Arctic Wisdom: Old Dogs, New Tricks

On Life Below Zero, the Alaskan survivalists need all the help they can get preparing for the harsh Arctic winter. Andy and Kate Bassich value their independence on the tundra, but living off the land during the region’s coldest months requires a ton of work.

To lighten their load, Andy and Kate take on a new student named Cody to teach him the ways of their subsistence lifestyle.

For most young people, their ideal life doesn’t entail riding dogsleds through the snow while their faces freeze from the cold. But for Cody, he can’t imagine a better way of life. He’s joining Andy and Kate to learn from their decades of expertise, driven by a desire to live as they do, no matter what it takes.


However, Cody’s first lesson from Andy and Kate won’t be an easy one. The couple’s sled dogs need some new turf and a serious excersise session, and they’re teaching Cody the ins and outs of dog mushing along the way. Taking care of a dog may be a worthwhile endeavor for any animal lover, but wrangling the Bassichs’ pack of pups is no easy task. When Cody as he tries to move the dogs’ houses to fresh land, their energy gets the best of them.


Cody’s first day dealing with sled dogs is an overwhelming one, from struggling to move their houses to mixing up the dogs’ names. After an Arctic overload, Cody hopes that his mushing session goes more smoothly. But for all the day’s craziness, he emerges with a newfound respect for Andy and Kate’s lifestyle, realizing the dogs’ high quality of life on the tundra.


Soon after his first puppy wrangling session, it’s time for Andy and Kate to test out Cody’s dog mushing skills. Cody has never been on a dog sled before, but that doesn’t stop Andy from setting Cody up to ride. Andy isn’t sure if his protegee is ready to control the sled yet, but in the Arctic, learning comes from trial and error.

Sure enough, Cody’s first sledding experience doesn’t go perfectly at first.


But after the dogs untangle themselves from the sled and Cody begins to gain confidence in his mushing skills, the ride goes smoother for the sledding rookie. Soon enough, he’s riding across the tundra like a pro.


Follow Cody’s journey on the next Life Below Zero this Thursday at 9P.




  1. bob
    June 21, 2014, 7:13 am

    where can I get more info about being a student of andy and kates? I want to mush the dogs!!!

  2. Glen Owen
    Chester, England
    January 18, 2015, 5:10 pm


    Just wondered what Andy feeds his dogs? I have a Siberian Husky and have been feeding her raw but she’s not too keen, on the show he uses dry food mixed with water I think.