Friday, February 11, 2005

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.

I laid some more track in with my snow shoes. I have three loops now with five different intersections to use to teach turns. It is interesting to observe the mental processes of my two lead-dogs-in-traing, Jack and Doppler, as they learn.

There is one interesection that is especially hard, where the dogs could either do another lap on the main loop or go back to the dog yard. I stood there on the brake at the intersection. You aren't supposed to repeat the command over and over agin for various reasons. It's poor training for them. They should only need to hear it once.

The dogs were stretched out poised right at the intersection. I had given the command for "haw". They seemed to be thinking. I wondered what was going on in their little heads. Was it:
Gee, I'm confused. This Gee Haw stuff is really hard.

or more along the lines of:

Man, he wants us to go around agin? I would rather go back into the dog yard and sniff that bitch that seems to be going into heat. How can I keep the big Guy from raining on our parade? Maybe we can act dumb and look innocent.

I came up with an idea to test my hypothesis that it was the latter and not the former. I reached down and rolled a snow ball and beaned Jack with it. He immediately roused himself and pulled the team left onto the trail.

I am finding that Doppler is really come into his own. He has more of the responsible attitude of a true lead dog. After this snow ball incident he never missed that turn and often either dragged or nudged Jack in the right direction. They hop back and forth over each others backs and may be on different sides when we come to the turn.

On my next run I think I will just work on turns with Doppler and Jack alone pulling an empty sled.


Blogger Annie said...

Yeah, just like a horse. Don't run them too hard in the direction of the barn.

Great writing, Ted. I do enjoy it.

February 11, 2005 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Theo_musher said...

Thanks. Hey could you do me a favor? I lost your link could you post it again?
I want to check out your blog.


February 12, 2005 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Hi Ted,
Sure and thanks.

I know how that is! I lose 'em on a regular basis.

Are you writing any fiction or just technical/religious stuff? How is school?


February 13, 2005 at 7:47 PM  

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