Monday, November 24, 2008

Dog Tired

Even though I'm still not feeling 100% I have to return to my place of employment, and very much wanted to give the team a good run before doing so. I took them over to Lynn Orbison's and we put some of her dogs in with mine, to make up a 12 dog team we could run on the four-wheeler.

Amazing Grace is a little spit-fire of a racing type Alaskan husky. I've written of her frequently as she is one of the DWIs (dogs with issues) that came to us through Loving Companions Animal Rescue, and his turned into a shining star. Grace belongs to my friend Janece Rollet, but Lynn and I enjoy the privilege of training and running her. Grace's major issue is canine obsessive compulsion disorder. If she has much maize in her diet and/or doesn't get enough exercise she turns glassy-eyed, unresponsive to humans, and uncessantly runs in circles, not even stopping to eat.

With good management including elimination of maize in her feed, rearranging her environment frequently and running her on a team whenever we can, young Grace is growing into a fine little lead dog. She is also an incredibly intelligent dog, which creates it's own set of challenges. For example, she is an accomplished escape artist.

After our run today we put Grace into a pen near where the dog truck was parked. Grace almost immediately set her mind to escape. The latch on the gate of this pen is quite complicated compared to most kennels. Opening the latch requires that a lever be lifted and rotated inward (toward the fence). Here is a video of our little Amazing Grace in action:

Grace did succeed in opening the latch, but was thwarted by the drop chain that we had stretched across the opening of the gate, "just in case". I'm sure she's thinking "Damn those opposable thumbs" and working on a way to open that as well.

After our run I took my dogs home for feeding, and after giving them some time to digest I reloaded them to go to their boarding kennels. I finished that job at 7 o'clock pm, sat back in my easy chair for the first time since about 7 this morning, and hit the wall. I was so tired I could barely manage enough energy to microwave something resembling food for supper.

Here is today's entry in my training journal:

11/24/08, Monday: 12 miles. Lynn O’s, haw on PV road, gee past Ric Swenson’s yard, haw up far side of field, gee onto baseline, gee onto middle trail in field by Aliy and Allen’s, haw past horse pen, gee/haw zig zag onto Pheasant Farm Rd. gee to skirt around a bit on new trail that Lynn showed me, haw back on Pheasant Farm Rd to turnaround down by Jenny M Creek crossing, back up Pheasant Farm to gee on Baseline to haw at Swenson’s field, back past his yard, haw onto Pleasant Valley Rd, gee onto cross over trail south of Lynn’s place, haw onto CHSR trail, haw onto Pleasant Valley Rd and haw into Lynn’s yard.

I intentionally kept the launch speed down, but maintained a pretty fast average speed throughout the run.


Max speed 11.8 mph

Average speed 9.4 mph.

Rose and Torus (lead)

Grace and Beau (swing)

Seamus and Nels

Sweety and Regine (hounds from Lynn’s yard)

Polar and Jethro

Seenjek and Gump (wheel)

12 dogs, 12 miles. Not too shabby at all. Sweety was a feral dog, lived trapped at a dumpster station. She’s very shy, and not well mannered (yet), so Lynn had to reharness her a couple of times between hook-up and launch. Once we got the gang moving it wasn’t an issue. Torus scotched at Rose on start up, which scared her a bit and it took her to PV Rd to get back into the game.

Once on the road the team lined out very nicely. Neither Lynn nor I noticed Grace scotching at Beau, and they both ran quite nicely through the whole run. Grace was a bit distracted when we passed the horses, and when we passed other teams on the trail, but nothing that couldn’t be managed.

Seamus and Nels also ran well together. Nels was distracted from time to time and had to be called to task, and on passes Seamus still feels duty bound to sniff every butt going by but again it wasn’t enough to cause any major problems.

Sweety and Regime seemed a bit surprised at the slow pace, but they kept up that bounding lope for which eurohounds are known throughout the 12 mile run. Not bad considering his original owner claims Regime can’t go a mile without tiring.

Polar and Jethro were awesome together, and both will probably run on a team for Janece while she is visiting next R&R. They are just honest, good working dogs. Polar is a very shy dog, yet happily took biscuits from my hand after our run. This is a huge improvement from the other day when she wouldn’t take a meatball from me.

Sheenjek was his good ol’, hard working self and Gump did more work with his tugline doubled back than he’s done in the past, though did run slack from time to time when he thought he might get away with it.

We made several brief stops to readjust clothing in a futile attempt to keep warm. At one stop I asked Lynn to hold the brakes while I walked into the woods. As I was coming back the dogs decided they’d stopped long enough, and started dragging the machine away from me with all four brakes locked up. They didn’t go terribly far, but it was a good reminder that 12 dogs is a LOT of power.

We passed five different teams head on, all but the last were good passes. On the last Sweety jumped over Regime to get away from the team to her left, and then dove back onto the left side of the gangline. When she did that her tug line swept Regime’s feet out from under him. We got stopped straightaway and Lynn got Regime back on his feet and loved him up for a bit. In addition to the dog teams, we passed one pedestrian without too much issue, and 1 snowmachine as well.

It was a nice, warm day with plenty of training opportunities and a great running team. I was very pleased with our performance today.,

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