Archive for the ‘Carting & Bikejoring’ Categoryby Northernmost on November 9, 2014 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Carting & Bikejoring, Hilary, Leia, Thunder, Tuisku, Wilder with No Comments
It’s been a great weekend for training, still no snow but low temperatures so we’ve had some nice runs with the dogs. Right now we’re mostly using a local trail which runs in loops in the forest between our village and the next. This is our favourite trail for off-snow training as the soft sand is gentle on the dogs’ feet and perfect to run on until the snow arrives. Unfortunately my camera refused to cooperate and nearly all shots came out off-focus but below are a few snaps anyway – felt great to see Tuisku back on the trail today, even if he just came along for a shorter round.
A happy Wilder ♥
Hilary and Wilder pulling hard uphill. I love how dedicated these two are!
Tuisku (in the back) is wondering what’s the hold up??
Tuisku hasn’t been working in harness for a long while but our vet suggested that we try him on some shorter runs to see how his foot holds up. He seemed fine after the run but we’ll have to watch him carefully to see if we notice any changes during the next few days – fingers crossed!
Three happy tails!
♥ Happy dogs, happy life ♥
Yesterday we woke up to clear skies, crisp air and below-zero temperatures – a perfect day to go bikejoring! The ground was covered with a touch of frost when we left home in the morning but the sun quickly warmed up the day and we had to watch the dogs carefully to make sure they didn’t get too hot. This time of the year, when the dogs are not yet in top condition, it is easy to do too much too soon. While autumn training is a fun time for both us and the dogs, it is important to remember that Malamutes are usually most comfortable working when the temperature is between -30°C, to -15°C. Everything above can be too warm, and especially if it’s a sunny or humid day. We try to think of autumn as a time to be patient but it is sometimes difficult to say no to the dogs when they want to go faster and further early in the season. So this is a note to self: Winter is just around the corner, don’t rush it!
We explored a new trail yesterday and it turned out to be a fun ride with plenty of options for variation. When training left and right commands it’s ideal to run the dogs along a new route, as it’s only when they don’t know their way by heart that they really have to listen to your commands.
We still need to work on Wilder’s “wait” command, as he’s so eager to go that he doesn’t listen if a team takes off ahead of him. Hilary used to be like that as a youngster but has calmed down a little with maturity. She can now sit down and wait calmly until it’s time to go, at least on a good day 😉
Hilary has starting to grow her coat again after the summer. Yes, she’s a cutie ♥
Thunder (10.5) and Leia (9.5) are still running strong and pulling hard in harness. I believe the apple cider vinegar which we add to their food is really good for them. They seem almost younger than a couple of years ago, and Leia’s skin problems have completely cleared up. ACV is supposed to be good for arthritis too, so it’s definitely a supplement that I would recommend for senior dogs.
The Big Bears in sync!
Hilary and Wilder working with their heads down, halfway into the trail.
We passed a small farm with some free-grazing hens in the yard and cows and pigs in enclosures. Our dogs have never seen pigs before so it was an interesting first encounter – the pigs grunted and chased us on the other side of the fence and our dogs looked both excited and scared as we hurried past! LOL An excellent opportunity to train “On By!”…
I hope we will have more of those crisp, sunny weekends this autumn – one feels energised and ready to start a new week after spending a few hours in the fresh air on a Sunday 🙂
After a hot and lazy summer it’s time to get in shape again. We have slowly started conditioning work by heading out for long and brisk walks in the evenings and taking the dogs jogging and bikejoring when the weather allows. Today was a perfect day for work in harness as the temperature dropped down to 5°C degrees (41°F) in the afternoon. Fredrik hooked up Gem and Wilder while I ran our seniors, Leia and Thunder. As you can see in the pics, we left our helmets at home by mistake, but the rule is – ALWAYS wear a helmet when you go bikejoring!
Wilder teamed up with his Auntie Gem today. Wilder is nearly 20 months and Gemma is turning 7 years young next week. Time sure flies by fast!
Gem has a soft spot for her nephew and enjoys working with him…
…and Wilder continues to impress us with his focus and drive. He prefers to be up front at all times.
Also Leia and Thunder seem to be in fairly good shape after the summer…
…they leaned into their harnesses and gave me a fun ride on the bike!
Running on sand is FUN says Leia!
We let the dogs cool down in the sea before we turned around and headed back to the car.
Hope y’all are having a happy and active weekend!
As we had some time off work this morning we took the opportunity to take the dogs out for a run in full daylight. During the last few weeks we have mainly been running the dogs in the evenings so it was a nice change to be able to leave the headlamps at home. It’s been snowing this week and a thin layer of white fluff is covering the ground. There’s not enough to go sledding but enough to make the world look prettier. Last year the first big dump of snow arrived at the start of December, when we received nearly one metre of snow in just one day. Let’s hope for a repeat this year, but sooner!
There’s something special about that first snow…
The trio waiting for us to get the wagon ready.
Before giving the command Go, we ask them to sit or lie down quietly. It doesn’t always work, especially not with our younger dogs, but they did well today.
And off we go!
The breaks don’t work great on snow and ice so running a small team is the safest option.
Wilder shows great focus in harness and keeps his tug line tight at all times.
He turned 10 months old last weekend.
Training in daylight is so much nicer than going for runs in the dark. And breathing all that fresh air in the morning gives you energy to last throughout the day.
Have a happy weekend, everyone!
That pretty much sums up October here on the northern coast. While waiting for snow and winter to arrive we keep ourselves and the dogs busy by attending training sessions at the dog club and going for runs with the wagon or bicycle.
When working the dogs in the evenings we use a dead-end forest road that has a locked barrier at the start, that way we can be certain not to encounter any traffic. Occasionally an elk or two cross the road but they always see and hear us long before we see them.
It’s been a rainy October and the roads are wet and muddy. Needless to say, we have some very dirty dogs at home 😉
A couple of times each week we go to the club to train together with other dog owners. In addition to the regular training sessions we have joined a group that specialises in rally and trains with the goal of becoming competitive. If things go well maybe we’ll be able to enter a dog or two to some competitions next year.
Wilder is a fast learner and his food motivation makes him “easy” to train. At the same time he’s an easily distracted teenager who cannot focus on one thing for too long. Thus, we try to keep training sessions short and make sure they always end while we’re still having fun. Patience and consistency is my mantra...
Hilary made a new friend at the club – a 4-month old Golden Retriever girl whose owner had brought her along for socialisation.
Hilary loves to play with puppies so I think this girl had a very positive experience 🙂
In the weekends we go for long walks to soak up as much daylight as possible. Titan and Wilder love to run back and forth on the beach and in and out of the cold water.
The sun sets early in the afternoon and it usually gets dark before we are back home.
The boys looked a tiny bit tired after their romp on the beach.
While Wilder is in adolescence we return to training basic things, like encouraging good indoor manners for example. Right now he is going through the second chewing phase so when he visits indoors we practise the “leave the shoes alone and chew on this toy instead” routine. I think it will take some time before we can trust him with our shoes in the hallway but it has worked with all our other Mals so I’m confident it will work with Wilder too. Eventually 😉
We hooked up Wilder for his first run in front of the wagon today. He turned 9 months old this week and it’s high time that he gains some experience of working on a team. We normally start our puppies in harness a little earlier, at around 5-7 months of age, but since it’s been a warm and humid end to the summer, and since Wilder has been growing a lot during Aug-Sept, we decided to wait a little longer with his first hookup. When we introduced him to his harness today he stepped into it like a pro and worked like he had done it a million times before. A complete natural! 🙂
A happy team!
Hilary worked in single lead for the first time today and did a great job. She has gained a lot of experience from working alongside Tuisku this summer, and during last winter.
Wilder started out next to Titan in wheel but finished the run working alongside Hilary in lead.
Halfway into the trail we took a water break to allow the dogs to cool down and to practise the line-out routine. It’s not hard to get the dogs to run, but to keep them calm and orderly before the run, and during breaks, requires a bit more work 😉
Hilary worked well today and we could see that this summer’s bikejoring has paid off. Instead of taking a complete break from road work this summer we have trained our dogs on a moderate basis each week. All the dogs (except for Wilder) have been doing 5 km evening runs about three times a week next to the bicycle, sometimes one-at-a-time but most often in pairs.
It was a good first run for Wilder that promised well for the future.
Well done pup!
We left home before 3.00 p.m. today and it was already dark. Without fresh batteries in our headlamps we couldn’t see much of the trail in front of us and when a thick fog settled over the forest we couldn’t see anything. Luckily the dogs can see and sense the trail better than us and took all the right turns in the woods.
Thunder and Hilary were well matched in wheel, working with synchronized steps and heads down.
Hilary is learning a lot from the older boys. When she gets too impatient, her natural instinct is to chew the lines but with some training she’s learning to sit down and wait for the command “Go!”.Thunder was a line chewer too as a puppy but is better behaved today…
…but when he thinks we’re not watching…!!
After nearly a month of constant rain we woke up this morning to blue skies and a garden covered in glimmering frost. The thermometer showed minus three degrees Celsius – perfect weather for running dogs! We decided to hook up the girls and take them for a spin with two of our experienced boys, Tuisku and Thunder, to see what they remembered from last spring. Hilary and Lyra haven’t worked in harness since April, as we have wanted to give them time to grow and develop during summer, and just be “pups” for a while. They are now 14 months of age and seem ready to start a new working season. As soon as we put their harnesses on this morning they leaped into the air with excitement!
We placed Hilary and Tuisku in lead and Thunder and Lyra in wheel. Next time it will be Lyra’s turn to work up front. We always try our young dogs in different positions before we see which position they excel in naturally. Just as important as drive, is the ability to listen and learn.
Even though the girls have had a long break from work in harness, they knew exactly what to do and continue to impress us with their focus and drive.
Both girls stepped up today!
The frost from the morning lasted all day – now it won’t be long before winter is here 🙂
Went on a nice run with Tuisku, Thunder and Leia this evening. We explored a new trail which turned out to be mostly uphill, but the trio did well, especially Tuisku in lead. Thanks to the cool and rainy weather we’ve had this summer we’ve been able to go on many early morning and late evening runs and the dogs have stayed in good condition, even during what’s normally our “lazy months”. Will be interesting to see how this will affect our sledding season, maybe we’ll be ready to hit the longer trails early in winter?
Waterbreak, about halfway into the trail.
Is there an end to that uphill??
The mosquitoes that have plagued us since midsummer are beginning to disappear and the cool evenings are once again perfect for running the dogs in front of the cart. We went out late this evening, thinking we’d have the quiet country road to ourselves. Apparently the equestrian folks in the area were thinking the same, as we encountered a woman riding a big horse, a man driving a sulky and a group of kids walking a pony together with their two dogs. Felt like an entire circus was on the road tonight!
The unusually cool weather of May has been ideal for working our Mals in front of the 4-wheeled wagon. Most of our dogs are still in full winter coats so we aim to avoid the highest temperatures by going on runs early in the mornings and also make sure to take frequent breaks to allow them to cool down properly. During May we have focused on training Tuisku in single lead together with his team buddies Leia and Thunder. You can see more photos from our off-snow runs in our Carting Gallery.
Tuisku, Leia and Thunder – Running equals happiness!
A sunny Sunday afternoon but still cool enough to go carting. Some stubborn patches of snow remain in the forest but it’s looking more and more like spring every day. Our Mals are still in full winter coats but it’s just a matter of time before they’ll start shedding. We’re planning to start bathing and grooming during next week’s long bank holiday. Seven dogs in four days shouldn’t be too bad? On today’s run Thunder and Leia worked in wheel and Tuisku in single lead and everyone did really well in their positions. Good dogs 🙂
Tuisku waiting for the word go…
And off they went!