CHAPTER FIVE: Kennel part

Kennel part of Veterinary Science and Culture/Health Classes for Middle School (MS) and High School (HS)

  1.  Quarter, Weekly Lesson Plan at Kennels for HS and MS

The hands-on kennel portion of the youth & sled dog program was the brainchild of George Attla. His knowledge of sled dogs and his love and concern for youth were reflected in the spirit of his dog yard. On the first day of class, the first thing he told students who gathered in his cabin was that they must have a good attitude in his dog yard. He emphasized learning about dogs started by being respectful of their space. Being with dogs was a special opportunity for students to learn and experience the history of their people. This requires the students to be aware, work together, and get along. Every kennel owner/dog musher knows his/her dogs by developing a keen ability to observe. The effectiveness of the program is how well the kennel owner can engage students and the dogs. Chores associated with care and handling of dogs builds great confidence and trust. The dog yard activities require problem solving, which can be applied to nearly every subject in the classroom.

~Example of a kennel class teaching map for one semester

~Example of kennel class schedules in Huslia and Tanacross

  1. Kennel Class Schedules and Collaboration with Elders and Community Members

After the program coordinator consults with the school about class availability and number of students, kennel owners can meet and talk about the kennel schedule for the entire month. It is best to adhere to a schedule so that students learn how to work in each kennel including getting to know all the dogs. It is good to regularly invite Elders to visit classes and share stories especially if there are class discipline issues. The presence of Elders generally has a positive impact on student behavior. Kennel owners communicating with each other regularly about the weather conditions and health of their dogs can adapt classes accordingly. Seeking suggestions from community members is an important early step in planning all sled dog related activities. Students encouraged to observe and learn skills from a variety of people became more confident.


  1. Ways to Work with Students and Teachers in a Dog yard

An important first step in working with students and teachers in a dog yard is to go over the rules and encourage questions. If mistakes are made, they need to be corrected immediately and the entire class made aware of the importance of the rule. In every class, remind students that the awareness of their surroundings is the key to hands-on learning in a dog yard. Encourage students to communicate with each other, the dogs, and the kennel owner. Design tasks so that students can work in pairs to problem solve. Never ask a student or dog to do something that they can’t do. This will work to build confidence with even simple accomplishments, and reassures conscious and careful decision-making.

  1. Tips on Reporting about Youth and Sled Dog Activities

It is important that Kennel owners keep a log of their classes. Notes should include the number of students and their grade level, subjects taught each week, and the effectiveness of the lesson. It is best to critique or evaluate the class on the day of, or soon after the class. Log all student and dog behavior problems and address them in the next class. If bad student behavior problem persists, contact the principal and request an assistant to give one-on-one help. Notes can be reported to the program coordinator over phone and they will compile notes from all kennels so a good record is established. Kennel owners should communicate frequently and meet to problem solve as necessary.


  1. References for Kennel Owners

~ Mushing with Pride

~ ~Ravenwood Veterinary Kennel Management Handout   Large file; smaller sections of this file may be downloaded below

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