Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Morning Dog Routine
Dog activities begin at between 7:30 and 8:00AM be it rain, shine, snow, sleet or storm. The first thing on the list is feeding. Tukisi begins the anticipatory screeching that he does so well, the minute he hears the front door of the house close behind me. Most times, he's the only one uttering a sound. Well, I do what shouldn't be done and feed him first just so I don't have to hear that awful sound any longer. But first, the food must be mixed in the dog food shed. Currently, there are three different types of food being fed. I feed Redpaw feed in different varieties for different dogs.
At this time of year, dogs with average metabolisms get a straight 32/20 kibble(32% protein and 20% fat). Some get a little more or a little less at each meal based upon their need. Dogs with extremely high metabolisms get a mix of 38/25 and 32/20 kibble. Right now those dogs consist of a few of my intact males; Phoenix, McKenzie and Zodiak. The third mix is for those dogs with lower metabolic rates. Tuki and Isis are older with thyroid problems so they get a mix of 26/18 and 32/20 kibble. I would prefer to feed entirely 26/18 so they get more food and feel more full, however their primitive systems don't do well on straight 26/18 so they just end up getting the mix and less of it.
When their water buckets aren't frozen, I dry feed. They each get their scoop of food in some special place in their kennel, typically in or on a dog house to keep it off the ground. This seems to slow down their tendency to gulp their food, thus diminishing the potential for stomach bloat, because they have to pick around for each piece.
While the dogs are eating I reenter each kennel to do the poop scooping. Its the scatology part of having sled dogs and you get an awful lot of working experience with it. No one said it was a glamorous lifestyle!
All buckets are checked to make sure the water is full from the evening feeding before then play time begins. Spending time in each kennel, I make sure that each dog gets special attention, or try to as they buzz around chasing, spinning, jumping, rolling on the ground and so on. They seem to be warming up for their afternoon romp in the yard. When leaving each kennel, attention is paid to each latch and clip. These dogs have been know to spring themselves free from their kennels if their latch isn't clipped.
Its the very best way I can think of to start each day. Then after about an hour, its time to say good bye so their food can settle and the musher can get some of that money making work done to support the crew until the afternoon arrives and then more dog fun begins and on to the evening feeding.