Archive for the ‘DOGS’ Categoryby Northernmost on July 25, 2014 in Agility & Rally, Lyra, Titan, Wilder with No Comments
+31°C (87°F) and we’re melting away here on the northern coast. It’s too hot to do anything much but a bit of Rally training in the garden works fine, as long as we return to the shade quickly afterwards. We haven’t trained Rally-O since November last year so yesterday’s session was a bit rocky. Still, it is fun to see how much the dogs remember, especially Wilder who has only tried his paws at this sport once or twice before. What’s so great about Rally is that you are permitted to talk, praise and encourage your dog, and use unlimited commands and hand signals. Rally is a positive sport in many ways and a great option for those who dislike the stuffiness of formal obedience.
We have printed and laminated all the Novice Rally signs so we can use them for training in any weather. If you want to buy SBK’s signs for Novice class in soft plastic, you find them here.
Titan and I practise the “Halt – Down – Walk Around Dog”
According to Swedish Rally regulations, you are not allowed to use treats or toys in the ring but we do of course use plenty of rewards during training. I do my best to avoid using the leash to steer the dog in position, as in rally points are deducted every time the leash is tight (in the more advanced classes the dog is working off leash). However, I sometimes forget about the leash and that’s why it’s good to film your training sessions, so that you can spot mistakes and correct them.
Not sure what Titan thinks about Rally?? LOL
Below is a video with some clips of me training with Lyra and Wilder. Btw, you won’t recognise Wilder as he barely has a hair on his body. At least he’s dressed for the weather! After yesterday’s session I know that there are several areas that need improvement; we need to improve our sits, as they are often more than 45 degrees out of heel position, improve call fronts, and our turns are too sloppy. I also need to improve Wilder’s heelwork, as he is often crowding me. Well, there are many areas that need improving but hey, that’s what training is all about!
Our boy Thunder celebrates his 10th birthday today!! We are so grateful that Nathalie Roy and Pierre Thibault of Nordiclight Alaskan Malamutes agreed to send Thunder all the way from Canada to Sweden in May 2005, when Thunder was 9 months old. He is such a sweet and fun-loving dog and a joy to be around, both at home and out on the trail. We have been on many great adventures together and look forward to many more in the coming years. Thunder is in excellent shape for a 10-year-old and after blowing most of his coat today he can enjoy summer to the full. It’s a scorching hot day so we’re heading for a cooling walk by the sea and in the evening I have a birthday surprise waiting for him in the fridge 😉 We love you Thunder!
Our beautiful 10-year-old!
♥ ♥ ♥
They say that dogs instinctively know how to swim. But not every dog knows how to swim well and many dogs don’t even enjoy being in water. Until yesterday, our 5-year-old boy Titan had never been out deeper than his stomach. We never force a dog to swim, that doesn’t go into deep water on his or her own accord, but since we live on the coast we encourage all our dogs to play in and enjoy water as it’s a great way to cool down and to get some exercise too. Yesterday it was really hot and Titan seemed more tempted than usual to get his whole body wet.
Why can’t I walk on water?
What happens if my nose goes under the surface?
We had a nice picnic on the beach and Titan joined us every time we went swimming.
Gemma preferred to only get her belly wet as usual. She is 7 years old in September, but who knows, maybe she’ll try swimming one day too?
The forecast for the next few days is HOT so we’ll be heading for the beach again very soon!
We made a trip to the beach with Lyra and Tuisku on Sunday evening. The water was almost warm enough to tempt me to go for a swim but it’s only around 10°C in the air and I’d be freezing afterwards. Next time I’ll bring a wetsuit so that I can spend time in the water with the dogs. Swimming and walking in deep water is perfect exercise for Tuisku who needs to strengthen the muscles in his injured leg. Tuisku truly loves water, when he arrives at the beach he goes straight down to the waves to lie down in the water for a couple of minutes. He does that even on a cool day, so it’s not only a means of cooling off. He seems to enjoy water in the same way as most Mals love snow. I think it is a Keikewabic trait as I’ve heard that some of his kids and many of his relatives are water-mals too. Our evenings at the beach are really the highlight of our summer. The dogs love the freedom and we love watching them run and play. When we return home they usually go straight into their dog houses and sleep soundly. Mission accomplished 🙂
A precious moment with Tuisku-Buisku ♥
I woke up this morning to the sun shining through my window. It was only 4:00 a.m. but I couldn’t go back to sleep so I went out to say hello to the early birds, Lyra and Tuisku, who had been up since sunrise. I brought my camera and took some photos of the morning mist rising from the lake. June mornings are magic, especially when there are so few mosquitoes around. Love our summers here on the coast 🙂
It’s 4:00 a.m. Lyra…isn’t it a bit early for games? No? OK then, I’ll play with you…
A HAPPY day today as we visited the vets and received news that Tuisku’s foot problem may not be as serious as it first seemed. Still no definite diagnosis but we’re going back to see a physiotherapist who will examine him further. Right now both the vet and the physio are leaning towards it being a tendon problem, as everything looks fine in the x-rays. We gave Tuisku a bath yesterday and got some photos afterwards – our beautiful boy will be 9 years old in a little more than a month but still looks like a youngster ♥
Have a HAPPY weekend everyone!
My blogging has taken a bit of a back seat lately to dog activities and keeping up with my day job, while at the same time trying to complete the home redecorating project we have been working on since November. Someone had this crazy idea that all the rooms on the ground floor needed redecorating and decided to do it all in one go – walls, floors, ceilings, the whole lot! As you can imagine, our home has been in a state of chaos for six months now. Hopefully in June the work will be finished and I can go back to blogging as usual. I’ve realised lately that blogging helps keep my universe in balance. Maybe I’m addicted? Until next time, here are some pics of our Leia Bear playing with her red ball in the garden. Have a beautiful May everyone!
I’m sorry that I’ve been absent from the blog lately, and that I’ve been so slow in replying to emails. We jumped straight into taking care of spring chores at home when we returned from our holiday in Lapland. May is always a busy month for us; the dogs need bathing and grooming and their kennels and play areas need spring cleaning. Our potholed lawn needs raking and repairing, so that we can set up the agility course in June, and the dog houses that we built last autumn need painting. In fact, some of the old dog houses could do with a fresh layer too. Keeping the kennel shipshape is a never ending project but maybe, this year or next, there will be time for us to have some puppies too? 😉
Nearly all the old snow is gone now but it will take a couple of weeks before the grass and the trees turn green. Summer arrives late to northern Sweden but I don’t mind as I prefer having four distinct seasons – it keeps things interesting because you always have something new to look forward to.
The Bird Cherry tree is among the first to turn green in spring. In June it will be in full bloom.
Our flowerbeds are slowly waking up too – the Grape Hyacinth came first…
…and was soon accompanied by the Pickwick Crocus.
This time of the year, when the air is still cool, our Mals enjoy basking in the sun on their porches. Gem is still hanging on to her thick winter coat but I bet it will drop quickly after her bath, and she’ll go back to looking like a puppy again 🙂
Tuisku didn’t accompany us on our holiday in Lapland this year. He has been limping slightly on his rear leg during spring and had to rest from working activities during the end of the season. After two visits to our local vet we saw an orthopedic specialist in April but he couldn’t make a definite diagnosis either, but asked us to come back in a couple of weeks for more x-rays. Please keep your fingers and paws crossed for a speedy recovery for Tuisku!
Spring is a wonderful time but it also means bitches in season…young Wilder has recently discovered the allure of the opposite sex and is keeping us awake at night complaining that he has to be separated from his sister. I took him to a ring training class on Sunday but it quickly turned into basic leash training instead, as Wilder wouldn’t focus on me for a split second when there were FEMALES around. Let’s hope that our girls get their seasons over and done with soon so we can all go back to normal and get a good night’s sleep!!
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 🙂