Archive for the ‘Titan’ Categoryby Northernmost on April 15, 2012 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Gemma, Lapland, Nature, Skijoring & Sledding, Titan, Tuisku with No Comments
Yesterday we harnessed up Tuisku, Gem and Titan after dinner and went for a ride in the mountains. This time of the year the sun doesn’t set until 9.30 in the evening and with every day we have about thirty minutes of more daylight. Around midsummer the sun doesn’t set at all for several weeks and if the snow remains on higher altitudes we can go skijoring under the midnight sun. I’m surprised sometimes that so few people have discovered Lapland – we often have the trail and the views all to ourselves. Last night we spent two hours climbing before reaching the plateau where we enjoyed about an hour of leisurely skijoring before it was time to start the long descent home. When skijoring without a sled or pulk, going downhill is almost as tough as going uphill as you have to constantly use your legs and feet as brakes to slow down. Our Mals are always extra eager when we set out on a mountain trip. I guess they can sense the adventure the same way we do and the wind that sweeps through the valleys carries all sorts of interesting information for scent-oriented Malamutes. We didn’t see any reindeer or wild animals last night, but in Lapland they are never far away.
We woke up to -23C and clear blue skies and were quick to get ready after breakfast. Cold weather means perfect trails and we had fantastic skijoring today, completing 33km (20.5 mi) along our “local” trail that connects Hetta in Finland with Kautokeino in Norway. The dogs love the cold weather and needed fewer breaks to cool down than yesterday. The hard trails meant effortless skijoring but the intense sunshine takes its toll and I think we’re all having an early night tonight!
Our Easter Holiday couldn’t have started better – perfect dogs, trails and weather and happiness all around. It’s days like these we dream of during the dark winter and that make all the hard work worthwhile. Tuisku, Gem and Titan have been on a sledding picnic today and our youngsters, Hilary and Lyra, have been trying out working independently in harness on a skijoring trip on the lake. We stay out from dawn to dusk to make the most of our time in Lapland. To us this is true bliss!
We’ve been on a weekend trip to Vålådalen in Jämtland to meet with our friends Aimee Campbell and Ian Elliott from the UK. Ian and Aimee are on holiday in Dalarna in Sweden so we decided to meet up about halfway between Dalarna and our home for a fun “Malamute weekend”. Sweden is a relatively big country so the journey from our home on the coast to Vålådalen is 580km (360 mi) single way. I wish we had been closer as then we would have been able to spend more time together.
Ian and Aimee are the owners of Twisp and Leader (Mountain Home’s Packice Twisp WTD WPD WWPD and Mountain Home’s Lead Dog at Packice WTD WPD WWPD) who are full siblings of our girl Hilary but from a previous litter. They also own Dash, who is the uncle of our Titan, and senior girls Breezer and Kia who are related to Dash. It was therefore natural for us to bring along Hilary and Titan on this trip and also our girl Lyra, who is related to the Packice dogs through both Mountain Home and the UK bloodlines. Talk about a family reunion!
From left to right: Leader, Breezer, Dash and Twisp.
We had all kinds of weather during our stay in Vålådalen – snow, rain, strong winds and a glimpse of the sun too. I didn’t use the camera much because of the weather but I know Aimee took some pictures so hopefully we’ll get to see them later. We had a lovely time together and made two short trips along the local trails. The Packice Malamutes have superb manners and are perfect trail companions so it was an ideal opportunity for our gang (who very rarely encounter other dogs when out working) to share the trail with these friendly Mals. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a similar “family reunion” another year!
Puppy training update:
Hilary and Lyra worked really well in harness throughout the weekend and we are very pleased with their performance – they are true naturals in harness! While the girls haven’t completed many miles they have nevertheless experienced many useful things during their first working season:
- Working on a 2-dog skijoring team
Working on a 3-dog sledding team
Different terrains – flat and hilly
Different weather and trail conditions
Working alongside unknown dogs
Encountering snowmobiles, people and wildlife on the trail
To us, puppy training is more about “trail socialization” than actual physical training. Most important is that all early experiences are of a positive kind so that the harness, sled and skis is associated with having fun! We feel that Hilary and Lyra now have a good foundation for the future and during the rest of the season we can focus more on training our adult dogs. You can view photos from the girls’ first season in harness in their Working Gallery.
March has arrived with southern winds and above zero temperatures. There’s no risk our snow will disappear completely as we have plenty of it, but the trails are mushy and wet and we need a couple of days of cold weather before we can hit the trail again. I’ve added some mixed photos from the last few days; before the mild weather arrived we went on a skijoring excursion with Titan and Gem, exploring the trails of a neighbouring village. There are also a few pics of Hilary and Lyra hanging out in their playarea. The pups play outside for a few hours each day and then we bring them inside for the night. The original plan was to let them move outdoors permanently around this age but we’ve become so used to having them in our kitchen that I’m not sure we’re ready to let them move outdoors just yet. Are we spoiling them??? Nooooooo….
Today it was time for Lyra and Hilary’s second run in harness and they did amazingly well. I tried to keep them at a steady trot but it was hard as they were eager to run. Below are some mixed pics from today, it was a beautiful Sunday!
You can view a short clip of the pups on YouTube:
We have had lots of now lately and the groomed trails of last week are all gone. This didn’t stop us from going on a skijoring ride through the forest this morning. The big trees were blanketed heavily with snow, branches bending under the weight, creating a fairytale world in white. It was so still and quiet that we could hear birds sing deep into the woods. I wish everyone could experience a morning like this as it was true magic. Of course it was hard, sweaty work getting anywhere in the deep snow but that’s part of the fun. We had a warm cup of tea when we got back home and watched the Tour de Ski on television. Can’t get enough of winter!
It’s been a fun weekend for puppy Lyra with plenty of playtime with both pack members and outside dogs. Today we met with the local dog club for a Sunday walk around town. For this first walk of the year only two other dog owners turned up so in total there were four dogs present, which is a rather manageable number. After the walk we let the dogs loose for a play session in the snow. Lyra had fun with everyone and we were really impressed with 2-year-old Titan who behaved impeccably around two adult males, whom he had met for the first time today.
Today’s walk and play session was an excellent experience for Lyra who learnt two important things: some dogs need more space than others, and that must be respected, and a big black dog (in this case an adult Doberman Pinscher) can be just as friendly as any other dog.
With one puppy in the family, and another one joining us soon, we will probably be spending more time on socialization and “puppy stuff”, than on working activities this winter. However, considering that dogs can remain active sled dogs for more than ten years of their lives, while the key period for socialization is during the first year, it’s not a difficult choice to make. Next year all our dogs will be old enough to work in harness and hopefully they will have benefited from the “work” we’re doing now.
We celebrated the start of the New Year by taking a long, invigorating walk along the coast. With a young puppy in the family we try to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors, going for off lead walks in different environments, training recall and just having fun together. So far, puppy Lyra is staying close to us but in a couple of months she will begin to explore and then we’ll probably have to paus the off lead training for a while. On today’s walk we brought 2-year-old Titan along. He’s a great role model for Lyra as he rarely wanders too far. Our two lovely “Sledog kids” had lots of fun together!
While there are many features more important than eye colour for a working sled dog, dark eyes provide the soft expression which is a hallmark of the breed. I do love a pair of dark eyes in a Malamute. In fact, the darker the better!
Bank holiday and beautiful weather – what a great combo! We had planned to go hiking during this long weekend but decided to stay at home since there is a lot of work that needs to be done around the house – such as mow the grass, mend fences, move logs and plant potatoes.
We’re really loving our new location, it’s a great place to be, especially during summer. The birdlife in the village is incredible, we often sleep with the window open and it’s like being inside a bird house! We haven’t identified all the sounds yet but we have swans, cranes, canada geese, peewits, cuckoos, eurasian curlews and great spotted woodpeckers just outside the house, and on a couple of occasions we have had golden eagles circling above us. There are beavers in the lake and moose and deer in the forest – the abundance of animals near our home is keeping the dogs busy at night!
Tuisku, Thunder and Gem exploring the fields.
Snowhow Shade of Raven, WTD, “Leia” at six years of age.
Titan’s sprained foot has now healed and he can join in the games.
Someone has stolen my slipper!
Evening fun on the fields.
So far this summer we’ve had no mosquitoes and no bugs – let’s hope it stays this way!
Our Mals are featured on Canadian Urban Mush Puppy – a webshop based in Ontario, Canada, that specializes in providing equipment for sledding, scootering, skijoring and weightpulling.
Fredrik and Tuisku skijoring – April 2011.
Don’t they look great?! You find lots of useful equipment, together with photos of other working Malamutes at www.sleddogsleddingharnesses.com