Monday, August 17, 2009

August 15th

Took Samantha out with the bike. She was very happy to be out with me, but I was a bit disappointed with her pulling. Perhaps it was the new harness? She's been pulling with a cart/drafting harness up until this point, but we got some nice padded x-back harnesses from Mountain Ridge . The people there were really nice btw.

Since it was a new harness, a bike and a single pull instead of with the team, Samantha may not have realized what was expected of her. She did not keep the tugline taught but maybe 100 feet during the .5 miles out, so I turned us around and came back. She did do well turning around though. I'm still wondering if she wasn't injured by her former musher. She did have a patch of rubbed hair on her back, and walked/pulled rather bow-legged even though she did not appear to have any hip issues (I've since had her evaluated by a vet with a clean bill of health and no hip problems). Going in to her fifth month with us, her gait has evened out and become less and less bow-legged and the patch of fur has grown back completely. She is a great dog as a pet, and when in the cart harness with the team, is always pulling. I'll have to wait for it to cool off again to run the team with the new harnesses and gangline to see, but will work with her again. She definitely pulled hard when I was working with her commands on foot.
If we decide to do any kind of racing, though, I'm pretty sure Samantha will probably not make the race team. Demon as well, he's more of a goofball than a puller. Yukon and Freya seem to be my best most eager to run/pull dogs. Freya most of all! After Samantha and I returned, I hooked up Yukon for a run. Man is he fast! He loses a bit of eagerness on the way back. Guess he wants to run further to places he hasn't been. We made record time to the 1 mile turn-around, and it took me a bit to get him turned back around. On the way back, he started out eager enough, but about 3/4 the way back, he no longer seemed interested in pulling, but more interested in exploring. He was good about Leave it, but I ended up telling him this way too many times. Ah well, it is still summer, and we are all still learning about each other and the fun of mushing.
By mid-morning the temps had reached eighty and humidity was climbing, so after watering, and giving snacks to the dogs, we got them inside in the AC, and Jim and I went shopping leaving James to watch the pups. We picked up enough 2x4's and plywood to make a whelping box/house with a removable roof, some stone and sand for the path in the back yard, and some shelving units. By the time we returned, temps were in the high 80's and humidity was 70%, too hot and humid for most outdoor stuff, so we let the dogs out to do business, but kept them in most of the rest of the day.

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