Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wild and Free - Stardancer Dozer

Thursday I received some messages from Brent Sass (Wild and Free Mushing) asking if I was still interested in a pup from a breeding between his famous lead dog Silver and his up and coming young leader Sound.  I had to do some serious thinking about this offer.  This would make dog #20 in my kennel, the maximum number of dogs I can manage with my work schedule and resources.  He would have to a very likely prospect for future breedings, which means he needs to be big and smart.

Vladimir, this pup's half-brother, fits the bill for smart but he is not large enough to be a likely candidate for future breedings in my kennel.  I'm looking for larger, historically authentic trapline or traveling types, not racing dogs.  I nonetheless want some of astounding qualities that Silver represents.  He's a hero dog for good reason, he's got the head and temperament to get the job done, now matter what the conditions may offer.

So, I met the pup and his dam this afternoon while Brent was having the mandatory vet checks done for his Yukon Quest team.  I first met and asked about the dam.  Sound is a lovely girl, not at all shy and very well built.  Brent says he led Kyla Durham's Yukon Quest team nearly the whole distance last year, and said he is hoping to run her in both the Quest and the Iditarod this year.  She is very much an up and coming leader.

After meeting and admiring Sound, I was ready to check out the pup that Brent offered. 

He said the pup was a bit wary, as it was his very first ride in the dog truck, and it is a pretty long ride from Eureka to Fairbanks.  Back in the day, Susan Butcher used to say that the most likely dog to be a good leader wasn't the first to come meet a new person, but the one who hung back just a bit to check things out before approaching.  That's exactly what this pup did.  His approach was cautious, but not in any way fearful.  After a bit of investigation he decided that the training treat I offered was well worth the effort, and he was soon greeting me with wagging tail.

I wanted to do a quick test for trainability.  Trainability isn't the same as intelligence, but the test is quick and simple.  I bring along a clicker and handful of treats.  Click the clicker and stuff a treat in the pup's mouth.  Then let the pup kind of wander off or become distracted, and repeat the exercise.  I count how many times he has to hear the click before he is expecting the treat (apparent in body language).  10 C/T repetitions is fairly common.  Chetan and Animosh both made the relationship between click and treat very quickly, 6 reps.

This pup broke the record, with four.  Only four.  WOW.

After asking a few health related questions to determine, I made the decision and put six month old Dozer in my truck rather than Brent's.

So, without further ado, here is your introduction to the newest Stardancer, an appropriately named 52 lb., six month old son of Silver and Sound. It is may pleasure to introduce you to Dozer.

Introducing Dozer, already a big boy at only 6 months of age.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog - great way to chose a dog. Another one for me to follow :-) And a descendent of Silver! And Sound! Famous parents, for sure.