1 January 2014

Meet the Dog: Tikanni

Meet Tikaani!  Tikaani is a husky who was born on December 18, 2010. Several weeks later, she came to live with her current family in Overland Park, Kansas.  Tikaani joined Facebook and started up her own page as a way to promote our Siberian breed as not just a loving companion, but as a working breed as well!  She enjoys snowy weather, mushing, giving kisses, and any music with a good tail shakin’ beat to it. Takanni is also an accomplished kitchen floor soux chef!

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/ashleynoellephoto


Where does the name "Tikanni" come from? 

Tikaani comes from the Athabascan tribe of Native Americans from the inland portions of Alaska. The meaning of my name is "Wolf". I was named partially because of my markings (I have a white "T" on the back of my neck) and I like to make wolf-howl noises, especially when ambulances drive by.


Tell us about your current pack.

The 4 leggeds out number the 2 leggeds – I have a Hu-mum and Hu-dad, Mum is the musher and works in healthcare (outpatient rehabilitation), Dad is an automotive technician who races (Porsche). Mum says she ‘races’ too, but prefers 4 paws to 4 wheels.

 We have a 13 year old senior dog, "Sadie" who is a bi-eyed Sibe/German Shepherd mix and still walks with us most every night. She is a great role model!

Rennen is a piebald coat Siberian male and is my littermate. He is a fantastic leader and, when we mush, we typically run staggered with him in lead. I am a traditional coat Siberian (black/white) bi-eyed like Sadie, but also dual parti-eyed. I am the faster runner in free run, but I am still working on not saying ‘hello’ to everyone on the trail.

Tell us about, the newest pack member, Anouk!

Our newest addition, Anouk ("Annie") came to us via Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue. She is a gorgeous little black and white traditional coat with a stunning mask and bright blue eyes. Anouk has a great energy and drive to run and pull - I think she will really enjoy mushing when she is bigger.  She will spend the next several months running canicross with the humans and they will be helping her learn her commands and see if she wants to run scooter with us maybe by late spring/early fall. 

What was it like to adopt a rescue dog?

 Our decision was not by any means a quick one - we checked with our city ordinance to make sure 4 dogs would be allowed, made sure we had additional finances freed up for additional vet care/food/flea and heartworm prevention/toys and supplies, we also consulted with a canine behaviorist for Rennen who needed a few lessons on interacting with dogs outside his pack.
It absolutely breaks my heart to see how many wonderful dogs end up in shelters, many surrendered by owners for some truly unforgivable reasons ("moving and can’t take dog with them", "don’t have time for dog", "didn’t realize dog needed so much time/exercise", etc). We 100% support our local rescue and no-kill shelters and had thought for quite a while we would like to add another pup to mush with and being able to adopt a rescue would be an amazing experience.

What dog pulling sports have you been involved with?

I primarily participate in urban mushing (scooter and some rig) and we’ve had a few runs with our kicksled. Nothing of a competitive nature, mostly for fun and exercise. We also enjoy canicross and hiking ~ Rennen enjoys carrying a backpack on our walks with extra treats and water, I call him the "walking snack bar" - LOL! Siberians are known for their ability to pull light loads over long distances, so we are always on the lookout for nice trails to run and get away for a while.
How did you first get started in the sport?

How did you first get started in the sport?

We began mushing sports as both a mental and physical outlet as well as a bonding experience between dogs and musher.  Siberians (as well as most other dogs) enjoy a change of scenery, new smells and places to explore. Adding the components of following commands and pulling or carrying weight just adds more to the experience and keeps things interesting!

When did you know you were hooked on the sport?

When Rennen and I could run as fast as we liked on the gangline – it is an indescribable feeling of freedom with the wind in your face and your paws pounding on the ground.

Tell us what the local scene is like for you. What is mushing like in your neck of the woods?

*Chuckles* There aren’t a lot of mushers in Kansas, but we do know a few. Our local scene usually consists of scoping out new trails (preferably ones with less ‘trail traffic’) and simply enjoying the run. We’ve mushed on hiking trails, mountain bike trails, through fields, and in urban settings as well. Each location brings a new set of challenges to be met and skills to build on. We do get lots of odd glances and folks will sometimes stop to ask questions and my hope is that our runs inspire more people to enjoy dog-powered sports with their own pups. 

What is your favorite activity to do with your people?

Getting out of the house and  exploring new trails!



What other kinds of training have you done with your people?

In addition to mushing, we enjoy running canicross (even have competed in some dog-friendly runs to benefit our local Humane Soceity), hiking, and just being outside and enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells.

What is your favorite piece of gear? Why is it your favorite?

We use a lot of gear and I try to give props to the manufacturers/designers on my "Woo-Tube" videos, probably my most favorite part of mushing is not gear at all – it is a sense of adventure. Sometimes you just need to run and see where the trail takes you.

What advice do you have for dogs new to mushing?

LOTS of preparedness!

 Most dogs enjoy running and many enjoy pulling as well, but you need to be patient and start slow. We started by getting used to mushing harnesses as they go on/off and fit differently than walking harnesses, then allowing the dogs to walk several feet ahead on training lines. We spent several hours each weekend over several months hiking mountain bike trails. The paths are narrow, but clearly defined, so it gave the dogs a definite path to follow so we could stay forward facing while keeping on trail. As we approached turns in the trail, we were given the appropriate commands ("Gee/Haw") and praised as we followed the trails and completed the turn. We also learned "On by" and "Whoa" as we encountered scent distractions and others on the trail. When we were walking through our neighborhood or in local parks, we practiced these skills every day as well. As we were learning, we also built up our paws and muscles through walking and ‘free run’ in off-leash doggie parks.

 Even after all this, we still kept our first initial scooter and rig runs limited to around a mile at first. Lots of water was given before and after the runs and paws checked.

Also get in the habit of checking gear to make sure all the lines and snaps are in good condition and carry a pack with spare gear, repair kits, and first aid supplies.

You are a social media savvy dog, tell us about the connections you have made with fellow mushers via the internet.  

I have made friends with mushers, photographers, authors, gear suppliers/outfitters, rescues and fosters, and loads of other dogs and owners, and even just people who are interested in the Siberian breed.
 I aim to spread Paws-itivity on my page as well as promote all the fun activities people and dogs can share in. I truly appreciate all of my friends for the shared photos, posts, insights, discussions, the smiles and the tears.
 Each friend to me is like a colorful piece of fabric on a patchwork quilt. Each one alone is cherished for their own unique design ~ but together they create a network of something truly beautiful. 


Describe a perfect run with your pack.

We come alive when the mercury drops – I like a nice cold, crisp day with little to no wind. Snowpack or woodland trails are preferred terrain and little to no trail traffic. I love a run where we can take off and feel the air rushing in our ears and the frost on our whiskers. It harkens back to the ancestral roots of the Siberian Husky, like we are connecting with the Chukchi spirits of 3,000 years ago. We fall into a steady pace, our hearts beating proudly, legs pounding in unison, doing what we love – what we were meant to do.