Pull and Push

Probably my greatest fear as a mushbaby is that through sheer inexperience I will push my dogs too hard and cause them to be injured. As a result, I am fairly certain that I have never pushed them hard enough to truly reach their full potential. Squash’s conditioning on the underwater treadmill over the summer really brought that home to me as I watched him build strength and stamina that has clearly translated to our scooter runs this fall. He has more energy, goes faster, and finishes stronger than he did even just this spring. So I’ve committed this fall to trying to stretch both the length and difficulty of their runs and my comfort zone, which is part of why I am keeping track of distance this year. Although it’s not really my goal to be a competitive skijorer, one really nice thing about the races for my purposes is that they are both a measured distance and timed, so I will really be able to quantify how much both our physical work and mental (command training) work helps us improve from year to year (to year to year, hopefully for many years to come).

Last time I started out with what we had worked up to as one of our longest runs last spring. I had never measured it before last week, but it clocked in at 2.15 miles. As they were still pretty strong at the end of the run, I decided to add a fair amount of distance today.

Monday October 12th: 3.3 miles on the scooter, cloudy/cool conditions, one water break.

Notably, this happened today:

They have gotten really reliable with going ON BY people at this point, either approaching or overcoming from behind. They are reasonably reliable going ON BY bicyclists as well although I usually pull them over for fear of lines and vehicles tangling. I would not feel comfortable at this point trying to go on by someone walking a dog, but mostly because of Maisy’s reactivity to other dogs. If I were alone with Squash I would probably try it.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow morning and the rest of my week’s work schedule is not very scooter friendly, so I may not be able to take the dogs out again until the weekend. Which makes me sad; now that I’ve officially declared fall training I would like to get out more consistently and evenly throughout the week, but my work schedule will normalize next week and then we’ll get into more of a routine.

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