Today, we arrived at the Sparks station on the Northern Central Rail (NCR) trail to do some practice passing drills with the team. We hooked up a four dog team with Zoe and Acadia in lead and Sobo and Okemo in wheel. Our fifth sled dog, T-Bone, is in partial retirement and stayed home to read a book on the couch!
The amazing flying, T-Bone, stayed home and read a book
line out training with the sled dogs.
on by" and praised them when they did it flawlessly and corrected them, showing them what we wanted them to do, when they did not. After about four passes, the sled dogs had this skill down pat. As we ran the balance of our 8 mile run from Sparks to Monkton, we continued this drill.
Arriving at Monkton station, we rested and watered the dogs for about ten minutes, and then began another drill. This particular drill involved having the dogs turn off the trail into a open field next to the Monkton station, run behind the station house, and come back out on the trail. After many missed attempts, the dogs finally got the idea that we wanted them to "haw" into the open field off the trail. Some of the dogs (Sobo who was in wheel this run) got it faster than others. As I once again showed the leaders, Zoe and Acadia, what I wanted them to do, Sobo valiantly attempted to turn the team "haw" from the wheel (back) position. Good boy Sobo!
Arriving back at the dog truck, the sled dogs were fed their breakfast and meat, watered, walked, and we headed home. Our total run was 8 miles round trip with our maximum speed approximately 20 MPH and our "cruising speed" abut 7-8 MPH. Along the way, the sled dogs pulled approximately 350 lbs. At home we found our stone mason well underway on building us, and the sled dogs, a new field stone wall along the driveway.