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Friday, November 20, 2009

Puppy Fun Run at Nearly 5 Mos Old!

Topa ran in wheel next to Sweet Pea to begin. Sweet Pea is an excellent teacher and Topa fell straight in line while next to her.

White Feather - are you really sure we're ready for this? Zala is not the strict teacher that Sweet Pea is so White Feather began to goof around a bit, going under the line to give her kisses.

And we're off!

White Feather looks back to see what is chasing her.

She stopped "checking in" with Zala under the line and ran on her own side!

After some desired behavior, we praised from the cart then stopped to praise.

White Feather looks back but keeps the line tight. Now next to Sweet Pea, White Feather is given some strict guidelines as to her behavior while working.

Perfect! Looking straight ahead, down the trail and keeping a tight line!

Topa sits to rest after the first half mile of our mile long run.

Our leaders, Phoenix and Journey are exhausted after having to be such good examples for the puppies. This run was a short and successful one! Having been out Canicross Hiking many times prior to their first hook-up, they had some idea of what it meant to be hooked up to the line and they quickly adapted to all the running dogs around them, to being necklined and to being chased!

Phoenix Turns 4 Years Old

Phoenix leans into his harness in lead. He does have ears, however we rarely are able to capture them in the "up" position on film as this docile boy seems to always have them back when we come near with the camera!

Phoenix, a male Hedlund Husky, turned four years old last Wednesday! Time sure flies. I remember him flying to Colorado from Alaska at 9 weeks old, with his brother, Niwot, to friends who then drove them both out to Minnesota in March of 2006. He and Niwot were then the guests of honor at one of our Points Unknown Women's Winter Adventures.

Phoenix showed a strong desire to pull and lead at an early age and has done a super job for us ever since his first year in harness. Mild mannered Phoenix is excellent at socializing our puppies. He lays down to play so they don't feel intimidated. He is a gentle giant at between 70 and 75lbs.

Happy Birthday to Phoenix!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inspiration for the Day

Late Autumn sunrise over Oake Lake

This morning's sunrise over Oake Lake was inspiration for the day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tumac and Hana Update

Tumac looks like sire, McKenzie in this photo.

Nellie, our Journey's sister, joins Tumac.

Hana rests in the morning sun.

White Feather and Topa's litter mates, Tumac and Hana are doing well in their New Hampshire mushing home. At 4 1/2 mos old, Tumac weighed 48lbs and Hana weighed 34+lbs. Tumac stands 24 inches at the withers while Hana stands 23+ inches at the withers.

Tumac is reportedly a big mamma's boy and doesn't let Lidia out of sight. Hana is more independent and a social butterfly.

You can see more regular updates by going to the Uktousa website.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Puppy Update

White Feather and Topa at 4 1/2 mos

Neither was paying attention to my request to get off the couch at the moment so a low loud growl got this reaction.

Topa loves Blueberry

White Feather, who used to be pure white, now has strawberry blond accents in her coat.

This waviness in Topa's coat is nothing I've seen in the kennel. It will be interesting to see how her coat develops in adulthood.

White Feather and Topa are now 4 1/2 months old and are all legs. White Feather appears to be bigger boned than Topa. She is approximately 23 1/2 inches at the withers and 39.6 pounds. Topa is 38 pounds and approximately 24 inches at the withers which is as tall has mom, Tuloon!

If you recall, White Feather had an autoimmune reaction to her first shot that did end with time and holistic therapy. We were concerned about giving her a second shot but knew that it was necessary in order to keep her safe from disease. One week ago today both pups received their second shot. Prior to the shot, White Feather began taking high doses of Ester C and will remain on this dose for two weeks. So far, we have seen no adverse reaction to this shot and the pups are healthy and as active as ever.

Canine Massage Workshop

We'd the ears go? Now this is relaaaaaaxed.

Klaus enjoys his massage

One of the training facilities we attend, Paws Inn Resort and Training, sponsored a Canine Massage Workshop. My only dilemma was who to bring. As the therapist said that evening, this is like "date night" with your dog so to decide who would get this special one on one time was not easy. They all deserve it.

Klaus was the one that stood out as needing some special time. We haven't attended something like this together for a while. When I entered the dog yard with the leash in my hand and said Klaus' name, he began to bounce off the kennel walls with anticipation. I've made a habit out of immediately telling the dogs who I've come in for so that those not going calm down right away. This type of training also comes in handy when trying to extract one dog out of a kennel of several dogs. Each has learned to back away from the gate and let the one I ask for, come out without issue. The command is their name followed by "Out". The same goes for those times when I am asking a particular dog to go in a particular gated area. Then the command is their name followed by "In". This makes them think.

Lately, the names they hear most often have been White Feather and Topa, as their early training is underway. But not this time. Klaus was soooo happy that it was finally his turn.

The workshop was two hours of hands-on canine massage. We learned several different massage techniques that included a warm up and a cool down. We'll try to incorporate both into our training runs and see if there is a difference in their performance. It certainly can't hurt. Looking at Klaus' relaxed face in those photos, they may just decide to go on strike until they each get a full body massage before each run.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Girl Scout Demonstrations

The girls get introduced to the dogs at a distance while we discuss how to properly approach the sled dogs and work with them.

This is what everybody likes the most; petting the dogs! This is White Feather's second event in her young 4 1/2 month old life and she's a natural crowd pleaser.

We hook the dogs up to the four wheeled cart and they stand calmly as we answer questions and talk about the logistics of dog mushing.

The girls then get a chance to harness the dogs. Then we ask them to try and pull the same cart the dogs pulled earlier. We had an eight girl team here. They get to feel the resistance the dogs must pull against so they can appreciate the dogs' hard work.

Not only do they learn how hard the dogs need to pull but they also see how much fun it is for the dogs to work in a team.

Points Unknown offers a wide range of customized, hands on demonstrations and educational workshops. The dogs' favorites in the fall are the demonstrations we do for the Girl Scouts at our local Three Rivers Park District.

We can customize just about any hands-on experience you would like. Just let us know your interest and if it fits our mission, the dogs would love to make it happen!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Puppy Canicross Hike

First hike with both pups on the same line. And off we go....oops, wrong way, Topa!

Alright, now it's White Feather testing her boundaries.

Wrong side of the trail but straight ahead. I'll take it!

It took them a while to figure out to work together instead of against each other on the line.

A much needed waterside break. White Feather is fascinated with the movement of the water. Oh, to be a puppy!

Good girls! Right side of the trail AND straight ahead! White Feather looks back but her line stays tight.

We see our seven juvenile Trumpeter Swan friends on the other side of the lake and they honk and swim towards us as we go by. (Saying to themselves, "what in the world was that?!")

Still on the right side of the trail. Now Topa looks back with a tight line.

Look at those happy girls! They see their friends ahead and are anxious to show them what they can do!

This impressed me. 4 month old pups within feet of their friends behind the fence and still they keep focused and pointed straight ahead. Awesome job girls!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fall Clean Up and Zodiak

Lexy has overtaken McKenzie's dog house

Hailey pulls the straw out of the far reaches of the dog house/play structure

This year, to our amazement, the leaves all fell before the snow came! And, at the same time, we had a wonderful, relatively warm, sunny Autumn day to work outside. This beautiful day was spent raking leaves and old straw out of the dog kennels. We had hoped to run the dogs, however the high was expected to be above 50 degrees. Thankfully, we got a nice night run in the evening before, our trail illuminated by the almost full moon.

Hailey visited the kennel for the weekend and Rich came out to run with McKenzie and Sweet Pea and brought his young daughter along to spend some time with the dogs. Lexy helped rake straw from dog houses and helped keep the other dogs occupied while her dad did a couple runs around the lake.

Rich had been taking Zodiak out for runs but that quickly ended when Zodiak, the strong-willed teenager, became confused about who the boss was and began to act up during a run with the team when Rich was present. This naughty youngster actually thought it was alright to grab me from behind when my back was turned after having just corrected him for biting the line and going bonkers at hook up. We don't do either and the grabbing of the musher from behind is most certainly a BIG "No, No".

As a part of his retraining, Zodiak no longer gets anything for "free". In order for him to get a thing, be it his food, a bone, to run in the team or to be let out of his kennel, he's got to give me something first. Right now, this thing is a sit and a stay until I say otherwise or he gets nothing. At hook-up, we heel to the line and every time he pulls on the leash, I stop. This is taking us a lot more time to do the smallest tasks but it's working and Zodiak's last run was almost flawless. He was a complete gentleman and remained the awesome puller that he is. Until Zodiak proves he can remember that I am his boss, he won't be allowed any special outings with others. He's grounded.