Deep Snow and Dog Butts

We got a dumpload of new snow Monday overnight. Tuesday saw school and business closings galore, but of course all I could see was fresh skijor and GoPro meat. We waited until the morning rush hour was over, at least, and the worst of the dire STAY OFF THE ROAD warnings had subsided on the morning news before heading out.

I only have a few things to say about this run. One, skijoring in 5-6″ of fresh, un-groomed snow is really hard work for both dogs and skier. It would have been a lot harder if a mysteriously intrepid skier had not arrived at some point before us and broken a trail as well as a trail can be broken by a single cross country skier in 5-6″ of fresh, un-groomed snow. We only went about 1/3 of our normal distance and we were all pretty tired by the end. Two, it was interesting to see the dogs naturally following what trail there was.

I did video the whole run and broken it up into several segments, then realized that even for me watching them all was pretty boring. But I did want to just demonstrate how deep the snow was and highlight a couple of things.

First, I’m not entirely sure how or when our COME AROUND ended up so smooth. A combination of me getting better at managing the line and the dogs learning what I wanted. TEAMWORK.

 

 

 

Second, there’s a nice “Maisy drag Squash back on the path” moment in this one. And then towards the end, I somewhat vainly tried to use a method of training called “premack” to help with Squash’s ON BY. There is a hollow tree off the trail at that point that Squash is absolutely obsessed with. On the way out he never fails to make a break for it, and if I allowed it I have no doubt he would stand half inside it and inhale its hollow tree-ish aroma for hours.

The idea of premack (as I understand it)is that you reward a dog for not doing the thing you didn’t want him to do by allowing him to do the thing you didn’t want him to do after he doesn’t do it. So in this case, after Squash successfully goes ON BY the hollow tree, I try to stop and allow him to go investigate it. In this case apparently he decided that peeing on some random tree was more rewarding than seeing the hollow tree again (he’d already visited it on the way out) but I think it still counts.

So yea. We’re going through a “warm and thawing during the day, then refreezing at night” phase, so I’m not sure how long the trails will be in any kind of condition to ski on, but I’m glad we got a chance to go out in really deep, fresh snow at least once this season. I suppose before long I’ll be GoPro-ing dog butts in front of a scooter instead of in front of skis, but you never know about March around here!

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