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“hokey - these people don't like what they do with tourists”

Talkeetna Sundog Kennel
Ranked #15 of 27 Tours in Talkeetna
Attraction details
British Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
282 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“hokey - these people don't like what they do with tourists”
Reviewed 30 September 2011

Nothing about this tour was worth the money and I found the hosts varied from indifferent to insulting. They picked us up on time at our hotel and then dumped us at the end saying would could find our own way back. Our host was unwelcoming and just plain wanted to get it all over with. An indoor lecture in a freezing room could use a lot of work. The commentary was limited to a script - actually had some quite amusing content but was delivered as if shot out of a cannon. The dogs were interesting and we enjoyed watching them pull. The puppy encounter lasted about 2 minutes and then we were hustled back into our van and taken to town. Questions were not encouraged They aren't winning their races (best finishes have been in the teens) and I don't think they're winning at the tourism thing either. These folks should wrap it up or learn to do a good job.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Speederchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Lewisville, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
1,031 reviews
262 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 333 helpful votes
“Fantastic Experience - Experience Dog Sledding Close-Up”
Reviewed 7 August 2011

My wife and I had a fantastic time at Sundog Kennels. I admit that I was put off by some of the recent negative reviews for this tour. I can heartily recommend it. The negative reviews reflect what I believe to be significant misunderstandings of how sled-pulling dogs are (well) cared for and misrepresentations of the tour.

Reviewer Linrjacob, having never gone on the tour, states that another site in Seward was much better. Other than the scheduling misunderstanding – how would he know?

Also, Saharra6 says in her recent review that “they …yank the dogs by the scruff of their necks which was very distressing for the kids to watch…” The Alaskan huskies at the kennel are the “bread and butter” of the owners – their sole professional purpose and source of income. They appeared healthy and very well treated.

It is vital to know that they are not “house dogs/house pets” and are not leash trained. They are bred and trained to pull - with maximum strength and endurance. When they are being led to the sled, they can and have very easily pulled their handlers off balance in their eagerness. The handlers do NOT yank the dogs by their necks (see picture); they hold them by their collars, lifting their front legs off the ground, so they can control the dogs and prevent them from pulling. I was told they handle the dogs this way from the time they are puppies. The dogs clearly don’t mind, as evidenced by their relaxed postures, wagging tails and eagerness to get to the sleds while being walked on their back legs.

Also, the owners are nice and friendly, but are somewhat quiet and are not “Disney-like” warm and fuzzy, smiley folk. A few minutes with them reveals that they are warm-hearted and eager for tourists to have a great time.

You start the tour in Talkeetna and are driven in vans to the kennels. While you watch, the owners then begin selecting the 14 dogs for that tour’s training run. Almost immediately, all of the several dozen dogs begin to bark and get very excited. You watch has they lead the dogs (on their hind legs,) harness and attach the dogs to the sled – a complicated and very interesting process (which makes me wonder why another reviewer said they didn’t demonstrate this – you are standing five feet away as they do it.) The tour participants are then divided up into groups of five. The first group gets on the wheeled sled and the others get into vans to go on ahead – to watch the dogs as they approach and pass. Groups then swap places. The ride is exhilarating and certainly 10 minutes is more than long enough to get the experience. My favorite part was a planned rest stop by a small creek. The dogs know the drill and run into the creek, where they rest and drink. Some dogs from closer to the sled are let loose and run in the creek and over to greet the tourists to be petted.

Upon returning to the kennel – you are taken into a cabin, filled with Iditarod jerseys, trophies, and a complete Iditarod sled setup. The owner then gives a very thorough description the equipment and what it takes to run the Iditarod, answering any and all questions. Finally at the end, for 5-10 minutes, you are taken to the puppies for some petting.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience that I would highly recommend. You will ride on a training dog-sled behind the dogs, see how the dogs are raised and cared for, ask any questions you want, and learn a lot about the dog sledding and the Iditarod race. My wife and I loved it.

Visited July 2011
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4 Thank Mohsman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
visitak
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best thing I did in Alaska”
Reviewed 8 July 2011

The Tour of the Iditarod Racing Team of Gerald Sousa at the Sundog Kennels was fantastic. This is a tour that is conducted by the owner operator and he shares his life and passion of Alaska and his amazing team of Alaskan Sled Dogs. We learned a tremendous amount in the 2 hour tour. This is an experience that is unique to Alaska and one will will never forget.
Thank you Jerry and Family for sharing.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank visitak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Disappointed, reservations didn't seem to matter”
Reviewed 18 June 2011

We had a group of 6 that were reserved a month prior to arriving. I called the day before and told them we were coming and we verified that we needed to be there by 3pm. They told us that 3pm was fine and they would be ready for us. We had just finished our flightseeing with Talkeetna Air Taxi (which we really enjoyed) and we called at 2:45 to tell them we would be there in 5 minutes and they rudely said "You are too late they decided to start early without your group, come back another day." We were only in town for the day and had to travel back to Anchorage. After all the calling we had made to make sure they knew we were coming we were shocked and disappointed that they did not seem to care about our reservations that we had made. I would not recommend them or count on them. We ended up going to Seavey's Ididaride Dog Sled in Seward, much better place and very customer friendly.

Visited May 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Linrjacob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Dont waste your money-VERY DISAPPOINTING & A TOTAL RIPOFF!”
Reviewed 4 June 2011

The kids were really wanting to do a dog sled ride and tour, & on the phone, Kathleen built it up to seem like the 2 hours would be fun filled with plenty of time to pet the puppies and have a decent sled ride. She went so far as to urge us to reconsider going on the Mahays Jet Boat, as it was a given that the children would enjoy the sled dog tour way more.

We were sold, and decided to do it.
We were taken in a van to the kennels, separated into a 2 groups of 5 people. My kids & I were in the first group, we had a 10 minute ride which was fun. The hosts did not communicate much other than some lame over-rehearsed jokes, and they certainly seemed to yank the dogs by the scruff of their necks which was very distressing foir the kids to watch- I had to repeatedly reassure my children that all was well, (but not feeling very confident in myself indeed that these dogs were being treated very well). I just had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, & couldnt wait to get put of there.

After that short ride, we waited for the other group to have their turn, and then we had the host talk to us in the log cabin about the Iditarod race. Then came the speel for tips in order to raise funds for their upcoming race (this, after charging US$75 per person, INCLUDING KIDS!!). After this we had all of 5 minutes to pat the puppies, which was the highlight for my children and what they were looking forward to most of all.

All I can say is- VERY VERY DISAPPOINTING & truly a total waste of money!!
If you do want to do a sled dog tour, look into it. At Denali, the National Park rangers hold a short tour for free, theres a place in Denali that is cheaper $50 per adult $30 per child, but more than anything, look into how well the owners treat their dogs, and what reputation they have.

Visited June 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank Saharra6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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