SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Dog Walks at SP Kennel

We’ve had numerous questions about the logistics of exercising the dogs during the summer. So I thought I would go into a little more detail.

We divide the dogs into groups of 6 to 8 individuals. Often there are siblings or team mates in the groups. (For instance; Sandy, Hotshot, Rambler, Lester, Scruggs, Viper, Willie went yesterday.) We have a walking schedule that we keep up to date in order to keep track of which group is next. We usually only walk one group a day.

We have a ATV trailer that hauls a 5 hole dog transport crate. It is usually parked in the middle of the dog yard. After breakfast and chores, we load dogs into the crate. We pull the trailer about a mile away from the kennel on one of our common mushing trails. Some dogs ride individually, while other dogs will double up for the quick jaunt. There is usually a lot of barking and excitement during the 5 minute ride. We then park beside the trail and unload the dogs.

Rambler cools off in the beaver pond; Sam rides in the dog transporter.

We walk away from the kennel for about a mile. The route is a muddy dirt trail. The turn around spot is a beaver pond. They can always get a drink there and only a few of them will swim. Sometimes we’ll see other dogs, horses, vehicles and wildlife. The dogs zig and zag, romp through the woods and race each other down the trail. They generally come when called and don’t get too far ahead of their human except when they know they are headed “home”. At the end of each walk, the dogs tend to race each other back to the ATV trailer. I guess that’s the “finish line” and they are race dogs, so we let them get ahead of us. Most of the time the dogs return to 'check in' before the humans arrive at the ATV. Sometimes they wait at the ATV and occasionally they load themselves into the transport crates.

Once in a while, we will put a GPS collar on a dog in order to document the mileage that they covered during the walk. Those are the orange collars in the videos. In general, dogs will cover about twice as many miles as their human counterparts.

We can walk dogs directly out of the dog yard as well. However, the predicament that we find ourselves in is at the end of the walk when they “race home”. There is no way a human can keep up with a racing sled dog. So, a half a dozen dogs would be back at the kennel mingling with neighbors, heads deep in dog food sacks and generally getting into trouble 5 minutes before any human supervision showed up. In order to keep the chaos to a minimum, we use the trailer.


Erin McCray-Samman said...

Thanks for posting such great videos. Show great insight on what the dogs do on a daily basis. Always love to see them!

connie said...

Thanks for sharing Aliy! Love seeing your videos!

MBB said...

so no significant prey for them to hunt, eh?
what a well behaved pack

do you ever pass other dogs?

Lourdes, VT said...

I see that, much fun was had by all!!! Dogs, and humans!!!What a great summer those dogs are having!!!
Thank you for sharing your adventures! Great video :)

Margaret said...

What fun!!! Awesomeness personified!!!

They do love to race - and wow one is definitely looking to have an Olympic 100m breast stroke contest with Tig!!!

Thanks so very, very much!!!

And bravo to Sam for staying upright with all that pent-up licking released on him!!!

Lynne D said...

Love your new summer help - he has grown so much. Now I know where Rose gets the run return run mode.

Mary Lynn Roush said...

Great video, thanks!

marilyn cozzens said...

What great, ingenious, & fun way to exercise the dogs in summer. Sam has grown so much, great summer help for you. the dogs look marvelous. Thanks for posting video & info.

Dryden Family said...

Thanks for keeping your fans updated and sharing photos and videos with us. We especially love seeing our buddy, Rambler!

Nessmuk said...

Wow....that's a nice pack of pups!! Good thinking on having the start and end point a bit more remote...safer that way for all! Your dogs have a wonderful life at SPK....winter AND summer!

A-town's Becky said...

Tig is so excited supervising the "debarkation."

And, with a little work off the starting block, Michael Phelps will have nothing on Mac!!!

Lucky dogs!
I hope you're having as much fun as it appears. :-)

Leanna said...

Way cool! It is interesting to watch the dogs interact off lead. The training you put into each dog really shows. I would bet not every kennel could let their dogs be off lead as much as SPK can.

Anonymous said...

Having watched this priceless video a whole lot of times already, I put it on "full screen" and it was pretty clear that Mac (?) dove into the water after Tig (who got to the stick first.

Then Mac wrested the stick from Tig. And then the race was on!

What this proved to me was that SP Kennel racing dogs are VERY competitive, even low-key Mac!!!

Anonymous said...

Was that...Chena...mixing it up with the big boys???