Monday, May 30, 2011

This little guy got caught inside our screened in porch, and I had to take a towel and gently catch him. I escorted him out and released him, and he seems to be a lot less afraid of me. At times he will hover 5-10 feet from me before feeding. Nature is awesome!

This little girl is a cutie pie! Despite her younger air-headedness, she is actually a quick learner. She is housetrained now, and has learned the basic show command for free baiting. Getting her to stand still, however, is still a bit of a challenge. She's a wonderful girl with a very happy personality, and I think she will do very well in shows. Her gait looks great so far, especially her rear gait, and her front gait is in-line as it should be. Her conformation appears excellent so far, and her striking markings give her a rare appeal. Hopefully she will make her points quickly, because I can tell already her true love is going to be racing.

So, as an experiment, I took a look at the bone structure and gait of all the top racing dogs I could find good pictures and examples of on the net (and still doing so as research in to what structure appears to be the best for racing, other factors will be considered as I have a much better idea what structure to strive for). So far, Princess appears to have the ideal structure for a racing dog. Slightly less angulated shoulder with a more angulated but balanced rear, and same length as height (Siberian standard is well laid back shoulders which means more front angulation, and moderate angulation on the rear, which means the bisecting line hits the front of the toes. Length is slightly longer than height). With Princess' angulation on her rear and her 'square' measurements it makes it hard for her to trot with the right gait, and she has a 'prance' to her front feet to be sure they don't get hit by her rear. While this makes for awkward trots, it gives her a huge advantage at a lope. With her lean tuck-up, she's able to put her front feet ahead of her shoulders, and with her less angulation on the front, her frontal impact is less pronounced.

This structure is very prevalent in the top racing kennels that I've examined so far, and appears to lend itself to less injury as I focus on the dogs that complete distance races. Incidentally this also makes for ideal sprint dogs as they don't like to trot, but to lope or run. It is a beauty to watch Princess run. She easily leaves the other dogs behind who want to chase her. Knowing what I know now, I'm very happy she turned out the way she has, and I'm hoping someday she will be well known as one of the foundation of our racing line.

I've seen the debate on line that not enough Siberian breeders are breeding Siberians to be fast, and I agree. In order for our chosen breed to progress in the racing arena, something needs to be done to improve them. I'm really hoping we can continue to do this, and I really hope I can visit other racing Siberian kennels that do well with speed. I'd really like to see the breeders who care about speed and endurance form an alliance of breeders so that information and improved gene pools can be shared. Trying for improvement is never an easy or fast process, and hopefully together we can put Siberians back in the forefront of racing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breed Standards Seminar and Sweet Sorrow

Friday evening we bid farewell and good life to Sahara, our happy little dancing, food dish puppy. She is doing great in her new home, but I miss her silliness already. She has a great new friend (a red and white malmutexhusky boy) which she plays and cuddles with along with two wonderful children to be part of her people pack and to grow up with.

I am so very happy for her and for her new family, but at the same time, I always wish I could keep them all.

Saturday morning, Princess sniffed all through the house, whining at me and letting me know a puppy was missing. I tried to explain it to her, but I don't think she believed me. I gathered her, her crate and her grooming table up anyway, and headed out to the Breed Standards Seminar.

The seminar was awesome, and I learned a lot about what goes in to a breed standard and why, and how it applies to a dog. We learned how the bone structure of a dog affects its movement, and why particular movements are written in to the breed standards. It was a really great seminar and I'm very grateful to Laurin for putting it on! With this knowledge I'm now much better equipped to evaluate our future breeding program and how to choose pairings far more carefully to achieve the best results.

Princess was ecstatic to be with people and dogs for over 8 hours. She lives for this stuff, and loved the attention. She's such a wonderful personality. However, evaluating her with the newfound knowledge, I can see why she doesn't conform enough to the standard to win in her class. So she is being retired to the sled team where she still excells, as now I know why she was built for speed and can run so fast! She may miss showing, but will be twice as thrilled to make every race. In a way this makes me happy to know that she is sound enough to be a foundation of our racing stock if not our show lines.

Sunday was again rainy (Saturday too, but we spent the day inside on purpose), and I woke with a slight migraine. So instead of the flurry of activity I had planned, I ended up nursing my headache to prevent it from getting any worse. This turned out to be a good thing, as I was contacted by a person looking for a husky pup, and we had one left to find a good home for. Little River, my small cuddler and swift runner is a very special, smart, loveable little girl, so I was very cautious talking to them, but the more we spoke the more my fears were put to rest. She had read a lot about the breed, knew their flaws and their good points (which to some people are flaws, but to me makes them the best breed ever), had a fence and kids old enough to not be knocked over by an enthusiastic pup, but young enough to still want to play with and be active with the puppy. After a good exchange, she agreed to come by, meet River and her parents, and make her final decision.

River took to them right away, coming up and happily licking hands and faces without reserve, as if she knew she was meant for them. The children too, took to her, and it was obvious by all their faces the match was made.

So with happiness and sorrow in my heart, I said good-bye and happy life to my little River. It was an eventful weekend full of the good things, even the ones that make you sad, a sweet, sweet sorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Interesting Times

So, we hit an all time record flood level Tuesday. This is what our highest road out of our area looked like. Seeing that, there was no question that the other roads towards town were flooded, so we buckled down, gathered the dogs and spent the day inside carefully watching the creek. Fortunately this pic represents the highest the water got before receding.

This morning at 5am, Demon began licking my face and hands. I told him 'no' and growled to let him know to leave me alone, but he kept nudging me with his nose and licking me. Bandit, with his back to mine and his head next to me, growled too, but Demon continued to bother me, which was unusual for him. Normally one 'no' would put him off and he'd go howl forlornly out on the back porch.

So I sit up and look around only to find little Sahara dancing around my room with her tail wagging a mile a minute. Demon had to let me know the puppies had gotten loose and were terrorizing him and the big dogs. So I had to rescue him from becoming a chew toy.

May you live in Interesting Times!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Of Puppies, Rain, Mowing and other world events.

For forty days and forty nights... well it seems so anyway. My rain guage topped out at 6" of rain several days ago. This and the fact I had a flat tire on my lawn tractor has made for an interesting jungle of grass and weeds on our 3 acres of cleared land, and very happy trees on the other 4 acres.

My husband finally got the tire fixed, so I went out to mow the lawn only to have the rain fall again. Saturday I finally finished the front and back, and got about another .75 acres mowed of side yard just in time for it to rain again Sunday. So, no weed and feed, or ant and grub control has been put down as yet. The good news is, all the rain has given me time to spend cleaning up mud... good news? hmmm...

Saturday early, it was 37 degrees, and the dogs were all hyper, so I decided to work out some of the excess energy from Bandit and Bucky. I harnessed them up by 7am then realized my tires were low on the bike. Searching did not turn up the pump, so I ensured the tires were inflated enough to handle my weight, hooked up the boys, and was on down the road before 8. On the corner after the bridge a new family had moved in with an ornery pit bull mix that came rushing out aggressively and unfettered towards my boys. This made me mad, and I looked that dog in the eyes, pointed to it and screamed "NO!" Meanwhile Bucky thinks it's social hour and wants to go see the new dog. Fortunately the other dog got the message and stayed at least ten feet away from us as I finally convinced the boys is was more fun to continue down the road than to stare down the new dog. We were followed and barked at, but the new dog did not come any closer than ten feet from the boarder of its yard. Problem was we would have to go by him again on the return trip.

We went just over a mile and turned around, and on the way back the pit bull mix's attention was more on me than on my boys as he raced along the boarder of his yard but did not follow when I told him "NO!" again. That was a mild relief, and I'm hoping there won't be future issues, but this puts a serious damper in my training route. If I can't go that way any more for fear of a fight, I will not be able to train from our house any longer. As a full-time engineer that ends up having to work a lot of overtime, this is a very serious bummer, but hopefully the county land will be of great assistance to me once I have the chance to explore its boundaries.

I've also been able to spend some time playing with and training puppies. There is nothing so fun as working with young siberian puppies! It's very hard to get them to sit still long enough to learn something, but that is part of the fun. Their joyful exhuberance and intelligent curiosity are amazing to watch and impossible to control for long. Above is about the level of activity I strive for before beginning a very short training session. Note the temporary pose of depleted energy while the curious mind is working a mile a minute? Yup.

Worked on the outdoor puppy kennel as well Saturday morning, and I can tell you with experience that mixing and pouring your own concrete really sux. I know I have to finish what I started, but now that I've put in 60lbs, I'm ready to call a contractor, too bad that is out of my budget planning for now... sigh. I'll probably put in another 60lbs whenever it isn't raining this week. Are we beginning to see a pattern here?

While the world turns on and news reaches us of the demise of Osama bin Laden, I have to go back and think of where I was during September 11th, 2001, and the chilling reality which pulled me from my deer stand and into a realization that nothing would ever be the same again. Rather than dwell on this event, I will simply salute those active and veteran service members who defend our freedoms. May this always remain a free country.