Monday, November 14, 2005

On snow!!!

Bye, bye ATV, good riddance! I hate that thing. I do like the parking brake but other than that, I hate training on the ATV. Today I ran three little teams on snow! I had forgotten how easy hooking up four dogs is. I hate hook-up, but this practically relaxing! There isn't really quite enough snow, which is why I took little teams. In theory a small team should be easier to control and there should be less need to use the snow hook. The theory worked most of the time today! I did have to use the holy ***&@## rope a couple times--technically it's called a snub line, but whenever I need it, I am swearing!

I forgot the camera for the first team, but got some pics of the last two. First team was Paxil, Chum, Pacer and Ozzy. Chum made it quite clear that he is not a lead dog candidate. Pacer reluctantly got us home. I don't think Paxil is feeling 100% today as she was not her usual perky self in harness.

Team #2 was Raven, Mac, Antare and Deuce. This was Raven's first run as the main leader. Usually she runs beside one of the more experienced girls. We had some minor problems with her direction commands. She didn't really want to turn! However, she did a flawless on-by, passing a loose dog! I have way more trouble teaching dogs that command than directions. She'll figure out gee & haw in no time. I actually think she already knows them, she was just playing with me today! She does that sometimes. She's very sweet and I adore her, but sometimes she is just too dang smart! Deuce took over, from wheel, when Raven wanted to go the wrong way once. He knew what I wanted them to do. He may have been a stray for a very long time in Teslin, but at some point, he was somebody's sled dog...I am sure of it!

Team #3 was horribly mismatched and a little funny looking, but they were the fastest, hardest working set of the day! Up front, Pingo & Franklin, followed by Chase and Hobo. Hobo looks like a puppy beside Chase! Hobo usually has to run alone as he's a lunatic, but he was insistent on coming today. Chase is a freak at hook-up--dead calm, never makes a sound, doesn't lunge, doesn't chew his lines, just stands there and waits to go. He works his furry butt off once he gets the command to move! When Hobo tried to start something with him, Chase just turned his head and ignored him. Very impressive!

Yup, Franklin ran up front and he did a damn fine job! I'm not sure what would have happened if we had run into anyone, especially a loose dog, but the trail was deserted. Frankling gets jumped by loose dogs pretty regularly. He gives off some kind of vibe. It's happened so often that Franklin is sometimes the aggressor now. He's really not an aggressive dog, it's a self-preservation thing. I might try him beside Paxil a few times, when she's feeling better. She is a stronger command leader and tolerates no fooling around! Maybe she can teach Franklin a thing or two!

I just have to show this off. It probably looks like nothing in the pictures, but it's the coolest thing Stuart's ever built--in my opinion anyway!

This is "the chute"...gated hook-up area. I can hook up an entire team(up to a 10 dog gangline will fit), flick the gate open, pull the hook and off we go. No more chasing dogs around the yard, no more loose dogs harassing us in the yard, no more worrying about loosing the team before I even get on the sled, all my stuff is in one spot, ready whenever I am. Sweet.....


dogsled_stacie said...

Way to go Leader Franklin!!!

I hear ya about the stoopid 4-wheeler! Finally got on my sled today too. Up at Fish Lake, but holy crap, what a wonderful feeling to be back on that sled. As much as I complain about that tank, I really loved it today!!

Wandering Spirit Kennels said...

Hey Stacie,

Did you have enough snow to set a hook up there? I realized on Monday that I have become one of those mushers I used to call "crazy fools"....who cares if you can set a hook, I have rope and I can reach a tree if I have to!!


dogsled_stacie said...

The snow hook *sort of* worked up at Fish Lake... in a few spots anyways. But there were a few spots where we were like, "Watch your hoook!!!" Actually, they did pop it once on me on the Copper Haul Road and I just jumped in the sled as they went by, and eventually made it around back successfully! Woohoo!

We have even less snow at my place - the snowless belt of the Yukon! Six dogs max. and don't even think about relying on your hook. You're smart going with 4. Totally manageable and easy eh??!!

I must add that it is SNOWING like crazy right now (at 11:30ish Tues night) so tomorrow I'll check on the skis.

We're off to a great start eh?!?!? :-)