Sidetracked

Jenny Glen over at Alta-Pete Farm Tails shared this link in her last post and I felt prompted to check it out.  An hour later I was still on the computer and still reading the North Wapiti Blog about Karen, her dogs and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race taking place right now. (It beat crunching farm business numbers :) ).

What led me to check it out was two things.

One: I admire a working dog, be it a terrier going to ground, a hound coursing, a stock dog herding, a guardian dog protecting, or a sled dog running. There is wholesome energy in dogs instinctively doing what they know to do. I love seeing it and knowing people are out there doing these things with dogs.

Two: on my visit to Burradoo Ranch I realized the difference in fitness between my dogs, who are in good working shape, and their dogs who are in athletic, endurance shape. I've been thinking about it since.

I exercise my stock dogs a fair bit, and do so everyday, plus on a very regular basis there is some amount of stock work to do and some days a whole lot of it to do. In between there is a bit of training. But still my exercise is different than the exercise regime and results I saw with the Burradoo dogs and, on a whole other level, what Iditarod training is.

Add to this that one of our goals here is to work from horseback. When that happens the dogs won’t be riding out to pasture on the Ranger anymore. They will need to have stamina enough to make the trek out, and work sheep all the way back home. Our property isn’t so big that we’ll be doing miles of distance, but nonetheless, I think my dogs will be better off having better endurance.

So I was also curious to snoop around on a sled dog site, to see what is available for dog harnesses. I want to start road working my stock dogs.

Well - as long as there is time for dog naps too!
By the way, the guardian dogs are not a regular part of any exercise regime that involves me or the other dogs. They have their own regime :) They spend their days with the sheep, away from us and away from the yard, so do not voluntarily get involved and I don’t go out of my way to make them a part of the other dog activities around here.

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