Archive for the ‘Titan’ Categoryby Northernmost on January 16, 2014 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Hilary, Lyra, Titan with No Comments
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.
To beat the autumn blues we make sure to keep busy eight days a week! Yesterday evening we took Wilder and Titan to the dog club for some indoor rally training. As it turns out, our dogs are not the only Malamutes at the club; yesterday a sweet 7-year-old girl called Nala joined the class too. Fun! Our own training didn’t go super yesterday, the focus wasn’t there and the execution was more than just a bit sloppy. As we continue training we need to increase the reward criteria gradually and wean our dogs off the treats. But for now the main thing is that we’re having fun and that they feel confident in their work. For a 4-year-old dog that has never done any type of formal training (apart from the obedience training we integrate in our harness work) Titan did well and his tail was wagging non-stop!
Good boy Titan!
As you can see, I’m holding the leash in my left hand. This is not ideal for rally training but a bad habit that I have. By taking photos during training I notice my mistakes and can correct them. Here, for example, I should have started out with my left leg, not the right, as I wanted Titan to follow me.
Titan surprised us by nailing the station “Down and walk around your dog” at his first attempt.
The weave cones were harder, probably because he is a large dog and my handling was pretty poor.
An important part of training is learning how to wait patiently while the other dogs are having fun.
Wilder kept a constant eye on me during the “Down, and walk around” exercise.
He’s making good progress at the static exercises (sit, down and stand) but struggles with his heelwork. In fact, I think all our dogs struggle with heelwork and since Rally-O is all about moving smoothly on a loose leash, this is something that we really have to work on.
Oh no, the leash is in the left hand again!
Wilder at the start of the class…
…and after two hours 😉 Nothing beats Rally Obedience in making a Mal tired!
Every time I struggle with training I return to Ruth Kellogg’s excellent work “Happy Dogs with Benevolent Leaders” published in 2012. This CD-book is made up of 900 pages jam-packed with detailed and practical advice on everything from daily Malamute care and pack management, to building the foundations for formal training. In the three accompanying DVDs, Ruth and her Inharmony Malamutes (ages ranging from young puppies to adult dogs) demonstrate in videos how to introduce and train all the foundation skills needed for sports like rally, obedience and agility. I find her work very inspiring, not the least because she is a Malamute trainer and most other authors of dog training books are not. Before we re-start our heel training, I’m going to re-read the chapter about Precision Heeling and watch the accompanying video on Disc #2. I’m certain it will put me right back on track!
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!
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 😉
We hooked up Wilder for his first run in front of the wagon today. He turned 9 months old this week and it’s high time that he gains some experience of working on a team. We normally start our puppies in harness a little earlier, at around 5-7 months of age, but since it’s been a warm and humid end to the summer, and since Wilder has been growing a lot during Aug-Sept, we decided to wait a little longer with his first hookup. When we introduced him to his harness today he stepped into it like a pro and worked like he had done it a million times before. A complete natural! 🙂
A happy team!
Hilary worked in single lead for the first time today and did a great job. She has gained a lot of experience from working alongside Tuisku this summer, and during last winter.
Wilder started out next to Titan in wheel but finished the run working alongside Hilary in lead.
Halfway into the trail we took a water break to allow the dogs to cool down and to practise the line-out routine. It’s not hard to get the dogs to run, but to keep them calm and orderly before the run, and during breaks, requires a bit more work 😉
Hilary worked well today and we could see that this summer’s bikejoring has paid off. Instead of taking a complete break from road work this summer we have trained our dogs on a moderate basis each week. All the dogs (except for Wilder) have been doing 5 km evening runs about three times a week next to the bicycle, sometimes one-at-a-time but most often in pairs.
It was a good first run for Wilder that promised well for the future.
Well done pup!
It’s early October and the days are quickly getting shorter so we are very happy to be able to train our dogs at the Åbyn-Byske Brukshundklubb’s indoor facility a couple of times each week. Yesterday we brought along Titan, Wilder and Hilary for an evening of weight pull, rally and agility training. Fredrik and Titan joined the weight pull section while Wilder and I started out by training Rally-O outdoors. Later on in the evening we all went indoors to work on agility with Hilary and do some relaxation training with the boys. On Thursdays the club has “open training” which means that there are plenty of people and dogs around and the busy environment is perfect for off leash obedience training and to encourage relaxation afterwards, in the company of all the other dogs.
This was Titan’s first indoor session so we started out by letting him take in the new surroundings.
Wilder has been to indoor training once before while this was Hilary’s first visit to the Åbyn-Byske Brukshundklubb. A whole new place with plenty of new people and dogs – it’s useful to change environment now and then as it adds an extra dimension to the training.
Fredrik and Hilary started off by practising down-stay in the busy room. Hilary is still very keen on visiting people and dogs but has made great progress during the summer.
At the agility course she is usually fully focused on the task.
Wilder too tried his paws at agility and did really well ignoring all the distractions in the room.
We set the bars low since he’s still a puppy and shouldn’t be doing too much jumping.
The weight pull section usually ends their training sessions with indoor relaxation and massage and their dogs were lying just next to us when we were doing jumps. Clearly they have been trained well in the art of relaxation as three flying Malamutes did not bother them one bit.
Titan too knows how to relax. This big boy is ready for a cuddle in any environment, anytime 😉
Our training evenings are great fun, for both us and the dogs. In fact, joining a local dog club to train agility, rally-o, obedience, weight pull etc. is something I would recommend to every Malamute owner. There are so many fun things, besides sledding and showing, that you can do with your dog(s), that will both strengthen your bond and keep your Malamute physically fit and mentally stimulated. Honour the breed’s amazing versatility and try something new this autumn – I promise you won’t regret it!
It’s been a lovely sunny Sunday and we have been out all day preparing the garden and the dog pens for fall and winter. The bedding in the dog houses has been changed, the wooden decks have been scrubbed clean, and the smooth gravel in the pens has been disinfected and thoroughly rinsed with a hose. Now everything is dry and clean and the dogs have already snuggled up for the evening in the fresh straw while we are winding down with a movie. Below are some pics of Titan, Wilder and Hilary having fun while Fredrik was raking leaves in the play area. Autumn equals happy dogs 🙂
There are some more pics in our September album.
Below are some pics from today’s walk along the coast with Wilder and Titan. All that fresh sea air is making me sleepy so it’s going to be an early night tonight. Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, autumn is finally here, yay!!
Fredrik came to visit us in Hetta and brought along Titan for some quality time together with Hilary and Wilder. We have a big fenced play area at the cabin in Lapland where the dogs spend a few hours each day. If I could bring anything from Lapland with me home it would be this beautiful play area. The pine trees provide shade on warm summer days and the soft ground vegetation, made up of moss, heather and berry shrubs, is perfect for running and playing. Right now the blueberries are ripe and I have seen Hilary munching away in between play sessions. Happiness and harmony are words that come to mind when I watch the dogs play in the forest.
Can I stay in Lapland or bring a piece of Lapland with me home?
Our week in Lapland went by very quickly but we managed to squeeze in a little hike before it was time to return home. On a sunny morning we packed our bags to go on an 18 km (11.2 mi) dayhike to Lake Pahtajärvi, just outside the village of Hetta. Titan and Hilary carried our picnic in their bags while puppy Wilder carried an empty pack, just to get used to having something strapped to his back. The temperature was just above 10o C (50o F) and it was a perfect day to spend on the trail.
Wilder chose to work up front for large parts of the hike – that’s promising for the future.
The “work horses”, Titan and Hilary, crossing a bog on a wooden boardwalk.
Two happy Mals – Wilder, 7 months, and Titan, who will be 4 years old in October.
The goal of our hike – a lean-to with a view by Lake Pahtajärvi.
When we arrived at the laavu, Hilary cooled down in the lake. There were reindeer nearby so we had to keep her on a leash but that didn’t stop her from swimming back and forth in the cool water. This girl loves to swim – is this another sign of the beaver gene??
This 18 km hike could have counted as a WPD-leg for Hilary and Titan, who have yet to complete their packing titles, but since we did not have access to a scale at our cabin we were unable to weigh the contents of their bags prior to the hike. So the hike ended up being just a “leisure hike”, but I think the dogs were just as happy 😉
Wilder did well on his first longer hike; soon it’s time to start training him in harness!
The trails in Finland are well marked and often offer good facilities along the way. During the second half of August most of the mosquitoes are gone and one can enjoy the scenery in peace and quiet.The beautiful autumn colours don’t start to appear until September, which is also a great month for hiking in Lapland. The website www.Outdoors.fi has useful information about trails and nature areas in Finland, and is available in Finnish, Sámi, Swedish and English.
Puppy Wilder (6 months) had some fun with Titan (4 years old) today. Big sister Hilary (2 years old) was there to make sure Wilder behaved himself around an older dog. Hilary is a sweet girl with a rich vocabulary that enables her to get a friendly response from most dogs that she meets. At home she can be a bit of a boss dog too – making sure everyone are on their best behaviour 😉