Archive for the ‘Lyra’ Categoryby Northernmost on September 12, 2013 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Agility & Rally, Hilary, Lyra with No Comments
Lyra and Hilary’s Rally Obedience and Agility classes continue on a weekly basis and both girls – and their handlers – are making good progress. Some of the elements that seemed complicated and hard at our first sessions have turned out not to be so difficult, while other elements will take a lot of practice to get it right. Fredrik and Hilary have been introduced to all the agility obstacles apart from the teeter-totter and so far the weaves is their biggest challenge. At Rally-O, Lyra and I have attempted 20 of the 30 signs that make up the Rally Novice class in Sweden and it’s obvious that we have some work in front of us when it comes to improving our precision and smoothness. I think both Fredrik and I could easily get bitten by the training and trialling bug, as this is great fun! However, one disadvantage of having multiple dogs (in our case 8 dogs) is that we do not have the time to become really specialised in individual sports, as we need to make sure that all our dogs get their fair share of attention and training. But we will definitely make the most of our classes this autumn and the girls are having a blast!
The A-frame is a walk in the park for Hilary as she loves to climb on top of things.
The jumps are still her favourite obstacles but we’ll have to improve our “send away” technique.
And while balancing on things is fun, we have to make sure that she doesn’t miss the contact areas by running too fast across.
Rally-O is all about establishing great teamwork with your dog through positive training.
One of the most important skills your dog needs to do well is the ability to walk on a loose leash – as a tight leash, even if it’s just for a moment, will deduct points from your score.
What I particularly like about Rally is that you are allowed and encouraged to talk to your dog throughout the course to keep him/her happy and interested. As you can see in the photos, I use a lot of verbal cues (and yummy Orijen Treats!) to keep Lyra alert and on the ball. In fact, I probably talk too much and should focus more on developing a more effective body language.
We are already looking forward to next week!
Lyra completed her first WPD-leg last weekend, hiking 23.6 kilometres on a round trip on the Furuögrund Trail on Skellefteå’s northern coast together with her buddy Tuisku. It’s been a warm and sunny end to August here in northern Sweden and last Sunday there was hardly a cloud in the sky and we worried it may be too warm for a packing excursion. Luckily the trail followed the coastline closely and the dogs were able to cool down in the sea from time to time. We have been building up the weight gradually during our evening walks this summer and this was the first time that Lyra carried full weight (30% of her body weight) in her back pack. She did a great job and showed how much she enjoys being out on the trail and performing a job.
Sledog Dream Leaper, aka “Lyra”, at 2 years of age.
Crossing the Salmon Bridge over Byske River at the start of the hike.
For the most part the trail hugged the beautiful coastline between Byske and Furuögrund.
Being so close to the waves, Tuisku of course had to go for a swim…
Lyra relaxing on the beach, enjoying the cool breeze from the sea.
She took a brief nap during our lunch break…
...and Tuisku too.
Part of the trail was marked by wooden walkways.
We climbed up to the top of a lighthouse to admire the view.
When we returned home in the evening a thick fog had rolled in from the Bothnian Bay.
Well done Lyra on completing your first WPD-leg!
We’re hoping to explore more of our local trails this autumn, as one of the many great things about the AMCA Working Dog Program is that you can most often carry out legs towards your dogs’ working titles in your local area (depending a little on where you live) and do not need to spend hours (or days!) in the car to reach the location of a centralised test. This way, the AMCA program truly encourages people to work their dogs and that’s what a working program should be all about, right?
Hilary and Lyra have turned two years old during August so we thought this autumn would be a good time for them to go to school and learn something more than just the basic training that we do at home and in our everyday life. Since Hilary loves to run, jump and climb, agility was the first sport that came to mind. Lyra, on the other hand, enjoys close teamwork and needs more mental stimulation so we decided that rally obedience would be a good challenge for her. Hilary and Fredrik took part in their first agility class last week while Lyra and I went to our first rally-o session yesterday evening. Considering that neither Hilary nor Lyra have been to any classes since they were puppies I think they both did really well and it looked like they were having FUN!
Fredrik and Hilary tried out the weave poles and some jumps at their first class.
One of Hilary’s biggest challenges will probably be to resist the urge of running up to all the other dogs at class to say hello. She went on a couple of detours during the first 15 minutes, before she realised that playing with other dogs during class is not allowed. Luckily Hilary hasn’t got a bad bone in her body so if she does run off she won’t cause any major trouble.
Lyra and I at the class last evening. This was my first attempt at Rally-O and I can tell you that it wasn’t just Lyra who got a mental workout; after doing a number of 360s and 270° left and right turns my head was almost spinning 😉
Did we have fun? I think her smile says it all!
Back in May I painted the dog houses in the puppy pen and this week I’ve painted three more dog houses in a deep red colour. Since our home and guest house are painted red we’re using the same paint for the dog houses. This colour is very effective in preserving wood and since it allows the wood to breathe it minimises the risk of rot. In addition it is very simple to maintain; As the paint ages, you can brush it off and repaint without using a scraper. I think the dog houses look very neat in red, if I may say so myself 🙂
To be safe, we have not painted the parts of the dog house that the dogs may chew on, for example the entrances and corners, as most paints can be poisonous for dogs.
Pretty Lyra says hello from inside her house. She usually shares pen with Tuisku.
A freshly bathed Tuisku in his prime, at 8 years of age.
I still have three more dog houses to paint and after that we’re going to scrub the wooden decks that the dog houses are built on and put on some new (non-toxic) oil on to make the wood last longer. Only a couple of months left before the start of autumn so we better get going with our summer chores!
This week our hay has been harvested in preparation for winter. After a couple of warm and sunny days the hay was ready to move into the barn, where it will continue to dry in the loft.
We have been thinking of possibly making this space into a play area for the dogs next year. Our other play area (you can see the fence in the background) is in a more shady corner of the garden and it would be nice for the dogs to have more sunshine, especially during winter. But fencing is hard work so it’s not exactly a project we’re looking forward to…although I’m sure it would be worthwhile.
The weeks are flying by right now and we’re busy from sunrise to sunset. I haven’t been able to keep up with my email lately due to a busy schedule at work, but I promise to get back to each and everyone as soon as my summer holiday starts. Below are some pics from this weekend’s agility fun with the gang. All dogs took part except for Thunder, who spent the day being pampered at Grandma’s. Our best jumpers are definitely Leia and Hilary who have great technique and fly effortlessly through the obstacles. But everyone did their best and had FUN! And that’s all that matters 🙂
Sunday is funday here in Nedre Bäck and yesterday was a perfect day to train agility in the garden. After a cloudy morning the sun came out in the afternoon and for the first time in weeks there wasn’t a single mosquito in sight! Yay!! We have a handful of very basic agility obstacles that we bring out just for fun in the weekends. Our goal is not to become competitive but to keep our Malamutes active and happy during the summer months. Like most dogs, our Mals love agility!
Who is there??
Wilder started off by watching the others, then he tried some of the obstacles himself.
The closed chute was a bit strange at first…
Agility is a great way to build a dog’s attention and contact. We only train each dog for short sessions at a time, making sure it never becomes boring or too hard. This is especially important when training puppies. We strive to always end the training on a high note!
And the obstacles are of course adjusted to suit puppies 😉
Hilary was third out and was whining a little in her dog pen when she had to wait for her turn. Hilary is normally a very quiet dog but she loves agility so much that waiting around wasn’t easy.
We finally let her out so that she could show Wilder how to jump through the ring…
…and after we had adjusted the height a little, Wilder completed the jump too 🙂
Tuisku also did some agility but he still has a lot of coat so yesterday was a bit too warm for him. Hopefully, after his next bath what’s left of his undercoat will be gone.
Lyra rocked her pink collar on our Sunday walk. Since we needed a new collar we decided to shop for a cause and buy a PINK RIBBON collar in support of breast cancer research. Last month the Malamute world lost a great breed enthusiast to breast cancer, leaving a husband without his wife and four fur kids without their mommy. The sad news reminded us of how fragile and precious life is. Cancer affects everyone in one way or another, and therefore we should all help promote awareness around this disease and do what we can to support research.
Pretty Lyra is a girlie girl so pink is definitely her colour.
This collar is available from The Pink Ribbon Shop. Their mission is to help promote breast cancer awareness and they also make donations in an effort to find a cure for cancer, assist cancer patients, and promote early detection. Another shop that sells products in support of breast cancer research is Think Pink Ribbon. When you shop at Think Pink Ribbon, 5% of every sale goes to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Check out their cute brown leashes that are perfect for pups!
After a bath on Saturday and a good brushing yesterday she is now ready to enjoy summer!
We’ve been away on a wilderness adventure with Lyra, Hilary, Tuisku and Thunder, travelling on the ice of the frozen lakes of Tjaktajaure and Laitaure and making daytrips into the magnificent Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland. Fantastic weather, amazing views and happy, hardworking dogs – what more could you ask for? The only hiccup on this trip were our sleeping bags that didn’t perform when the temperature dropped down to around -20ºC (-4ºF) at night. But with a warm dog to snuggle up to it wasn’t a huge problem. We learn something from every trip; about ourselves and the gear, and what needs to be improved before we set out on our next adventure. We can’t complain about the dogs though, they went like clockwork from day one, displaying the drive and stamina which we have come to expect from them, even though they always manage to amaze us just a little more on each trip. Without our Alaskan Malamutes, we’d sure miss out on some great adventures in life!
We had fantastic weather during most of our trip…
…but we started the journey in an almost complete whiteout which forced us to rely on the map and compass for navigation as we couldn’t see much of the surrounding landscape, just snow and mist and a myriad of trails to choose from.
The next morning, and during the rest of our trip, we had brilliant sunshine and temperatures around -12ºC (10ºF) – ideal conditions for the dogs who could work at a good pace without getting too warm.
Lyra and Tuisku with the Sarek National Park in the backdrop.
We set up camp in the woods near the mountain of Tjahkkelij where we found a spring with crystal clear water for us and the dogs. Having access to water is a luxury on winter camping trips as melting snow for drinking and cooking can be a time-consuming process.
Our dogs took turns sleeping in the tent and did a good job keeping us warm at night.
After setting up camp we were able to leave our gear behind and go on fun day trips to explore the landscape. In this photo Fredrik is on his way to Nammásj – a holy mountain in the Sámi tradition.
Hilary and Thunder, with Skierffe’s peak in the background.
We could have stayed on the trail for many more days, continuing the trip further into the Rapa Valley, but unfortunately work and other duties called us back to civilization.
While most people probably prefer to have their holiday during the summer, our ideal would be to have the whole month of April off, to be able to go on longer journeys into the wild. Maybe next year?
To view more photos from our trip, visit our Aktse April 2013 Gallery.
Fredrik’s new skis arrived just in time for Easter so he’s been trying them out on daily trips along the coast this long weekend. After having skijored with a pair of budget combo skis (mix between cross-country and skate) for the last few years, Fredrik decided it was time for an upgrade. His new skis, Breidablikk from Norwegian Åsnes, are especially made for skijoring with a dog in backcountry conditions. They are wider than ordinary skis and lack the metal edges that most other touring skis have, and that could potentially injure a dog in an accident. They are also very cool looking – even though I would of course have preferred a Malamute on the front rather than a blue eyed husky 😉
Maybe we should ask Åsnes to create a Malamute edition of Breidablikk for 2014?
We had a nice picnic by the coast on Easter Eve – wearing sunblock is a must this time of the year!
Titan enjoyed his one-on-one with Grandma.
Lyra found a mermaid. Who do you think is prettier? 🙂
A snow roll before it’s time to go home.
With the goal of keeping my mum company on the trail, Fredrik and I brought only one dog each on this picnic trip. I still had to stand on the brake not to overtake my mum (who was skiing without a dog) but for the most part we were able to keep the same pace. Lyra and Fredrik travelled faster so they did some exploring on the ice while waiting for us to catch up.
Lyra is always eager to go…
It’s been a BEAUTIFUL Easter here on the northern coast of Sweden.
We woke up to fantastic weather today and hurried to change into skijoring gear and hit the trail. I Skijored with Tuisku and Fredrik with Thunder and Lyra. A fast, fun and sunny day with the wind at our backs. I fell over once and dropped the camera in the snow (glad it’s waterproof) but apart from that we had a fab day! 🙂
Now and then, and especially when the girls are in season, we take our dogs skijoring one by one. For our younger dogs it’s good training to work independently without having another dog to rely on for decisions and speed. Lyra has no hesitations about working alone, she keeps the line tight and is always eager to go. We don’t take this quality for granted though, as even though a pedigree may show a lot of promise, you never know how a puppy will turn out as an adult. Lyra, however, is turning out to be a great sled and skijoring dog, even though she’s still very much a teenager in body and mind.
Lyra at 19 months of age.
Lyra starts off with plenty of power and speed…
…before settling into a nice, steady trot.
My mum and my aunt were also out skiing on the village trail but we said goodbye to them early on, as Lyra wasn’t very keen on waiting for them to catch up 😉
Our neighbour has created an excellent skiing trail for everyone to enjoy. While the
village is small, the people who live here are very active and outdoorsy.
Heading home – our house is behind the trees at the end of the trail. I’ve been skijoring
a couple of times this winter and so far my back is coping really well. So, fingers crossed,
it looks like the operation was a big success! 🙂