Sunday, March 13, 2011

Iditarod Competitors Grinding Away

The 2011 Iditarod is shaping up with some surprises. Long time competitor, John Baker was the first to reach the Unalakleet checkpoint 5:04 Sunday morning. After four hours of rest and a meal for both dogs and musher, the team headed for Shaktoolik. Baker is struggling fiercely with sleep deprivation.

The weather has been warmer than usual and for many teams the "heat" in the 20 degree range has softened the snow and made it more difficult to sled.

Four time consecutive winner, Lance Mackey, has conceded the race this year after losing a number of his lead dogs to exhaustion, muscle cramps and something he referred to as sled dog myopathy, a condition where the dogs' muscles break down. Mackey is known not only as a fierce competitor, but also for his amazing connection to and care for his team.

Dee Dee Jonrowe, a veteran of 29 Iditarod races is currently in 7th place in the standings having made it to the Unalakleet checkpoint at 11:04 this morning. The 57 year old breast cancer survivor found herself upside down yesterday, pinned under her sled along with an injured dog in water on overflow ice at the Yukon River. She managed to eject herself and the injured dog from the situation, right her sled and make her way to Anvik for an eight hour rest. She arrived there in 14th position with her sled and gear coated in ice. Despite her setbacks, her mostly inexperienced team is considered one of the faster teams in the race.

Here is video of Dee Dee Jonrowe at the start of the race in Willow last Sunday:

Sheepless Herding: Treibball Gaining Popularity

What a great sport to do with a dog.  The cost is minimal (after you convince your dog to quit popping the balls.)  It requires a great deal of teamwork and training the dog for long "go outs," "leave it" commands and directional casts.  Great mental stimulation as well as exercise for a dog.  Check out these videos:

A great training video:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Iditarod Sled Dog Race Underway

In my next life, I want to be an Alaskan musher and run a team of Alaskan Huskies in the Iditarod!

Alaskan Huskies are not the same as Siberian Huskies.  Alaskan Huskies are not a recognized breed by any breed registry, such as the American Kennel Club.  Therefore, the mushers and handlers of these dogs are free to breed for maximum performance--not a breed standard or a certain look.

There are many people who have for decades been decrying the inbreeding that goes on to keep a breed "pure" to a breed registry standard.  (One of my favorite bloggers, Patrick Burns from Terrierman is very outspoken about this.)  Many point out that breeding for a certain look and standard promotes health problems in the breeds. 

Lance Mackey, winner of the last four Iditarods, is show here at last Sunday's restart (the real start of the race) in Willow, Alaska.  Ahead of the team is a trail of over 1,150 miles through breathtakingly beautiful and extremely challenging terrain.  Good luck to all the teams.  May you all stay healthy and safe!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another Tam Update


We used the place command in it's first practical application today. Took Tam in to the vet this morning. I usually have to fight to get her on the scale and to sit still. And then when I'm filling out paperwork I'm usually struggling to keep her close on the leash. Well today it was a "place", "sit", "stay". She did great. Even got a "wow" from the receptionist as I filled out paperwork with my back to Tam, leash loose on the floor.

Thanks for everything and see you Sunday


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tam--Border Collie Lab Mix And Owner James

February 17th
Really happy to tell you that Tam did great today.  We worked some more on leash and she's really getting it down.  There were birds all in the yard, which was great for our distraction training.  We worked some more on the stay, increasing distance and back turned to her while walking away.   Did some off leash work and then some free play time with long distance recalls.   She's really picking up on this quickly.

tap tap
Tam places on a stool in living room
March 2nd
Just wanted to let you know the "place" training is going good.