The Fan Hitch Volume 7, Number 1, December 2004

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: New Faces, Old Passions
F.I.D.O.: Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen
A Conversation with Palle Norit
DNA Analysis of the Greenland Dog and the Canadian Inuit Dog
Pregnancy, Whelping and Pup Development in the ISD, Part 1
Product Review: Herculiner®
Tip for the Trail: Anti-fatigue Mats
In the News
Janice Howls: At the Heart of Greatness
 IMHO: Training or Interference

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
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Tip for the Trail:

                                Hamilton photo

Anti-fatigue Mats

by Mark Hamilton

We don't live where we can just walk up to the kennel, hook up a team and mush straight out of the dog yard. We have to transport our dogs and supplies to the trails. But even mushers fortunate enough to be able to start their training runs right from their dog yard usually face the need to transport dogs sometime during the season. Most mushers use bedding material in their dog box. The most popular choice seems to be straw. In our dog box, instead of straw we use industrial/workshop anti-fatigue mats, about 3/4 inch thick, made of foamed PVC.  And we're very happy with the choice.

Some of the advantages of anti-fatigue mats are: (1) This is exactly what they are made for, to "soften" a surface, absorb vibration, isolate the object on top from whatever the mat rests upon and, in this case, provide extra comfort to the less well padded points of canine anatomy (elbows and knees). (2) They're totally non-absorbent. Have you got a drooler? Tired of freshening the bedding in your dog box? Anti-fatigue mats can be quickly cleaned with a splash of water and a squeegee. (3) They're durable. We're still using the mats fitted to the dog box in 1997. After cleaning, the mats still look like new.

Our anti-fatigue mats came from one of those "big box" lumber/hardware stores, but they are widely available from a variety of sources including mail order/internet. The mats are easily cut to size with a utility knife, which is important since most mats will be larger than needed. With careful shopping you may even be able to find mats large enough to cover the bottom in two or more boxes.

Got a tip you'd like to share? Email it to or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.

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