Dog Scootering a journey

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MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:42 pm

Recently I ordered a new harness for Sky. I have never been totally comfortable with the fit on the first harness that I got for her. It tends to slip up and choke her when she jerks on it. The new one is kind of a hybrid of an xback harness like one would see on sledding dogs. It adjusts in multiple places and has instructions on how to adjust it so that it neither pulls up or down on the dogs neck. It has a built in belly band, so I don't need to modify it and add one like I did on the other harness. It seemed to adjust pretty easily. Hopefully it will stay adjusted. I fitted it at my parents and tried it out in their yard and then along the gravel road that they live on. My mother commented that it looked like I was doing all the work. I pretty much was. I have never really tried scootering with Sky on either of these surfaces and she was way more interested in sniffing things than pulling. :roll:

I would like to get her out tomorrow to the local rail trail, but doubt that I will have time to make the journey because I cleaned at my parents' today and then had a concert this evening, so things that would normally get done at my house on a Saturday have been put off to Sunday along with church. Maybe next weekend.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:33 pm

I have come to some realizations after my most recent outing with Sky scootering. Scootering with a dog is a blast. :D Watching one's dog(s) run while pulling the scooter is a delightful thing to see. :D Running a dog that stops and sniffs, marks, and trys to dig out or pounce on small furries along the trail, not so much. :(

I have been pondering why this is occuring and how to reduce the instances. I am cerain it is largely operator error. I have treated the scooter like a long line, an accessory to allow Sky to burn off more energy, going at a pace that is more comfortable to her while not having to take up jogging or getting jerked off of my feet should she hit the end of the line.

I could partially address this by taking her for a walk to take care of business before hooking her up to the scooter rather than hooking her up as soon as she gets out of the van. That wouldn't likely stop the marking and other pouncing behaviors which detract from forward progress and mean I have to keep the speed down to where I can stop pretty much instantaneously in response to a sudden stop by Sky.

I will admit it, my dogs are a couple of minesweepers and I have little control over what they do on walks other than directions of Gee or Haw, or turn around, or wait. Last time out with the scooter, Sky essentially clotheslined herself with the harness because we had come to an intersetion where she was uncertain which way I wanted her to turn. A couple of Haws and the lightbulb lit. Unfortunately for Sky as the lightbulb was hitting on the Haws, I then issued a slow and wait command so that I could stop and make a deposit in the trash can at the corner. Because the approach to this intersection was downhill, some slack had developed in the tugline. So, as I was stopping the scooter, Sky, who was now confident in the direction of travel, charged forward, only to hit the end of the tugline and come to an abrupt hault.

I now need to determine the best way to keep her listening to me and to reduce or end the unexpected stops. Since I started training the commands on our walks, I am thinking maybe the keep on moving training should begin on walks. Then I find myself in a quandry over the whole dog heels and walks nicely vs dog has a walk that is all about the dog having a good time sniffing etc. Off lead walks are not an option around here. So training a dog to walk nicely while on lead and then they can have a doggie delightful walk off lead doesn't work. Long lines to allow more sniffing pose the problem of being yanked off of my feet should a dog take off and fail to stop or turn around when instructed. Or maybe the best time to work on scootering manners is while scootering, or maybe I just need to become more engaging and interesting for my dogs in general.

Focus with Sky is always an issue unless we are playing fetch and she wants me to continue the game. If she is ready for a break, she will go off and sniff elsewhere or or lie down. Sirius is easier as she will give me that eyes glued on you rapt attention if I have a yummy treat that she thinks she wants to cajole out of me. If the treat isn't forthcoming for a while, she will then go back to "minesweeping." Maybe we are still on the journey of better communication and a closer bond and I am being impatient and expecting too much too soon.

Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions?
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:51 am

This week I considered getting another dog. I will admit it was a brief consideration. I can barely afford to care for the current members of my household, so adding another would be financially insane. But, it was tempting.....a trained sledding dog who had gotten too slow to keep up with his owner's team. This team is currently in training for the Idatarod. The owner had decided it just wasn't fair for this dog to be left behind day after day while the team was out training. The dog would be free to the right home but the new owner would have to pay for a crate and to have the dog flown to them. The dog was said to be a good leader, who would be skilled at training young dogs to pull and who would enjoy speeds of 6 to 8 mph, good with people and most dogs. Just the kind of dog that could complement Sky to make up a 2 dog scootering team. Just the kind of speeds that would match my low level of daring. A trained dog who could show Sky the ropes and just how this is done. If finances weren't what they are, I just might have inquired further, although to be realistic even if finances weren't what they are, I have enough trouble managing the 2 dogs I have, so I'm not really sure what I think I would do with a third dog during the hot summer when scootering isn't a good idea.

Then later in the week someone posted on the Yahoo group about how their new dog was doing such a great job pulling and at the same time had caught a shrew. :shock: That the dog was very good at multitasking. So, maybe we really aren't all that far off with our training and Sky stopping to pounce on things beside the trail.

Next weekend, I hope to attend the Fair Hill Challenge in upper Maryland. This is supposed to be the largest dry land mushing race within an impressive geographical area. (I don't remember the area, just that it was impressive. :lol: ) I hope to get some good tips and advice and maybe some tug and ganglines to have the proper lines to be able to run both of my dogs given the proper environment. I am working more on walking the two of them together and working on their responsiveness to voice commands.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

gwd
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by gwd » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:46 am

MPbandmom wrote: A trained dog who could show Sky the ropes
i friend emailed this to me today and i thought of you when i saw it.

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MPbandmom
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:54 pm

gwd wrote:
MPbandmom wrote: A trained dog who could show Sky the ropes
i friend emailed this to me today and i thought of you when i saw it.

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Where's the picture?! I tried the link, but it keeps switching to pictures of children screaming on Santa's lap. Entertaining, sort of, but I don't think it is what you intended.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

gwd
Posts: 1958
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by gwd » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:14 pm

MPbandmom wrote:
Where's the picture?! I tried the link, but it keeps switching to pictures of children screaming on Santa's lap. Entertaining, sort of, but I don't think it is what you intended.
that'll teach me to hotlink.

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MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:24 am

Very cute GWD! :lol:

Yesterday I attended my first dryland mushing event which didn't seem to sport particularly dry land. It had rained the night before and people and dogs were coming off of the course covered in mud. :lol: :lol:

I had a wonderful and informative time! I give credit to my prior interaction with the Balto Team Dogs and their great hospitality. There were members of the group to be cheered for as they left and came back in. I learned that a size 15 knitting needle can be turned into a fid to make one's own pulling lines. (and for some reason, I just happen to have an odd size 15 knitting needle with no partner. Prime candidate to become a fid.) I learned that there are variations on the knots that can be used when making these lines and that a member of the group knows a variation from being a sailor that is stronger than the version popularly found in internet postings. I saw one team running in the line formation that I want to use with Sky and Sirius, but other than seeing them go past enough to comment on the formation, I didn't see him where I could get more information on specs for the set up.

I learned that huskys are a lot smaller than I thought. They were about Sirius size or maybe even a little smaller. They also didn't seem to have very thick coats. Almost like there wasn't any undercoat on them. Maybe what I thought were huskys all my life were really malamutes. I saw samoyeds and thought I would never want to own one of those. All that fluffy white fur and with the muddy conditions, they were all not the least bit white on their legs and undersides. :lol: There were various hounds and hound mixes that ran. They sprayed the teams' hind ends with florescent orange paint at the start of the race, so there were a lot of white dogs walking around with a blazing orange streak on their hindsides. I probably should have asked, but I assumed it was perhaps to make sure dogs weren't switched out mid race with fresh dogs.

One scooter team was running a weimeraner and a visla. They looked very unlikely to finish when they took off because the dogs both immediately headed off to the grass beside the trail and ran pretty much beside the scooter they were pulling rather than in front of it. One does still get pull from the dogs in this position, it just makes the scooter a bit harder to keep upright (speaking from experience). :lol: Another team was comprised of some type of hound mix and a labradoodle. :shock: They likewise looked like a questionable team. I think the labradoodle was fairly young and he/she had a prancy, happy go lucky, space case air about him. :lol: :lol: Both of these teams seemed to do well on the course and finished in good time.

I later learned that the hound/labradoodle team belonged to and was run by the lady who is credited with bringing dryland mushing to the US. She has had these two dogs about a month and a half as her two trained dogs took off while being borded. She sells sulkies for dogs and had a demonstration scheduled the weekend following when her two dogs took off, so she went to the animal shelter and selected 2 dogs to have for the demonstrations and then decided to bring them to Fair Hill to race them. They are obviously still learning directional commands, but the pull well as a team, and the labradoodle definately adds some pizzaz to the group.

Of those in the Balto group that ran, one was covered in mud at the end and commented about someone behind her wiping out because there was one section with a steep downhill followed by a steep uphill and because of all the mud, by the time they reached the steep downhill the brakes were so encased in mud as to be totally useless. In another class, a member wiped out 3 times due to a combination of the slick mud and some horses being over in a field practicing dressage. This group seemed to have the most trouble. One contestant came out with her dogs hooked to the front of an atv and her rig being pulled behind as she rode behind the driver of the atv. Apparently her dogs had seen the horses and refused to move beyond them. I watched the little huskies trotting calmly in front of the atv and thought Sirius would be absolutely freaking out if she were in that position. A third member of the Balto group came through with very little mud on her. She ran one of the later classes and had heard about the mud. She is much of the same mindset as I would be and got off and walked on the muddy section. She said perservation of body was a top priority for her and that in her mind just finishing the race without any injuries was winning. (I think I could really fit into this group :D )

I left just as the canicross was starting because I had to get home before the annual Parade of Lights passed my house and blocked my entrance. I ended up home well before the parade reached us but after the time it had started. It is a 4 mile parade, down "main street" and we are located in the last 1/4 mile of the route. The parade was the perfect end to a delightful day. The mayor greeted me as he went past. (His son was in Boy Scouts with my sons.) Then at the end of the parade Santa Claus came by on top of the Fire engine. I was quite surprised when Santa bent over and said to me, "It's the lady who walks 2 dogs every morning." I guess the guy in the Santa Suit was the rec center employee who sometimes says good morning to me, and then Sirius tells him that he should be quiet. He asked me one day what her problem was to which I replied, she doesn't like it when people talk.

The drive up there didn't seem too bad. This could be because I drove my car instead of the van. I paid $9 in tolls along interstate 95 though, so I'm not looking to repeat that very often unless I can find a way around the tolls that my gps will follow. My husband had set it to avoid tolls, but instead it seemed to seek them out. I don't know if the tolls are recent addition on the roads that the gps didn't know about. (It is a few years old and there isn't any way to update its data.) The Balto group is going out later in the day now that the temperatures have dropped and I am strongly considering trying to run just Sky with them should they come out to the C&O Canal again. This is about an hour away from me and without tolls. They apparently normally run on a rail trail in upper Maryland, which would likely be the 2 to 3 hour drive with tolls, so I'm not sure I want to travel that far yet. I commented that their runs were quite a bit further than I usually go with Sky. I was told that it is much harder to run a dog by itself. That they run much better in a group, so I think the normal difference in distance travelled shouldn't pose a problem to Sky.

More updates later as the adventure continues.....
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

Erica
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by Erica » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:33 pm

Very interesting to read about all this! Thanks for sharing. :)
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:47 am

A little update from Fair Hill for those who may be wondering about scootering with non-traditional pulling breeds. The sportsman 2 dog scooter class was won by the lady with the labradoodle and shepherd cross rescue dogs that have only been pulling for a couple of months.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

MPbandmom
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:53 pm

Today we took part in Dogs Across America. This is a challenge for people to get out with their dogs and track the mileage. All of the mileages are added together to see if the distance totals the distance from coast to coast of the USA.

For this challenge, I decided to run both dogs. I still haven't managed to secure the components necessary to make the gangline like I want it for running my two, so I made do as I have done in the past, using the single dog tug line that I have and a leash coupler to hook 2 dogs to it.

The park that I wanted to run in, which is nice and quiet, often pretty well deserted, and has some nice trails by soccer fields where I don't have to worry about my mighty hunters trying to take off and tree a squirrel or two and maybe me in the process; was closed. :(

After some debate of my other options and where would be the best second choice for Sirius and her issues, I ended up at the park close to my house which was also technically closed, but did have parking lots that are outside of the gated area. The main parking lot being gated, and the paths in thie park being alongside trees with a large squirrel population, I opted to run in the gated parking lot.

I have been working on walking the dogs together some and I think that paid off. Last time I tried to run them together, it was pretty much a be drug around by Sky disaster for Sirius. This time, they seemed much more in tune with each other and for the most part they ran like a team. :D :D

The only issues we had were due to Sirius' reactivity. Another dog was walked across in front of the rec center which required some dodging, resulted in some mild redirected agression at Sky, but eventually was settled with sufficient distance and treats. Then there were the skateboarders. I was able to get their cooperation with picking up their skateboards and walking. Of all the sounds Sirius reacts to, I think the sound of skateboard wheels on pavement tops the list.

I do need to make the gangline to run the dogs single file. I think this will prevent Sirius from redirecting onto Sky should we encounter a trigger that I am unable to get sufficient distance from quickly enough to keep Sirius under threshold. I just need to get the funds to purchase the materials and there are other more pressing things that need my financial attention first.

All in all, it was an encouraging outing though. Now if I could just find a trigger free environment to run them in.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:06 pm

Today I took the dogs over to the quiet park across town to see if we could get in a two dog scooter run out by the soccer fields. We didn't have any reactive dog issues today but we did have some challenges with one dog stopping suddenly and jerking the other dog around. At one point they were running and Sirius stopped suddenly to smell something and it flipped Sky around backwards. Sky looked rather surprised by this, and I thought ooooo poor Sky what a jerk.

So now I am rethinking the gangline set up that I want to do, and wondering if I should try to run them again with the single dog tugline and leash coupler. Since I plan on running the dogs single file, I am now thinking about adding a second bungee section in between dogs. I have posted on the Dogs Love to Run Yahoo group to see if I can get some input from those more experienced at this than I am.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

gwd
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by gwd » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:50 pm

maybe suzette could add piper to this team!

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MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:18 pm

Today I bought a new book for Kindle. Dog Girl by Lacey Hutt is her story of first learning about dog mushing when her second grade class participated in the Idita-Read. I have only read the sample so far, but it seems to be a good read. The author moved to Alaska last year to follow her dream of running the Iditarod.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

ClareMarsh
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by ClareMarsh » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:36 am

Proud owner of Ted and baby Ella
My blog about Ted http://tinkerwolf.com/
Ted's Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Tinkerwolf
Ted's You Tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTedVids

MPbandmom
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Re: Dog Scootering a journey

Post by MPbandmom » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:35 pm

Today I took Sky out to the W & O D for a solo scooter run. So far, I have tried two different entrances to this paved rail trail with parallel stone dust equestrial trail. Neither have been satisfactory. Today I headed to the next road crossing west where a parking area was indicated on the map. My recollections of this intersection from when I cycled with my children was a seldom travelled dirt road. Google maps showed a picture of pavement wider on one side of the trail than the other and a little pull off spot off to the other side. It turned out that the little pull off had become a large pull off and somebody had apparently decided they didn't like people pulling off there and had barracaded it with jersey wall. :shock: :( I did locate another place to park along the road just in front ot the no parking from here to corner sign. About the time I had unloaded the scooter from the van, another vehicle came in and parked behind me, right in front of the no parking sign.

The other person turned out to be at the trail to roller blade and he was very worried at seeing a dog as dogs tend to hate the sound of rollerblades. I know if Sirius had been along she would have been going ballistic. Sky doesn't generally react to sounds, so she gave the guy a hi there don't you love me and want to take me for a ride greeting. :oops: Past the rollerblader and we encountered 3 youths waiting at the stop sign to cross the road. While I asked directions of them, as I had gotten somewhat disoriented as to which way was the way I wanted to go, Sky was mooching up to the boys and getting pets and compliments of her gorgeous blue eyes. She readily came around the boys when called and we headed off. :D

I let her run initially even though the trails were conjoined and she was thus running on pavement. We crossed 2 bridges which were somewhat snow covered, but not otherwise icy. We went on the crushed stone trail when possible but that was a very short portion of the distance we travelled. So short and basically a hill, that I just stayed on the paved trail on the way back. We were passed by a bicyclist and met a bicycle and jogger, but the trail was unoccupied for the most part.

Sky ran/pulled really well. She stopped a couple of times when we first started out to take care of business. After that, she pretty well kept on moving. There were a few things that caught her eye off to the side of the trail, but an on by command did the trick to keep her moving. Because I had studied the trail map before heading out this time, I had an idea of what distance we would travel. This section of trail between the two roads was one mile long. Out and back being 2 miles and much further than I think we have gone in the past.

She still really wants to go say hi to people om foot, but did a very good job with her on by commands for that today. At one point a cyclist appeared to our right in one of the two short sections of separated equestrian trail and Sky found him very exciting. I'm not sure if it was the elevation he was at and appearance of flying, or the bright green high visibility vest he was wearing. He was on a road bike, so I think perhaps he had seen us up ahead and decided to go around the wide way and not risk being lunged at by a dog. I made certain he got out onto the trail in front of us and Sky was ready to take off in hot persuit. This is the first time she has demonstrated an inclination to chase a bicyclist. My suspiscion is the bright green vest. Others not so brightly colored or who were on the trail the whole time as opposed to kind of flying above/beside us, she allowed to pass in either direction with no problem.

We stopped for a water break about 3/4 of the trip. I laid the scooter down and Sky wandered around on the end of the tugline while I filled her water dish and then went over to an informational sign and collected a couple of the brochures there. While we were stopped, the inline skater went by and Sky perked up and took a step forward. I was back standing near her when she did this, so I stepped on the tugline and then took a hold of her harness while he passed. He asked which way we were going and was quite surprised to hear that we had been to the next road and turned around and were already on our way back.

I debated crossing the road and continuing a little further down the trail since Sky looked like she was having a great time and even though we had been 2 miles she showed no inclination of wanting to stop. I decided I didn't want to push her too much since this was our furthest trip yet plus I needed to get to my parents before too late, so we headed over to the van. At this point I was walking and pushing the scooter and she was walking in front of it. About halfway to the van she suddenly pounced into the grass along the shoulder and obviously caught something which she quickly killed. It looked like a mole or shrew. Then we continued along our way to the van.

Sky had whined, whimpered, and out right cried the whole way there but was very quiet on the way home.

Today was a very good run. Usually after a run, I am rather discouraged that this thing will ever work out well, but today, I was encouraged. Not only does she seem to be getting a really good grasp of the commands, but she ran/trotted for 2 miles doing the vast majority of the work and had energy to spare. Because I generally take her for such unknown but short distances, while I have wanted to join some others in scootering, I have worried as to whether she would be up for the typical 3 or more mile distances that the groups seem to run. I feel more confident in that now.

Now I just have to find a better trail to run on. While the W & OD was great to bicycle on with my children, development in the area and the need to run on non paved surfaces if at all possible, make it not the best route for dog scootering. Next up, I guess I need to research the C & O Canal towpath more. The surface is dirt. I can drive about 45 minutes to an hour to the north, cross over just into Maryland and be at the C & O. The Potomac River is the boundry between VA and MD and the C&O is on the MD side of the Potomac. Many groups take scootering excursions there already. That is where I met the Balto Team Dog group. The Potomac Valley Samoyed Club also takes outings along the C & O. Of course, driving that distance with a cry baby dog in the back of the van could get rather annoying. :lol:
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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