4-Dog Gold Medallist
I had a great time visiting with John Perry! He is a wonderful, no-nonsense kind of a guy, and besides how could not like someone who hailed from the same hometown as you!
John and his wife reside in Sterling, Colorado. His kennel of roughly 25 dogs (mushers are somewhat vague when asked this question) includes German shorthaired pointers (GSPs). John said “I have had German shorthaired ever since I was 8 years old in Iowa and my uncle had one of the first GSPs that ever came to Iowa. I got a pup out of one of his litters.” John has trained GSPs for quite some time. “I had went hunting with my dog that first fall and it took off chasing pheasants down the corn row and everywhere, and my dad said if you don’t train that dog I am going to shoot it. Well he claims to this day he didn’t say that and if he did he was just kidding. But from that point on I started training dogs because I was scared I was going to lose my dog.” John currently does a bit of guiding and bird hunting in Colorado.
The remainder of the kennel are Alaskan huskies. John says that while in Alaska this past winter running in the world championships, he was told by “I don’t know how many” that those are not huskies, those are hounds! As you guessed, most of John’s dogs are ‘flop-eared’ huskies (my personal favorite, but then I have a golden retriever, too). Long before most folk, John was crossing his GSP with his Alaskans. The pointers are top-of-the-line field trial lines and the huskies are of mixed origin. If you see John’s new truck this winter, it will no longer say ‘Alaskan Husky Racing Team’ but instead will say ‘Perry’s Racing Hounds’.
Where John lives, it is much too hot most of the off-season to much training at all. “The only thing I do is handle my dogs a minimum of two times a day. If you really get technical about it that is training, but it is not working dogs. We do let them romp in the swimming pool.” In the cart versus ATV choice, John trains with a bicycle and ATV. “I do bicycle and ATV and I do freerun, it just depends on the day and what I think the dogs need that day.” John is able to train out of his yard, but is respectful of his sub-division neighbors and doesn’t start his training runs until after 8:00 a.m. weekdays and even later than that on Saturdays.
John’s feeding regimen includes a kibble from the Coop made by Farmland Industries. He says it’s perfect for his dogs and is “as good as it gets”.
Last year John raced in 4, 6, and 8-dog classes. He was afraid that it would be too much work on race day, but John says he could not have done it without his wife, Bobbi. “She is the number one handler in the world because … of the sensitivity and nurturing Bobbi brings into racing and training.” John is also looking forward to racing in all three classes again this coming race season not only close to home, but also at Canmore, and in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
John’s words of wisdom for others include “take one weekend at a time and take one race at a time”. John believes that one of the reasons he and his team do so well is the attention he gives each dog. “The interaction with the dogs on a daily basis is so important. I visit each dog at least twice each day in addition to feeding, watering, and shoveling. Every dog gets that interaction.”