No News is Good News

It’s been just over a month since my last update, and unfortunately, our runs seem to have come to an end. An unusually dry March and April have given way to a humid and soggy May.

On sunny days, the dogs are content to lounge around the yard. Denali could sunbathe from dawn until dusk. Dexter doesn’t care where he is, as long as he’s near me. Knox can only stand the heat for so long. He takes frequent dips in his little wading pool and enjoys lying on the cold patio table. On some of the more humid days, he rather stay inside.

On rainy days, like today, only the huskies venture out. Dexter loathes the rain. He won’t walk on wet grass. Denali and Knox will chase each other if it’s cool enough, but they don’t settle down. After they get bored, they usually come back inside and nap. Dex is the most annoying on rainy days – he begs for walks, as if it’s only raining in the backyard.

Our loose-leash walking has not been as consistent as I would like, but it’s getting there. Everyone gets walked a couple times a week – just enough to keep them progressing.

As for our grand training plans (agility and CGC), they have been put on the back burner. Lately, I’ve been serving myself a hefty dose of reality. Dexter is not ready for a CGC course. He is very well-trained in my house, with only familiar distractions. I need to remind myself how he behaves when he’s somewhere unfamiliar and exciting. In pet stores, he’ll piss on any interesting scent. Outdoors, he’ll yank me about, attempting to suck up an odor or greet another dog. If I were to bring him into a Petco for CGC classes, which are reserved for dogs who have a grasp of basic obedience, it would probably be embarrassing. He is a good dog. I know he could eventually master it. He just needs a lot more work and experience out in the world. So that’s our summer plan for him.

Denali needs some work when it comes to being around other dogs. At her rabies clinic, she lurched and pulled to meet the other dogs. However, when she’s working in harness, no other dogs seem to exist. I think I could get her motivated enough to transfer this skill into agility. However, I don’t think agility classes are in her near future. Something very important that I had overlooked – her first heat cycle. She is due to come into heat within the next month or so. I can’t start a class and have her come into heat – most clubs would not allow her to train, especially as a complete newbie. Once her heat has completely passed, she will be spayed, so she’ll be on the ‘disabled list’ until fall training.

So, there you have it. I may still get Knox in some sort of class. Basic obedience probably wouldn’t hurt. I’ll be saving some money and just working with them myself, and hopefully by next summer, I’ll be able to get them some off-season hobbies.

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Summer Activities

I’ve been looking into various training classes for the dogs this summer. I want to do something to keep them stimulated, mentally and physically. Plus, I’d like for my team to be well-rounded pets, not just sled dogs.

I want all of my dogs to earn their Canine Good Citizenship certificate. This summer, I’m going to start with Dexter. I found a CGC training course, which he’ll definitely need if he has any hope of passing the test. In order to pass the examination, he’ll be judged on the following:
  • Accepting a friendly stranger.
  • Sitting politely for petting. 
  • Allowing basic grooming procedures.
  • Walking on a loose lead. 
  • Walking through a crowd. 
  • Sitting and lying down on command and staying in place.
  • Coming when called. 
  • Reacting appropriately to another dog.
  • Reacting appropriately to distractions.
  • Calmly enduring supervised separation from the owner.
He should be able to do all of the above, but it really depends on the distractions around him. When there are lots of other dogs around, he can get overexcited and not listen. However, weekly training classes should help with that. I hope.

Denali isn’t ready for CGC, but I think she’d benefit from some beginner agility. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do with a dog and I think she might be the perfect candidate. She listens surprisingly well for a Siberian and her recall isn’t too bad. 

Yesterday, I was walking her around the park and she was being extra pull-y. It was cooler out and she wanted to run. In order to divert her attention from yanking me, I decided to teach her some spur-of-the-moment agility. The park has benches every 100 feet or so. First, I taught her to hop up on the bench and climb over the other side. Once she had that down, I had her jumping over the back of the bench. She’s extremely athletic and agile, so these commands were a piece of cake.

The park also has three bridges. At the sides of each bridge are cement walls, about 3 and ½ to 4 feet tall, with a broad, flat top. When Dexter was little, I taught him to walk on the top of the wall like a ramp, which he still does. I taught Denali to do the same yesterday, and she seemed to enjoy it. These are very simple little activities, but I think she could handle more complicated stuff with some practice. I found an agility training facility, I just need to wait for a beginners course to open up.

I’m not quite sure what I want to do with Knox. He’ll benefit from a summer of just basic training with me, but I would like to do something “extra” with him. I think he might do well with some kind of weight-pull training. He’s really strong and, well, beefy. A different kind of strength and build than Denali, but equally acceptable in my mind. I think he’ll make a really great wheel dog next season. I wouldn’t mind honing that ability with some weight-pulling. I wouldn’t do too much with him since he’s still growing, but I’d like to learn more about the beginner stuff.

Those are my tentative plans for the next few months. It will be nice to have some one-on-one goals with each dog, instead of working with all three as a team.  

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