Saturday, November 3, 2007

Better Times Running Dogs

Today’s sled dog training run was the polar opposite of Thursday. Where nothing went right two days ago, nothing at all went wrong today. We have a couple of inches of new snow on the ground (I’m thinking sleds tomorrow), the temperature was very pleasant and the dogs ran wonderfully well.

Edie Forrest and Randy Dunbar came over to Lynn’s to train with us. With four people and two operating four-wheelers we put a 10 dog line on Edie and Randy’s rig, and an 8 dog line on mine, and got down to the business of having seriously good fun with a fine bunch of dogs. All told we ran 44 dogs today.

My guys ran on two different teams. The older dogs, the darling Daisy (leader), Gump, Sheenjek and yearling Kia were all on that team with some of Lynn’s sprint dogs, including little Spruce who has no clue that she is just a little wisp of a thing. That dog is all heart and run. Edie and I took them on a 7 mile run, though the original plan was to only go five. 7 miles is considerably further than they’ve been running so far this winter.

Daisy took every directional cue spot-on, even when Ende wasn’t so sure. All the other dogs ran along quite famously. Gump is a bit out of shape and when he tired he ran slack lined for a little bit, but then he got right back into the game, giving us everything he has to give.

Kia, on the other hand, did not do well at all. Kia is a spayed female malamute / Alaskan husky mix who cane into the rescue from a pet home in Tok. The first time we ran her on a team she looked like she would be just fine and might make a good candidate to run in the wheel position on my team of village dogs. God knows she looks great standing beside Sheenjek, my blue-collar megamutt.

Unfortunately, this beautiful little girl has apparently decided she doesn’t want to be a sled dog. At this point she is very similar to an Alaskan politician’s trophy wife – she is beautiful to the eye, but she is absolutely worthless on the trail. Even running in a freight harness and pulling a chain broom she did not tighten her tug line a single time that I saw. In fact most of the time she was being carried along by her neck line. If you happen to know of someone who wants a truly beautiful pet dog, and doesn’t need her to work, we will be very happy to place her in a loving, caring home. Just drop me an email at the address in my profile for details.

Kia - The Politician's Trophy Wife

The “Twins”, Rose and Nels, ran in the second team I took out running with some of Lynn’s sprint dogs. This time Lynn went with me to help tend to any problems. The pace was MUCH faster, but the mileage considerably shorter. That’s no big deal to me as they will all be going out for a longer run tomorrow. We had Lynn’s leaders, Puma and Bobcat, up front. Nels ran in swing beside Tilde, a new dog to me but one that Lynn has run before. In team we had Rose and Seamus side by side with Minnie and Polar at wheel.

At one point Puma and Nels tried to turn haw (left) rather than the cued Gee (right). Young Nels, the ‘kid’ at swing, tried to turn the whole team in the correct direction. I was astounded that this very young dog got it right when a pair of experienced sprint racing leaders did not. I am very, very proud of that young boy.

Now we are home, the dogs are fed and I gave each of them a huge moose-leg bone to chew on. With any luck at all I may be able to enjoy the quiet evening at home that I missed on Thursday. Sometimes nothing is better for the human spirit than just hanging out in the company of dogs.


No comments:

Post a Comment