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Francois and Perrault expect their sled dogs to be disciplined and hard-working so that the team runs smoothly and efficiently. They expect each dog on the team to literally pull his or her own weight.They are experienced dog-handlers, and treat the dogs well without ever indulging them.
Generally, Francois and Perrault's methods have excellent results. However, for a time the stability of the team is threatened when Spitz, the leader, and Buck, his great challenger and rival, fight for supremacy. This has a negative effect on most of the other dogs who likewise fall to bickering and squabbling. This state of affairs vexes the men but they can really do nothing about it until the final great clash between Buck and Spitz in which Buck emerges victorious. Rather than mourning Spitz, Francois expresses relief that the divisions in the team have finally been settled, and they can return to business:
"An' now we make good time. No more Spitz, no more trouble, sure." (chapter 4)
In this harsh environment, the death of one dog is not a matter for sentiment. Francois and Perrault merely realise that the strongest dog has won out and will now take his rightful place at the head of the team.
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