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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Audubon Center of the Northwoods

7:15AM and the dogs are fed in preparation for their day of adventure.

Neil shows our guests how to harness the dogs.

Off we go! Three teams out on the trail.

The log cabin in the background is what we called home during our stay.

Linda's team

Neil and team

Oken and Journey lead the third "team". Dogs were moved in and out of lead and back and forth between teams to make for a more fun experience for them.

Since these were one mile runs, White Feather and Topa, the 6 month old puppies, got to run once in the morning and twice in the afternoon. When they weren't running, they were very upset to left behind.

Topa on her final run of the day.

Points Unknown sled dogs provided a full day of fun for families attending the Audubon Center of the Northwoods holiday family event this week. A presentation was given on Monday evening that included appearances by Ilu and Topa. Tuesday's event began bright and early when we loaded up three sleds and took folks on a mini-adventure around a very scenic, one mile wetlands trail. In all, nearly 60 people got to get a taste of how it is to work with the Points Unknown sled dogs.

What an excellent learning experience for the dogs! They aren't used to such short runs. A total of 12 miles in one day is nothing for them but when you add 12 hook-ups each one half an hour apart and 12 one mile runs, that adds another element entirely. The dogs were noticeably tired half way through the day and it's the mental tiredness rather than the physical tiredness that creeps up on them. Lots of praise helps to recharge them mentally as well as moving dogs around in new positions and next to different dogs. The meat snacks help to keep their physical energy level up. They made it through the day just fine and in spite of the fact that their musher was struggling with a sinus infection. Dogs key off of the mood of their musher many times and I wonder that if this musher had been 100%, how might that have affected the dog's during this long mini-adventure day.

The folks at the Audubon Center were wonderful to work with and the facility was ideal for the dog mushing event planned. Points Unknown returns to the Audubon Center for a Women's Winter Event put on by the DNR's Becoming an Outdoors Women program, the last weekend in February. Won't you join us?

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