I trucked the team over to Lynn Orbison's place for a training run this morning. She and a friend had some difficulty with my four-wheeler during a run a couple of days ago, but it started fine for me. I adjusted the idle speed a bit to prevent it from dying every time we have to stop.
We had 8 dogs on the machine this morning. I tried to keep their speed down because the trails are so darned icy. Lack of snow will do that sometimes. Even so my GPS unit tells me that at some point during the run we hit 14 mph. Our moving average was a very reasonable 9.6. Here is the training report.
11-28-07 Four wheeler. 7 miles. Max speed 14, moving average 9.6. Hard, icy trails at +12 degrees.
Dutchess & Daisy (lead)
Nels & Seamus (Swing)
Rose & Gump (Team)
Sheenek & Grace (Wheel)
Grace has a tendency to be snarky with her running mates, and Lynn suggested we run her next to Sheenjek, figuring that the Megamutt would cut any of her bad manners short. I was concerned that this big dog would do so in an overly violent manner, as he's frequently been referred to as a "potty-mouthed son of a (literal) bitch". Sure enough, Grace tried to be snarky, and sure enough Ol' Sheenjek reminded her to mind her manners, but he did so very appropriately. He wasn’t overly aggressive about it, just firm enough to make his point. For the most part Grace remained well behaved throughout the run. She managed did manage to bite through her neckline (it was already nearly gone from previous biters), but she stayed in proper alignment and ran very well without it so we left alone until we gave the dogs a brief cool down break about half way through the run.
Nels crowded Seamus for quite a while. He prefers to run on the right and frequently crowds the dog at his side, but after about half way or so figured out it wasn’t of much use, and remained to the left of the gangline. Seamus, meanwhile, was dipping snow terribly for the first three miles or so, but as the run progressed he did much less.
Having Dutchess and Daisy up front is like push-button power steering. They hit all their directional cues dead on. Gump is getting stronger with every run and gives us everything he can. I won’t complain with is progress.On the home stretch back toward Lynn's I saw Daisy slip on the ice a couple of times, and tonight I’ve noticed that she has a limp in her left front shoulder. She got her scheduled injection of adequan and a good, thorough massage before she asked to go back outside. I’ll lay her off tomorrow and then see how she is doing Saturday.
It was overall a very delightful run. All 8 dogs worked very well together, Lynn was delightful company, and the rising sun was a wonderful backdrop.When I returned home from our wonderful training run I had a phone message from a neighbor telling me that the wolves have killed another dog. This one was a pet dog right next to the highway only three miles or so west of my house. I suspect these wolves will continue preying on dogs until we get enough snow to slow the escape of moose and snowshoe hares so they can return to their normal prey. It can't come soon enough to suit me.
This the third dog confirmed to have been killed by wolves in the area in the past month, and another dog was attacked but escaped when his owner frightened off the wolf. The lastest one was a pet dog right next to the highway only three miles or so west of my house. Only a few days ago another dog was killed only a mile to the other side. I suspect these wolves will continue preying on dogs until we get enough snow to slow the escape of moose and snowshoe hares so they can return to their normal prey. It can't come soon enough to suit me.
I'm not too worried about my guys, for several reasons. I have a good fence surrounded my kennel, and although wolves certainly can scale a fence, they are intelligent enough to recognize that they be trapped inside just as easily as their intended prey. (This has actually been observed by Eric Klinghammer and his assistants) My dogs are larger than those that have been killed, which have been smaller and generally quite old. One of my dogs is an Anatolian Shepherd Dog / Alaskan husky mix. Anatolians are lifestock guardian dogs originating in Turkey, and were selected for their ability to protect sheep from wolves. Wee Seamus will certainly sound an alert if anything unusual is lurking about, and won't hesitate to mount an aggressive defense.
Although protective for my dogs - it's bad news for my neighbor's team. I have a neighbor about a quarter mile behind me who has her team staked out without any sort of fencing, they are quite a bit smaller than my dogs, and no one is at her kennel at night to guard them. I'm betting any self-respecting wolf will weight the potential risk against the potential benefit, and visit my neighbor's yard long before they consider trying to take one of mine.
This evening Daisy has a bit of a limp in her left front. Her range of motion is a bit limited as well. I gave her her regularly scheduled dose of Adequan and a good massage with Algyval. I'll repeat the massage a couple of times each day for the next few. I'll also give her tomorrow and Friday off, and see how she looks on Saturday. Please keep your fingers crossed for her.