Archive for the ‘Hilary’ Categoryby Northernmost on April 3, 2014 in Hilary, Lapland, Lyra, Skijoring & Sledding, Titan, Wilder with No Comments
The yearning for snow became so strong that we decided to travel up to Lapland for a couple of weeks of real winter! There are HEAPS of snow in Lapland and everything is just the way it should be in April: heavy snowfall one day, brilliant sunshine the next and the trails are still frozen and fast. We’ve brought along Hilary, Wilder, Lyra and Titan and look forward to a fun holiday together. Lapland in April is pure bliss 🙂
Finally some snow !!!
It’s been a lousy winter here on Sweden’s northern coast. In fact, this is the first time in fifteen years that I’ve gone through a winter without proper snow. We received a tiny bit of fluff in January but for the most part the ground has been covered in a thick layer of ice with only a dusting of snow on top. It’s easy to get frustrated when you have eight dogs that are eager to hit the trail but what can you do? Well, we decided to put on our studded shoes and take the dogs running instead. Between January and now all our dogs have run an average of 30 km per week and even though most of the ice is gone now we continue to run. What’s great about running is that you only need a pair of good running shoes, a hip belt and a leash and you’re ready to go. Having two eager dogs in front of you is the best motivation 🙂
Wilder, 14 months, harnessed up and ready to go.
Running IN the sea is also fun – but icy cold in March!
When we start out from home we have to run along the road for a short while before we reach the forest track. We try to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible as it can be too tough on joints and feet. I easily get shin splints if I run on asphalt for too long or too often.
We don’t always use necklines but it works really well for Tuisku and Lyra who keep the same pace. Tuisku is a little bit faster on the way out and Lyra is a bit quicker on the way home.
My running buddies today – Wilder and Hilary.
“I hate running, but I love having ran” used to be my favourite quote but I don’t hate running anymore, the hardest part for me is getting on those running clothes and walking out that front door. I dont really know why its so hard, as soon as I get out the door I actually love it.
The Swedish Baggen Softbelt is our favourite belt for canicross and skijoring. We use it together with the Baggen Expandable Leash (2 metres long) which has a built-in bungee. I have the X1 belt, which looks the same as X2 but provides softer damping, while Fredrik who is taller and stronger uses the X2. You can buy detachable leg loops from Baggen that stops the belt from sliding up around your waist when you run or ski.
Another good canicross belt is the Norwegian Non-step Comfort Belt. This belt has no in-built bungee (and must be used together with a bungee leash) but is designed to help spread the strain over a larger area of the hip/back. As the name hints, this belt is really comfortable but for my sensitive back the Baggen Softbelt works best, especially when skijoring on a bumpy trail.
Our studded Icebug shoes have really saved us this winter but now the roads are almost ice free and I have to get a new pair of shoes that work for both road and trail running.
Running equals happiness – have a great weekend everyone!
We’ve been away on a quick visit to Dalarna to meet with Ian and Aimee and Mark and Allison from the UK who are in Sweden on holiday together with their Alaskan Malamutes. Ian and Aimee own Hilary’s full siblings Leader and Twisp (from a different breeding) and this year it was premiere for Twisp’s pups, Rolo, Sasha and Rossi, to gain some working experience on snow. We spent two sunny days together in Drevdagen in northwestern Dalarna which has plenty of beautiful trails and is quickly becoming a popular vacation spot for mushers from all over Europe. It was a lovely break from the dull weather we have had on the coast this winter and a great chance for Hilary and Wilder to share trail with two teams of friendly dogs. We had plenty of opportunities to train passings and trail etiquette which is an invaluable experience, especially for a young dog like Wilder. It doesn’t look that far on the map but it took about twelve hours to drive down to Dalarna (including breaks for the dogs) but it was well worth it!
Wilder and Hilary together with Leader and Twisp.
Ian with the Packice team – Leader and Twisp in lead, Sasha in team and Dash and Rolo in wheel.
Mark and his team out on the snowy trail.
On the first day Fredrik and I skijored with one dog each. The trails were quite heavy in some places.
Hilary and Fredrik passing by!
So much snow – the dogs were in seventh heaven!
On the second day, Wilder and Hilary worked in front of our new Polaris Nordic sled.
Wilder at 13 months of age.
It was fun to spend some time with “the twins” and we could see many familiar Mountain Home traits. Leader and Twisp were born in 2010 and are one year older than Hilary.
It was also fun to get to know Twisp’s lovely nine-month-old pups. Rolo is the name of the handsome boy looking through the fence.
Fredrik and I stayed at the cosy Mon Gård in Storbo, just a short drive from Drevdagen.
Snow is lacking in many parts of Sweden this winter – but not here!
Thank you Aimee, Ian, Allison and Mark for a great time! We hope to see you again next year!
During January we have continued to have fun on the agility course, attending a beginner class with Wilder on Mondays and going to group training/individual sessions with Hilary on Thursdays. Wilder’s Monday classes at Åbyn-Byske Brukshundklubb are a lot of fun – a great bunch of dogs and owners and knowledgeable instructors who know how to set up each dog for success. Wilder has now been introduced to all the obstacles (except for the pause table and the panel jump) and it looks like the tunnels and chutes are his favourites. The most difficult obstacles will probably be the teeter and the weaves (surprise, surprise) but he has a very positive attitude towards learning so I think we’ll master those too with some training. Wilder really LOVES going to class – he gets to see other dogs, run around, and get lots of treats. Could it get any better?
The Beginner Class participants – Bosse, Aksa, Finezz, Alice, Trassel and Wilder.
The two boys in the class – Wilder and Bosse. Poodles are such elegant creatures!
Here is a clip from our Thursday training – both Hilary and Wilder had some fun on the course this week. As you can see in the video, Wilder sometimes chooses to lie down at the start line. Not an ideal starting position but I’m going to let him do that, as I think it’s his way of dealing with excitement and “start line stress” and I’m sure our speed will improve with time anyway. If you want to hear the music audio to this video, we recommend that you use Chrome or IE as your browser as Vimeo seems to have a bug affecting Mozilla Firefox right now.
I’ve had a stubborn cold for the last couple of weeks and haven’t been out and about much lately. Today I felt a little better and went out to help Fredrik get the dogs ready for a run. We don’t have ideal conditions for sledding yet, since there is no base underneath the powder it is difficult to secure a snow hook, but it works okay to sled on the lakes surrounding our home. Hopefully February will bring some more snow so that we can go on longer runs – fingers and paws crossed!
We placed Tuisku and Lyra in lead, Gem and Thunder in swing, and Wilder and Hilary in wheel.
Wilder was hooked up last and nearly screamed his heart out when he thought he would be left behind…a Mtn Home dog that screams?? Must come from the *other side* of the pedigree LOL!
Lyra does well in lead together with Tuisku. As always – dogs learn best from other dogs.
Wilder is a typical yearling – he has a lot to learn about pacing himself and saving energy for the way back. But with some training we think he’ll be a fantastic sled dog, possibly even a leader.
Gem and Thunder are often paired up as they keep the same pace and work well together.
A bonus picture of Thunder for his fanclub 😉
Tuisku did a good job keeping the gangline taut during the hookup…
…after eight winters in harness, he knows all about conserving his energy before work 😉
Titan, Lyra and Hilary’s WTD certificates arrived in the mail this week! Yay! Titan completed the requirements in 2011 and the girls during spring 2013 but it has taken me “a while” to send the paperwork to the AMCA. We still have some sledding and packing titles to apply for and I’m confident that I will get it done soon, or at least sometime this year. Procrastination is my middle name 😉
Lyra and Hilary earned their WTD-titles during an excursion to the Sarek wilderness area in 2013. We had fantastic weather and the whole trip was pure bliss!
Titan earned his WTD-title on a skijoring trip in the Abisko mountains in northern Sweden in 2011. A beautiful but cold trip which had us do a lot of strenuous climbing. I wouldn’t mind going back to this area for another trip though, as I loved the wild and rugged scenery.
Did you know that there is now an online database that lists Scandinavian Malamutes who have completed AMCA working titles? The website, which is in Norwegian and administered by Turid Teigen of Kennel Inupiat, offers information about the AMCA working program and on how to go about when applying for titles. If you need additional information in Swedish you are welcome to send an email to email@example.com and maybe I can help you out.
In my last post I promised to take some new pics of Leia but decided that a video would be even better! In the video below you can watch her having fun on the agility course last weekend. We decided to end the agility year 2013 with a private training session at the superb facilities offered by Hundvis in Piteå. Three hours of fun together with Leia and Hilary (including a brief “try-on” session with Wilder) – what better way to spend a Saturday night?!
Group Classes vs Private Training
This year we have mainly been training agility in the company of other dogs at the club and while group classes are both fun and necessary, private training offers a quieter environment which makes it easier for both dog and handler to focus on the task. We will continue with group classes during next year but will make sure to book in some private training sessions too.
Agility Goals for 2014
While we train agility with all our dogs during the summer, during the rest of the year we spend a litte extra time on Leia, Hilary and Wilder as they show most interest in this sport.
During Wilder’s first year we have introduced him to the different obstacles but have only involved him in training a handful of times so far. Until he is two years old we will focus on handling, communication, body awareness, distance work, and on the obstacles that are not so physically straining. Wilder’s rally training has given him a solid “stay” which will be an advantage in agility. We look forward to his beginner’s class which starts in January!
Hilary and Fredrik will continue with their weekly training during 2014, indoors until the end of May and outdoors during summer and fall. Fredrik hopes to take some handling classes to improve teamwork and communication and will also focus on improving Hilary’s basic obedience by attending plenty of group classes (she still likes to run off to say hello to other dogs!). The main challenges during 2014 will be to conquer the weave poles and the teeter-totter. Hilary is fairly confident with the other obstacles so during next year the focus will be on the hardest parts.
Leia, who turns 9-years-old in February, loves the speed and brainwork required in agility and we will continue her training as a way to keep her mentally and physically stimulated also as she gets older. During 2014 we will introduce some more obstacles and focus on mastering the weave poles once and for all – she’s a very clever girl so we know she can do it!
As you can see in the video, Wilder jumps even when there is no obstacle to jump LOL!
Hilary during the summer of 2013 – Agility is fun!!!
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!
GREAT NEWS! Tuisku and Hilary both passed their EYE EXAMS today! It’s always a big relief afterwards. Now we’re off to celebrate the results with a muddy late night run in the rain…whatever makes them happy! 😉
Keikewabic’s Tundra Tuisku, “Tuisku”, in March 2013.
Mtn Home’s Northernmost Hiking Hilary, “Hilary”.
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 😉
Today was a fantastic day and I have been out in the park, kicking up the leaves and enjoying the sunshine. Hilary’s sable colour always looks extra beautiful this time of the year so I grabbed the chance to get some new pictures of her. She’s definitely an Autumn Girl.