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, December 3, 2014

December Dog Update

As we welcome December and a few inches of fresh snow we wanted to update the world on the condition of all the SP Kennel Racers. Instead of doing an alphabetical update, we'll talk about everyone from the most senior dog to the youngest.

All of the Race Dogs have been in harness since September 1st. Their training mileage is recorded individually. All dogs have had very similar training regimes for these three months; however an individual might sit out a training run or two for a variety of reasons: stomachache or not eating well, neutering or other minor health issues, Mac's surgery or even tooth cleaning. Beemer was in Anchorage for several days and missed a few runs. It is all individual.

L-R: Kodiak and Scruggs lead a training team from the yard; a view of the team from a "Musher's Perspective"; Waylon at the peak of health, fitness and confidence during a 2014 race.

The two key elements in successfully training sled dogs is to maintain their overall health and continually improve their fitness level. How do we measure these elements?

A good indicator of overall health is a dog's body weight. So we monitor and record each dog's monthly weight throughout the season. As dogs gain more muscle in training, they also gain more weight. We look at these weights as a gauge of health. Each dog has an ideal weight.

A good indicator of overall fitness is a dog's mileage. At SP Kennel we have a strict regiment of training runs. We use different training techniques at different times of the season. Some times we use a "day on" / "day off" schedule and other times we "push" the dogs three days in a row. We try to increase their fitness levels gradually and positively. As you can imagine, each dog has his or her own rate at which they improve their fitness. So, you will notice in the comments below that each dogs has different mileage. This makes sense since each dog is different.
  • Biscuit is the oldest dog in training and looks GREAT! His coat has never looked better so he is ready for a cold winter. His mileage is very similar to that of last season. His current weight is perfect at 50.2#. Biscuit is still vying for a spot on the "winning team".
  • Chica shed her thick coat after whelping puppies this summer but it is growing in nicely now. Her appetite is fantastic and her mileage is exactly average for the racing dogs. Her current weight is good at 47.6#. Chica is, as usual, cool, calm and collected.
  • Nacho has above average mileage and is very excited to run. His thick grey husky coat is magnificent. He is heavier than normal at 56.6#. Nacho is ready to roll!
  • Quito is as confident as ever. She is training several two-year olds for the lead position. She has average mileage and looks GREAT! Her current weight is 46#. 
  • Beemer was neutered in October and therefore had some time off. His mileage is slightly below average but he is maintaining his weight better - currently 49#. He has been running in lead. Beemer has been the 'go to' man for all the SP Kennel social events. 
  • Olivia has the appetite of a starving alligator. She is chunky, currently weighing in at 45#. Her mileage is above average and has the third most miles recorded thus far. Olivia is always excited to go.
  • Rambler has some dry skin and coat issues. He is currently on both homeopathic and medical supplements to see if this helps. His mileage is slightly below average. His current weight is ideal at 48.8#. Rambler is happy and strong we just need to understand his coat issue.
  • Scout never wastes excess energy playing or acting silly in the dog yard. He enjoys the privacy of his house. But he is always 100% in harness and is one of our main lead dogs. His mileage is average. His current weight is good at 44.4#.
  • Viper has been leading the Yearling team a lot. He is vocal and sassy while running in the team and has average mileage. He is maintaining a perfect weight at 48.8#. Viper looks GOOD!
  • Boondocks is sleeping in her house this season - this is different from any previous year. She is still hyperactive and always ready to go. She has average mileage and currently weighs a pound less than her ideal at 37.8# Boonie is one of the more vocal characters in training.
  • Lester is steady and reliable. He has become one of the main SP lead dogs and is often paired with a youngster. He has tremendous patience. Lester has average mileage and his current weight is good at 44#.
  • Puppet has maintained a chunky physique despite steady training. She has average mileage this season and is very healthy with a current weight of 53.4#. Puppet got loose during a training run 5 miles from home and we found her tucked into her house - snug as a bug in a rug - I guess she's happy here!
  • Scruggs has above average mileage right now. He is running in lead often and paired with a novice two-year old. His current weight is a tad heavy at 47#. He enjoys the deep snow and finding his own trail - good thing it's finally snowing!
  • Waylon is muscled up and looks like he's ready to race 1,000 miles already. He is very excitable right now and can't believe he is ever left behind. His current weight is just under his ideal at 42.6#. Waylon truly believes he is the best dog at SP Kennel. 
  • Willie is happy and warm with his thick husky coat. He never stops wagging his tail. He has above average mileage and his current weight is normal for him at 43#. Willie is delightful.
  • Mac has recuperated from his salivary gland surgery but due to time off he is below average in mileage. But he has a great attitude and will soon work back into the thick of training. Mac is muscling up to be the biggest dog at SP again this year. His current weight is 66#. He is slender.
  • Schmoe is still the cheerleader on every training run whether he is in swing or wheel position. He was neutered in October and therefore had some time off. His mileage is slightly below average but he is maintaining better weight - currently 49#. Joe Schmoe will be a Rock-Star again this year!
  • Scooter is loud and excited to go… all the time! It's almost annoying. She has average mileage and is slightly heavier than normal at 50.6#. Scooter is a great gal who wags her whole hind end - not just her tail!
  • Sissy is high strung in the yard as well as on a training dog team. She seems to be frustrated when she doesn't get to go. She has average mileage and is currently at her ideal weight at 45#. Sissy is keyed up this season and will be a main player all year long.
  • Chemo is enjoying his job and is very strong right now. He will run in lead but seems to have some pent up nervous energy at times so we moved him to swing. He has average mileage and his current weight is just under his ideal at 50.4#. He is really a sweet dog.
  • IV has had somewhat of a relapse with her back injury from the summer. Her future as a Racing SP K dog is doubtful. She trained at 100% for 2 1/2 months and now seems less than par. Of course she is still happy, runs around and has fun -- she just probably can't win a 1,000 mile race.
  • Felix has become 'Biscuit JR'. All of the SP mushers have mistaken him for his father at least once this season and that's a GOOD thing! This means Felix is getting bigger, better and bolder. We have great plans for Felix! He is a little thin at 44#. He is a gorgeous dog.
  • Izzy has been running with her mother, Quito, up in lead, the last month. Since she raced 500 miles of the Iditarod in swing, we decided she should 'graduate up' one position. She has the most mileage of all the dogs thus far. Her current weight is an ideal 44.7#. Izzy is a high energy and full of sass. 
  • Mismo is a horse. He strength is remarkable. He is excited and dedicated too, which will bump him up to the main team this season. He has the second most mileage behind his sister. He is thin at 61#. Mismo is a fun, yet dedicated dog this year.
  • Nelson is the most high strung dog in the yard this year. He'll twist and twirl and will not stand still - even for one moment -- this is great considering he is slated to run thousands of miles this winter. His mileage is above average. Nelson has a great appetite and currently weighs 47.2#.
  • Clyde is a happy goon. He is still eating like a champion this season. He is fit and trim and has average mileage. Although he eats voraciously, he uses a lot of energy, so he is slightly underweight at 51.6#. Clyde will be super important in every race this season.
  • Outlaw seems to barks at everyone - he just likes to talk. He is really proving to be a strong team dog this season and is putting a lot of drive into his training runs.  He has average mileage and has been extremely healthy thus far. He is slender at 53.4#.
  • Pepe has enthusiasm and pep, but still no focus. This doesn't seem to stand in his way however. He has average mileage and is always excited to go. He is a smaller dog but seems to get his job done weighing in at 39#.
  • Chipper is a petite dog with a big attitude. Her little legs move at a supersonic rate as she easily keeps the pace with her bigger brothers. She is the second most hyper dog on the race team. She has average mileage and weighs a whopping 33#. She will surprise much of our competition this season as a steady team dog.
  • Driver is still all legs. He was neutered in October and therefore had some time off. He is thin at 58.4# but we expect him to gain from now on. His mileage is slightly below average. Driver is a BIG boy who needs to grow into his body and mind. He is happy and driven, he just needs experience.
  • Iron is the negative image of his father, Biscuit - similar gait and stature yet he is white and Daddy is black. We have been pairing them together this season in hopes that Iron learns from his All-Star Pop. His mileage is average. His weight is #49.6. 
  • Sandy is small and stout. She is mentally high strung, but has more experience than any of the two-year olds and it shows. Her mileage is average. She loves to eat so she maintains her weight efficiently. She currently weighs 39# and could gain a pound of two of muscle. Sandy will be important this season.
  • Wedgy has a large learning curve this season since she had a limited time in harness last year. However, she is really rising to the challenges and it's exciting to watch her! She is also a very pretty girl and eats like a true sled dog. Her mileage is above average and she is a bigger girl - weighing in at 46.4#.
  • Woody has stilt legs and a high stepping gait but he goes straight as an arrow down the trail. He has been training in lead with an older dog. He was neutered in October and therefore had some time off. His mileage is slightly below average but we hope this will help him to maintain a better weight - he is currently thin at 51#.
  • Dutch puts a lot of effort into his work. He has a strange gait that seems to work for him. He will be a very strong team dog. He has above average mileage. He is a little thin at 44.6#. Dutch is silly in the dog yard but serious in harness.
  • Junior has often been paired in lead with Quito on training runs. She exhibits inner drive and determination for such a youngster. She has above average mileage and has the most training miles of any two-year old. Her flaw is her finicky appetite. Junior is a tall thin gal and currently underweight at 37#.
  • Kodiak has often been paired in lead with Scruggs on training runs. He is a dedicated sled dog and maintains a fast pace. He is a 'mini version' of his Daddy Nacho. He has above average mileage. He looks great at 46.4#. He will be a key player this season.
  • Lydia is the youngest and smallest SP Racers but her attitude is HUGE! She has often been paired in lead with Olivia, her Mom, on training runs. She has above average mileage and the second most training miles of any two-year old. She is a slender 31.5#.


Anonymous said...

Woof, woof, woof!!!

Thanks so much for the report on racing dogs of SP Kennel.

Glad to see that Quito and Olivia are beginning training the next generation of leaders!!!

Good luck in races to come to both 4-legged and 2-legged team members!

Anonymous said...

Amazing that you keep almost all of this in your head! You know every dog's personality as well as pros and cons for racing in different positions! Good luck as we near the season.

Laine Family

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting synopsis. How are the yearlings doing in their development. It's a large yearling school this year!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the info on each racing dog. I look forward to the start of the racing season and to watching the younger dogs develop. It is amazing to see the variation in all of their weights.

Nessmuk said...

What a great update....thank you!! So glad to see SPK's awesome genetics are shining through to the next generation! Also glad to know our boy Chemo is enjoying his job....stay strong buddy!!

Mary Lynn Roush said...

Wow, thanks for keeping us up to date...about my favorite sled dogs!

marilyn cozzens said...

Thank you so much for such a detailed report on each of the 38 racing dogs(I think that is the # of reports I counted). The younger dogs are certaintly developing like their role models. I am so looking forward to the racing season. I am also eagerly looking forward to which dogs make the 3 teams for the upcoming race. Thanks for such a great post.

Atown's Becky said...

Thank you for the fantastic update on the dogs and their training. It's wonderful to hear how much they take after their talented parents.
I'm rooting for ALL of them!
I hope IV heals quickly, Rambler's coat clears up, and everyone who needs to put on muscle weight, takes care of business.
It looks like the only problem selecting teams, will again be, which talented dogs will sit out.
Keep up the awesome work :-)

Ruth said...

Amazing! At times I had trouble keeping up with my children. You are able to do it with every dog in the kennel! I truly believe you are better than many parents. SP Kennel the winner!

AK Michele RN said...

Excellent background on each of them! can't wait to "see' them run a race!

Peter Bischet said...

Hallo Alyi,
great infos for me here in Germany.
I'd like to know how many average trainings miles your dogs have done, when they start at the Quest or Iditarod ( 1-2-3 thousend, I guess or is that your secret?)
Thanks so much, Peter

Mark from Ohio said...

Thanks for the great update on all the dogs. Please know that we, "the dog log readers", really appreciate the time, talent, and energy that you spend keeping us informed! Keep well! and good racing to all!

Anonymous said...

YIPPEE, great update on the pups. miss Pud? thanks again for keeping us connected to our favorite Kennel and team.
Padee Santa Rosa, CA