Sunday, December 16, 2007
We completed over 11 miles this weekend as our contribution to Dogs Across America. The dogs are both in prime shape right now. They easily completed the double loop and in record time too. We clocked one 3 mile stretch at just 13 minutes! The rain started just as we completed our 5.5 mile outing today. I bent the rear rim bouncing down the single track with my over amped dual puppy charged mountain bike. I also had an embarrassing encounter with a couple small pups and their bewildered owner. WHAT? Never seen a crazed team of dogs, dragging an obviously equally crazed passenger (you'd have to be!) on a mountain bike, all carreening across the meadow to sniff and otherwise pester your pups? We must work on leave it, go-by, and a better easy would help a lot as well! Snoopy is just a naughty little block head sometimes. Pepper, of course, did her best to cooperate. But, he literally dragged her, me, and the bike. Like I said, embarrassing. My trust (assumption) that they would merrily go-by when they had already alerted onto the little dogs, was a serious mistake. I'm thinking disc brakes might help give me more control as well. Luckily, the dog walker was very calm, and she wasn't frightened or upset that our dogs all created a intricate spaghetti knot about her leg. Oh, and did I mention mountain bikes flying through the air?? ...nutty sport. These guys are still beginners, as am I. I hope we all survive long enough to at least semi-master this work/play.
Dogs across America in the news.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Press Release: What is Dogs Across America?
Dogs Across America is a dog mileage event to demonstrate the pulling and traveling ability of ordinary (and extra-ordinary) dogs. It is an annual event that takes place in the cooler days of autumn before dog sled race season begins. Anybody who owns a dog can join and add their miles to their State's total. We strive to total at least 3,000 miles in a single weekend. With that number of miles, dogs will have crossed America in one weekend - state by state and province by province.
In each participating State and Province, teams of dogs and humans travel the chosen trail(s) in the State. They can travel with the dog pulling them on a vehicle or they can walk with their dog. Some State coordinators divide trails into sections so that the event is like a relay. Other State coordinators choose trails where groups can travel together. Individuals who can't drive to the group trail can travel their own trail and report their miles to the coordinator. The total miles traveled in the State by the dog teams gets counted toward the nation wide goal of 3,000 miles.
In 2005, our first year, the total miles was 205. In 206, it was 821.
821 should be easy to beat in 2007.
The dog teams vary in size and pull a variety of vehicles. Some dogs pull a scooter; others pull 4 wheel rigs (usually 4 to 6 dogs). Other participants may use sulkies, bikes, rollerblades or wheelchairs. Some will run or walk the trail on foot. Some of these walking dogs will be drafting - pulling a cart.
Some states, due to lack of a suitable trail or if the participants are too spread out, run local trails and add all the participants' mileage together. State organizer collects mileage, number of human participants, name of trail(s) and sends it to web master Mike Behnke for compiling and posting on this web site.
Interested in joining in on the fun?
We would love to have you and your dogs join us, but in the interest of being organized, we need to register everyone that would like to participate. We are now accepting registrations and you can sign up here or the signup link in the menu. You can also go to your state and clicking the signup link from that page.
note from Jj: One of SoHum's chosen trails is the Southern Humboldt Community Park. You may ride/run/walk any trail or road you desire, adding your totals to the rest in the state.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Pretty fun times. Notice my gear is still amateur style. Pepper runs with a traditional harness designed for use with a leash, and Snoopy has a harness from BikerDog that came with another side unit for running your dog. If I recall correctly, it was actually designed to discourage pulling, because when the dog is to the side you want to avoid them jerking around. Heh heh. He is a real bullet, and I can say this harness has done little to discourage him from pulling.....Anyway, I hook the two dogs to my bike with a simple double leash that is extended all the way. This is affixed to the t-bar of my bike with a small collar with metal buckle. We have already worn one collar out. The dogs have new gear coming soon. They will be fitted with real harnesses and I will be testing a couple different line set-ups. As you can see though, one can have a great deal of fun and harness some amazing canine power with just the simplest gear.
If you look through some of the links you will find all the information and gear (even dogs !) that you will need to start a great new activity with your canine friends. This sport is set to sweep the nation - now is the time to be at the head of a new wave of fun! Running is a dog's reward, and running your dog will reward you too. For after a good run, escaping, barking and chewing things, all seem like work! Tired pups are good pups. It is a total blast! So, If you like dogs, nature, and speed, mixed with a bit of danger, daring and exhilaration, you must try dog powered sports! The bond that has been formed through our strenuous outings is like no bond I have ever had with a dog; and I have had a good number of dogs.
First and foremost, before you hitch Rover up to the BMX, is obedience training. Any dog owner interested in tapping into the amazing power contained in their pooch, must first have a good command of that dog. Basic obedience, such as focusing on you, sit, stay, stop, no, and leave it, are all essential for staying alive while hitched to your dog(s). Keeping in mind a good heel may not be a valuable skill in this circumstance - if they pull on the leash they'll probably be great at mushing!
An easy, citified way to run your pup, when obedience is not so solid yet, is the WalkyDog. It is not exactly mushing, but provides a great way to run your dog. It is ideal for dogs that are too small to pull, but are blessed with abundant energy (we love you tyke!) The one disadvantage if you want to eventually train them to pull, is that they must learn to run in front after the WalkyDog has conditioned them to run at the side. I still like being able to use it. It is ideal for urban situations, where you need to be in absolute control of your dog and not take up too much space!
We took a few pics at the park yesterday, I will post them soon. I must admit it has been difficult to document this process with very many photos, as the speed and danger elements seem to dominate! ;}