Saturday, December 11, 2004

4 dog run

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We we took yesturday off. Linda and I were both tired and sore. I felt like I did back in highshcool and college after the first week of wrestling practice. I once heard wrestling practice described as "running a marathon with the flu and then bashing yourself into a wall five times."
Well, maybe not quite that bad, but I have been doing a lot of running along side the dogs to correct them, wrestling a weighted sled around, carrying 5 gallon water buckests out to the dog yard. Riding on the back of the sled involves some skill also, it takes a good amount of co-ordination and balance, plus we have a tobbogan sled that doesn't steer well.
Most of the best mushers are physically fit and stay in shape in the off season to be ready to mush. There are a few chain smokers like famous sprint racer George Attla, but he seems to be one of these people that is just tough as nails anyway, having grown up on a trapline out in bush Alaska.
Reading interviews with top mushers one often finds that they often had an athletic background and excelled in other sports. Iditarod contender Ken Anderson was a college wrestler and even has a little bit of couliflower ear. Former iditarod winners Susan Butcher and Joe Runyan used to run, and if you read profiles of mushers on the iditarod website you often see running listed as a hobby.
We wanted to move up to 4 dogs and keep working with Pumpkin and Jack up front today, but we didn't want to ad too much speed and power as to make things uncontrollable again. So We decided to put two yearlings in wheel. We headed out of the yard with Strider and Doppler.

Pumpkin screwed up at the first turn again to go onto the driveway. That seems to be a real problem for some reason, maybe because it is 90 degrees. We were able to quickly correct that and were soon heading down the trail. Strider pulled like a little trooper again. He is really surprising me in harness. He was a house pet that is kind of pain in the rear end to have in the house, because he is a chewer and wrestles with our other dog all the time. We were hoping he would turn out to be a sled dog. He really is proving himself. He doesn't seem to have the speed and natural athleticism of the other dogs but makes up for it in power and heart.
Doppler is just a yearling, has tons of natural speed and athleticism, but isn't a consistent puller yet. He seems to just ned more time on the trail. He improved markedly from his last run though.
Jack continued to impress, he is learning the "on by" command really well and I was able to discourage him from verring off toward the gut pile (I'll have to go up there on foot someday and remove those) Pumpkin seems to be getting better too. I hape she comes out of her shell a little with us as we run her. She is just a very shy dog. Linda has taken up the challenge of spending time praising her and petting her to get he more socialized.
We gave all the dogs lots of praise after the run.
In the future we hope to either add some more dogs or up the mileage.
We may ad some power on out next run monday by putting Ruger on the team.


Anonymous Alaskan Malamutes said...

LOL, but isn't life always like that. BTW I have been trying to find a good alaskan malamute dog do you have any ideas? Nancy

March 31, 2006 at 6:52 PM  

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