for long walks with the dogs and have fun, together with my wife and son. What is the worst part of agility? When there is no fun. What is the best thing about agility?  To be a team whit the dog, also when something goes wrong. Do you have hobbies, plays some other sports or activities besides agility ?  Swimming and being together with my wife and son. What are your goals and aspirations for the next years?  To get the best out of me and my dogs. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Do you have anything else you would like to add?  Agility with your dog is about having fun. Always be happy whit the dog! Do not get mad if they do not want to do something that we want to do with them

Roy Fonteijn


intervie intervi

“Agility with your dog is about having fun”

PION PION 2011 2011

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Agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann

Agility in


with Ray Hoff

Ray Hoffmann has always had a dog . He live with his wife Tania in the Nord of Lux the City of Ettelbruck. They have 2 childrens Jessy 9 years and the daughter Ayleen have 8 dogs : 4 Sheltie´s and 4 Australian Shepherds. Tania (the wife) is a breeder Sh Aussie´s . Beside of Agility they are also Ham Operators ( Radio) I´m LX2RH and Tania LX1TA , afterwards he’s active in Paragliding and P of dogs and Models

text : Luca Bartole Photos are a courtesy of Ray Hoffman (Sharp Arts) and Iztok Noč




xembourg in 2 years. They heltie and (Amtateur Photographie

Ray Hoffman in action

Agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann

Tell us more about your agility “career” I started with Agility in the 1995 ,at that time I had a kind of German Shepherd called Leika with her i had a lot of good results. In the 2002 I got Velvet she is a Sheltie with her i had till now my biggest successes.She participated several times at the European Open and Agility World Cup and in the 2010 we took part at the Agility World Championship in Germany Kreuth and our result in the Team was 15th place , now Velvet is 8 1/2 years and the AWC 2010 in Kreuth in Germany ,was her last competition and she can relax now at home :) Her successor is C.J an Agility, Trick, and Movie dog. He is very nice and intelligent ,he like to work with me , we do a lot of tricks ,and he had also some apperances in Publicity Photoshootings and also 2 little movies, and we hope to do more :) photos by Iztok Noč

Ray at the FCI Agility World Championship 2010

First of all give us some Historical notes about Luxemburg Agility Handlers , the results that have made the history of Agility in your country Agility in Luxemburg has started in the late ’80, when Mr an Mrs Stein where in France and were visiting a agility competition. When they came back, they did everything together with freinds to do the same with their dogs, and Agility was born in Luxemburg. Afterthat, we had quite some people wich good results on international level. 1993: Fernand Eiffes with Quiff : Vice-Europeanchampion (Large) 1996: Fernand Eiffes with Quiff: Worldchampion (Large) 1997: Fabienne Thines with Rico 3rd place and Chantal Thines with Quincy 6th place on the Wold Championchips (Small) 2002: Fernand Eiffes – Fabienne Thines – Patrick Krier: Worldchampion in Team (Medium) In the next years Patrick Krier was also placed 3rd, 4th, and 5th on the World Championchips with his Angie.

How many clubs are there? Here in Luxemburg, we have 13 Clubs connected to the CLA (Club Luxembourgeois pour Agility, the ferderation) What is the C.L.A. (CLUB LUXEMBOURGEOIS POUR AGILITY) and what is the role of the C.L.A. The CLA is the federation, it is the headorganisation. Which club is the most equipped? All the clubs have quite the same level of equipment, but if I should mention the club with the most resource, it is defintly HSV Bettembourg. In the 2010 your country have encountered a successful result at the AWC in Rieden with a 15th place in the team category.Explain as your experience to the AWC. For me it was the first Worldchampionchips to compete. I took part with my sheltie. It was very exciting but also exhausting, not only physical but also mental. We did our best, to reache this result. And next time I try to take again part in one of the next Championchips with my large dog C.J.

Agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann

How many competition are organized in your country every year? There are always around 20-25 competions every year. How are the winters there, you can train in every day? In winter the training is as normal, when the weather is good enough we are doing our training outside as always. Some clubs have the possibility to move into a riding arena or an empty warehouse. You are a member of the WILD DOGS club tell us more about this club We are a quite small club, that because we were only founded in 2008. We are situated in the north part of the county, but we have everything we need. Our members are quite all out of other clubs, and therefore we have membres wich are doing Agility since more than 10-15 years, and our results are also very good.

Who is on the top , right now , in your country?(handlers) In Large I would say Raymond Rossi is good, in Medium and Small it is Fabienne Thines who is fames with all of her sheltie’s, but also Mireille OÊ. Nowadays there are more interest from the people or is more a deadlock situation ? Here in Luxemburg, I think there are a lot of new people interessted in Agility, and therefore we have always more people and new people on the competitions, since this year we have the possibility to take up to 200 concurrents on a competitions (if you as a club) have the possibility to ensure a good rolement for the competion. Do you have something to add? A last word ? Agility should be fun, and I hope that this view on Agility comes back to the mind of everyone. Thank you for the interessed on Agility in Luxemburg.

Agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann




gility in


h Ray Hoffmann

interview with Zoya DeNure

Zoya DeNur

text : Luca Bartole Photos are a courtesy of Zoya DeNure

re Zoya DeNure was born and raised in Wisconsin. As a young girl she lived and traveled world-wide as a professional model . After many years in the field, Zoya was ready for a change. She bought a Siberian Husky named Ethan and start her mushing adventure. In the 2002 she moved to Alaska , seeking a more basic lifestyle away from all the city hub-bub, seemed like an easy decision. Now ,she live in Alaska with her husband, John Schandelmeier (mushing legend) and their 3 year old daughter, Jona, nine years later Zoya owns and operates Denali Highway Tours & Cabins; a cabin rental retreat on the Denali Highway. The family kennel, Crazy Dog Kennels, takes in unwanted sled dogs; rehabilitating them with a positive training program.

interview with Zoya DeNure

What made you decide to take this career path? I don’t think I choose it but raher, it choose me. There was no one thing that jumped out and said; “sled dog racing! That’s it!” I always had an affinity for animals and the outdoors. Dogs in particular. I have a competitive spirit and striving for a goal of some kind is attractive. Also, the thought of molding so many different personalities into a single cohesive unit is addictive, challenging and reawrding. Seeing and doing the wild country in a way that can only be done by dog team was once just a dream but now is my daily reality. I had a goal when I came to Alaska and that was to one day be an Iditarod musher, living and breathing dogs 365 days of the year.

Tell us about your dogs . Who will be in your team for the 2012? Oh, they are all so great. I am very happy with them and so proud of how hard they work for me. I have a good relationship with my dogs and feel like this gives us a little extra something at the end. Some of my dogs have been bought, rescued and or bred from my own bloodline- this bloodline comes from two exceptional dogs,Trapper & Phoebe, both from our kennel. Looking ahead at the Iditarod, the team picks today are lead dogs Sebe, Fender, Spicy, Demon, Sadie, Djembe and Bumper. Team dogs are Bligh, Storey, Peak, Mulder, Slick, Mudflap, Elwood, Dude and Robin.

When the Crazy Dog Kennel idea starts? It was just a kennel name that I liked----so interesting; when I met my future husband, I found that he also had that kennel name----completely independently--neither of us knew of each other.

You had the beautiful idea to make Winter & Summer Kennel Tours .A very nice and unique experience in a true Alaskan Sled dog kennel.When this idea was born ? A couple of seasons ago, we had an inquiry asking if it was possible to take a summer overnight dog trip into the Alaska outback. We said “yes”, and that was the beginning. It’s been a very successful branch to our home life and business with dogs and we certainly enjoy sharing it with others.

interview with Zoya DeNure

You runs rescued dogs from around Alaska. How It’s all started? I started running rescues because I couldn’t afford to pay the high prices that competitive racing kennels were asking. I wasn’t looking to put togther a comptitive team the first few years anyway and found the work with these animals very challenging at times and always rewarding. I was learning so much from them and in return with patience and consistency, they would start to do their job effectivly. Quickly after I started looking around for sled dogs to make up a team, people in the area were calling me to take their unwanted dogs off their hands. I soon discovered the great need for rescue within the sport and that all most of these dogs needed was more time, love, guidance and patience. After living with and training dogs full time, I realized that dogs are just dogs---they have no idea if they are a rescue or not. Not all free dogs are not hard working amazing pullers, given a little time and softer training, some of these dogs turn into real crazy happy pullers. There is no one dog that is alike.

“When I came to Alaska in 2002, I didn’t know who John was and I didn’t know anything about the Quest”

What comes to your mind if I say Yukon Quest? My husband. Eagle Summit and the cold. When I came to Alaska in 2002, I didn’t know who John was and I didn’t know anything about the Quest. I was just focused on Iditarod. Since being with my husband and handling for him on the Quest, I’ve learned a lot about the race; John has finished the race 19 times, won it twice and has never been out of the money, It’s typically pretty cold race and that everyone talks about Eagle Summit. I camped on Eagle Sumitt my first summer in AK with a friend and my dog, Ethan. It was just breathtaking! Which were for you the most beautiful moments of your career ? Receving the humanatarin award in the Gin Gin 200, 2007 Leaving Ruby in 08 and seeing the Northern Lights and my team trotting down the Yukon so easily. Crossing the finish line in Nome in 2008 with my wonderful team, greeted by my mother, husband and several friends. I was 5 weeks along with our daughter, Jona, during this race, we confirmed the good news just hours after I crossed the finish line. We were all together to celebrate the race finish and the news. Iditarod has been by far the best race for seeing breathtaking country with wild and varied terrain. It’s such a great event world wide and I’m so happy to be able to take part in it.

interview with Zoya DeNure

Can you tell us what is your best memory of the Iditarod Sleeping under the stars in Cripple ‘08 with my team. I was dead tired when I arrived, it was all I had to do my chores and roll out my sleeping bag before taking a well deserved power nap. Then two of my favorite team dogs, littermates Bligh and Storey snuggled up real close to my neck and I could feel their breath on my face, that put me into a deep and peaceful sleep. To participate in the Iditarod and Yukon Quest , that are very hard competitions, how changes the training for competitions like this compared to a simple sled dog race? To begin, there are no “simple sled dog races”. One must train equally hard and be just as focused whether the goal be a 100-mile race or a 1000 mile event. I guess the main difference is in the length of training. I think it takes 5-6 solid months to prepare dogs for 1000 mile races. There is a mental challenge for them as well as the obvious physical challenges. There needs to be a lot of endurance, stamina and trust when going into the Iditarod or Quest. On the mushers end as well as their dog team.

“Training is never static , It may vary from one year to the next, as our thoughts change and as we learn more”. How and how much do you train during the week? Training is never static---it may vary from one year to the next, as our thoughts change and as we learn more. We may do some experimentation---and hope we are successful! The number of miles is not the main factor, in reality it may be a very minor one. At the moment, we are running 40-60 miles per week on the Quad and some on the sleds. Later, we will be on the sleds about 90% of the time. Dogs are out 4-5 times per week and may also go on loose walks. As the season progresses, the amount of time spent on the sleds, pulling at varying speeds, increases. In early Dec. We did a non-stop run, (except for snacks), lasting from 14-16 hours. A typical day in your life Up at 6:30-7:00; feed dogs, breakfast with Jona and John. Training run, back in for some office work, then spending time with Jona; art, learning activites, outside time, taking her to school once a week, etc. Another dog run, some time in the dogyard-- Feed dogs, household stuff, more office work, Family time. It’s a crazy balancing act every day for me in hopes to meet the needs of my family, my dogs and kennel handlers.

“I think it takes 5-6 solid months to prepare dogs for 1000 mile races�

interview with Zoya DeNure

How many and which dogs you had as a child ? I had no dogs as a child. I volunteered a local Animal Shelter while in school. My first dog came in 1999, his name is Ethan and he’s 13 years old now. My first sled dogs came in 2000. Who has had the most impact on your life? My late Grandma Shirley. She was such a strong person and so vibrant, full of life and she always kept busy. She gave a lot to everyone around her, making sure needs were met. She endured many looses in her life but remained very strong for her family and she did it with a smile and genuine good heart. I have so many good memories growing up with her in my life. And my family. I love being married to my husband and having our family is such a blessing. Both John and Jona make me laugh all the time, we have a close relationship and do almost everything together. I feel really lucky with John because he’s also like a best friend to me, we can talk about anything. If I want to run the Iditarod until I’m 80 years old, he’ll suport it. If I wanted to drop it all and move to Turkey and teach yoga, he’d be ready in in 5 minutes. He cooks, he sews, builds us homes, commercial fishes and helps me train dogs...he’s amazing. He inspires me daily.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? I think my personal strengths are self motivation and stubborness. Weakness---the fear of failure. This weakness has caused me great problems in the past but I’ve been working so hard this year on overcoming this issue so I am to succeed where I want to the most. What are your goals and aspirations for the next years? My goal is to be a competitve force in my chosen sport. My aspiration? The top end of the 1000mile race fields. I would love to be the next woman to win the Iditarod. A special thanks to my kennel backbone and sponsor Is Eukanuba!

“My goal is to be a competitve force in my chosen sport”

interview with Yvon Lasbleiz


canicross in F text : Luca Bartole Photos are a courtesy of Yvon Lasbleiz

Yvon Lasbleiz

nd the


interview with Yvon Lasbleiz

Before we start It would be better that you explain a little to the readers who are you and with who have a deal. I will try in a stone lines to introduce myself, my name is Yvon Lasbleiz, I am the president of the Federation of Canine Sports and Leisure (FSLC) which is the Federation and canicross canivtt that manages virtually the whole of these disciplines sport in France, I am also vice president of the ECF. In terms of canicross I organize the Trophy Mountains, canicross international event takes place over 9 days non-stop in 11 different stages. I practice the discipline since the early 1990s, which makes me a veteran of the circuit, next results over the years, my dogs, with the help of my son, won all the titles that if they are national or internationals (World Championship of Europe, or France) Accordingly canicross, although it is not known at all, has not much secret to me. It seems to me that France canicross scene is very expanded.Your comment? Yes , the canicross becoming well known in France, therefore its development is constant, we record more and more tests or nearly 80 competitions, the establishment of clubs is also continuing, we are at a just over 30

You have already done a research on the history of canicross. Who do you think has contributed most to the development of the sport in your country? I actually made ​​one of the Historic price look canicross in France, it is also the update because I have received new evidence recently. Several players have allowed the development of the discipline in our country, but he who pioneered and advanced the sport in a major way in my opinion Pernoud Gilles, veterinary, and had organized many competitions but outside formal structures a private tour of sorts. Where we can find competitions with a stunning landscape? We are very fortunate in France, the scenery is different, because we have plains, mountains, seaside It is therefore very difficult to give a preference, however we have competitions in Normandy and Brittany where you run up the cliffs down to the sandy beaches, is wonderful, of course you have the Trophy Mountains, which takes place in the Alps, overlooking lakes or snowy landscapes, competitions in Provence where the stone is red landscapes were amazing, I could quote many other

“We are very fortunate in France, the scenery is different, because we have plains, mountains, seaside” What brings you in the canicross world? Chance simply, I read in a local newspaper that there was a canicross race not far from my home, I run every day with my dogs .So, the idea came to participate.

interview with Yvon Lasbleiz

You are present for more than 20 years in the canicross scene , how this sport has changed from the ‘90 to nowadays? The outcome was very important, the concept was initially based solely on the run with his dog, very few rules were placed, imagine that we would run at the beginning with a leash held by hand and hanging on the collar dog, we had real problems to breathe ( dogs and also the handlers) there were only 6-8 events scattered throughout France, over time, a settlement was established, equipment (belt, harness and shock absorbing leash) appeared, in parallel with good runners on foot came to participate, but this will put to much time to evolve, in France, in 2007 we waited for it to really start, and it is accelerating in France example just during the last week we have three proposals for new tests and an application for membership of a club to our federation, we are in a dynamic. After many years of presence at major competitions. What  was the competition that remained imost n the heart ? What remains in my heart it is not my own interests but those of my son who also practiced the canicross for many years, their happiness with their dogs to run, we shared the same passion, this was moments strong

“at the beginning with a leash held by hand and hanging on the collar dog, we had real problems to breathe...” What advice do you have for someone wishing to get involved in this dog sport? Especially to keep a mind game with his dog, be attentive to their welfare in order to have the team that is more cohesive, and I emphasize full compliance with his dog who gives everything he can for his commitment to you When and why has started the ​​TDM - Trophée des Montagnes ? The idea of ​​the Trophy Mountains just Pernoud Gilles, the vet that I quoted above. he was looking toward the year 2000 a new way of doing canicross on land a little hard, more hard than on ordinary events in mountain landscapes where nature is preserved

Does the route change every year? Who is involved in the preparation of the stages? Who decides where the competitors will pass? Yes, I try to vary some of the course each year, this year there will be four new, I chose it myself after several recognitions that the circuit racers will borrowed, ensuring safety in particular How much time does it take to put it all together? It takes a year to prepare a Trophy Mountains, I give of my time each day About the new edition. Did you have prepared something new for the 2012 edition? I think that once again the competitors will discover new and wonderful landscapes they value despite the hardness of the test

interview with Yvon Lasbleiz

Which are the most important competitions in France? We have three major competitions in France, our National Championship, an event which is the final of all competitions of the year by a points classification and finally Trphée Mountains, international event that is beginning to be known about the throughout Europe and also in America , this year will partecipate a Canadian. Who are among the most competitive people in your country? We have many canicrosseurs canivététistes or performance, the names that you can remember are Spehl Sébastien (European Champion title), Bolcato Alexis, Anne Bazot, Skating Brenda, Coudurier Delphine Deshayes Jean Philippe, Benoit Delaplace

There is a lot of collaboration with Belgium, I saw that there are races that trespass the borders between France and Belgium. When did it begin this collaboration? Yes indeed , we have friendships with the Belgians, they are very close to France and we have developed the canicross andcanivtt at all, the first were with the Czechs before the Trophy Mountains , where we tied the knowledge, this led to another and then the French runs in Belgium and the Belgians come easily to us, they even have an event to our calendar

“ N o ti

How do you see the canicross in France in a couple of years? It is always difficult to predict the future, but we are confident that its development will continue in the same way right now, we still have very large areas where there is no test or club, and we make a important information through sports magazines or websites.

We have three major competitions in France, our National Championship, an event which is the final of all competitions of the year by a points classificaion and finally Trphée Mountains”

interview with Yvon Lasbleiz

What do you do in the winter months there are any of the races in November in December? Runners are often cross country races during the hive, the moment we do not have much hardship during this season, but our calendar is starting to be important, so it is possible that this period is more filled in the future, although we are also attentive to the dogs and the athletes can have a rest period, which is mandatory in France for all sports

A country like France where the canicross is very active . How many canicross clubs have? As I said we currently have just over 30 clubs, we are moving very quickly, for example, we can point to three new membership applications and other projects

Thanks for the interview! If you want to add something , go ahead I just hope that the canicross canivtt and develops the same way all over the world and I wish a long life

Claudia Fugazza Claudia Fugazza : Do as I do

Claudia Fugaz sion for dogs l ing technique dogs with hum Masters in An erinary Medic tive in dog spo a few question

The recent research on dog cognition has shed light on the fine social cognitive abilities of our favorite companions. The “Do as I do� training method is a new technique based on the imitative abilities of dogs. You will discover through the pages of this book and DVD how to teach your dog new tasks using his ability to imitate you!

Do as I

zza is from Italy , she have the passion for wolves and she’s studying their behavior. Her pasled her to ever deepen knowledge on their behavior and training techniques. She use a traine based on social learning: it’s called “Do As I Do” and it is based on the fine social skills of mans. She got a degree in Techniques of Breeding purebred dog and Canine Education, a nimal Ethology of affection and another Master’s in Education at the School of Canine Vetcine of Pisa. Now , she’s a dog trainer at the Happy dog School in Como. Claudia is also acorts like rally-oberdience and agility with pretty good results. On the next pages I have asked ns to Claudia about the “Do As I Do” technique.


text : Luca Bartole Photos are a courtesy of Claudia Fugazza

Claudia Fugazza : Do as I do

Where was born this technique? «Do as I do» is the name of en experimental protocol used by some researcher to assess imitative abilities in non-human animals. In 2006 this protocol has been used for the first time by Prof. Miklosi (Department of Ethology, University of Budapest) with a dog: the researcher demonstrated that dogs can functionally imitate humans. I read the study and tried this protocol to teach to my dog to copy my actions and it worked so good that I decided to try to teach her novel actions using this social learning technique. Since then I have worked with many dogs and owners and, with Prof. Miklosi, I also did a pilot study to demonstrate how effective this technique is. Now, at least in Italy, the Do as I do is another training technique that we can use to teach dogs new tasks! What the dog learns from watching us? Dogs, probably through domestication, have acquired surprisingly fine social cognitive abilities and they are very inclined to socially learn from humans. Dogs can learn many actions and usually for them is very simple to understand what’s the goal that we want them to achieve, by showing it. Actions like «switch on the light» or «close the door» are very simple for them to learn by observation, using the Do as I do procedure.

You are the only one in Italy to develop this technique this project in Italy?

This project has grown very fast and I’m really happy to the training methods, allowing dogs to use their social c In my opinion it’s surprising that only now dog’s social in training, for dogs are very skillful in this! I wrote a book on Do as I do and I give many seminars owners and I know that know in Italy the Do as I do is q

You will discover through the pages book and DVD how to teach your d new tasks using his ability to imitate

what are your plans for the future? I hope to spread this training technique in the rest of Europe because I think that the social cognitive abilities of dogs deserve more attention and I also think that a training technique based on social learning deserves it’s place among other training methods for an animal as social as the dog! I’m also doing my PhD in Ethology on social learning and imitation in dogs, so I hope to shed some more light on the social cognitive abilities of dogs and I’d like to involve dogs and dog owners in my research plan for they give a big help partecipating in the training sessions and the testing (besides having fun with their dogs :)

e. nowadays how is growing

o have the chance to improve cognitive abilities. learning abilities are involved

both to dog trainers and dog quite well known.

s of this dog te you!

interview with Alan Stewart

Alan St text : Luca Bartole Photos are a courtesy of Alan Stewart

Alan Stewart raced at the high with his family & sleddogs the and only UK musher todate to honorary member of The Alpe


hest level in UK ..also in USA,Chile , Argentina, Mid Europe many times..established e first and only daily working sleddog centre in UK in 2001.In 2009 became the first o take sleddogs over BenMacDui (UK 2nd highest mountain) in mid winter.Is an en Trail Club and has been involved with WWF at the EEC in Belgium.

interview with Alan Stewart

What were your dreams as a boy, as a kid you were interested in something different of mushing or not? When this sport has crossed your way? From a young age around 15yrs old I wanted to be a diver I made it as a Saturation Diver (30yrs) ..hobbys before sleddogs Moto cross & Rally Car . When did you start in this sport who made you find the right way ,Who were beside you? Around 20yrs ago I set out to buy a family dog ,read a Dog Magazine about Sleddogs ..having spent 2 weeks driving around UK meeting »UK mushers« I nearly walked away from getting involved ..most in UK had show links..I was lucky to met Tim White at a kids sleddog race in Italy called the Topolino,I took our John to it aged 8yrs old.I ended up training & racing Tims 2nd team ,in Europe & Chile & Argentina.   Now you are an experienced musher and dog breeder with 20 dogs . What has changed since you started from a dog yard with spacious houses made by whiskey barrels?   Knowing Tim White ,he gave me great advice ..and I met top European Mushers via Tim at Euro events ..Like Heini Winter ,Gerhard Offer ..I started off with Siberian  Huskys ,I spoke to Helmut Peer and he put me in touch with Wolfgang Petz,the pure breed WC and I got a number of dogs from him..those dogs went on to winmost every championships we raced in around UK.I was the first UK musher to race in Europe on the Alpen trail ..I bought an Alaskan Husky on the way to the event called Chagall from Heini Winter ..from then on I would only have Alaskan Huskys ..and I now only have Hotz,Attla,Garath Wright lines in my dog yard ..most of my lines come from Doug Swingley in MT.    

“I was lucky to met Tim White at a kids sleddog race in Italy...” You were the first and only UK musher todate to take sleddogs over BenMacDui   (UK 2nd highest mountain) in mid winter .Tell us more about this fact.   It seemed the best adventure I could do with my sleddogs here in UK ..the UK racing became very  boring,the events stagnent ..John my son and I would do more extreme ventures with the dogs and really enjoyed the challange ..the dogs loved it also..I knew the MacDui trip would be hard so I asked two friends to get involved ..both non UK mushers Bill Feare was a sargent in the SAS at the time and Borge Ousland an old diving mate now one of the most extreme North /South explorer on the planet.To cut a long story short the winter we had planned to do this venture ..the snow melted in 36hrs so it was delayed for a year ,the following year Borge was climbing K2 and Billy F was on ops with the SAS..Iam luck with mates I had two others who could step into the venture with one phone call..Rick Atkinson the UK most experienced musher Iditarod ,2nd Yukon Quest ,South Pole with sleddogs for 5 years with BAS..Alister Taylor another BAS member and had also done Yukon Quest and lived trained sleddogs with Susan Butcher & Chalie Boulding in AK. There was never a thought of another UK sleddog team coming with us ..due to the very facted not one would have been capable to handle the venture,human or k9.

interview with Alan Stewart

Alister simply put on seal skins over his skis I had team 1 ..with a German Short Haired pointer (Buster) in lead and with Rick behind me ..we started the long climb up MacDui ,the weather changed quickly on the mountain top and the wind got up ..we read -26c,Buster had two jackets on which were solid with ice ..we had a quick cup of tea on the summit ,then went down the other side of the mountain and stayed in a remote mountain hut that night,all the Huskys slept in snow type holes and Buster slept in my sleeping bag..the next day we mushed all day going over mountains and iced covered lakes ..after a while we simply ran out of snow crossed a few rivers then got to Glenmoore lodge an outdoor school ..they all came out and welcomed us in for a warm cup of tea!!It was a great trip and it was great to have Rick & Alister with me ..all my dogs in my kennel went o that trip..I now live in the shadow of that mountain,have done for 12 years now ..and every time I look up there I remember those wonderful sleddogs who made it all happen.

“ the UK racing became very boring, the events stagnant ...John my son and I would do more extreme ventures with the dogs and really enjoyed the challange...” In your musher career, you have participated in many races in Europe ,Chile and USA. Do you remember any particular race ? The Race in Argentina back in 1999..I was in a saturtion chamber out in the North Sea when a telx came to the chamber from Tim White asking if I could train & race his 2nd team in South America ..the project would be 7 weeks I was to met him witha handler in Chile.I arrived at 2 in the morning in a remote snow bound airport in Chile with John aged 10yrs old ..that night Tim and I sat having a beer with John sound asleep on a chair in a vets house in Punta Areas Chile..We trained high in the Chialen mountains and raced in the first real stage Mid distance event in the country.

We then drove down into Argentina ,over the Magallan straights with 20 dogs and two trucks was mid winter down there.The Argy event was over 2 weeks and it covered awesome trails day & night..I was up against Tim and another USA musher called Dennis LaBoda plus the best mushers in Argentina ..I won the event ..will always remember coming into check pionts and there was John grabbing my lead dogs every time ..that will always be with me ..I must also add Tim White never once asked for payment/rent for his dogs all I did was to turn up and help him..Tim played a huge part in myself and Johns  mushing life .. Which were for you the most beautiful moments of your career ? Argentina and the Alpen Trail ..I did two Alpen Trails ,the first one was a great venture and boy we got high into those Alpen passes in Italy ..we also raced through Swizerland & Austria..came into Cortina at night ..all great moments.   Your First sleddog race A cold winter/wet day in Scotland ..I was 2nd in my class in Scottish Championships

interview with Alan Stewart

In the UK you are more focused on canicross and dryland races. What about the sled dog events in Scotland or UK? There is no real sleddog events in UK ..the sport is stagnent ..all down to show types/pure  breed clubs ..the Scooter class run the same milage as open class ..there is no junior events which are worth speaking about..and with the massive turn over in non mushers running clubs the events are run in remote forest areas for a bag of dog food..would you beleive some UK kennels have bought  lines from Ellis AK and they are happy to run them in 4 mile events ..We left the UK sleddog world 12 years ago ..our John has not nor would race in it.  

You saw that there was little interest in sled dog sports . You have decided to expand this sport “alone“/with the help of your family.  You have founded the Cairngorm Sleddog Centre . Now is already 10 years that your center is active. How do you see it in the future? The centre has worked for us very well ,we have a great way of life in the winter with our sleddogs ..we offer the only dryland course in Europe and clients simply go out with us on real training sessions.There has been no input or intrested in our centre from one UK sleddog club..due to them being mostly pure breed based and show types ..There is no real future for UK sleddog sport ..down to mostly all take it as a weekend hobby..they are more happy running 3.5  miles with a burger van on site than having a 5 to 8 day race ..which has IFSS/ESDRA rules in it..most of all events in UK don’t even have vets on site plus have no trained race judges on site ..up to a few years ago biggest event in UK 240 teams over 2 days had no vets on site! centre forced them and there backers to supply vets ..result the people who run this club don’t support anything  I stood up against them on a major welfare issue and they did not like that!!

“...most of all events in UK don’t even have vets on site plus have no trained race judges on site ..up to a few years ago biggest event in UK 240 teams over 2 days had no vets on site!” How many competitions you will organize this year? John is flying our familys racing flag ,has done for many year now ..he was 3rd in Wyoming Stage race last month ..he traines & lives with The Streepers in BC Canada.Iam heading to AK next winter to do some Iditarod qualifers .The centre has a 10 mile timed lap event in place called  The Challange ..teams are given a set time to complete the trail and at the end of the season the winners are presented with medals ..this event is only run on snow ,and due to a very mild winter this year ..not one sled has been on our snow trails!Due to only a very few »mushers« in the UK who truly want to run on a real snow bound trail gave us an indiction most are happy to run round 4miles on rigs instead of 10 mile snow trails on sleds sadly says it all ..

“There is no real sleddog events in UK ...” What about the collaboration with the Jamaica Dogsled Team. Can you tell us more about this really interesting connection? I was having a sledcart built in Canada and Danny Melvile walked into the workshop and saw my cart. He called me from Canada and soon we had a Jamaicain lad called Devon at our centre. I trained him in 2 weeks,he picked it up quickly and soon was training a 10 dog team with ATV. I then went out to Jamaica and trained another musher called Newton..John at the time was in the Royal Marines and he spent 10 days with me ,I also brought Rick Johnstone from MN/USA he also was there for 10 days ,I stayed for 2 months and harnessed trained 18 dogs which we got from the welfare pen in Kingstone.Keith Richards of the rolling stones gave us two dogs! We set up the dog yard,made Alaskan type dog kennels,and cut trails through cane fields,we also set up a small museum using everything I had back in my museum in Scotland. I then got IFSS president Tim White to come to Jamaica to officaily ok it all and to welcome the very first Caribbean country into IFSS Rick J went back a few times to fine tune the project..but those first two months myself Devon & Newton trained those dogs,using ATV and an old golf buggy! The singer Jimmy Buffet sponsored the team..and Newton went on to live every winter with Gatt and Mackays kennels   and go on to race in the Yukon Q and the Iditarod twice ,I was there at Nome as he crossed the line.John also helped train Newton at Hans Gatt one winter.It was a great project and I am very proud to have been a part it all. I went back to the island a few years ago..and Newton took me out with 22 dogs and the sledcart ..along the beach through the mango trails..all the dogs  worked really well ..It’s been a great success and also gave the sport of mushing some great media/PR ..I speak to Danny nearly every month was his idea and boy did he pull it off..

interview with Alan Stewart

“John is flying our familys racing flag ,has done for many year now ..he was 3rd in Wyoming Stage race last month ..he traines & lives with The Streepers in BC Canada” 3 things you can’t live without? Family,my sleddogs,good friends .. A typical day in your life Up early , two fresh eggs from our hens outside for breakfast ..clients arrive 9.30 ..we water all the dogs in the yard,we harness 12 dogs and take up to 6 clients in sledcart over our remote trails of around 10 miles ,through water and remote forests,pass herds of red deer roaming free along the trails.Lunch is around 12.30 ...Fiona and I might have it outside i the dog yard or head inside for an hour. The next session is at 2.00 and we head back out into the trails again..we only run twice a day and we have over 24miles of trails,we can take up to 12 clients o our training trips with the dogs ..the sledcart is a huge ATV which looks like a large 4x4 golfcart ,it has 6 seats and is fitted out with speakers.Around late afternoon we feed the dogs,for the last 15yrs I have been sponsered by Eukanuba dog food, but I also use raw meat. Sometimes we are running courses so we also run at night ..Fiona and I sit down for our own meal around 8.00 in the evening ..this routine gos on all winter ,until summer comes ,and I then go back offshore,for 30 yrs I have been involved in the oil industry as a saturation diver,our John is also a diver in the North Sea,I came out of the water last year and now involved in diving “above the water”. When we have snow in the winter Iam cutting in trails twice a day ..10 miles of trails  aways set in at the CSC.

Who has had the most impact on your life? In the last few years my son John. He spends every winter training and racing over in Canada /Montana & Alaska . I have watching him with sleddogs since he was 6yrs old and now he’s racing against the very best in the sport looks as if he will move to Canada soon to start his own racing kennel I will support him in every way I can , he has friends like Bud & Terry Streeper, Hans Gatt, Egil & Helen Ellis, Doug Swingley..they have all helped him in the sport .. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Do you have anything else you would like to add?   Many thanks for asking me to do this interview..Happy trails to all

The Cairngorm Sleddog Centre was established in 2001. It’s based at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountain Range,the UKs last remote wilderness.It has 18 miles of trails through forests,and many river crossings with wild life and panoramic views all around .Todate its the only UK daily working sleddog centre,in the winter clients are taken on real training seasons (not husky rides),the CSC is the only centre in Europe who offers a Dryland insight course and has the only sleddog museum in Europe which is dedicated to Alec «Scotty» Allan.In the summer daily kennel & museum tours. : March 2012  

This is our third issue. In this number: interview with Roy Fonteijn , agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann , interview with Zoya DeNure... : March 2012  

This is our third issue. In this number: interview with Roy Fonteijn , agility in Luxembourg with Ray Hoffmann , interview with Zoya DeNure...