Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24th Puppies

The puppies keep growing, and their personalities are becoming more and more individualistic.

Silver has learned to sit and stay seated while being petted! A big breakthrough for our 120mph girl! She will only jump now if another puppy is jumping. They all know better, but their enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of them. We gently remind them by holding them in a sit position while petting them, and they quickly remember the drill. Silver loves to play with Face, and they pal around nearly all the time. She has one habit of tipping the trash can first thing when she gets in to the kitchen. So, we have to rush in before her to prevent the potential disaster. She still zooms around the house at top speed, and all the puppies love to give chase. Although with their size, this can be rather dangerous to on-lookers. :D She is a very curious pup and will get in to anything that looks or smells interesting. I know it is a sign of intelligence but shoo can she sure run us in circles! She is always ready to play with something, though, so it is easy to distract her curiosity.

Face isn't as picky with his associations, and will romp with any of the puppies. He's a pretty big boy, so has no fear of any. He is still my little gentleman, and will sit calmly waiting for treats or attention. If he doesn't get them, though, he has the cutest little howl-whine that he employs to melt even the toughest heart. He is so soft and cuddly, it is just so hard to resist. His markings are also very striking, a large white blaze covers most of his forehead, but his eyes have a dark gray mask breaking up his pure white face. The dark gray picks out his startlingly light blue eyes, and makes them almost hypnotic. He loves to follow me around when the other puppies are occupied doing other things. He also whine-howls intermittently when I first get home to try to come and see me, or get me to let him out so he can get some cuddles.

Most of the puppies will let us know now when they need to go out, but a couple still need to learn, and have to be watched while indoors. Cat is one of the pups that is housetrained and will come to me and whine, then run to the enclosure to let me know he needs to go out. He is such a good boy! He loves to cuddle in my lap when I sit down and nothing satisfies him when he wants a cuddle but to be in my lap being hugged. He too has a very soft coat which is a pleasure to pet and hold, so he usually gets his way. Cat is a very big boy though, probably the second biggest after Elvis, but definitely heavier, although he pales in comparisson to Xena. He is all solid where Elvis is more legs. Cat and Flakes are almost always together, and I certainly hope they remain together.

Flakes is a cuddle bug, much more so than Cat, but he is content to be anywhere near me as long as he is getting petted or hugged. Flakes is not quite as good about being indoors as Cat. He will sit at the enclosure for a moment, but if no one lets him out, he will try to find the nearest training pad, but won't always make it. He's still quite young though, and we are still working with him on that. He has a very soft coat and contrary to his stern looking features, he's a happy go-lucky goofball.

Buck is much like Xena in that he doesn't like heights. He loves to be cuddled with all four feet on the ground or in your lap, but goes all stiff when picked up off the floor. Of all the puppies, he looks the most like Yukon except he's tan and white instead of gray. He's a very handsome boy in other words. He is also slowing down on his growth to the point where he is beginning to look very positive for a conformation prospect. Meaning, unlike most of the puppies, he looks like he will be about middle ground on the size standard, and I expect him to reach between 50-55lbs. Him and Brownie/Kirby are the smallest pups in Freya's litter. Though Buck is shorter than Face, he has a heavy bone structure, but a lean whip-like frame like his father. This shape has made Yukon incredibly fast, so I expect that Buck too will be gifted with extraordinary speed for his size. His light color coat and crystal blue eyes make a striking combination, and he is all-around a handsome pup. He's next on my socialization list, so we will see how he is with strangers.

Brownie (nicknamed Kirby because he is our adorable little red puff-ball) is quite the character. Round about 3am every morning, he feels it is his honorbound duty to give me a face-bath. He will stop at nothing to make sure my face gets cleaned at that hour. No matter how many bungee cords, tiewraps, gates, boards, mesh wire, fences, doors, etc that are in his way, he will find some way to get to me. Sometimes I think a better nickname for him would be Houdini. He is always so happy to see me though, I can't even begin to get angry with him, and patiently let him finish his task before rising and playing with him a little before putting him back. I know I'm a sucker sometimes, but he's just so darn cute! He's incredibly intelligent and there is mischief in his eyes 24x7. He is also very curious, even more so than Silver, but he's quicker to figure out what he can and can't get away with. He would be a fantastic obedience/rally pup let alone his conformation as he is so focused on praise as reward. This boy could probably learn more than the 1000 tricks that poodle has. I swear if he could talk, he would, and it would be the best stand up comedy act you have ever heard. He loves to hear laughter, and sometimes I think he does his antics just to hear us laugh.

Xena is our shy child. She startles easily and doesn't like to picked up by anyone but me. She used to not like that until she learned that she was a lot more safe in my arms than on the ground. She still is too afraid to go down the porch stairs, but when it comes to tussling, she has no fear whatsoever. She'll even try to play with Demon and Yukon, even grumpy old G'Kar. She will initially jump up to get my attention, but as soon as I turn to her, she will shyly sit down and nuzzle me for petting. She is also a very smart girl, and I'm hoping she will become more confident as she matures. Thinking about it, it would probably be a good idea to start working obedience with her one-on-one to give her that confidence. Xena will probably be our heftiest pup, as she has the incredibly strong and stocky build of Demon yet the large size of Yukon. For a female, she is going to be close to 60-65lbs or more, which is incredible for a Siberian let alone a female Sibe. Maybe being shy for such a large girl is a good thing?

Elvis is still our side-burn adorned love-bug. He always wants to be out with the people and being held, cuddled or petted is his bread and butter. He would sleep with me if I let him, although I don't think he would find any room between Samantha, Freya and Demon who all like to cuddle up with me. Did I mention I'm a sucker for a pretty Sibe? Elvis has one drawback, he thinks all treats are for him and sometimes takes exception to another puppy eating one near him. I usually separate him from the rest of the pups now when he gets his treats. Elvis is Moon's enforcer. As the largest puppy (as in tallest, not heaviest), he is apparently the most intimidating, and Moon will hang out with him all the time. Any puppy that doesn't respect Moon's authority has to deal with her and Elvis at the same time. Fortunately, Moon's demands are small, she wants to have fun, all the time except when she is eating or sleeping. She is a very happy girl and all the puppies are happy to follow her lead.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23rd Jim and Demon

Demon is finally coming to Jim to be petted. This has made Jim very happy. He's a great dog, and having two people he can trust makes me feel good.

Now that I'm over my excitement for finding some records of the boys' past, it has opened more questions than it has answered. There are large gaps in the pedigree, and I'm curious where those ends lead. I guess this is what some folks go through finding their ancestry, hoping that records are correct. For instance the Seppala line seems to have been solid up until the 70's, then that identification seems to have disappeared from their line. Were they still of Seppala breeding? Meaning were they still kept relatively true to the Seppala line? What kennels were involved in their pedigree since? Were they kennels or puppy mills? At least one leg of their pedigree was kept fairly true it seems, but what of the others? Out of 4 grandparents only one has traceable origins to Togo and some of Seppala's imports. What of the other 3? It will be cool to see if those gaps are filled in during the coming years.

I also find myself a little sheep-faced, as I thought Samantha would have had a more impressive pedigree than the boys. But there is even less information on her than them. She's beautiful, though, and I wouldn't trade or sell her for the world.

Demon and Yukon

Demon and Yukon are brothers, so this pedigree works for both. Holy cow! Someone finally entered the pedigree in Paw Village today!
These boys are the real Seppala deal! From Igloo Pak and Vanka and Sky of Seppala! I knew in my heart they were, simply because of their excellence in my team!
Samantha's Grandparent (Rowan Sojourner Red) pedigree:
It makes me very happy to know their origins and makes them that much more special to me. I love my fuzzy kids!

Monday, February 22, 2010

February 22nd Of Mystery Pedigrees

I've been doing a lot of thinking about these wonderful dogs, Yukon, Samantha and Demon. As some of you out there already know, their former musher and the person who originally purchased them died, and much of their history has been lost to the winds of time. The man's son told me that they were expensive, $1500 dollar dogs, but I didn't care, I loved them at first sight and he sold them to me for $100 each so I wasn't sure of their value only winning their love and giving them a good home for the rest of their lives.

But now that they have grown to be a part of our family and have had a litter of which we are keeping two pups, I am again curious of their origins. My only clues were their three generation pedigree which included several names of "Hilltop", and the breeders' names which I have been unable to locate on line. I'd like to post up the pedigree and if anyone has information on the origins of these dogs, I would greatly appreciate it. Regardless of information, they are priceless to me and will always be a part of our home and our first mushing team. :)

I will post up the pedigrees when I get home (I have them on a spreadsheet). Thanks for any information anyone may have.

February 22nd Busy Weekends!

This was the first weekend I had free since we bought the new loft barn/shed. Consequently, we spent all day Saturday going through all the junk we have been storing in the living room in anticipation of getting more storage room. After that was cleaning what was left, vaccuuming the floor and steam vac the room. The house looks 100x better now without the clutter! Since everything we were storing went out in to the barn, I ended up cleaning that out Sunday and re-arranging all the dog training gear.

It was a nice balmy 50 degrees, and I took Samantha for a walk only to find several places where deer have been bedding down on our land. Samantha was overjoyed, and rolled in or marked every one of them she could find. Wonder if they will come back?

Moon is becoming a house-dog, and has claimed Valkrys' old bed. Since Freya picks on her if they are both in the yard together, we have had to separate them by bringing Moon in when Freya is out, and when we have to let Moon out, we bring Freya in. Moon is the leader of the puppy pack, and we think it is Freya trying to assert her dominance over Moon. She hasn't hurt the pup, but she sure creates a ruckus, as when Freya pins Moon, all the dogs howl and scream. It's so loud, I'm sure I could probably hear it in the next county!

Moon is a cutie, and I had her out Sunday morning on the long lead teaching her the command "Come". It didn't take her long to get the idea, and hopefully she will remember it when it is important. I did have to stop her from digging at the fence (thanks Samantha...) a couple of times, but I think she was more interested in digging for grass roots? Not sure what she finds appetizing about them...

I was even able to get James out to help scoop Sunday, a feat that is becoming more difficult as days go by. Wonder if I could trade him in for a student boarder who doesn't mind scooping in exchange for food and board? heh.

Somehow in all the fuss, I've lost track of the joiners for the gridwall we used in the store we used to own. I had hoped to use it as a rack for the mushing gear, but am at a loss as to where I put the joiners... sigh.

Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19th Elvis

Elvis is our biggest puppy and he knows it. He stands a good two inches taller at the shoulder than the nearest size pup. He is going to be a very big boy, but he is such a sweetheart with me. He loves sitting beside me with his front paws on my leg, leaning in to me and getting his belly rubbed and ears scratched. He's very loving towards people. Unfortunately though, he is starting to bully the other puppies for their treats, particularly Face who is also a big puppy. So it is time to get an enclosure set up for Elvis where he can be on his own when he and the other puppies are being fed treats.
Elvis came to visit today, Jim brought him and he was a bit shy at first, but also began to warm up to people as he realized they were good folks who wouldn't eat him. He played in the snow outside, chased a couple of leaves, got scared by the cat, ate some roast beef and slept a little. After just over an hour, Jim took him home to the comments of "Elvis has left the building".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18th Puppies and Plans

Christmas (the center gray and white) will be headed for her forever home on the 26th. I will miss her, as she is always a sweet, calm and loving girl, and one of the best housetrained after Princess. So we are making plans and arranging what we will take with her to meet her new family.
When I come home from work, Christmas is one of the puppies that howls until she gets petted and cuddled by me. She sticks to me like glue when she is out of the puppy enclosure, and follows me around like another shadow (along with G'kar and Samantha). She's a smart little girl and loves her toys. She will play with them for up to an hour in the crate at a time before falling asleep.
We also received an inquiry about the puppies today that hopefully will result in placing another pup in an experienced and loving home. It will be very hard for me to say goodbye to my babies.

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 15th Music City Challenge and More.

Friday night I unloaded the truck and loaded up the things we were taking to Murphreesboro. Saturday bright and early (5am) we loaded the last few things, Face and Brownie and headed on down. With the pups, it took us about 5 hours with rest stops for Brownie and Face. The pups loved the truck ride and walks in strange new places. It took us some time to locate the race area though, and without Julie's help, we probably wouldn't have found it.

Once we arrived though, the two pups were frightened of the other dogs and all the strange people. So we sat apart from most of the crowd, taking in what we could, taking some pics, and having a decent time while comforting pups. Brownie, after a time, began enjoying himself. Face, though was still rather uncertain about it all.
It was rather cool (for Tennessee), the temperature dropping down to 34, and there was quite a wind blowing. The pups were
fine until the clouds covered the sun, then they started to get a little chilly, so we packed up around 12:25. There was only the 6 dog classes left to run by that time. Being in its first year the race was kind of small, but hopefully more folks will be out next year.
It was really interesting to see the rigs, each one was different, and it was good to see what was available and what other mushers had come up with.
The only downside of the trip was when there were a few folks gathered around after it had started to get cold, and Face I guess was still frightened and growled at someone. We really need to get the pups more socialized and get them used to being touched and handled by other people. Out where we live, there aren't a whole lot of people, but this was enough to tell me that we needed to do a lot more to ensure the pups are well-socialized, and be careful about how they are socialized.
Julie met us at the event, along with our company newsletter editor, Missy and her daughter. They met the pups, watched some of the races and took pics.

It took us five and a half hours to drive home, mostly because Face and Brownie decided that they didn't want to poop when they were walked, but in the back of the truck... sigh...ah well, such is living and traveling with puppies.
Sunday, I spent five hours driving in rebar and cleaning the dog yard. My efforts to ensure Samantha (the mouse) would not escape proved to be in vain when she got loose this morning... sigh. 60 rebar rods later and she still worms her way out of any slight opening in the fence. Guess it is more days on the cable run for her until I get the fence all lined with bricks.

Ace went with us to the Tractor Supply, where we met the owner of a Siberian Kennel in Georgetown. She is a very nice lady and had a beautiful girl with her who had won last year's open. She told me there was an event in Louisville next month, and two SHCA special events as well. Since I will be entering Princess in conformation classes in preparation to show, she suggested it would be a good idea to attend. I quite readily agreed with her, and will be making preparations to attend those shows.

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12th Ace's day at the office

Today Ace came to work with me for some socialization and show off time. She was shy at first and scared, but warmed up after a time to greet people with tail wagging and husky smiles. To help socialize her, I asked my co-workers to give her treats and pet her which they were more than happy to do. She was quickly a star and got lots of compliments. All this excitement, though, tired her out and she was out cold by 10am when Jim came to collect her.

Getting prepared to head down to the Music City Dryland Challenge race tomorrow. Will probably just hang out and meet people, mostly because I ended up spending money on a new shed instead of a race-legal rig. The 6 dog drop did arrive, along with the new collars for demon and Yukon, but not in enough time to get in a lot of training. The bike I have is good for single dog training, but is probably unsafe for racing, so I'll have to skip this race, but I do want to watch at the very least, and possibly help out if needed.
The good news is that I have enough money saved up for a new bike at least for the next dryland race that happens to be close enough for me to get to.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 10th 3am alarm!

I know now that none of us will ever sleep through the smoke alarm. If the sound of the alarm wasn't enough, 17 dogs howling and screaming is enough to wake the dead! Fortunately it was a false alarm, as one of our sensors seems to be malfunctioning. Goodness what a racket, though!
With the trip to NC and the sheer volume of work caring for puppies on top of a 40+ hour workweek I don't think I'll be racing this weekend, or if I do it will only be for fun. Too worn out and not enough training in. I do think, though, I'lll head down with a couple of puppies and day-trip it. Elvis and Xena will probably be my two candidates. Going to have to plan carefully and take food, water, samples, paperwork, treats, kennel, leashes, bowls, etc. Should be a blast, and hopefully make some new friends and find the two pups some good homes with mushers or people who want to get in to dog powered sports.

Monday, February 8, 2010

February 8th What an Adventure!

Ran into this blizzard on my way down to NC Friday. What a doozy! As you can see it left snow and ice all over the highway. It was rough going and I was delayed in my arrival time by about an hour and a half. That would have put me in to Raleigh at rush hour and I certainly did not want to drive up highway 1 with a trailer during rush hour, so I went straight to the house. Spent a cold night in my cozy sub-zero sleeping bag and was warm as long as I kept the zip in liner on top of me. I'm a restless sleeper
though and ended up cold a couple of times after rolling over.

Saturday started out at 430am for me, and I got up in the cold, dressed, and drove down to the IHOP next to the U-Haul. Had a nice big breakfast with extra pancakes and lots of coffee to fuel me up for the day. Ended up having to wait an hour for the U-Haul to open up, picked up the trailer, and headed back to the house.

Jeff, my former neighbor pitched in a good deal in helping me load all the heavy stuff, and I was very greatful for his assistance. He and Lynn have been great neighbors, and I'll miss them. We got everything out of the shed, and the house, and the pavillion I had stored under the house. All this before 6pm! I met my brother and his wife at the Ale House, and we had dinner. After a salad, steak and mashed potatoes, we went to my brothers house where we visited for a time while watching the Eukenuba dog show on TV. I really love my brother's house, it is built to resemble a Swiss Chalet with log cabin flavor inside, and it is beautiful. My brother let me sleep in the guest/grandkid bedroom, and I was off on the road by 715am back to Kentucky. One of the sights I drove by was Pilot Mountain in NC.

It was a gorgeous drive with lots of great scenery, but after 10 hours, I was ready to sleep again.

Got back just after 5pm and as soon as I walked in the door all the puppies began howling for my attention. G'Kar kept barking and barking. Samantha kept whining and pawing me to make sure I was really there and the boys and Freya were so excited to see me. I spent some time with each of dogs, the pups, the boys and Freya .

Princess yowled and yowled until I held her, Freya, Christmas and Elvis laid on my boots, Silver, Face, Cat, Buck, Xena, Moon, Brownie, Ace and Flakes rotated sitting in my lap. The boys kept trying to push puppies out of the way to see me fairly unsuccessfully until I stood up and went to give them hugs. I missed all my puppies, young and old. I pulled out a few choice tidbits from the truck, my suitcase, and pillow before collapsing on the couch with a beer... ahhhh....
This morning was business as usual and back to work.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February 4th Road Trip

Going to head down to NC tomorrow and clear out the last of our stuff from the house down there. This should be the last trip, and I'll kind of miss the old place with the beaver pond and the otter family. Had many many days of wandering through those woods, watching the otters play, the woodducks, the grey herons, mallards, raccoons, rabbits, foxes, deer and turkeys. We lived there from Sept 1996 until Jan 2009. It was a lovely hide-away in the RTP area, a rare find in that overgrown population. But the economy downturn and the looming bankruptcy of a corporation that had been in operation for almost 100 years made it impossible to stay. But I have to say, if it hadn't, I would not have been able to purchase this farm, nor obtain these wonderful dogs.

Xena in the pic above is another wonderful pup for sale. She is a hefty girl who is apparently afraid of heights. She will love on you gently, and almost never jumps up, paws or nibbles. She loves attention, but isn't over exuberant in her return of affection like some of the other pups. She is a bit shy, but would be great for an experienced owner. She promises to be a pretty big girl, but she is very smart and picks things up quickly. She would do great in obedience and would probably be a strong puller. She's not quite as agile as Princess, but she makes up for it in sheer brawn.
She has a bit of a mischievous streak to her, but that is part of what makes her an unique personality. She doesn't seem as overly active as most husky pups, IE she isn't racing around the yard at top speed most of the time, but plays regularly with the other pups, so is very well socialized with our other huskies and our family. If you are interested in purchasing Xena, please contact me for further details.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 3rd Panic

Last night, Moon was missing for several hours. We still have no idea where she was, but she showed up back in the puppy enclosure inside the house sometime around 10:30 pm. From the time I got home until I went to bed we searched for her, calling her name, canvassing the area with headlamps and flashlights. We thought we had lost her. Thank goodness she came back from wherever she was. She and Princess will be micro-chipped ASAP. She has learned how to wiggle under the fence after digging a slight indentation (thanks Samantha....) She's young enough not to cause any problems, but could easily be picked up since she is very friendly. So we had our big scare over losing her, but all is back to normal today (except that Jim took Moon with him when he took James to college and to the feed store. She was a big hit at the store and a bigger hit at the McD's he stopped at the drivethrough for breakfast).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2nd Meltdown (the snow that is)

This is a typical pose for Elvis. He is a very laid back, easy-going pup, even though he is the biggest of the litter. A gentle giant is he, and always up for a cuddle. Any time I sit in with the puppies, he is either in my lap or lying with his head on my lap. He is such a sweetheart! If he's feeling lonely, he will half yowl-howl (sounds sort of like "yawooool-uh", a long pause to listen and then again) until someone comes to pet him. If no one comes after a while, he'll jump out and look for someone to cuddle with. He gets along great with all the pups and has patience to spare, but when he wants to run, he can race the wind!

Elvis is a great pup, and it will be a sad day for us when he finds a new home and a lucky new owner. He would be good for nearly any home that can take care of a husky's needs. He has a 'soft' mouth when taking treats, and rarely paws or jumps up. Did I mention he loves to cuddle? He's such a handsome boy too, and he is showing one of the unusual traits of his line, freckles. Freckles, soulful blue eyes, charm and a good singer, yup, that's our Elvis.

The snow has once again melted away... sigh... This weather is getting crazy. -2 to 40 in 3 days. What is this world coming to?

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1st Chill Factor!

We finally got some snow Saturday, but the front moved south and away from us too quickly and all we ended up with was just over an inch. :( What a terrible year for snow. Good thing we have another two months to get some. Temps sure have been cold enough though. Saturday night it was -2 F, and this morning it was 6.

The puppies have finally learned to go outside, and we have finally been able to pick up the training pads. The only time they have problems is when they get out of the enclosure and run around the house. We keep a few pads down for those times in their favorite areas to sniff. If Samantha wouldn't keep trying to get out, we could take down the enclosure during the day, but alas, she still has wonderlust, even though we've been taking her for long walks 3-4x every day.

Due to a mixup between Jim and I we still don't have our kennel site up, but I'll be working on it this week. There I'll have a profile of every dog and every puppy, pics and highlights for each.

A reminder we have 9 puppies up for sale, some very loving and loveable pups with excellent personalities, some with show, all with sledding potential.

Today I'll talk about Ace. She's the red and white in the above pic and has very pretty crystal blue eyes. She is one of the pups up for sale, and I'm sure it will be tough when she goes to a new home. She is all energy, but loves to cuddle too. Ace is the one that loves to greet me at the door when I come home from work. She also loves to jump in my lap and lick my face when I spend time with the pups. She and Christmas spend a lot of time defending me from all comers as queen of the hill. Last night, she came in to my room and slept on the floor by my bed for an hour (she snuck out of the enclosure while James was sleeping).

She is usually out in the yard racing the big dogs, and man can she run! She's energetic in play, but calms down rather quickly when getting her lovin's. She can be a bit boisterous trying to get your attention, but once she has it, she cuddles up next to you or in your lap. Ace is very smart, but also a bit independant and is happy playing out in the yard for hours. She is equally happy having her belly rubbed for hours though, so an all around great dog for sledding or for an active owner who wants a friend as well. She is probably a little too active (might knock over toddlers in her enthusiasm) for very small children, but would be great with older kids and other dogs. I plan on taking Ace out to other places to socialize her with other people and other dogs. She has all her shots and wormings up to date with AKC papers and vet book.

Since our pups have not been raised around cats or other small animals, it would be best to be cautious introducing them to other animals and teaching the pups to live with them. All of our pups are cuddled and played with most of the day, and have been socialized with our other dogs.