Friday 15 July 2005

July 15, 2005 (posted) Teaching "On by"

Karen L. Ramstead, April, 2005
(originally posted at ScooterClub

Our situation requires that we are frequently around loose farm dogs, cattle, horses - and the worst of the worse - SHEEP. Learning to go by distractions is critical for our dogs.
I think working around a loose dog of your own (or one you know well) is great for helping to teach the dogs to ignore distractions. We have Fly, the annoying Aussie yard dog that 'helps' out at hook-up. The pups and young dogs learn to ignore him and that helps when they meet other dogs. I also try to run reliable front ends in areas I know will have distractions until everyone in the team is fairly reliable at 'on by'. A good leader or two can take your team by just about anything.
Once dogs are getting good at passing distractions when they are in the team I will put them up front with a solid leader and two reliable dogs in swing. The inexperienced leader will have a belly band on too so the 3 good dogs can drag them by a distraction, if need be.
I also ALWAYS discipline MY dogs for any altercation on the trails with loose dogs - whether or not the other dog initiated it, my dogs participated and that makes them in the wrong. I never let my dogs 'off the hook' and make excuses for them. "Who could blame them?" is not a part of my vocabulary. If they get in a scrape - I blame them. It takes two to tango. Participating in any kind of encounter with loose animals is not allowed. This practice now means that aggressive. snarling dogs can barrel into the middle of my team and my dogs (90% of the time) step over or around them.
As we run fairly big teams (usually 14's) it is important that we know our equipment well. I know that shut off in low gear, with the emergency brake locked, and the wheels cranked to one side or the other (it is way harder to get a 4 wheeler rolling if the wheels aren't pointing straight ahead), I can hold my team in most situations. The wheels being cranked to one side can also make sure you don't end up chasing your team for a long ways down a road - however, cranked to the wrong side can mean that you will roll your 4 wheeler or end up with it in a swamp (I speak from experiences on all accounts). Carrying a block of wood that you can wedge under a wheel in a jam isn't a bad idea either and we have done that on 4 wheelers that wouldn't hold a team on their own. I have also used snow banks, mud, trees and ditches to help slow down and/or hold the team in emergencies.
Just a few suggestions - hope they might be of help to one or two of you.
Mark and Karen L. Ramstead
NorthWapiti Kennels
Iditarod finishing and Best in Show winning Siberians

Sunday 10 July 2005

July 10, 2005 Upcoming Litters

 Since mentioning in an email to the NorthWapiti News Yahoo Group that Kara was expecting a litter I've had many private emails asking if we were sure she was pregnant, when she was due and who Daddy is.
Well her due date is August 1, Daddy is Grover and this morning both Mark and I felt puppies moving around in her belly - so yes, she is pregnant.
Nahanni is also expecting Draco babies on July 25. She isn't huge, but I'm pretty sure she has a few pups kicking around in there.
I'm very excited about both litters! :)
Ch. NorthWapiti's Valkyrie Kara - Born: 7/27/99
(Tumnatki's Bosun NorthWapiti x Multi BIS Ch. Chuchinka's Dance in the Wind SDX)

NorthWapiti's Nahanni - Born: 5/27/00
(Alaskan's Skookum of Anadyr x Alaskan's Kessa of Anadyr II)

Sunday 3 July 2005

July 3, 2005 Yeah Hector!

Mark and I drove to Cold Lake, AB today for one day of dog showing (Mark says that is it for the year for him now - he hates dog shows!).
I had Dasher (Ch. NorthWapiti's Dasher), entered as a Special and Hector in the ring for the first time ever.
Well, knock me over with a feather, Hector was an angel in the ring. He allowed me (and friend, Annette Dionne who showed him at the Breed level, as I was showing Dasher) to set his feet, stood like a rock while the judge went over him, and gaited politely on his leash, even when other dogs were in the ring with him. What makes this particularly amazing is that with my schedule lately, I haven't had any time to really get him ready for this. Yesterday was his first bath, this morning was his first time on a show leash, today was his first time on show mats, and honestly, I can't even remember when he has been inside a building before (other then vet clinics). Other then starting a couple group howls when left in a crate, he was a total gentleman. He was even rewarded for all this good behaviour with his first point. Not bad for a goofy, leggy, rough, tough sled dog that is missing the tip of his tail. Yeah Hector, I'm so proud of you!

Chlout's Hector of NorthWapiti - Born: 8/28/01
(Alaskan's Raven Of Anadyr x Alaskan's Baleen Of Anadyr)

Friday 1 July 2005

July 1, 2005 Happy Canada Day

It's funny how we come around in our thinking as we grow older.

I remember my brother, Jim and I cringing each July 1 (Canada Day) when Dad flew his largest Canada flag off the peak of our garage. No one else in the neighbourhood did that, and gosh, Jim and I were just darn embarrassed.  This morning, July 1 2005, I strolled outside with Kara on her morning walk (Have I mentioned that Kara is a full time house dog now?? Not sure how that happened, but regardless, that is a different story), there by our NorthWapiti Kennel sign is a large flag pole with a Canada flag flying from it. I can blame Mark for some of it, after all he build the pole and was the one that actually put up the flag, however the truth of the matter is that it was completely at my urging that it was done. 

Just a few weeks ago I turned 41, so I could make a story for my getting older and more sentimental, but the reality of the matter is that, despite the protests to my father, I've always been very proud to be a Canadian. Maybe it is all the time I spend outside of Canada that makes me more patriotic as the years go by or maybe it is the fact that the more I read, learn and see of the rest of the world, the more I have learned to appreciate what we have here. Don't get me wrong, despite the moose jokes, I love the US and Americans, it is a terrific place, I love visiting and I adore my American friends - but it isn't my home. So to all my fellow Canadian readers, I wish you a Happy Canada Day today - and leave you with this quote from Robertson Davies. It is one I read at my father's funeral and now that I've grown up, can admit speaks for the way I view my country.

“Because I am a Canadian, I couldn’t really live anywhere else. I have had chances to do so and have never given it serious consideration. I belong here. To divorce yourself from you roots is spiritual suicide….I just am a Canadian. It is not a thing which you can escape from - it is like having blue eyes.”