Training so far is going really well - maybe even great. The dogs are happy, I'm happy.
Trust me - I'm grinning ear to ear behind that face mask.
Well, that is as long as we are moving. When we stop, all heck breaks loose! The dogs are full of energy and just standing around still seems to be a bit of a stretch for them.
When they are moving, they are a tight, responsive team nailing commands quickly and close to flawlessly but when I stop it is a whole 'nother story.
Let me tell the story of my 'slightly beaten up' comment from a week or so ago, as it demonstrates this fairly well.
I was coming home alittle over 20 miles into a 28 mile run. The dogs were clicking along nicely when a big dog that is normally behind a closed gate came rushing out at us. He was making loud challenging charges at the team, but they kept rolling right along. He continued to follow us down to the 'Perryvale intersection' where I got worried that a fast moving car might come along endangering him. As annoying as he was, I didn't want him hurt, so I stopped, jumped off the quad and started charging at him. He immediately headed home. Problem solved! Then out of the corner of my eye I caught movement - it was my leaders Wifi and Q and the rest of the 16 dog string coming around at full speed to 'back me up'. In seemingly slow motion my brain registered the fact that the gangline was also heading towards me at a good clip. Fast moving ganglines carry alot of power and staying out of their way is important.
I tried some evasive techniques, but I was too late and was knocked hard to the ground. To add insult to injury,I was dragged for another 10 - 20 feet. Thankfully, the Quad held them there.
I'd love to say I popped right back up onto my feet, but the truth is I lay prone on the ground for a moment before the threat of being discovered by a neighbor lying prone in the middle of a busy intersection propelled me to my feet.
With alot of pain, sweat and uttering of words that would likely make my Mom blush, I got the team turned around and underway again. They were perfect angels for the rest of the trip home.
The fall out from stopping this time was a sprained ankle (for the record, it is better now, but no where close to 100%)
On our 48 mile run on Thursday I had Billie and Jinx in lead. They set a blistering pace, listened great on a number of brand new trails and impressively kept the team tight on the right hand edge of the road. Yet every time we stopped I had Siberian macrame suitable for selling at a Christmas craft fair!
I've also gone through more necklines in training then ever before - heck Irving gnawed through 2 TUGLINES before we got out of the yard the other day. It's not just one dog to blame - although Rocket is probably the worst offender Dew, Beauty, Irving, X, and many others have been caught in the act too.
When I have words with them about it, they blink innocently at me.
Rocket serving a 'time out' by the quad on a camping trip earlier this year! Sure she looks innocent, but she had already eaten 2 necklines.
"Honest - we have been just standing here minding our own business"
I suppose I should be happy. It's actually inspiring that they have so many miles on them right now and still are so rowdy, but some of the local trees have curved indents from me banging my head against them in frustration!
In time, more miles will probably sort everything out, lets hope I still have some equipment left when that happens!