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DOG TEAM HARNESS—Will you or some reader tell how to make a harness for dog team?

To make dog team harness I make a collar first. I measure the dog’s neck and cut a strip of tanned moose or deer skin the proper length, four and a half inches wide in the middle and tapering to three and a half inches at each end; place the edges together and sew it up with an over and over stitch, using gilling twine. When sewed up turn it inside out and stuff it with moose or deer hair, then run a one- fourth inch iron rod through it, bending it to shape (nearly round) and allowing about two inches of each end to extend out. These ends bring together and fasten them. Then I sew these irons in the collar on the forward side, then take two straps one and one-fourth inches in width and six inches long and sew these securely to each side of the collar, fastening to the same iron, with rawhide. Use a strip of leather about four inches wide for a back band and fasten your traces to this with rivets or sew as you like, also fasten the bellyband on with buckles. For the rear dog the traces should be one and a fourth inches wide and seven and a half feet long. They are fastened to the short straps on the collar with buckles and the rear ends have snaps and are fastened to the toboggan by running the ends through the side ropes and snapping forward into iron rings sewn on the tug thirty inches from the snap. Just in front of the backhand buckles are sewn to the traces to attach the traces of the second dog to. The traces for this dog are not so long.

In this way all of the dogs are harnessed together, one ahead of the other. Usually only four dogs are used for a team. The lead dog is most important and must be well trained. You must have lots of patience, and it is best to start training him alone with a rope on him, and teach him “haw” and “gee”. The word we used to start dogs in Canada is “march” and to stop we say “whoa.” You must carry a whip and teach your dogs that you are master, but don’t use the whip too freely or abuse the dogs in any way. Use a trail rope on the toboggan that will help you to follow and to hold to if they try to run away. After your dogs are trained and get used to it they will cover a long trail in ten hours. Yes, you can ride unless your load is heavy.

Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.

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