The Fan Hitch Volume 1, Number 4  July 1999

Official Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog International


Table of Contents
Editorial:  Defining the Inuit Sled Dog
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Featured Inuit Dog Owner:  Sylvia Feder
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All the Wrong Reasons
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DNA Project
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Last Trip of the Century to the North Pole
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Bering Bridge Expedition - 10 Years Later
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Ways of the North
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Behavioral Notebook:  Watching TV
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Poem:  Standing Invitation
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Video Review:  Dog of the Midnight Sun
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Janice Howls:  Observations
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In My Humble Opinion:  Work, et. al.


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Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.

Print subscriptions: in Canada $20.00, in USA $23.00, elsewhere $32.00 per year, postage included. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Make checks payable in Canadian dollars only to "Mark Brazeau", and send to Mark Brazeau, Box 151 Kangiqsualujjuaq QC J0M 1N0 Canada. (Back issues are also available. Contact Sue Hamilton.)


The Fan Hitch
welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.


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The Inuit Sled Dog International

The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0; gmontcombroux@gmail.com
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, mail@thefanhitch.org




Pages from the Behavior Notebook: 

Television and the Inuit Sled Dog

by Sue Hamilton

We recently received the following from Jill Pinkwater who, with her husband Daniel,  owns a female out of one of the dogs we brought down pregnant from Pond Inlet.  Jill said, "Lulu is a big television watcher.  She loves the animal channel -- floppy eared dogs looking like Maxine [a yellow labrador retriever] excite her as do wolves.  However, we bought her some tapes of wolf documentaries when she was younger.   She recognizes wolves she's already seen -- watches them calmly.  New wolves get her very excited.    She likes sea mammals very much but does not look at snakes on the screen.  Anyone having trouble believing this can come watch with her. Lately, Lulu has become fond of certain cartoons and she LOVES the Teletubbies.  I am not kidding.  She gets very excited and tries to get inside the TV with them.  Go figure."  And quite independently from Jill's communication, Carlo Obligato, who owns a litter sister to Lulu, wrote, "Baffin was first drawn to the TV from the sounds emanating therefrom.  However, thereafter she appeared to actually be able to discern the images and began talking back.  This is not uncommon when she hears wildlife sounds from any number of nature shows we have viewed on TV."

That  dogs watch television is not so unusual.  Yet 3 or 4 our our ISDs have been reported to take a great interest in the boob tube, especially when nature shows are on.  More may be interested in TV, if permitted to lounge in front of it.  Perhaps what seems to make this interest in television unusual is that these 3 or 4 people have had many other dogs of various breeds over the years who didn't watch TV.  Wondering if there was something characteristic of the breed to which TV watching can be attributed, I consulted with Laurie Hiestand who holds a PhD in animal behavior.  Her principle work and her doctoral thesis involved comparing the behavior of wolves and domestic dogs.  When I asked Laurie if what has been reported may be breed specific behavior, she replied, "Re the TV watching, I haven't heard anything about it, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was breed specific. In my thesis I speculate that more wolf-like dogs would be more attentive visually, though I was discussing primarily attention to vertical objects. But I wouldn't be surprised if this was also true of any kind of movement, even movement unassociated with scent cues (however, it is interesting that ISDs that are so explorative in an olfactory way should be riveted by two dimensional movement in the absence of scent cues). And why primarily nature shows? Try putting Oprah on once and see how they like it - or maybe you better not, in case they do!"

I'd like to hear from those of you whose Inuit Dogs are fascinated by television and what does and does not hold their attention.

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