Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Draggin' Butt Tired

It snowed overnight and all day today, so we ran dogs on sleds on 8 or more inches of powder. Not enough base to hold brakes or hooks, but enough to run three 6-dog teams with a handler along to help. I'm too damned tired to add much commentary. Here is the entry from my training journal:

10/22/08: Three Teams
#1: 2.4 miles, sled with passenger, 8+” powder on frozen ground base. 11.8 mph max speed, 6.4 mph average speed. Lynn’s to PV Rd to Baseline to middle trail in Swenson’s field to intersection at Swenson’s yard to PV Rd to Lynn’s.

Daisy & Ende
Chinook (single swing)
Seamus & Jethro

Poor Daisy is so hard of hearing I don’t think she can hear any of the cues. She comes to an intersection and does this “trial and error” thing until she gets it right. Ende wasn’t a lot of help in the decision making department. At the “gee” toward Rick Swenson’s yard the leader’s tugs were too loose as they finally made a decision, allowing Chinook to tangle with Ende. Fortunately Lynn was in the basket and was ‘johnny on the spot’ to break them up.

Seamus and Jethro were good, hard working dogs throughout the run.

#2: 3.5 miles, on sled with passenger, same snow conditions. Lynn’s to Wilbur Rd to Ander’s Rd to Lake Trout to Steelhead to Sockeye back up to Anders to Jean ? loop, cut across diagonal trail, gee to PV rd to Lynn’s.

Nels & Poncho
Kirby and Baniff
Poncho and Bobcat

Poncho and Nels did a very nice job leading us, especially considering we were breaking trail in deep powder the entire way. Kirby and Baniff worked reasonably well, though Baniff dove off the side of the trail from time to time to dip snow. Bobcat is his good old, hard driving self. Poncho was a good worker who kept a tight tug and gave no problems.

#3: 3.75 miles. Sled with passenger. Lynn’s to PV Rd to Baseline to midway trail in Swenson’s field, to intersection at his yard to PV Rd to Paw Print Path to Schoen’s potato field, to Sockeye to Anders to Jean ? Loop to diagonal cut across trail to PV Rd to Lynn’s.

Grace and Just
Lucy and Lola
Glad and Pearl

Grace is still learning about being patient during “line out” to hook up the team, but she is getting better. Less inclined to scotch at free running dogs than yesterday. She is hesitant to pull or push Just in response to cues, and Just seemed intent on making the wrong turn with every cue, so that caused some issues. Especially in that narrow stretch between the end of Paw Print and Schoen’s field. We also had a lot of trouble making the “haw” onto Sockeye. Just wanted to go ‘gee’ by the store, and the team ended up going between the phone pole and baseball field, over the big puddle (the ice broke through) and off to the side of the road for a good long way before Grace got the courage to drag Just over onto the better trail of the roadway.

Lucy and Lola ran well and seemed to have a good time.

This was Pearl’s first time in harness, and I though she managed the whole thing very well indeed. She kept a tight tugline through the first half of the run, and then got tired and ran slack a lot during the second half. That’s not bad for a pet dog, though. Especially considering we were breaking trail in deep powder.

Glad crowded Pearl quite a bit in the middle part of the run, so we stopped and I had Steve (Pearl’s owner) put Pearl on the other side of the gangline, and they worked fine together once we’d done that.

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