Archive for the ‘Wilder’ Categoryby Northernmost on October 23, 2014 in Daily Life, DAILY LIFE, Hilary, Wilder with No Comments
Imagine my surprise this evening when I opened the door to go for a walk and found the garden covered in a thick layer of snow! Plenty can happen when you get stuck in front of the computer for a couple of hours. I’m glad we stowed away the lawn mower and the agility obstacles yesterday, as that part of the year is clearly over.
The first layer of white fluff usually doesn’t last more than a couple of days here on the coast but there’s always something special about catching that real first snow of the season, even if it’s just for a few moments. Suddenly the world becomes brighter, sounds are muted and our Malamutes are smiling with their eyes and with their tails as they leap through the snow like big cats. You can tell how much they love winter by the way they chase snowflakes and dive into the drifts head first – snow must be in their genes!
I didn’t see much during our 9-kilometre evening walk, only the snowflakes that blew across the light of my headlamp. I walk this route almost every evening, bringing different dogs on different days, but tonight I had to guess where we were at times, as everything looked so different when covered in snow. Also, there was a new moon tonight, so no light in the sky to rely on. Glad the dogs know their way in every weather – they probably wondered why I was walking so slowly behind them, but I could hardly see two steps in front of me!
Yesterday we woke up to clear skies, crisp air and below-zero temperatures – a perfect day to go bikejoring! The ground was covered with a touch of frost when we left home in the morning but the sun quickly warmed up the day and we had to watch the dogs carefully to make sure they didn’t get too hot. This time of the year, when the dogs are not yet in top condition, it is easy to do too much too soon. While autumn training is a fun time for both us and the dogs, it is important to remember that Malamutes are usually most comfortable working when the temperature is between -30°C, to -15°C. Everything above can be too warm, and especially if it’s a sunny or humid day. We try to think of autumn as a time to be patient but it is sometimes difficult to say no to the dogs when they want to go faster and further early in the season. So this is a note to self: Winter is just around the corner, don’t rush it!
We explored a new trail yesterday and it turned out to be a fun ride with plenty of options for variation. When training left and right commands it’s ideal to run the dogs along a new route, as it’s only when they don’t know their way by heart that they really have to listen to your commands.
We still need to work on Wilder’s “wait” command, as he’s so eager to go that he doesn’t listen if a team takes off ahead of him. Hilary used to be like that as a youngster but has calmed down a little with maturity. She can now sit down and wait calmly until it’s time to go, at least on a good day 😉
Hilary has starting to grow her coat again after the summer. Yes, she’s a cutie ♥
Thunder (10.5) and Leia (9.5) are still running strong and pulling hard in harness. I believe the apple cider vinegar which we add to their food is really good for them. They seem almost younger than a couple of years ago, and Leia’s skin problems have completely cleared up. ACV is supposed to be good for arthritis too, so it’s definitely a supplement that I would recommend for senior dogs.
The Big Bears in sync!
Hilary and Wilder working with their heads down, halfway into the trail.
We passed a small farm with some free-grazing hens in the yard and cows and pigs in enclosures. Our dogs have never seen pigs before so it was an interesting first encounter – the pigs grunted and chased us on the other side of the fence and our dogs looked both excited and scared as we hurried past! LOL An excellent opportunity to train “On By!”…
I hope we will have more of those crisp, sunny weekends this autumn – one feels energised and ready to start a new week after spending a few hours in the fresh air on a Sunday 🙂
Wilder had his pre-winter bath yesterday and we took the opportunity to get some new pictures while we still have decent daylight conditions. Wilder is now 21 months old and has just started to grow some coat again after the summer. He is 63 cm tall (24.8″) and weighs approx. 38 kg (83.78 lb) (not yet fully mature), which is close to the AKC standard and exactly how we like our Mals to be. The closer to standard the better! I had problems finding a completely flat surface to stack him on but I think the pics came out okay anyway. He sure is a handsome boy and with a fantastic personality 🙂
We recently DNA tested Wilder for the long coat gene and he’s a non-carrier. We use DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) in Ohio for testing, as they have a fast and reliable service.
Wilder’s AMCA Working Team Dog certificate arrived in the mail today! Yay!! Wilder earned his WTD title during our sledding holiday in Lapland in April and continues to impress us with his enormous working drive and focus. He exhibits a mature calmness beyond his years and has tons of leading potential. We look forward to developing his skills during this winter’s adventures, as Wilder will be two years old in January he’ll be ready to embark on some longer trips. I’m already looking at maps and planning away, can’t wait! 🙂
We visited our dog club today with Gemma, Titan, Wilder and Hilary to train agility at Åbyn-Byske Brukshundklubb’s new outdoor training area. We’ve had a long break from agility during summer as it’s been too hot to do anything strenuous, but now that autumn is here we plan to continue our weekly training sessions at home and at the dog club. Agility (and rally obedience) is a great complement to exercise in harness as it provides that extra mental stimulation that most Malamutes need. It also improves their coordination, strengthens muscles, increases endurance and helps boost their overall confidence. There are many reasons to train agility with your dog and above all, it’s fun!
Below is a short clip of Fredrik and Wilder from today. Wilder is getting soo good at agility! He is fast, accurate and simply LOVES this game!
After a hot and lazy summer it’s time to get in shape again. We have slowly started conditioning work by heading out for long and brisk walks in the evenings and taking the dogs jogging and bikejoring when the weather allows. Today was a perfect day for work in harness as the temperature dropped down to 5°C degrees (41°F) in the afternoon. Fredrik hooked up Gem and Wilder while I ran our seniors, Leia and Thunder. As you can see in the pics, we left our helmets at home by mistake, but the rule is – ALWAYS wear a helmet when you go bikejoring!
Wilder teamed up with his Auntie Gem today. Wilder is nearly 20 months and Gemma is turning 7 years young next week. Time sure flies by fast!
Gem has a soft spot for her nephew and enjoys working with him…
…and Wilder continues to impress us with his focus and drive. He prefers to be up front at all times.
Also Leia and Thunder seem to be in fairly good shape after the summer…
…they leaned into their harnesses and gave me a fun ride on the bike!
Running on sand is FUN says Leia!
We let the dogs cool down in the sea before we turned around and headed back to the car.
Hope y’all are having a happy and active weekend!
Does your Malamute give kisses? Among our dogs there are some that do and some that don’t, and some who will grace us with a kiss only very rarely. And then we have a couple of dogs that go a bit overboard with the kissing and cleaning…watch Wilder and Hilary greet Fredrik after work – we call Wilder the “sponge cloth” as he has the quickest tongue in the west and if you are caught off guard he’ll give you a good face scrub and wash for free! 😉
Yesterday was Lyra’s 3rd birthday so we decided to dedicate the whole day to things that make Lyra happy. In the morning we trained agility in the garden with all dogs, but Lyra had some extra time on the course, and after that we went to the beach for some wild running in the sand with her buddy Wilder. In the evening we went to Skellefteå for a stroll around town, which provided plenty of new impressions on a Saturday night. Lyra is not a dog that tires easily but after yesterday’s mix of physical and mental exercise I think she was ready to call it a day when we drove home late at night. Happy B’day Lyra and to all her siblings in the UK!!
Sledog Dream Leaper, WTD, aka Lyra, at 3 years of age.
We trained agility in the morning when the weather was still cool.
Then we headed for the beach for some wild games by the seashore.
Wilder was lucky to be chosen as Lyra’s birthday date. As you can see, we all got a bit wet and muddy from playing in the waves. We stayed on the beach until the late afternoon. The beach is really our second home.
After supper we went into town and strolled around Skellefteå city centre with the “baldies”.
There’s plenty to do, see and smell in town, especially for our country bumpkin Mals 😉
After a long day filled with activities both Wilder and Lyra seemed quite content with their day. I think I even heard Lyra snore in her crate as we travelled home 🙂
+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!
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 🙂