Thursday, December 30, 2004

Best run of year in worst weather.

I had a ten mile run today. It went pretty well. That was the farthest we have gone so far. We did kind of a figure eight pattern on the trails we have been running. I have mixed feelings about how excited to be about this. I still am not really doing what I want to do yet. The goal is to go exploring in the wilderness. Running the same trail over and over again working out kinks is just the lead up to this.
I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Pumpkin still. I guess "hate" is too strong a word. "Love" is too.
Call it a "need/strongly frustrated with" relationship. She has led a 200 mile race before for a top musher. So she knows commands. She still can't seem to get out of the yard half the time and will ignore commands from time to time. Never on the way back though. On the way back she always gets everything 100% right and pulls her butt off to boot. Little details like that frustrate me, when the realization hits that she could do the right thing all the time. I also have no idea what motivates her. She is not at all affectionate. She tolerates being petted. I work on this everyday trying to pet her, but the impression I get is that by letting me pet her she is doing me a favor. She is like "OK. I know that this is about the time you pet me everyday after you pick up poop so I will crouch here and tolerate it"
But I realy do need her because Jack is a yearling and needs to run alongside her and learn. JJ is less reliable and stronger than any other dog on the team so really causes problems, Fir got his leg chomped on and sprained it in a fight with Ruger and is probably out for the season, even though it looks like he will be OK, eventually.

So basically I really really need Pumpkin. I think in retrospect, I should have been a lot pickier choosing leaders. I should have made sure they were dogs I really really liked. I am thinking my leaders should be my favorite dogs of the team. When I think about what Pumpkin is getting out of the deal, I am surprised she listens at all. What does she really gain? Two warm meals a day and a place to sleep? Its not the petting she is after. So I have to give her a lot of credit. I also got her for free. I plan to keep her. One of the sad facts of racing is dogs get passed around a lot. Competitive racers go through a lot of dogs because they want a top team and are always cutting dogs. I have decided to keep Pumpkin for life. Ideally, she will eventually be only a back up leader. I will be leader shopping again this spring when dogs are cheap and plentiful. But I would be lying if I said I was not about to jump out of my skin in frustration yesturday when Pumpkin missed the first turn onto the driveway and pulled the team out into the yard again for the umpteenth time. Jack even looked like he wanted to go the right way. He looked back at me in confusion, but is still not confident enough to correct Pumpkin and yank her in the right direction.
Today Pumpkin pulled the same thing but I had weighted the sled down and was able to stop everything and pull her back onto the driveway. We had one other major screw up a little ways up the trail where Doppler pulled himself out of his collar while he was pooping. He hasn't learned how to poop on the fly yet. Either has Jack, for that matter, which being in lead and putting the breaks on to poop, has even more disaterous consequences.
But the run went well for the most part. They all pulled hard, except for Strider. I had five hooked up: Ruger and Strider in Wheel. Doppler in "swing" or "point" by himself and Jack and Pumpkin in lead.
Strider can't really keep up. His tug was slack most of the way. I was advised to ride the break a little, untill all the dogs are pulling, but to do that with Strider would be way slower than I want to go. He is not fitting in with the team and is just along for the ride. I may try to give him away. He has a lot going for him. He is friendly and very handsome and some people like big dogs. He might be a good skijoring dog for someone or maybe he would fit in on a large malamute team. I don't like the idea of going through a lot of dogs but his situation is a little different than Pumpkins. He is house broken and would make someone a handsome affectionate pet.
The ultimate team as far as power and speed would be Jack and Pumkin up front maybe cruiser, the siberian husky and Doppler in swing and Ruger and JJ in wheel. That would be some serious power, I can always notice a difference with different combos.

Unfortunatley I need to order some more harnesses or repair the two Jack chewed to do this. I am short now.
All in all it was a good run.


Anonymous Alaskan Malamutes said...

Interesting... I am still looking for a great alaskan malamute dog do you know of directory or something?

March 31, 2006 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Alaskan Malamutes said...

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

March 31, 2006 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger George Forgan-Smith said...

Interesting... I am still looking for a great alaskan malamute breed do you know of directory or something?

March 31, 2006 at 10:56 PM  

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