Interview with Pierre Galvez

by Sleddoggin Staff on May 20, 2011

Birthplace: Le Havre (France)
Current Residence: Pyranaes (France)
Occupation: Dog Musher

Introduction To Our Musher

I started with chance, while buying in 1985, a husky siberian with blue eyes, very with the mode at the time in France, then being a sportsman, others followed two, four, etc….I caught the virus of mushing.

The Background of Our Musher

How did you get involved with the sport of dog sledding?
My first steps in mushing were of Categories C (4 dogs), it was the beginning of the races in France and there were not many competitors. Hardest for me was to form a dog leader, it was Chugann which proved to be most suited and with which I lived formidable adventures

Who have been your biggest supports during your mushing years?
My most important support was my wife, who has been my handler during races.

How long have you been addicted to mushing?
I have practiced mushing since 1987, participant in races of sprint in France and the foreigner.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your dog sledding career?
My greatest success dates from years 94-95 in races of sprint in France and Spain of category B (6 dogs).

Maintaining A Kennel

How is your kennel set up?
My kennel is composed of three parks of 500 M2 each, one for the day while the dogs are separated ( a park for the males, a park for the females, a park for the pups ). At night the dogs are housed by twos in boxes. Safe from the rain and cold.

How many lucky dogs currently enjoy your kennel?
There are currently with the kennels 15 dogs including eight females and seven old males from nine two years.

What is the feeding routine for your dogs?
The dogs are fed twice a day 1/3 the morning and 2/3 the evening. These quantities vary according to work (be or winter)

What is your kennel philosophy?
My philosophy is to maintain the pack in the respect of all my dogs. There are the chief of pack, the leaders and with the top me. All occurs well without problems from brawl and I love all my dogs in the same way.

What is important to you when maintaining a kennel of working dogs?
Most important for me is the balance of my dogs, therefore I take care of good to nourish them, play with them, to spend time in the parks, to be closest to them, it is that which one obtains the maximum of the dogs. For the drives, it is necessary that the dogs have fun, that for them that is a play, to congratulate them, to encourage them. A complicity is needed enter the mushers and is dogs after the results follows.

If I were a dog in your kennel, what would my day be like?
The days start towards seven hour the morning, after 1/3 of the meals then the drive at 3 p.m, to hydrate well the dogs, rest in the parks and the evening toward 7:30pm, the evening meal. This is it how presents it self one day standard in season of winter.

Working With the Dogs

What physical attributes do you try and produce in one of your average sled dogs?
The characteristics which I seek in my dogs, they are a mental good, a good appetit, legs solid and an average gauge.

What breeds do you currently mush with?
I always worked with siberians husky. I employed various linaje (Anadyr, Zero’s, Lokiboden) currently I work only in Seppala-Kodiak linaje, which in my opinion is a good compromise for the races of middle-distance.

Please describe your vision of a perfect sled dog.
The perfection of the sled dog is a utopia, especially at siberian the husky which is very independent dogs, it is a long work and patience to benefit the best from a husky, it is for that all that which makes me like the husky.

What is the demeanor like in all of your sled dogs?
The main thing for me is the mental one, that it does not have any stress, and a very good leader whom I currently have with Ullik, my best leader dog all my career.

The Magical World of Puppies

How do you house your puppies?
The first important thing with the pups it is the socialization with the human ones and after integration in the pack gradually.

During the first months of a puppy’s life, what does their training consist of?
The first three months are socialization, after they go with their mother in their enclosure then I make them take part in the drives with the adults, by letting them run in freedom beside the team.

What is your favorite part about raising puppies?
I make breeding of pups first of all, to renew my team. It is increasingly easier to work with dogs born at the house, than with dogs bought at others mushers.

Training: The Hard Part

What training and racing philosophy do you live by?
I have used for 18 years the siberians husky, and I do not think of changing some now, they bring all satisfaction to me. I have established a program of drive as from September to arrive in form in January for the beginning of the races.

Could you describe your yearly training program?
Close to at home I have large forests. I start in September first of all to work the muscles of the dogs, then the endurance and speed. One works approximately 2 hours with 2 a.m. Thirty per day and that four to five days per week. Moreover it is easy to make work the dogs leaders because there are not many ways to turn. I use a quad or I attele my dogs of competition.

What tools are most important to you when training your sled dogs?
The pleasure of my dogs, it is necessary that for that remains a play and also patience, good mood and still patience.

What are your training goals each year?
The essential goals is to make very good drives to bring the dogs to the top of their form to begin the competitions in January. The period from September to December is this very important.

Racing: Oh Glorious Racing!

Do you race? If so, what races?
Yes, this year “Sedivackuv” (Tchequia) LD (222kms), Ceskoukanadou MD (Tchequia), Championship Eurp MD in Schoneck (Germany), and some dates because the calendar is not completely established.

What are your goals during the racing season?
My objective is that my dogs have fun and to discover new races in Eastern Europe, and also to make good classifications.

Could you tell us about your first race?
My first race took place in February 1988 with 4 Siberian huskies with Font Romeu (France). I were very anxious because it was the first time that I went up on a sledge. In fact that occurred well because the circuit was flat, it was cold lake.

How do you decide which dogs make the race team?
Its morphology and its mental and appetite.

If you could, what are your racing strengths and weaknesses?
My strong points are that I always also am motivated and impassioned to run and also a candidate.

How do you decide which races you will be entering during the racing season?
Now I run not for the results more for the pleasure, and this I choose my races by discovering other horizons in Eastern Europe.

What has been your most memorable experience?
It was one week race of Andorra which was called The large White in 1990. The organizers were beginners and the tracks were the “black tracks” of Alpine skiing. The tracks borrowed we them from the closing of the tracks to the skiers. They was great rises on four, five kilometers and after the descent,. It was an unforgettable memory and cascades worthy of films.

What Does the Future Hold?

What do you hope to accomplish with the dog sledding sport?
The problem in Europe and particularly in France it is that there are too many organizations and federations what disperses the mushers, best would be to gather with only one organization and to make a true calendar and this more participants, but this a utopia because there are too many personal interests. I am 58 years old and I think that will be my team last of competition, my dogs are old 2 to 4 years and to finish my career with them. It is the best team than had to date and to make very beautiful races with them and to try to obtain good results and to discover other countries.

To the beginning musher, what advice would you give?
I advise with any beginner not to burn the stages, to start with very few dogs, to see whether that like really, and to increase the kennels little by little, it should not be forgotten that it is much work, a way of life. Each year much of mushers and their dogs place stop. This is no good solution for any body.

If mushers were to do something to perpetuate the dog sledding sport, what would that be?
My currency is that the mushing is a rich person sport made by the poor. It is a particular way of life which plait me, it is a communion with my dogs and nature. I am always ready to give councils to all the young people mushers.

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