Saturday, May 8, 2010
Canicross 2010; Lake Minnewashta
It was a wonderfully crisp day for our canicross hike; 42 degrees and sunny. "Sunny" was interrupted at the end of the hike briefly by a bit of small hail, of all things! We had been expecting an inch of snow overnight that never came so maybe the hail was a reminder.
Two new "teams" joined us today; Diane and Sierra who is a Siberian Husky and Kristen and Maddy who is a Border Collie mix. Maddy and Kristen actually took the lead. Little Maddy dug in and pulled like a real sled dog! Sierra was a very steady puller and lead Diane through all of the mud holes.
Wimzi was the other half of my team. She's now almost 3 1/2 mos old. At 10 weeks old, we began her puppy socialization class. Having never been to this particular puppy class before, I wasn't aware we would be doing all of the things we do in regular obedience class in addition to lots of socializing, like heeling! Wimzi is a perfect heeler with intense eye contact. I've never trained my puppies to heel before they have been put in harness before and was a little concerned when I put a small harness on her while just the two of us were taking a walk to see if she would do some canicross and pull and she didn't. She was walking on a perfectly loose leash! What the heck? Have you ever heard of anyone complain that their dog didn't pull on the leash? I knew she had it in her. Those pulling genes are there and should be just below the surface. Something had to be done right away to make certain that pulling was reinforced at this young age along with heeling.
Whew, was I relieved to see that when Wimzi saw the others today, pulling in harness and excited about it, a light bulb went off and my concerns melted away as I watched her lunge in the harness to get moving then keep a tight line 90% of the hike. The other 10% was just typical puppy distraction. Thank goodness. I was beginning to think that I should have not deviated from my training routine. It also makes a difference when you have a single puppy versus two who begin to develop a bit of competition and can help motivate each other. Wimzi just has had me and she's been a bit spoiled, I might add.
It was very special to hear Marilyn, owned by Conan the "German" sled dog, say that Wimzi reminded her of Zulu, Wimzi's grandfather. If you recall, Zulu passed away last January and was a very special lead dog. Zulu lives on in Wimzi.
Our hike lasted close to 2 hours and was 4 miles in length. Wooded trails, big lake, a beautiful day and spending time with our furry companions; what a fun morning!