I try to mix it up, but there are really only so many ways we can scooter around our familiar stomping grounds. Sure I can park in different spots so we don’t always start from the same place, take different trails in different orders and/or combine different segments of trail on different runs, or sometimes loop via trails vs sometimes come around and double back on the same trail, but at the end of the day we pretty much know them all inside and out. In particular, there are only so many ways to get back to the car.
This can be good or bad. Bad, because I always want them to listen to what I tell them to do instead of what habit and muscle memory tell them to do. For the most part, they do well but every once in awhile they anticipate a bit too much. Good, because as we approach the end of a run sometimes I can let my mind wander a bit and just let them handle the final turns. They generally know the way.
But today for the first time as we got to the very last turn, my wandering mind suddenly returned and realized that the dogs had stopped and were looking back at me for direction. For the very first time ever, instead of just picking the way that was most familiar or seemed most interesting or whatever other criteria they use to make decisions, they were looking back at me. I could practically see their eyebrows raised as they asked “Gee or Haw?” with their eyes.
So that was a thing.
I’ve also signed up for our very first skijor events: The City of Lakes Loppet (just the wee 2.5K one) and the Barkie Birkie. Both are in February and hopefully we’ll have some snow by then because I haven’t actually been behind these dogs on skis, yet.
Last weekend, Squash got his first qualifying leg towards his RN title in Rally Obedience, which is kind of a big deal for me.
I freely admit I’m sort of a mediocre, “good enough” dog trainer so I’ve never really been the sort of person to enter trials and such. Pip and Maisy are happy to play scootering or dog park and then nap lazily on the couch for the rest of the day, but Squash is the kind of dog who in addition to a lot of physical exercise needs lots of mental exercise or he’ll think things up that you really, really don’t like. More so than any dog I’ve ever known. So I try to keep him busy with various brain games and activities besides mushing, and Rally is right up our alley. Honestly I think the training there helps on the trail, too, but anyway. Here is his qualifying leg. I completely messed up the first station but we still Q’d.
The second day we NQ’d, mostly due to inexperience on both our parts. But onward! Our next trial will be January 12th. He needs two more qualifying legs to get his title at this level.
I suppose I should also mention that Squash has also been playing lure coursing, and in October he got his first two qualifying legs towards his CA at the Coursing Ability Test (CAT). He needs one more qualifying leg to get his title at this level.
And last but not least, we have our first team logo and first piece of team gear.
HOWEVER, I have already tweaked the logo slightly to overlap the dogs and reordered some T-shirts, so I guess that will go into a “Selection of Seconds” post someday.