Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday and Sunday Training

Excited happy dogs woke me at 04:30 to go running, but I managed to convince them to wait until 7.  Okay, I ignored their pleadings until 6:30 when it was just starting to get light out.  The morning birds had not woken up yet, and the sounds of crickets and tree frogs were still going strong.  The chirps of sparrows waking peeped softly from the bushes, and fog blanketed the mountains in a gray mist.  Dew shone like diamonds in the light, and glittered on each blade of grass like silver filligree.

Cool 42 degree air invigorated me as I pulled out the cart and wheeled it to the back of the truck.  I looped the tie off around the hitch and connected the quick release to the back of the cart.  I also turned on the tail light I put on it last week since it was still moderately dark.  I then went inside to wake Jim and James and harness up the race team. 

With their help, I put Princess and Yukon in wheel and Bucky and Freya in lead.  This worked out pretty good as then Bucky had no gangline to bite and pull, however, Princess was beginning to rival Bucky's "Wild Man" status, jumping, howling and screaming to get going.  So furious was her antics, she flipped the cart upside down.  As soon as Freya was hooked in, I flipped the cart back over and gave the signal to get clear.  As soon as I hit the quick release and said "OKAY!" Off we flew!

We were over the bridge and rounding the corner in record speed.  Quick as thought, we had already passed the half mile mark, then the three quarter, the mile, the mile and a half and Yukon was beginning to slow.  I gave the command to halt and come around.  Freya executed another perfect come around, and we were off towards home.  Yukon was keeping up, but wasn't keeping his tug tight.  Lights from behind warned me a car was approaching, so I called the over haw and woah.  Locking the break and pulling the team off the road to the left, I waved as my astonnished neighbors drove past.  With no prompting necessary we were off, and Yukon was tight on his tug again.  Praising them we rounded the corner and they ran all the way up the hill to home and I hardley needed to pedal assist.  With this team, I think we will be real contenders.

My training and experiment to get Samantha back in a pulling team has not been very successful.  This morning I put her in single lead with Demon and Ace in wheel.  She must have thought that since she was in single lead that she was in charge and could do whatever she wanted.  So, she immediately wandered off the side of the road sniffing while Demon and Ace ran over her.  Bringing them to a halt, James and Jim helped me sort them out again, and off we went for about a hundred yards before Samantha wanted to sniff something else.  This resulted in another tangle and a little assistance to sort out.

One more time I called the Hike up and this time, she actually got it and loped out in front of Demon and Ace, making it across the bridge, around the corner and up the hill before slowing and slackening her tug.  Encouraging her to keep going, she stepped out again, and though she wasn't pulling, at least she didn't let Demon and Ace run over her again.  We made it to the one half mile mark before meeting a truck coming up the road.  I halted the team and pulled them off the side to let them pass, and Samantha decided she should follow the truck, shrugging, I let her have her way.  Back homewards, she slackened then loped, then slackened, half the time with the neckline of Demon and Ace pushing on her butt, but at least she kept going and didn't end up in a tangle.  Of course without her pulling, this meant I had to pedal the whole way to keep from tiring Ace and Demon too much.  The two of them did fantastic together. 

Half way up the hill, I heard another truck coming up behind, and pulled the team to the side of the road.  Samantha took this as the signal to wander off into the field of our sideyard pulling Ace, Demon, me and the cart behind her.  Of all the times she decided to lean in to her tug!  Grunting in frustration I asked James to get her back on the road so we could get the team back to the driveway and home.  Pushing and steering the cart, we made it back to the house with James practically dragging Samantha with him.

It took me four minutes to catch my breath enough to get the dogs inside and me to face the fact that Samantha just wasn't cut out to be a sled dog.  I'll still take her jogging with me, we both need our exercise, but I think this is the last time I'll see her hooked to the cart.

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