The Fan Hitch Volume 4, Number 3, May 2002

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Chuck Weiss
Research Paper 1: Survey of Diseases and Accidents
When to Start Working Dogs
A Day in the Woods
Future or Death
Reality Check: Reproduction or the Real Deal
Behaviour: Qiniliq Learns His Place
High Arctic Mushing: Part III
Book Review: Igloo Dwellers Were My Church
Janice Howls: All Along the Watch Tower
IMHO: Friends and Allies

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              Editor: Sue Hamilton
              Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch Website and Publications of the Inuit Sled Dog– the quarterly Journal (retired in 2018) and PostScript – are dedicated to the aboriginal landrace traditional Inuit Sled Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. 

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Page from the Behavior Notebook.....

As Goofy approaches, Qiniliq seeks to be returned
 to the security of his pack              Hamilton photo

Qiniliq Learns His Place 

by Sue Hamilton

As Qiniliq (a.k.a. the Twerp) has been lifting his leg since he was three months old, it's a little more tricky to identify signs of the onset of sexual maturity.  Not that three-legged peeing is a defining moment, but it has helped identify when most of our males have reached puberty. With Qiniliq, we are measuring his rising testosterone level in part by how the other dogs are reacting to him.  Bishop and Tunaq began fighting, seriously. Bishop, the boss in the pack next door (to Qiniliq) is big into displacement aggression and the Twerp had been spending more time at the fence, baiting the older dog. Not being able to deliver his comeuppance to the young upstart, Bishop instead savaged Tunaq. At 2.5 years, Tunaq is coming into his own and, fed up with the beatings, began defending himself. This resulted in multiple puncture wounds, lots of limping and two dogs who went to the vet one day and got "fixed". So, while Qiniliq's sex hormones continue to rise, the boys next door have lost theirs. 

Qiniliq still respects the elders in his run, a ten-year-old male and a ten and five-and-a-half-year-old mother and daughter, both spayed. Still, he is getting cocky and fresh and fancies himself able to take on the world. Ken MacRury advised that too much human attention and not enough defining of social strata will lead to a dog that is full of himself which could lead to trouble for him and maybe for us.  He suggested an "attitude adjustment" courtesy of Goofy, Ken's retired boss dog who came to live with us in May, 2001. That was a good choice. Actually, the only choice. Qiniliq lives with an indulgent male, Puggiq who, if pushed, will bellow at the youngster, but otherwise tolerates a great deal of nonsense. He may live to regret this. Well, we hope he lives a long life, but one where Qiniliq won't turn him into pulp the way Bishop is trying to do to Tunaq. We couldn't turn Bishop or Tunaq out with Qiniliq as we're trying hard to turn off the "beating reflex". Our ten-year-old intact male malamute is treated by the ISDs as if he's invisible - and he acts that way - no more animation than a dandelion, unless activity involves food or sex, and with no intact bitches left in our kennel, the dog is pretty much out of the loop on that latter activity.

So, Goofy was selected as the Jedi Knight, to train the young warrior in the way of The Force. The unsuspecting old master waited in the back yard. Qiniliq, released from his pen, bolted out of the front security gate and made a bee-line for Goofy. Much to our amazement, Twerp chest butted Goofy as he laid his neck and chin across Goofy's withers. Every joint in both their bodies stiffened and froze. We were about to wet our shorts. Goofy spoke, verrrry softly conveying his displeasure at the brazen act. Qiniliq held his ground. Goofy raised the stakes with a low rumble. Qiniliq imitated a marble statue. The ground began to shake - about a 4.0 on the Richter scale-o-meter as Goofy began a roar that penetrated every follicle on his body because he was getting wider, taller, bigger, fluffier with every passing nanosecond. And when Qiniliq refused to yield the floor to the senior senator from Iqaluit, Goofy turned and rose on his hind legs like a pissed-off polar bear!  We could barely contain ourselves when Qiniliq rose to meet Goofy, face to face, enamel to enamel, as they inhaled each other's exhalations.  Mark and I just held on to each other, mutual restraint to muster the courage NOT to interfere.

It was over in a few seconds. Qiniliq "blinked" then pancaked under Goofy's eighty pounds (to his sixty-eight). Goofy held him fast to the walkway by placing his chin and neck on top of the now terrified pup's quivering neck and shoulder.  Not a tooth was fired.  When finally allowed to get to his feet, poor Qiniliq ran behind Mark and stood up against him, begging for protection and comfort, neither of which he received. By this point Goofy need only stare at the pup to put the fear of Sedna in him.

We repeated the meeting a week later while Janice Dougherty was here so she could referee, if necessary, while I was at the ready with the camera. Qiniliq, no dummy, remembered his lesson well and tippy-toed behind Mark, brave enough only to peek out at Goofy from between Mark's legs - not the most comforting position for the human to be in.

Qiniliq is getting sassier as he matures and eventually even he will be more than Goofy can handle. In fact, Qiniliq may turn out to be the omnipotent boss dog that Goofy is now.  But for the time being, the kid is enjoying life and putting up with the occasional humiliations he deserves from the rest of the pack. But he's got a good memory and some day the tables will be turned.  We only hope he remembers and emulates that part of his first encounter with Master Goofy where his life was mercifully spared without bloodshed.

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