Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fate Gets Some Pay Back

After writing about yesterday's training it was inevitable that fate would throw a monkey wrench or two into the works, just for a little bit of pay back.  Here are the entries in TODAY'S training logs.  We had more than enough "training opportunities" for one afternoon of running.

Date, Day, &c:
Thursday, Sept 29.  1:00 PM
Mileage & Speed (M = Measured , ~ = Approximate): 
1.5 miles M, Max speed 11.3 MPH M, Average speed 8.4 mph M
Route, Trail & Terrain Conditions: 
Boyce-Stricker driveway loop, dry with a few small puddles
38 degrees, partly cloudy
Rose & Nels
Selene & Seamus
Beau & Grace

Poor Nels was SO confused.  He doesn't run lead very often, and it was evident today.  Let's take this in chronological order, though.

First, just getting the dogs to the drop line was a real headache, as they were more inclined to play runamok than run to the line.  Finally got them all there and harnessed.  I was hooking up from wheel forward and just as I was ready to hook up my first leader I looked back and realized that Beau's neck line was snapped in two.  Probably thanks to innocent looking Grace (bless her evil little heart), but do you think I could find a spare neckline handy?  Heck no, I had to search high and low to find one. 

Finally I got Nels to the line, but he doesn't really know how to line out, and when I brought Rose over Nels was a bit tangled, and of course Grace was grabbing at lines.  Anyhow, I got Nels untangled, got them lined out, started the four wheeler (it was still pretty cold and hard to start) and we launched.

On Launch Nels wasn't sure what to do so was pulling hard to right, but got that figured out shortly.  The team took the gee onto the powerline without any problem, but they were confused again by the gee onto the Boyce/Stricker drive.  Rose did a great job helping Nels figure it out, and just as I gave the marker cue and was punching the throttle the darned machine died, and didn't want to restart.

While I was messing around trying to start the machine, Nels was messing around and got his rear legs tangled in his harness.  I got the machine started (finally), went forward to fix Nels harness, rushed back to the machine and got 'em launched down the correct trail, even though Nels was having trouble getting started and almost tangled again. 

Once we got through all that mess the rest of the run was rather anticlimactic.   There were no other issues to report at all.  Selene did a wonderful job though she doesn't like running through puddles and goes to some extremes to dodge them.  That was good for a chuckle or two on the outbound part of the run. On the inbound leg I stopped them for a couple of minutes to shoot a photo of the team.

Rose & Nels (leaders), Selene & Seamus, Beau and Amazing Grace in Wheel

Date, Day, &c:
Thursday, Sept 29.  2:30 P
Mileage & Speed (M = Measured , ~ = Approximate): 
1.5 miles M, Max speed 14.7 mph M, Average speed 8.4 mph M
Route, Trail & Terrain Conditions: 
Boyce - Stricker drive loop
44 degrees, partly cloudy, dry dirt with some small puddles
Just & Capella
Orion & Midnight
Denali & Cassiopeia
I would like to say that hook up was easier than the previous team, but I'd be lying if I did so.  I had everyone harnessed and ready to hook to the gang line when Chinook came bounding up.  He'd apparently forced his way out of his pen (bending a difficult to replace gate latch in the process, and came over to join the fun.  The best way to corral him was to put him in the house, which I did.

When I got back most of the dogs were just fine, but Cassie had gotten herself so badly tangled up in her harness that I had to completely undress her, sort out the mess, and start over from scratch. 

Once we got launched things went well, with Just hitting his "gee" cues onto the powerline and then onto the Boyce-Stricker drive without any problem.  At the top of the loop it took some work for him to get the "haw" cue, as we had been previously going around the loop in the opposite direction. 

Out of the loop I had to stop and help Midnight duck under the gangline as he had somehow gotten under it during the circle around the loop.

Back in the yard, Just tried to go hard left alongside the pens, just as Rose and Denali did yesterday.  It took several attempts to guide them onto the correct path, but when they did get it they took the team all the way down the line rather than cutting by the tress like yesterday's team.  Again, it was a nice run overall.

Here are some video clips from today's training adventures:

The Important Point:
 I guess the most important point is that in spite of the challenges we were able to get in two very productive training runs without loss of temper and the resulting loss of trust.  Stuff happens, sometimes at the worse possible time.  Expect it, keep your cool, remember the goal is to keep things as fun and positive for the dogs as you can and move on.  The dogs really don't care what goes wrong so long as they are having fun in the meantime.  Some of us humans could find great value in that trait.

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