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Old February 6th, 2012, 12:50 AM
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erykah1310 erykah1310 is offline
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What we've been up to

Here's a little photo montage to aid in explaining why I haven't been here. Well one of many reasons, but by far the funnest reason

Its been a busy winter, we have been doing some seriously fun training with the dogs for dog sledding.
We wont be a competitive team but we will no doubt be the fluffiest around.
The 3 TM's and Elmo.

Its been a humorous road to get to where we are ( which in reality isn't that far compared to a few other people in the area who are also recreationally sledding now) however, we have gotten here with out the use of any trained or experienced lead dogs.

Until today I really thought our training and practice was going no where. But today we had a new member join the team. A pretty little standard poodle with more energy than she or her owner knows what to do with. Her owner is an older woman who loves her to death but is having a hard time with her and her energy. Why not help her out and help my team out at the same time right?

Today Maybelle met the pack here for the first time. She fit right in like she has been here a million times. Even Karma took a liking to her which was quite amazing, Karma isn't dog aggressive but can be reactive at times so I take introductions with her a little differently than with the others.

Our first few attempts at sled training was with nothing more than a weight pulling harness and a 5 gallon pail. This was all the equipment we had at the time.

Tibby and Elmo had been sledding a few times at local fun days that were put on over the past couple winters. Tibby was like a born sled dog at the time, she still is, but is by far not a lead dog. She will buckle down and get right to work but is content and most confident in wheel, she doesn't have as much obedience work put into her like the others do so she was my go to girl to get the dogs working out in front of me. Something that is hard for an obedience dog to grasp. Especially Karma.

Karmas first time in a sled harness was this winter, it was the red weight pulling harness and we started off with teaching her to pull.

She has another harness that is used for tracking but she doesn't pull in it, so pulling which has always been a big nay nay around here is now being encouraged.

It took a while to get her to pull, and it was hard to get her up front until I grabbed the coupler and attached Tibby to her.
One or two days of working with the pail and Karma had it down.

Elmo immediately took to weight pulling, anything I ask him to do he does with all that he is. He has more heart and desire to please than any other dog I have ever owned. He can be a bit nervy sometimes though and at the last french ring seminar with him in December I have decided that we will no longer be participating when we fly the decoys in every few months. He loves the sport but as I said is just a bit nervy for it to be as enjoyable for him as it should. He excels in so many other fun things that he can just have fun with those sports instead. I will have my all around/ ring dog one day, no rush.

Here is Elmo showing off his weight pulling abilities.

After the winter is over and it is too hot to do any dry land sled training we will focus on weight pulling for a bit, he really enjoys it.

Elmo's only downfall as a sled dog is the precautions we need to take when the temperatures dip really low... just because its -25 ish outside is no reason to not get out with the dogs so Elmo has his own make shift outfits to wear... or this day as I have lost his head scarf interesting improvisations for outfits.

Clearly the hood wouldn't stay on long, all he had to do was shake and it flew off. So next attempt to protect his ears that day was this...

It was pretty cute and made him look tough but it was no better than his camo hood. We called it quits and just went out anyway, only for a very short session that day.

This was the first day I got brave and hooked everyone up on a home made gang line I brain stormed, I wanted to get them all comfortable with walking ahead of me in pairs.

It looks good in this picture but I assure it did not go smoothly lol.

Marv and Tibby have been pretty active in training as well, but I have been working Elmo and Karma a lot more since Karma is really the brains behind the operation and Elmo sets my pace for the team. Tibby and Marv really only have to follow and pull which doesn't take much work on my part to teach them.
Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways. ~John Wayne

Last edited by erykah1310; February 6th, 2012 at 01:15 AM.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 01:11 AM
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erykah1310 erykah1310 is offline
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Since these pics I have got almost all the equipment needed to dog sled properly. I purchased a sled, a friend made me some gang lines and I am currently borrowing some x back racing harnesses until mine arrive. Which should be any day now... its been over a month since I ordered them.
I managed to get a few videos as I want to look back on them and compare. Even now a month or so into this, today was the first day I thought. "wow they are doing amazing with this" when I introduced Maybelle to the team and saw how she acted and realized that is exactly how my guys acted at one time. I was so proud of them for how far they have come.
This is one of the first ones with a sled
Only Karma was on a harness for this vid, Elmo was just running ahead of her to keep her going. We were flying down the trail ( or so it felt to me at the time) but looking back now, we go a LOT faster than this now but have 4 dogs on harnesses and they know what to do now.

There was a brief skijoring adventure before the sled arrived and I still like to take one or two of them out and skijor with them, it is very relaxing and great exercise for me.
No skijoring pics as all my hands were in use for those adventures.

In closing for this for now, here are a few pics of Maybelle playing with her new pack of friends. Rambo and Tibby didn't come out for this walk, we went out again with them, but that was when Maybelle had gone back home.

A kangadoodle

A flying Karma

Karma showing off what she can do with her tongue

Running wild

Karma showing off her form and stamina

Everyone having fun

Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways. ~John Wayne
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Old February 6th, 2012, 04:31 AM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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oh man, that all looks like so much fun.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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marko marko is offline
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Wonderful pix Erykah
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Old February 6th, 2012, 09:40 AM
Mirela Mirela is offline
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Wonderful pics, Erikah, and it sounds like a perfect mix of exercise and fun for both you and the dogs.
Love the Kanga-doodle -what a good day Miss Maybelle must have had

However - the pic of Elmo with the hood - that one is priceless - poor Elmo - his expression is a perfect mix of shell shock and "you must be @#$@# kidding me"

Last edited by Mirela; February 6th, 2012 at 02:15 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Great narrative and pics, erykah! That kangadoodle pic never ceases to make me chuckle! Or Elmo in his camo attire, but don't tell him I laughed, pls, cuz he looks a little mortified as it is.

I sure do love your fuzzy crew!
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Old February 6th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Erykah, what great pics. I can never get enough of watching your gang at play or work. That said, I don't know why anybody says that poodle has too much energy - I just don't see it....
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Old February 7th, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Erykah, that looks like so much fun. The dogs are gorgeous and they all look very happy. (Especially the Kang-doodle)
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