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Kennel Tips - Equipment

Another type of water bowl
Here's a easy to clean and cheap water bowl. Go to your local landfill site or transfer station and collect all the metal crisper trays from the refrigerators. These metal trays are coated with enamel and are very easy to keep clean.

The best ones I have found are the trays that measure (4" tall X 12" X 12"). If the trays get frozen, just flip it over, stomp on the bottom and the ice will fallout. The summer time cleanup is easy, because of the enamel coating.
Submitted by Jim Cunningham, Centreton, Ontario, Canada [4/20/00]

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Circular Saw to Cut Meat
After reading of a number of folks using electric chainsaws, and bandsaws on large blocks of frozen meat, I thought I'd add my two cents.  I have an old circular saw (you can pick old ones up for a few dollars at a garage sale).  It works great for cutting frozen meat and doesn't throw as much 'meat dust' as does a chainsaw.  I hose it off when done (and the saw is unplugged of course!) and spray it with WD-40 to slow down rust.   I've been using the current one for two years now.
Submitted by Curt Anderson, Black Willow Kennels, Southeastern, Idaho [7/23/00]

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Cleaning Brush
For cleaning pans/buckets we use a new toilet brush. Gets down in corners, has long handle and is inexpensive!
Submitted by Marva Ittner, Skandia, Michigan

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Electric Chainsaw for Cutting Meat
We picked this up from a distance musher. If you chop any quantity of frozen meat, an electric chainsaw can make the job much easier and faster. Obviously you have to buy a new chainsaw and dedicate it to sawing meat, but they only cost about $50. It is somewhat messier than an ax, but you can saw twice as much meat in the same amount of time. When you're traveling, you can almost always find an electric outlet and the saw is very quiet, so you won't disturb anyone. At home we use a catch pan and clean tarp to capture the meat "sawdust" that flies out the side of the saw.

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Freezer Blankets
I am sure many of us have old, very inefficient, freezers we use to store our dog meat. During the electrical outage in 2002 they recommended putting a blanket over your freezer to hold in the cold.

Last summer, picking up beef on a hot day with a 1 hour drive home, the supplier gave me an old "movers blanket " to put over the meat laying in the open in the back of my truck. Amazingly, when I got home the meat had not thawed at all!

Since then I have picked up two of these blankets for the 2 old freezers in my garage and they only run half the time they use to. These are heavy quilts the movers throw over furniture during moving and throw them out when they get worn with holes in them. Check with your local movers--good way to lower your electrical bill.
Submitted by Duane Ramsay, Ontario, Canada [4/30/04]

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Gangline Safety
When installing your necklines to the mainline install a small s-hook to the outer loop on the neck line and the other end to the snap. Especially important on cable lines. That way if your dog goes around an obstacle like a tree or a post the s-hook will separate saving your dog from any undue pain or worse.
Submitted by Ray Erker, Paws-e-Trax Dogsleds & Racing Kennel, Ontario, Canada [11/20/07]

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Ingenious Feed Scoop
Tired of bending over to feed your dogs using a small pan or scoop with a short handle? You can make a handle easily to any length without much trouble.

We use 1 qt. Mirro Sauce pans for feeding and watering scoops. They have a short plastic handle. To make a handle of any length, take a piece of plastic electrical conduit 3/4 or 1" (it's usually grey) and cut to the length you want. Ours are approximately 24" long. Take a propane torch and heat approximately 4-5" of one end until it softens. Then work it over the end of the pan handle. Once it's on the pan, stick it under some cold water to harden it back up. Now you've got a light weight strong handle that's easy to clean. I also have made them shorter for storage in the sled or coolers on longer races.
Submitted by Mike Murphy, Newberry, Michigan [7/27/02]

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Maple sap buckets make a very good summer dog bucket.
They have a reinforced grommet at the top that makes them easy to hang from doghouse or kennel and the long narrow shape makes them hang very stable. They don't rust, hold lots of water and are cheap at about $3.00 Cdn. They are easily cleaned out with a cheap toilet brush from the dollar store.
Submitted by Lynn Cheffins,Douglas, Ontario, Canada [5/2/02]

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Mutt Tool to chop meat

The name of this tool is a "Mutt." It is a chopper/scraper tool used for many purposes including scraping tiles off of floors and splitting things like 50# blocks of frozen meat.

It has a straight, wooden handle like a shovel. The cutting end is about 4 inches wide and is heavy metal. A post hole driver fits over the handle as seen in the photo for splitting blocks of meat into portions. The heavier the post driver, the quicker it splits the frozen meat. We first score the blocks with light "tonks" and then go back over with a few hard driven "tonks" and the block splits apart. It costs about $20.00 and does not include the post driver.

My husband and I both prefer this over an axe. Rick likes to let the blocks thaw just a bit - it's even easier to portion when they aren't rock hard.

Two quarters of a 50# block of meat (such as Eureka Race Mix) fit into a 5 gallon bucket for thawing. For faster thawing, we only put one quarter section per bucket.

Submitted by Linda Lange, Baldwin, Michigan [6/18/09]

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Mutt Tool for chopping meat

Paint Can Water Buckets
We use unused 1 gallon paint cans for water buckets. They are reasonably cheap, the coating inside prevents the can from rusting. We secure them to each house with a length of pipe strapping, the knobs that the handle would go in keep the can from slipping down. You should be able to get them at any paint store.
Submitted by Diane Allen, Snowalker Kennel, Whitehorse, YT, Canada

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Ptex Runner Repair
To repair Ptex runners, buy a Ptex candle at your local ski shop. Light the candle, hold at angle to runner next to it, drip melted Ptex onto gouged runner. Cut off excess with metal scraper or sharp knife. Sand out.
Submitted by Lyndon Thomas, Salcha, Alaska [5/21/08]

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Redpaw Tote

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redpaw!

My husband was very excited to note that Redpaw Feeds has changed their dog food bags. He was clearly attracted to the shiny new tarp-like material and the NASCAR styling. After I (finally) emptied the first bag, he ran this tote bag up on his sewing machine within fifteen minutes.

It does smell a bit fishy. I can only hope that subsequent versions will include washing prior to assembly.

Anyone who is inspired and wants instructions can contact him at  Emails addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Red Lantern Designs will reach him there.

Submitted by Caroline Blair-Smith, Mornington Crescent Sled Dogs, Albany TWP ME [11/21/07]


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Snowmobile Tracks
When working 1 or 2 dogs, old snowmobile tracks provide resistance without a lot of weight. You can get them at your local snowmobile dealers--usually for nothing. As long as you have the old tracks, you can cut the middle section into 18 inch lengths, add a section of aircraft cable and make your own drag brake instead of paying someone 45 or 50 dollars!
Submitted by B.K. Manning, New York

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Traveling Pans
Our favorite traveling pans are the black, rubber Fortex pans found at farm stores such as Mills Fleet Farm. The dogs' tongues don't stick to them, they don't slip around on ice and snow, and they don't freeze together like metal pans do. They're also surprisingly easy to clean. They take a little more storage room because they don't stack tightly, but it's well worth the space. Plus the price is right - approximately $1.75 to $2.00 each. I don't recommend them in the dog yard because some dogs chew them like rubber toys.

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Water Buckets
Since most sled dogs live in climates where winter is around for a while, cold weather is a problem for water buckets. After bursting the seams on too many metal pails because the ice heaves the bottom out, I now use rubber horse buckets. These are indestructible (usually made from old tires). They are about the same size as normal pails, but flex when they freeze, then bounce back to their original shape. They have stronger handles on them too, and do not cost much more than cheap metal buckets. I get them at a local co-op farm supply store. And unlike plastic pails, the dogs don't chew them.
Submitted by Mike Pidwerbecki, Ontario, Canada

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Water dogs using your ATV
Tired of carrying buckets of water during those summer watering chores? I sure was so I bought a 15 gallon sprayer for our ATV.

Most mushers already have an ATV for pre-snow training. Hardware and farm stores carry various sizes of sprayers. I found a 15 gallon one on sale for about $80. It mounts on to the back rack of the ATV with a couple of cinch straps. The pump hooks directly to the battery of the ATV. It came with an 8 foot hose and a trigger activated wand with an adjustable nozzle. Now I simply drive the ATV through the kennel and fill water cans with the sprayer. It sprays with enough force to wash mud and debris from dishes. An added benefit of the adjustable nozzle is on those hot summer days I adjust it to a mist and spray it over the dogs. Most of the dogs stand on their house and love it.
Submitted by Bill Boyd, Wintersky Adventures Sled Dog Kennel, Warroad, Minnesota [5/17/06]

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Runner Waxing Tip
When waxing sled runners use a scotch bright pad to buff out the wax after its applied to structure to reduce friction on runners length wise.
Submitted by Lyndon Thomas, Salcha, AK [9/16/06]

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