Archive for the ‘DOGS’ Categoryby Northernmost on February 3, 2014 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Lyra, Skijoring & Sledding, Tuisku, Wilder with No Comments
We’re having a mild spell here on the coast and during the weekend we took the chance to go skijoring for the first time this winter. The fun but rather unsteady first run of the season always makes me think of Diane Gayer’s wonderful article about skijoring, “Communing with Raw Energy”, which was published in Mushing Magazine March/April 1998. In Gayer’s words: “The rush, the lack of control, the immediacy – these are what make skijoring worth doing.” During the first few minutes at least, you do feel out of control. But gradually your balance is restored and you start moving in synch with your dogs, rather than being dragged behind them. It makes for a magical experience when it all comes together.
Fredrik took Tuisku and Lyra for a premiere 5 km run – pure joy for the dogs!
When Lyra was a puppy, Tuisku set the pace and showed her what fun it is to work in harness. In the coming years, when Tuisku gets older, it will be the other way around – Lyra will set the pace and make sure his enthusiasm doesn’t fade. As skijoring dogs, they are a perfect match!
We normally introduce our dogs to skijoring when they are pups, to make sure they get accustomed to the equipment during their important first formative year, but this winter the weather hasn’t cooperated and Wilder turned 13 months on Sunday when I took him skijoring for the first time.
Luckily he’s the kind of dog that doesn’t bother to look what’s behind him – he just takes off and keeps his eyes focused on the trail ahead. I think I will need to use a Nordic sled with a handbrake when training Wilder, as he doesn’t respond 100% to left and right yet and is so strong that I can’t slow him down by snowplowing or by pulling the line. I should probably work on the Whoa! too!!
There’s a lot of power in this package!
Hopefully the mild weather will continue for a couple of days so that we can pack the trail with the snowmobile and make it wide enough for our skate skis. If you haven’t tried skijoring with your dog yet you must do so this winter – most Malamutes love it!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I can help you out.
We woke up to a Winter Wonderland this morning! Heaps of new snow on the ground and in the trees. We quickly got our clothes on and I took Leia, Thunder and Tuisku for a run with the sled while Fredrik went out to pack the trail with the snowmobile. Going out after the first big snowfall is always magical.
Woohoo – winter at last!
The “snow cannon” hits us each year when large amounts of cold air comes in over open sea in the Bay of Bothnia and meets the relatively warm sea air. Just ten minutes north of us the storm dumped more than 30 inches over the weekend.
Leia dug a hole while waiting for me to get the lines in order.
The icy wind was still blowing today but the trees in the forest protected us from most of the weather.
Tuisku was eager to go – as always.
On our way home.
The only thing to put a damper on the start of the sledding season is the thickle in my throat that could be the onset of a cold 🙁 Hopefully some warm tea and rest will make it go away fast!
There’s a blizzard blowing outside and it looks like we’re finally receiving the snow we have been waiting for since November. About time!! I went for an evening walk with Thunder and Leia and the icy wind on my face felt like needles – brrr! I’m glad we changed straw in the dog houses yesterday as the storm is expected to continue tomorrow. Now all the dogs are warm and cosy and I can crawl under the duvet and watch a movie without feeling the least bit guilty. Have a good weekend everyone!
Thunder was quick to check out the fresh straw in his dog house.
OK, I’m off to sleep now – good night!
Our sweet boy Wilder turned 1 year old today!! Many thanks to his breeders, Sue and Roy Fuller, for trusting us with him. We couldn’t ask for a better dog! We wish all the Super Pups – Indy, Gale, Zing and Ryder – a very Happy Birthday!!
Wilder celebrated with a yummy pupcake 🙂
Below are some update photos from a recent match show. Wilder received a nice critique from judge Nils-Arne Törnlöv and was awarded an Honour Prize (HP).
This brief video is from December, he’s grown quite a lot during the end of last year and is developing into a very handsome youngster ♥
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!!!
If you have a long coated Malamute that easily develops mats and tangles, or perhaps a normal coated dog that isn’t too keen on being brushed (the tail area for example), try Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine to make the grooming session easier for both of you. We use this excellent product on Leia to prepare her coat for a bath. We start by working through her coat with a comb and our fingers and when we find tangles or mats we rub Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine directly into the affected area. It takes just a small amount to break up mats and brush out tangles and the grooming session becomes a lot more pleasant for the dog. We always do this before bathing, as when the coat is wet the mats and tangles will be even harder to get out.
Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine is a popular horse grooming product but works equally well on dogs and on human hair. It contains no water or alcohol and doesn’t dry the hair. There are some other good products in the Cowboy Magic product line, such as the Rosewater Conditioner and the Greenspot Remover. You can read about them here. We buy ours from Hippotique in Sweden.
I love products that make grooming easier and the Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine smells really nice too. Now when all that old coat is gone, Leia is finally ready for a bath!
Leia as a baby puppy in Finland. Photo courtesy of Virve & Teemu Kaivola. She will be 9 years old in February. I’ll get some fresh pictures of her after her bath 🙂
It’s been quiet here on the blog lately as we’ve been busy with different home improvement projects and have gone straight from work to bed (after taking the dogs for walks on slippery icy roads…) but today we took a break from the paint pots and visited the Christmas market and fair at Nordanå in Skellefteå. Nice to see some people and soak up the holiday spirit 🙂
We spent a lot of time by the warming fire.
The Christmas market is a great place to bring dogs for socialisation as there are crowds to walk through, lots of dogs and people to say hello to and plenty of new sounds and smells to explore.
We had Wilder with us but he has already been out and about a lot in his first year and is no longer that excited about the “meet and greet” routine, he’s more like “OK, I said hello to that old dog, come on, give me a treat now!”.
I did some shopping for Christmas decorations and bought a pair of warm mittens (I had left mine at home). Next year we’re planning to have our own stand at the fair and sell some home made products. I won’t reveal exactly what just yet, but they are “Malamute related” 😉
Our friends at Rascal Huskies had brought their friendly Siberian Huskies to greet visitors at the fair. They also sold copies of their book “Hundspannsliv“, which tells the story of their daily life with sled dogs and introduces the reader to the different personalities of their dogs. Sounds like a fun read!
The fair had something for everyone…30 years ago, that would have been me feeding the horse.
One of the pretty decorations that we brought home. Smells just like Christmas!
We took our oldest and youngest boy out for a walk in the woods today, looking up trails for the coming sledding season and checking the ice on lakes and brooks. The weather has been a bit gloomy the past few days but today the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for a short while. Our dogs are growing beautiful thick coats and even though there’s just a dusting of snow on the ground it’s starting to feel like winter. I’m already getting in the Christmas mood and can’t wait to start decorating our home. Right now, however, our house is in a big mess as we’re painting the floors on the ground level and are moving the furniture from one room to the next. Only one month left till Christmas, I hope we will finish in time?!
Let it snow, let it snow…