The Fan Hitch Volume 5, Number 2, March 2003

Official Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog International

Table of Contents

Editorial: The Blind Men and the Elephant
The Return
Dogs in Greenland
The Contribution of Dogs to Exploration in Antarctica
Page from the Behaviour Notebook: Raising Raven
Antarctic Sketches
Physiology of Sledge Dogs
The Qitdlarssuaq Chronicles, Part 2
News Briefs:
Thesis update
Blue Eye update
Product Review: DirectStop®
Book Review: Carved from the Land
Tip for the Trail: Re-lining Water Jug Caps
IMHO: Preservation vs. Saving

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

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Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

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The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page

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:

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.

Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or

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;
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791,
Product Review.....


by Mark Hamilton

The Premier Pet Products sales people manning the booth at the trade show had confidence in their product. "Take it home and try it," they said, "It'll  stop a trained attack dog."

Indeed, right on the side of the small canister it states that in tests DirectStop® was demonstrated to be as effective as 10% pepper spray at deterring attacks by trained attack dogs. The canister is much the same type of container as used for the chemical mace you see on the belts of rural mail carriers, and a handy plastic belt clip is attached to the side of the canister as well. I suspect you could also carry it in one of those ballistic nylon pouches many mail carriers use.

DirectStop® is pH balanced which makes it safer for the target dog, and you as well if there is "blow back". The active ingredient is citronella so, after a one to two second blast, I'm guessing mosquitoes won't be much of a problem for a while either. It does not cause pain to the dog (they state that it is also effective on cats, venomous snakes, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and a variety of other beasts - with the exclusion of bears), and therefore does not increase aggression. All well and good, but does the stuff work? 

I have to report that my dogs have only provided me with one "field trial", so I must start with the "your results may vary" qualifier here. What happened was a couple of our boys got into it. We gave the two faces that were locked onto each other a good two to three second blast of DirectStop®. Nothing changed, they remained attached to each other. Disappointing, but that's not the product's claimed use. That was just something we'd hoped it would do.

Then, a third dog, a female, came streaking in from our right, intent on "getting a piece of the action".  A one to two second blast in that dog's face resulted in her suddenly stopping, then moving away. That's more like it, and exactly what the maker claims the product will do.

So, what am I to say here?  The one time we used DirectStop® it performed exactly the way the maker claims. Unfortunately, it did not stop dogs that had already engaged (our hope, not the manufacturer's claim), but it immediately deterred a dog intent on joining the fracas before she engaged. There is potential usefulness here for all of us.

Measuring 4.75 inches X 1.75 inches, the DirectStop® canister contains approximately 12 one-second sprays at a range of 10 feet. Consider adding it to your dog sledding/hiking supplies. We all live in fear of having to stop a roaming dog from attacking our dogs, or worse our team, when we're out. Few of us are willing or able to resort to the "nine millimeter solution". DirectStop® shows potential here. A side benefit is that since it doesn't cause pain to the target animal, the owner, assuming they ever show up, has little basis for complaint in your actions.

DirectStop™ is a product of Premier Pet Products, 406 Branchway Road, Richmond, VA 23236, USA, 1-800-933-5595, It is sold through pet supply retailers, priced at about $9.00-$13.00 USD.

Is there a useful product you'd like to tell us about? Email your experience to or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.

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