Springtime in the Kennel

I used to dread spring and the close of another mushing season, but now I appreciate it for what it means: a time of regeneration; not just for nature but also for myself and the team. It's a time to catch up on all those things that I had no time for during training season. It gives dogs a chance to heal up any persistent injuries. It gives me a few months to miss dog mushing so that by the time the season starts up again I'm revved up and full of excitement for the season ahead.

Granted, we're still training occasionally here even now but without a handler's help each dog probably only gets out once a week, just to keep them in shape. And even that will likely end fairly soon when the summer temperatures roll in.

So what we do here in spring?
Spring is for making gear!

I'm hard at work this spring sewing dog booties for Iditarod. Every night after work I'm cutting, serging, sewing, attaching velcro or turning finished boots inside out. I've also got new collars to make for next year, dog jackets to modify, and new lines to make. It's always a never ending process but this year I'm aiming to get as much of it done prior to leaving for AK as possible.

Spring is for puppies!

Most years any litters I do are born sometime in spring or early summer, but this past year I wound up having 2 litters smack in the middle of the season. The youngest litter is just 13 weeks old; the older litter is 5 months. They still require lots of snuggling and socialization and enrichment exercises to help them grow up to be well rounded sled dogs.

Spring is for hiking.

I love taking dogs out hiking for some one on one time. Last weekend we did our first hike of the season with a couple of other friends and their dogs, out to a lovely pond on the woodlands by my house. Trouper is a fantastic off leash hiker, and Felicity joined him on-leash.

Spring is for chilling.

I take kennel panels and split my dog yards in half each spring so that I can let small groups of dogs off their chains for long periods without fights breaking out. My entire yard is surrounded by 6 foot fencing, with a hot wire along the base to prevent digging out. I also have a pretty large play yard where dogs can stretch out and run. Groups of dogs take turns spending time in the play yard each day and evening, while the others get time loose to play or lounge around at their leisure in their smaller yards. I feel this keep them exercised and happy even when they aren't running in harness.

We hope you're having a great spring wherever you are!