For Immediate Release
February 09, 2023
Spring College Course Teaches Students Dog Mushing
ANCHORAGE, AK, USA– For as long as Robert Forto can remember he wanted to be a dog musher. He remembers fondly what pushed him into the lifestyle. “It was way back in 1994 when I saw the Disney movie, Iron Will. It was about the sport of dog mushing and right then I knew this was the life I wanted to live,” Forto said. “Within a couple of months, I was packing up my apartment at college in Portland, Oregon and moving to the much colder climates of northern Minnesota. I was immediately hooked.”
Now Forto works to impart that same excitement and passion for dog mushing to the students at Alaska Pacific University during his spring semester Dog Mushing course in the Outdoor Studies Department.
While titled Dog Mushing, it is really an introduction to the lifestyle, several dog powered sports, history, and a lot about outdoor leadership. Over the course of the semester, the class comes out to Forto’s sled dog kennel, Team Ineka, and they learn everything possible about what it takes to be a high caliber mushing team. Forto holds a master’s degree in sports management and is working on his doctorate in strategic leadership and wants to impart wisdom he has learned on and off the trail with the students.
“The reasoning behind covering leadership is to introduce the students to different styles of leading teams and to help them build connections that they can use later in life, well after their college experience,” Forto states.
“I hope in doing so, the students learn that a dog team is much like a company. You have your leaders and followers, and they must all get along,” Forto adds. “Understanding how a team operates is so crucial in the business world today, we just hope that these students can take away some skills that will help them later on,” Forto explains.
Over the course of several weekends the class spends a lot of time learning how to “drive” a dog team, dog care, and proper handling in the midst of chaos. “Learning to mush is so much more than staying on the sled,” Forto said. “You must learn how to read the dogs and give them what they need to be successful. I have been mushing for almost 30 years and I am still learning all the time.”
Forto’s kennel is comprised of three dozen dogs, most of which are Alaskan Huskies from some of the top distance kennels in Alaska. “The dogs here are very different than those than what was in that old Disney movie, Iron Will. These are purpose driven canine athletes and they will do anything to run,” Forto explained.
Forto competes in dryland, sprint races, expeditions, and even a canine obstacle course race he signed up for in Alabama in October with his dog Iseult which is a distant offspring of Togo and Balto. “While racing is fun, my true passion is to introduce people to our lifestyle. That’s what it is all about,” Forto described.
About Robert Forto
Robert Forto lives in the wilds of Alaska with a pack of sled dogs. He is also a podcaster, a mid-life doctorate student, and the founder of a half dozen companies including Peak Experience a growth strategy company where he helps individuals and companies map what’s next. His motto: REACH your PEAK.
Forto is an accomplished speaker and author, of A Musher’s Dream (Arctic House Publishing), In 2009 he launched Dog Works Radio and currently coaches independent podcasters on how to develop the right mindset to take their podcast to the next level. Today you will find Robert at RobertForto.com where he writes about his trials and tribulations of trying to complete a doctorate degree when most people in life are buying fancy sports cars.
About Team Ineka
Team Ineka is owned and operated by Robert, Michele and Nicole Forto. The Forto’s moved to Alaska in 2010 to chase the crazy Iditarod dream and over the years the team has competed in numerous mid, sprint distance and expeditions, and two Junior Iditarod’s. There are about three dozen dogs in the kennel including canine superstars Ruby, Dutch, Chief and the Rock n Roller Crew; Sully, Grohl, Hendrix, Jagger, Cobain and Jazz.
Media Contact for Robert Forto and First Paw Media:
Firstpawmedia ( @) gmail.com
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