Monday, December 26, 2011

Back on the trail...

I enjoyed a lovely Christmas day with friends yesterday, but the dogs have had two days off, the weather is reasonable, so today we headed back out on the trail.  We are continuing to focus on bringing along these young leaders, so the goal is to get lots of hook-ups and lots of gee-haw work.  In other words, still running small teams relatively short distances over a variety of trails and trail conditions.

I imagine my training log entry will explain the runs well enough, but a couple of incidents were worthy of additional comment, and some video.  During my first run the right runner of my toboggan sled rode up on a root that dumped me over.  I tried to bleep out the worse of the language in the video clip.  No harm was done, the team stopped for me (I don't know if they responded to "Oh S**T" or to the "Whoa", and I was able to plant hooks in order to get the sled flipped back up in short order.  I'm afraid I'm not athletic enough to do that without anchoring the team.

The second team had newly promoted 3-year old leaders Orion and Cassiopeia up front.  We we came off a side trail onto my neighbor's long driveway, which I had noticed had been very recently groomed, we encountered young Edie learning to ski with her mother right at the intersection.  Edie fell to the snow to prevent running into the dogs, and those very young leaders, though distracted and I'm sure tempted to give Edie a face licking (they LOVE children) nonetheless responded to the "on by" cue and took the tream right on down the trail.  I'm VERY pleased with that.

I plan to run two teams again tomorrow, and already have my run board made up for the day.  The goal remains the same, to give these young leaders lots of hook-ups and lots of gee-haw work.  Wednesday I have to make a run into town.  In any event, I'm sure there will be more to post tomorrow evening.

Date, Day, &c:
12/26/11, Monday
Mileage & Speed: 
5.25 miles.  Max speed 13.6 mph.  Average speed 9.1 mph
Route, Trail & Terrain Conditions: 
Home to 2 Rivers Rd. Trail to Swamp Trail to Money Trail to Borough Cut Off trail to Swamp Trail and return home.  Very light layer of powder on packed powder.  Toboggan sled.
-7 degrees.  Partly cloudy skies.
Just & Capella (leaders)
Midnight's Son & Selene (swing)
Amazing Grace (single team)
Beau & Seamus (wheel)
Primarily intended as a leader training run for Capella, hence her running beside my most experienced (albeit sometimes block-headed) leader. 

Easy hook up for the most part, and fast launch.  Just and Capella took most of their directional cues well, but had trouble going "haw" past Rod and Julie's feeder trail.  I have no idea why except that maybe Just figured it would be the quickest way back home.  In any event, they corrected and we were able to continue the run.

I had to stop from time to time when either Beau or Selene would get under the gangline and crowd his or her running mate.  The dogs had a heck of a time trying to understand "whoa" today, and wanted to run off as soon as I pulled hooks rather than waiting for their "alright" cue.  We'll be working on that behavior a lot more this season.

However, I did take a tumble when the sled clipped a hidden root on the side of the trail, flipping us over.  I don't know if they considered the cue to be the "whoa" or the "Aw S**T", but they did stop for me and I was able to plant hooks, flip the sled back up on the runners, and get off to a controlled restart in short order.

Date, Day, &c:
12-26-11, Monday. 
Mileage & Speed: 
~ 4 miles.  Speeds not measured.
Route, Trail & Terrain Conditions: 
Home to 2 Rivers Rd. trail to Swamp Trail to Rod and Julie's feeder to trail, to side-loop off R&J's trail, to home.  Traveling basket sled, light powder on top of packed powder.
- 6 degrees (F).  Partly cloudy. 
Cassiopeia & Orion (leaders)
Rose (single swing)
Innoko (single team)
Nels & Denali (wheel)
Orion continues to be a PITA on hook up.  He just gets too excited.  I have a scheme to make it easier for him to stay lined out while I'm hooking up his running mate.  Innoko was grabbing lines, which is equally a bad thing and something I need to spend some time on.

Once we got started the run went very well.  Cassie and Orion responded nicely to directional cues.  When I called the "gee" to go on the side trail at Rod and Julie's, it took them a bit to figure out what I was asking, but they did figure it out for themselves, which is a very good thing. 

As we came off that side trail, Edie was skiing with her Mom on the main trail and we met at nearly the same time on that intersection.  Edie fell on her skis, well within the radius of the gang line, yet Orion and Cassie took the "on by" cue, though they were incredibly curious and probably interested in licking Edie's face as clean as possible.  Nonetheless, they did go on by.

They didn't even try to veer off to visit Ted's dogs, took the "haw" onto the power line very well, went straight ahead over the driveway with no hesitation at all, and took the haw onto our feeder trail like they'd been doing it all their lives. 

After the run I let dogs play run amok for a bit, and Innoko attacked Nels for no reason I could perceive.  I ended up having to pull him off of Nels and dragging him to his circle.  In the future he'll have to come and go from the hook up line on a leash - probably a very short leash.

1 comment:

  1. To me, as a faraway onlooker, having met some of your current team once, it is so interesting reading of the developments/behaviours of some of them, as well as some of the newer dogs. Their "personalities" are so varied. It is really interesting to follow "developments" ;-)