Archive for the ‘Hilary’ Categoryby Northernmost on November 2, 2014 in Hilary, Socialisation with No Comments
Hilary took part in a dog playdate in Skellefteå today and had a great time running off leash together with eleven other dogs of different breeds. There were three males present and eight bitches and apart from a minor squabble between two males everyone got along fine. Visiting a dog park isn’t something that we would normally do with our Malamutes (you can read an article about the pros and cons of dog parks here) but since Hilary genuinely enjoys playing with dogs of different breeds and gets along with dogs of both sexes, we decided to give it a try. Hilary first looked surprised to see so many new dogs in one place, but it didn’t take long before she joined in the fun!
Photographer Jörgen S Öfjäll took this great pic from the dog park today. You can see more of his great dog action photos on his flickr page: flickr.com/photos/jstonehill/
Another great shot by Jörgen S Öfjäll – there are five dogs in the picture!
My own pics didn’t have quite the same sharpness but at least you can see that everyone – big and small – are having fun together.
The organisers of this weekly event have set up rules for behaviour for both dogs and owners and the focus is on making sure the playtime is fun and safe for everyone.
Being a Malamute, Hilary is perhaps a little more concerned about canine etiquette than many other breeds, but all the dogs that were present today had a well developed language and got along fine. Someone said that “Dog parks are for dogs that already have good social skills; it is not the place for a dog to learn them.” and I fully agree with that notion.
There are three girls and a boy in this picture.
Hilary had the chance to socialise with puppies and toddlers too…
Here she is greeting a cute Finnish Lapphund bitch.
Playing at the dog park was a new experience for Hilary – but it was a wholly positive one. A big thank you to Nanna and Lovisa for organising this event!
Imagine my surprise this evening when I opened the door to go for a walk and found the garden covered in a thick layer of snow! Plenty can happen when you get stuck in front of the computer for a couple of hours. I’m glad we stowed away the lawn mower and the agility obstacles yesterday, as that part of the year is clearly over.
The first layer of white fluff usually doesn’t last more than a couple of days here on the coast but there’s always something special about catching that real first snow of the season, even if it’s just for a few moments. Suddenly the world becomes brighter, sounds are muted and our Malamutes are smiling with their eyes and with their tails as they leap through the snow like big cats. You can tell how much they love winter by the way they chase snowflakes and dive into the drifts head first – snow must be in their genes!
I didn’t see much during our 9-kilometre evening walk, only the snowflakes that blew across the light of my headlamp. I walk this route almost every evening, bringing different dogs on different days, but tonight I had to guess where we were at times, as everything looked so different when covered in snow. Also, there was a new moon tonight, so no light in the sky to rely on. Glad the dogs know their way in every weather – they probably wondered why I was walking so slowly behind them, but I could hardly see two steps in front of me!
We had a visit from Fredrik’s mother and her husband during the weekend and Hilary and Lyra got a playdate with their 3-year-old Labrador James. Both girls have played with James about 2-3 times before and they always have a blast together. Lyra doesn’t seem to object much to James’s “lack of etiquette”, or maybe I should say – typical Lab behaviour – she just loves to play with someone who is as wild and crazy as she is. Hilary, on the other hand, is a little more educating in her approach but still has loads of fun playing with James, who must be the happiest dog on earth. We thought about letting Wilder join in on the fun too, but since the girls have come out of season only a few days ago we decided that it’s better to let them meet away from home. As always with Malamutes, it’s best to let dogs of the same sex meet on a neutral ground, rather than introducing them on either’s home turf.
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 🙂
We visited our dog club today with Gemma, Titan, Wilder and Hilary to train agility at Åbyn-Byske Brukshundklubb’s new outdoor training area. We’ve had a long break from agility during summer as it’s been too hot to do anything strenuous, but now that autumn is here we plan to continue our weekly training sessions at home and at the dog club. Agility (and rally obedience) is a great complement to exercise in harness as it provides that extra mental stimulation that most Malamutes need. It also improves their coordination, strengthens muscles, increases endurance and helps boost their overall confidence. There are many reasons to train agility with your dog and above all, it’s fun!
Below is a short clip of Fredrik and Wilder from today. Wilder is getting soo good at agility! He is fast, accurate and simply LOVES this game!
Does your Malamute give kisses? Among our dogs there are some that do and some that don’t, and some who will grace us with a kiss only very rarely. And then we have a couple of dogs that go a bit overboard with the kissing and cleaning…watch Wilder and Hilary greet Fredrik after work – we call Wilder the “sponge cloth” as he has the quickest tongue in the west and if you are caught off guard he’ll give you a good face scrub and wash for free! 😉
A perfect treat on a hot summer’s day is a FROZEN KONG with yummy things stuffed inside. A frozen Kong keeps our Mals busy for up to an hour, which is a decent amount of time for a treat. When the afternoon heat starts to get uncomfortable, we bring out the Kongs from the freezer and let our Mals enjoy themselves as they work on licking out the cool and tasty contents. You can use a wide variety of foods as filling, as long as it is something safe that your dog likes to eat. If you want to make it really simple, fill the Kong with fat-free Greek yoghurt and pop it in the freezer for a few hours and voilà! The party can begin!
Doggie Ice Cream
Mix the mashed banana with the peanut butter and honey, and then blend in the yogurt. Pour into a clean Kong, seal the openings with some peanut butter and place upright in a sandwich bag in the freezer overnight.
- 2 dl (1 cup) low-fat natural Greek Yogurt
- 1 mashed banana
- 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons natural honey
We use both red and black Kongs but if your Malamute is a heavy chewer the ultra-strong black version, the Kong Extreme, is the safest option. So far, none of our Mals have been able to chew a Kong Extreme into pieces. Make sure the Kong is the right size for your dog.
In the photo above is also a blue Kong Quest Starpod. This toy can also be stuffed with treats but is only suitable for very light chewers, or young puppies, and should only be used under close supervision and be removed as soon as your dog is done.
The Doggie Ice Cream is a favourite on hot summer days and even dogs who normally aren’t interested in chew toys will queue up for their “Kooling Kong”. Remember to carefully wash the Kong with hot water afterwards, and remove any bits in the bottom that your dog may have missed. You can pop the Kong in the dishwasher too.
Hilary carefully licks out the contents of her frozen Kong.
Peanut Butter & Carrot Kong
- Chop three carrots into small pieces.
- Stir the pieces into about 1dl (1/2 cup) of smooth peanut butter.
- Stuff a clean Kong with the mix, seal with some peanut butter and place upright in a sandwich bag in the freezer overnight, or at least for a few hours.
Another favourite among our Mals is the Peanut Butter & Carrot Kong. If your dog is completely new to Kong toys you can smear a little peanut butter on the ends, or place a thin chew stick inside the Kong with the end sticking out of the opening as an encouragement.
Peanut butter is great for sealing the open ends of the Kong and can be used with any recipe to fill in the gaps. The healthiest alternative for your dog (and for yourself) is an all-natural organic peanut butter without added salt, sugar or trans fats.
If your dog isn’t keen on carrots you can use a grated apple instead. Blueberries and banana, and your dog’s kibble, can be added too.
Lyra’s favourite is the Doggie Ice Cream with yogurt inside.
Mmmm this is yummy!
Hilary is looking for ways to get to the inside quicker!
♥ Thanks for the treat mom! ♥
It’s an amazing luxury to be able to go on a mountain trip after work, and experience the sunset on the runners of the sled. We left home at around 6.30 pm and returned just before 11.00 pm – and it was still not completely dark when I unharnessed Hilary and Wilder in their pen. On the way up to Ounastunturi we met only one skier, a man who wanted to stop and chat about the dogs as he had owned a Malamute in the past, but during the rest of the trip we had the trail and the views to ourselves. It was a magical evening – completely calm and quiet and the trails were frozen and fast. If I didn’t have to work tomorrow we would have stayed overnight in one of the open huts and continued the journey further into the mountains in the morning. The dogs were eager to go on and it was almost difficult to make them turn around and head home instead. Not sure if this was our last run of the season but I don’t mind if it was, as this evening will stay with me for a long time to come.
Soon the sun will stay up all night and if the snow remains it will be possible to go sledding and skiing under the midnight sun – Northern Lapland is a magical place 🙂
We’re making the most of our holiday and have been out on trips nearly every day, either sledding or skijoring. There are endless trails to explore in Enontekiö and as always we wish we could stay until the snow melts. The weather has been very mild during the last couple of days and the trails are quickly getting soft and mushy but according to the forecast the temperature will drop again during Easter – fingers crossed for a few more days of good sledding! Below are some mixed pics from last week, there are also some new photos in our Lapland Spring 2014 gallery.
Our “Britkids”, Lyra and Titan, getting ready for a run.
Hilary and Wilder heading up to the top of the Särkitunturi fell in Muonio County.
We had to climb a steep, long hill to get there…
…but it was worth it, as the view from the top was spectacular.
The Pallas-Ylläs fell on the horizon is our “home fell”, here seen from a different angle.
The Finns are practical people – on the top of Särkitunturi was a tiny outhouse.
Wilder is starting to look quite grown up – at least in this picture.
We didn’t spend a lot of time on the fell as it was too windy to sit down and enjoy a picnic.
Down in the valley the sun was shining again.
Hilary and Wilder don’t really need a neckline – they are joined at the hip anyway 😉
On a different day we sledded to the Sissanki Lap Hut where we cooked lunch over the open fire.
The dogs rested peacefully on the stakeout while we had lunch but woke up when four dog teams from the local sled dog operator Hetta Huskies passed by the hut. If you ever visit Enontekiö as a tourist I recommend looking up Hetta Huskies. They offer activities year round and take excellent care of their dogs. Many of their sled dogs are rehabilitated rescue dogs.
Titan and Lyra doing a snow roll together.
Lyra has grown into a super sled dog. She loves to work and seems to have endless energy. Lyra is probably the one among our dogs who requires most exercise but as long as she gets her daily run she’s happy and content and a very sweet dog to have around – she loves to give kisses!
Hilary too has grown into a great sled dog, both on and off the trail. While her soft looks may be deceiving she is in fact a high-energy dog like Lyra, who needs lots of daily exercise to be happy. That’s something to remember if you’re new to the breed and interested in buying a Malamute; they are gorgeous looking dogs but unless you are willing to take your dog sledding / skijoring / biking / hiking / running, regardless of the weather, on a daily basis – this breed is probably not for you.
In between our trips to the fells we spend time taking care of chores at the cabin. Snow need to be cleared from the roof before it starts melting and firewood must be cut, split and stacked in preparation for next autumn. There are many things that need to be done at certain times of the year when you live in a climate that is harsh and unforgiving. This year it looks like winter will linger well into May as we still have around 70 cm of hard packed snow and the daytime high stays below freezing. Maybe it is because of the snow that we haven’t seen a single raindeer around the cabin or in the village since we arrived? Normally they are parked right outside the kennel area all winter…
After a hard day’s work everyone deserves a Malamute hug 🙂
Someone said that Lapland is a place where heaven touches the earth and I think it’s true, especially on a sunny day in spring. When the sky is blue and you’re up above the treeline, it feels as if you could almost reach out and touch the candy floss clouds with your hands. We had a wonderful time out on the trail and I’ve taken lots of photos that I’ve uploaded to a gallery. Below are some of our favourite moments from a trip that can be summed up by “perfect weather and perfect dogs” 🙂
Hello mountains here we come!
The dogs ran like clockwork, despite not having had much training on snow this winter.
Titan and Lyra teamed up well.
Me & our Miss Congeniality aka Hilary.
Fredrik setting up our tent in the snow – clear skies meant a cold night but we managed with reindeer hides and down sleeping bags. I kept my feet warm wearing nuvttagat.
From left to right – Wilder, Hilary, Titan and Lyra.
This was Wilder’s first multiday excursion and he did everything we asked from him – worked like a pro in front of the pulk and slept quietly on the stakeout at night. His big sis is a good teacher!
You could almost touch the sky here.
This was around 8.00 o’clock in the morning – we got up when it was still dark to feed the dogs and when we hit the trail a couple of hours later we had it all to ourselves.
Love my new small-sized Polaris sled – it glides on the snow like a dream.
Lyra found herself a good lookout spot – she likes to keep an eye on everything that’s going on.
Titan doing his signature snow roll 😉
♥ Happiness is tired dogs ♥