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 10, 2014

December Yearling Update

The yearlings go through the same monthly health exams as the adults. There is much more humor involved in these exams and a great deal more patience is required.
These youngsters are sincerely happy, playful, exuberant and downright fun!

We brought all 13 yearlings into the garage - three or four at a time. Keeping up with them was like chasing rabbits: Spark tried to eat the foot ointment container while Violet ran off in the other direction with the lid. Commando and Amber wrestled in the work out room - now we can't find the sweat bands! Cayenne stole the dry erase marker and ran in circles with it so that we couldn't write down her weight. Chena didn't want to come out of the weigh-in crate, so Daisy and Champ decided to join her. FYI: all three of them weighed in at 121.8 pounds. Coal didn't want to get in the weight-in crate and howled desperately while getting weighed. Nomex had the most patience during his foot exam. Tinder stood by and monitored all of his siblings weights compared to his (Photo at right). Torch and Hotshot were the last to come into the garage and were so pleased to finally have their chance to run around that they were both "angels"!

L-R: Chena in the weigh-in crate; Champ joins Chena; Daisy joins the other two.

The Yearlings have had a very consistent training schedule thus far. They trained with the Adult Racers mixed into the same teams the entire month of September and through much of October. During November, they began to train in a predominantly "Yearling Squad". The focus of this young squad was manners and experience; not mileage. On average, the Yearlings have 50% of the training miles and 80% of the number of runs as the Adult Racers.

We have given many yearlings a chance to run in lead with a veteran adult. A few of them have really shined! In December, several Yearlings were "bumped up" to an Adult Racer team for a run or two. We watch their attitude very closely.
  • Amber really drives hard in harness and has never lost focus. She is a cocky gal and will tell all of her siblings that she is the best! She looks good at 37.8 pounds. Amber has the most mileage of all the yearlings and has been in lead once.
  • Cayenne was a little timid in the Adult teams early in the season. But, she has gained tremendous confidence in just a few months is now completely self-assured. She is a tall, thin-boned girl at 37.8 pounds. Cayenne went through a phase of not eating all her food but now she is back at her dish with gusto. She has average mileage.
  • Champ started the season as the loudest screamer and the biggest line chewer. Now that he understands the routine, he has settled down and can somewhat control his focus. He is a hard charging dog and has strength in his size. He has a habit of running out in the deep snow (so does Mac and Scruggs). Champ will be a big, sturdy boy and is the second largest yearling at a healthy 49.2 pounds. He has the second most mileage.
  • Chena is pensive and calm. But she runs in harness with complete dedication and resolve. She has been in lead on numerous training runs and trots with her head down and eyes forward. Chena doesn't like water in her food and picks out the solid goodies. She is a very picky eater and is thin at 33.4 pounds. She has average mileage.
  • Coal is a big, slightly goofy, boy. He isn't always comfortable with new situations: open water, overflow, ski poles. But, he listens when he's spoken to and immediately gets back to work. Coal is a strong, solid team player and weighs 47.8 pounds. He has average mileage.
  • Commando lopes with a lot of pep. He always keeps his tug line tight! He has run in lead but is still a pup and will leap off the trail to bite a branch. He enjoys his food but his consumption does't keep up with his energy level so he is a thin 45.4 pounds. He has average mileage.
  • Daisy is a chubby, plain faced girl with the most dedication in harness for a yearling. She is strong and never lets up. She will run in lead the same as in the team. She is tremendously furry and looks a lot bigger than she really is. She is solid at 39.2 pounds. Daisy has the third most mileage.
  • Hotshot is an extra playful, happy hound. He has big legs and a big body and hasn't mastered long distance miles yet. But, he was talented in lead and trotted down the trail with confidence. He is a solid 47.2 pounds. He has average mileage.
  • Nomex is proud. He is a tall, big dog with a 'coffee table-sized' head. He is a powerful team player and still must practice the art of pooping on the go. He is the largest yearling and looks incredible at 49.4 pounds. Nomex is a gorgeous boy! He has average mileage.
  • Spark is the ultimate sweetheart but what a worker as well! He pulled so hard at the beginning of the season that he would wear himself out. We moved him up into lead to lessen his drive and he is now a solid lead dog (except when a leaf blows across the trail!) Spark is a nifty dog and looks good at 45.4 pounds. He has average mileage.
  • Tinder is gorgeous and resembles his Daddy, Nacho. He has the same self confidence too. He seemed slightly unfocused early in the season on the first 1/2 mile every run, but he's gotten over this phase and is now a 100% powerhouse. Tinder looks super at 45.2 pounds and has the prettiest coat. He has average mileage.
  • Torch is the most vocal and enthusiastic youngster. He paces faster than many dogs lope. He is lighter-boned than his bigger brothers but seems to keep his body weight well at 45.2 pounds. He motored straight down the trail when he was in lead and will be in that position more in the future. He has average mileage.
  • Violet is a mini "Olivia" with crazed energy and a 'go-go-go' attitude. She has run in lead but only for short stints. She is a solid dog in swing or team and will be there in the long run. Violet is not a big girl but she looks good at 37.2 pounds. She has average mileage.

L-R: Allen with "the twins" Violet (left) and Amber (right); Cayenne wants her marker back!; Mark rescued the foot ointment container from Spark.

L-R: Nomex stands for his "mani-pedi"; Aliy gives some luvin' the angels: Torch (left) and Hotshot (right).


Anonymous said...

All the yearlings are so adorable!

And thank you so very, very much for the fantastic post w/pix!!!

Tell Chena from me that she should first pick out her solid bits AND THEN drink up all the liquid - it makes her coat shine! And thus increases her Greta Garbo-look!


A-town's Becky said...

Good for Tinder and Torch, already looking like pros on the line and off.
Sounds like you have your hands full teaching most of them manners!

Nessmuk said...

This post made me laugh after a hard days work!! The pictures and commentary of the monthly exams was hilarious!! Loved the individual updates...this yearling group definitely has some SPK Rock Star potential!! Lol...it's ok Nomex....I can only imagine learning to "poop on the go" can be a daunting skill to master!

Cal OSME said...

Too funny to hear about the adventures of these yearlings. Thanks for making my day!

Erie PA

Anonymous said...

What a spectacular report!

Thanks so much for the pix and info on all the yearlings!



Dawn E said...

What a great update! So much fun in these youngsters, but seems like they all have great possibilities on the line!

marilyn cozzens said...

Thanks do much for the detailed report on the exuberant, fun loving yearlings. What an exciting group of pups that are the future stars of the racing team. Never a dull moment with this beautiful exciting budding team for SPK. Thanks again for the update.

Lourdes, VT said...

What a delightful account of life with adorable yearlings! They have so much personality and energy and joy!!!
Thank you for sharing :)