Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Great Early Season Training Run

This morning I was up and moving around early in order to feed Lucky and the puppies and then load up the big dogs for a trip to Lynn Orbison's house and another motor-mushing training run with the four-wheeler. Donna Thompson was also there, and we mixed and matched dogs for some lovely teams.

Our first eight dog team was more or less a "geriatric" team, older or slower dogs that can't stand long, hard runs. I had my Darling Daisy up in lead and Good Ol' Gump in wheel. The rest of the dogs were a mix between Lynn and Donna's kennels. It was only a 2 mile run, but did require a stop about 3/4 of the way through at Pleasant Valley Store, to buy gasoline for the four-wheeler. Daisy did a good job for us, but it's obvious that she is becoming hard of hearing. That's really hard for me to cope with, as she's always been a spot-on gee/haw leader, and would be so today if she could only hear the cues.

One of the dogs in the team position is a rescued dog that ran feral for a year or more, and is rather fearful toward humans. Dubbed "Sweety", though she may have never been in harness before she really seems to like this running with the team game. That's excellent news as it gives us something really cool we can use to reinforce the concept that humans are not big, scary creatures to worry over.

My second team was actually the third team we ran today. Lynn O and Donna took some of the sprint racing dogs from their teams out in between my runs.

My second team included six of my dogs and two of Donna's. The team included:
Torus and Nels in Lead
Rose and Beau in Swing - Beau is new to my kennel.
Poncho and Carpe' from Donna's kennel were in team.
Sheenjek and Seamu in wheel.

This was a longer run, 2.8 miles according to the odometer on the four-wheeler. Although Nels was given a couple of opportunities to run up front last winter, he usually didn't last very long. After a half mile or so he would 'turn puppy' and try to play rough and tumble with his running mate, thus earning a transfer back into the team somewhere.

At first I thought that would also be the case today, but Torus corrected the youngun's antics very nicely, and Nels ended up running lead through the entire run, and did quite a nice job of it. Of course he doesn't have his directional cues figured out yet, but he followed Torus' guidance very well which means his gee/haw training will probably go very smoothly.

The two young dogs in swing were very hard workers today, pulling well through the entire run. Poncho and Carpe were very nice team members to work with and did an equally good job. Sheenjek got a bit tired toward the end and slacked off his tug, which is very rare for my "Megamutt". Seamus, as always, was the team cheerleader.

Once back home with everyone well watered and settled in I grabbed my own lunch and then gave each dog a treat of a hard boiled egg. I like to give each of my dogs an egg each week, it's great protien and very good for their coats. Beau, being the "new guy" wasn't really quite sure what to do with his, but he did figure it out eventually. After snacking the dogs I headed into town to buy dog food and my medications for the month. I needed to do those things this afternoon because everything will be closed tomorrow in celebration of Labor Day. I probably shouldn't snivel too loudy, but holy communion, the price of dog food has gone up enough to really start hurting.

All of that leads to a quiet evening at home as I start preparing to return to my place of employment on Tuesday morning.


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