Sunday, November 29, 2015


We are working on building a website where you can learn more about us and our team as you follow our adventures. Check it out at

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Rig Rendezvous 2015

We love Rig Rondy. We look forward to it year round and we are already looking forward to 2016. This year was good for us, as we learned a good amount about what we need to work on with our team, and individually with each dog.

Nick participated in the 4-dog rig race and canicross (with Ruger). Joy participated in canicross (with Denali), and was the canicross runner for a relay team.

The dogs did well during the rig race and we were pleased with the way they ran. However, Denali was a bit of a "distracted husky" during canicross. During the summer, we took a lot of time off, partially due to the weather, and partially due to the fact we wanted to sleep. What we learned from this is that even if it is too warm to run, we can still work with the dogs in other ways. Obedience, hook up, etc. Not that sleeping in is bad (obviously we love it), but we want to ensure we give our dogs the best chance to perform well, and to do that, we need to put the work in.

That being said, Denali did significantly better during the canicross portion of the relay race and our relay team placed third.
The relay was a fun event. It consists of canicross, bikejor, and rig. Our dryland musher needed two more dogs to make a full team. So, Ruger and Prudhoe joined her. This was great for them as they were able to learn to work with another dog and listen to another musher other than Nick or Joy. They did well, and she enjoyed racing with them.

Overall, we were pleased with the dogs' performance and were grateful for any lessons we learned. We were most pleased with Calypso. Sometimes, she gets shy and antsy in crowds. She tends to cower, and not want to participate. We were worried that all the excitement might be an issue for her. It was a starting line decision whether to race her or not. However, she wanted to race and she truly excelled. She ran phenomenally and we were impressed with the effort she put in. She did well at the starting line, and did not seem too bothered by all the other dogs at the race.
This was exciting for us to see, as we have been working very hard with her. It was nice to know the work we have been doing is working with her.

Rig Rondy is well organized and is a great race for beginners. Everyone is willing to help, and we have learned quite a bit by watching other teams and asking questions. We are grateful to everyone who has helped us learn and grow in the sport,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Trail Adventures and Fall Training

We are upping the mileage as fall has finally arrived! The dogs have tons of energy to burn off, and spend their days running laps around the yard and chasing squirrels. They love the cool weather, and so do we. It's perfect for rig training, canicross, and weekend hikes.

A few weekends ago, Nick headed to the Katy Trail in the Jefferson City area. Joy was running the Waddell and Reed Kansas City Half Marathon, so Nick took the opportunity to meet up with another team in the area (out of St. Louis) to work on running together, passing, commands, etc. It went very well and the dogs behaved nicely. It was a good chance to work on passing another team on both the right and left side. Sometimes, dogs will struggle with passing on a certain side (for whatever reason), so this was a good chance for us to work before Rig Rondy in November.

Last weekend we tried out a new trail in the Carthage, Missouri area. We went running and dryland mushing on the Ruby Jack Trail. This is a rails-to-trails trail similar to the Frisco or Katy Trail. The surface was a bit harder, but it was absolutely beautiful. The dogs ran well and enjoyed having a chance to run in a new area. We noticed a lot of houses right along the trail - what a perfect spot to live!

We are also gearing up for Rig Rondy hosted in Woodstock, Illinois. Both Nick and Joy will be participating in canicross, Nick will be doing the 4 dog dryland race, and Joy is part of a relay team which includes canicross, bikejoring, and dryland mushing. We had a great time at this event last year and are really excited to go back. We weren't able to participate in the rig race last year as we did not have enough dogs ready to compete, so this will be a fun adventure for us as well.

We are also excited that we will be featured in a special magazine/newspaper section called "Country Neighbor" that is distributed to several Southwest Missouri areas including Buffalo, Marshfield, Bolivar, Stockton, West Plains, and Christian County. This is really cool for us, as it gives us a chance to provide a little insight into our hobby and dog-loving family. We had a great time allowing the reporter to watch hook-up and go for a dryland ride.

Stay tuned as we post more updates about our fall training. We'll share some more photos and videos of the dogs as well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hello, Fall!

Fall has finally arrived. It's nice to have more than one or two cool days in a row. This means we can really start training.

You probably noticed we haven't posted much over the summer, but that's simply because there isn't much to say. We run on days that are cool enough, and we play at the lake or go camping on the weekends. Enough said.

So, here's what we have been up to lately:

September 26: Run for the Paws Benefiting Loving Paws Adoption Center
This is one of our favorite dog-friendly 5ks. Ruger and Nick took 1st overall. Denali and Joy took 2nd overall (1st female and 2nd dog awards). This was also Prudhoe's first 5k. He ran with Nick's cousin, Allison. It was a great chance for him to be around other dogs and feel the energy a race provides. He listened very well and ran great!

We have been training on the Frisco Trail and are headed to the Katy Trail this weekend. These trails are pretty shady as well, which helps a bit until the weather really cools off.

Lakeview Trail at Stockton State Park
We frequent Stockton State Park quite often, and the ~8 mile Lakeview Trail is a great place to train. It's quite a bit more technical than the rails-to-trails Frisco and Katy. Nick had a wreck on the rig and we have it on video. Unfortunately, the video doesn't really capture the situation in its entirety.

So, what do we have coming up? Well, we are looking forward to Rig Rondy in Illinois in November. Nick and Ruger and Denali and Joy will be doing canicross. We have titles to defend! Plus, Nick will be entering the 4-dog rig event.

We'll be posting more frequently now that fall is here and we are back into our training routine. So, stay tuned for our dryland/mushing/canicross adventures.

 Start of Run for the Paws

 Nick and Ruger Post-Race

Joy and Denali Post-Race 

Allison/Prudhoe, Joy/Denali, and Nick/Ruger after the run

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fall . . . We are ready for you!

As much as we love summer for all the hot fun it brings, our pups are ready for fall - and we are too.
We have started planning our fall racing and training.

We are very excited to head back to Woodstock, IL for Rig Rendezvous in November. If you are not familiar with this fun and well put together event, we encourage you to check it out here.
We are planning to participate in canicross, the 4 dog dryland rig event, and hopefully the relay. Last year we were only able to participate in canicross (which was a blast), so this year will be a bit different for us. This race was well coordinated, and we learned a lot simply by watching.

We would love to attend Dirty Dog Derby at the end of October as well, but we have a conflict. We have heard great things about this race as well. If you're interested, check it out here.

We are also looking forward to doing some camping and training on the Frisco Highline Trail and the Katy Trail. These trips provide us with a chance to get away, and they provide the dogs with new scenery during training runs.

As for now, we are running with the pups when it is cool enough. This weekend was reasonably cool (mid-upper 60s in the morning) so we had a chance to log a few miles.

The dogs have been keeping busy during the hot summer days by romping in the yard and taking extra naps.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Keeping your snow dog (or other double coated pup) cool during the hot summer months

We know how hot it can be during the summer months. Malamutes and Huskies can do just fine in the heat, but it does take a little extra planning and care. Essentially, we ask that you take precaution and care to help keep your furry friend happy and cool.

The first thing we want to mention is DO NOT shave a mal/husky/double coated dog! Not only does the coat insulate the dog in the cold weather, but it also provides insulation in the warm weather. The coat protects the dog from sunburn and heatstroke. Many people believe shaving their dog down will help him keep cool, but remember that your pet has this coat for a reason.

Make sure your pet has a cool place. We understand your dog probably doesn't want to be left inside all day (and you probably don 't want him roaming the house all day while you're at work). Make sure you have a lot of shade in your yard. Shade trees are wonderful, but an awning will do as well. Some dogs like to crawl inside/under bushes into the cool dirt. Also, remember that concrete and pavement can get very hot in the summer, so grass or dirt is the coolest place to lay. Don't forget to make sure he has plenty of water to drink during the day. If you have an option to have a large fan in a shady spot, your pet will thank you for this as well.

When you go to the park or for walks, pick a shady route and make sure your pet has a shady spot to play and lay at the park. Don't forget to take water if there are not water options along the way and at the park.

Does your pet like water? Pet or kiddie pools are a good option. Fill it up with cool water from the hose, and stick the pool in the shade. This allows your pet a fun place to play/lay/drink. Many mals think of it as a giant water bowl they can stand in. Just make sure you change the water frequently.
If you have a built-in pool, make sure it is fenced off or your dog is kept away from it if you are not home. Many dogs love to swim, but if your snow dog's coat gets waterlogged, he may have a hard time getting out of the pool. If you're swimming in the pool, you're dog would probably love to join you! Offer him a raft and he'll likely float around with you.

If it is especially hot, you may consider coming home at lunch and allowing your pet to come inside and cool down if there is not a way for him to be indoors while you are gone. Even an hour laying in the air conditioning on the cool floor indoors can help your pet keep cool. Working from home? Let your pet hang out inside with you if you don't already. You have an automatic "bring your pet to work" day.

If you have a double coated dog, especially a snow dog that runs or exercises with you, please be mindful of the temperature. Snow dogs were built to work in cold climates, but can adapt to their surroundings. That being said, heavy exertion over 70 degrees is not recommended (consider humidity as well). Snow dogs blow their coats at all different times, so be mindful of your dog's shedding progress in the summer as well. As your dog begins to blow his coat, spend time daily brushing him to help remove the winter coat. Not only will he enjoy the time with you, the removal of the extra fur will help him cool down.

Summertime brings bugs, so ensure your pet is protected with a heartworm preventative as well as a flea and tick medication. Keeping your pet bug free will help keep them more comfortable, and will keep the bugs out of your home.

No matter how careful you are, sometimes things happen. If you think your pet is overheated, bring him inside so he can begin to cool, and contact your vet. The goal here is to lower his body temperature to avoid seizures and brain damage. Do not submerge your dog in the bathtub or cover his whole body with wet towels, as cooling too quickly can be harmful. Allow your dog to rest someplace cool (inside and perhaps in front of a fan). Place wet, cool (NOT cold) cloths on his tummy, inner thighs, and paws. Allow your dog to walk around slowly as he begins to cool down. Movement allows the cooled blood to circulate back to your dog's core. Don't allow your dog to gulp huge amounts of water. He should sip slowly. This may sound silly, but do not offer him any type of sports drink such as Gatorade. These are not formulated for pets. If he does not want to drink water, you may try to offer him some chicken broth.

Last but certainly not least, do not leave your pet in a hot car. Even what we consider "cool" can quickly become an oven for your pet. For example, if it is 75 degrees outside, it can reach 100 inside your vehicle in less than 10 minutes even if your windows are open. Even temps in the low 60s can quickly become too warm inside the vehicle for your pet.

Your pet is a wonderful gift, full of love and respect for you. Show them the same love and respect and keep them happy and cool during the summer.
If you have any questions about ways to keep your pet cool, let us know. We are happy to help.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fireworks, The 4th of July, and Keeping Your Pet Safe

As the 4th of July approaches, we encourage you to take extra precautions to help keep your pets safe and comfortable.

Many pets are frightened by the loud, unexpected sounds produced by fireworks. In fact, many pets run away during the 4th, simply because running away from the loud noise is their instinct. This causes many pets to wind up in shelters or become lost and homeless. We encourage you to take precautions to ensure this does not happen to your pet.

We encourage you to microchip your pet as collars and tags can be lost. Some pets feel more comfortable in certain rooms of the house. If your pup feels most comfortable somewhere and you know fireworks will be happening outside, let him stay in that room if you cannot be home with him. Perhaps you can leave his favorite toy or blanket for him as well.

If your pet is left outside and gets scared of the noise, he or she may start to dig as well. Just keep this in mind if you have an escape artist like we do (although ours climbs/jumps).

We hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer is officially here!

Happy Summer! We have had several weeks of rain and extremely humid temperatures. Now it's just plain hot - just like summer should be. If you have snow dogs like us, this isn't really their favorite time of year, but that doesn't mean you can't still have a little fun. We still run on days that are cool enough which seem to be few and far between. It looks like this weekend may provide us with temps in the low 60s which would be nice!

We have been traveling to the lake almost every weekend which changes up the scenery for the pups. Snow dogs have very active minds and like to be kept busy. Changing up the scenery helps with this when they are not getting to run. Plus, when they go to the lake they get a chance to go for boat rides and splash around in the lake.

We had a fun time at Stockton State Park over the weekend for Father's Day. With all the rain we have had, the lake was up quite a bit. But, we found a nice quiet spot where the pups could cool off and enjoy the water.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Training

Maybe we should have titled this post "Summer Training or Lack Thereof" as it has been so warm already this year.

Denali has completely blown her coat, but Ruger, Calypso, and Prudhoe have not. This makes training tough when it is 75 degrees and humid at 5am. Between the temperature and thunderstorms, we have not had much of a chance to run with the pups over the last week. They are getting a little hyper to say the least. Today it's a bit cooler and raining so hopefully this afternoon or evening we may have a chance to take them out and get a few miles in.

We did have a chance to run with them at Stockton State Park over the weekend, and they really enjoyed it. Calypso went for her first solo run in a few months as she usually runs with either Ruger or Denali. She did very well on her own and we would like to foster this by working with her one-on-one a bit more. The dogs also had a chance to swim and spend some time out on the paddleboards. Ruger went for a nice walk with Nick to the marina store for breakfast as well. Although he was disappointed that Nick forgot to order his breakfast sandwich, he enjoyed himself.

Prudhoe is really fitting in and the dogs have accepted him. Ruger has even started sharing his toys! He is very eager to learn and please, and really enjoys running. We are excited to hook him up to the sled this winter.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend at the Lake

Memorial Day Weekend is always a great way to kick off summer, even if it is rainy and chilly like this year!

We took the dogs to the lake and took advantage of the gravel roads for dryland mushing. It was quite humid, but the dogs love a good jump in the lake post-run to cool off.

Despite the humidity, the dogs ran well. They only stopped to pick up one turtle (we promptly returned him). 

This was Prudhoe's first chance to swim in the lake. He seemed to enjoy himself. As usual, Fox stayed far away from the water. 

It has been storming quite a bit this week which has hampered our training a bit, but we are looking forward to getting on the trails at Stockton State Park over the weekend. 

Joy and Denali ready to head to the water

Ruger enjoying a lazy morning at the lake house

Denali on a boat


Prudhoe's first lake swim

Denali and Nick on the baot

Denali headed to the water

Joy and Calypso on the dock

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Feels Like Summer

The weather is warming up quickly. After a cool week, we are in the mid 70s-80s today. Ruger and Prudhoe are just starting to blow their coats. Calypso has blown about half of her coat. This means we have to keep an eye on the temperature when it comes to exercising the dogs. Of course we do not run them when it is too hot anyhow, but this time of year is tricky.

Prudhoe is making progress in his training as well as with his manners. He absolutely loves to run. He is eager to please and he works very hard. He is going to be a really great wheel dog. Calypso is teaching him how to navigate the gangline and he is learning his gee/haw commands quite quickly.

When we adopted Prudhoe, he knew how to sit. He would respond to "stay" sometimes, and he jumped and mouthed quite a bit. He now does very well sitting and staying for his food. He is jumping up on us less and the mouthing has subsided substantially. We are still working on being able to touch/hold his paws. He is a very loving dog and he wants to be wherever we are. The other dogs are doing well with him and seem to have accepted him as a pack member. He is still working to find his place in the pecking order, but that will come. He and Ruger have been sharing toys and playing nicely in the yard which is great, as sometimes male malamutes have a hard time getting along.

We are very happy with Prudhoe's progress as well as the progress the other dogs are making as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dryland Mushing on the Frisco Trail

On Saturday, we took the Dogs to the Frisco Trail (Walnut Grove Trailhead) for a little Dryland Mushing. Joy ran along beside the rig while Nick mushed the dogs. This was Prudhoe's first time on the rig and he did great, completing close to 4.5 miles. Denali and Ruger ran lead with Calypso and Prudhoe in wheel. It was a little humid, but the dogs did great. We are very fortunate to have some great trails in the area for training.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Prudhoe Update

Prudhoe has been with us for a few days now and is adjusting well. He still has a few puppy-like tendencies such as jumping and mouthing. He does not like to have his paws touched either. But, he is getting better. He gets very excited when you open the door to the house and he is quite a velcro dog, which is pretty sweet, especially when he gives you those puppy eyes.

He is getting along well with the other dogs. He and Ruger (and sometimes Denali) have been having a fun time playing together. Calypso does get irritated with his puppy antics at times, but he really likes her. He follows her around the yard and the house and she doesn't seem to mind. She seems to mother him a bit. Calypso and Denali have been spending a bit more time together as well which is nice to see. Fox - well, Fox is Fox and he just doesn't care.

Prudhoe has been on two runs with us. His first run was just under 1 mile and his second was a very easy 2.3 miles. He did quite well both times. He is a hard worker and he has a strong desire to please. He is learning his commands (gee, haw, on-by, hike, whoa) and he wants to run. Yesterday, Prudhoe was taking the day off, and as Joy was harnessing Ruger and Denali for an evening run, Prudhoe jumped at the harness and tried to put his head through it. He was disappointed when Joy put him back in the yard and he did not get to run. This is a wonderful sign. As he is just beginning, he will run a day or two and then have a day or two off until he begins to lose a bit of weight and get more comfortable with our pack.

We are very excited to have Prudhoe in our family! He is fitting in well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Welcome to the family, Prudhoe!

Well, we did it. We officially added a fifth dog to our family. Yes, you read correctly - five. This gives us a full, four-dog team for rig and sled races.
In the car on the way home. 

Prudhoe (formally, Apollo) is an Alaskan Malamute. He is approximately two years old. He is currently about the height of Denali and the weight of Ruger. We found him via PetFinder and he was with Pet Angels Rescue out of Edmond, OK (near Oklahoma City). 

Here is his story straight from the Pet Angels adoption page: 

"Hi! I'm Apollo. I was rescued from the Oklahoma City Pound at the end of September, my previous people got me from the Tulsa pound (Stray), just a few months beforehand but they said the other dog in the household didn't like me and well I was put in doggy jail again and almost lost my life, I mean it was really close they called Pet Angels and Pet Angels said they would pull me but someone forgot to note it in the computer and well I made it on that cold stainless steel table to be put down but Thankfully the Animal Welfare worker looked closer into the notes and seen that there had been the call made and called to double check just moments before the needle was to go into my arm! I am so Thankful for that animal Control Office Because Pet Angels had arrange to pick me up that following day and well I would have been dead since the note was not saved :-( . After that phone call of my near death encounter Pet Angels contacted a volunteer and had me transferred a day early to prevent any other fatal mistakes in my outcome."

Adoption day photo taken by Pet Angels Rescue
Prudhoe is doing quite well. He seems to be house trained, and he knows his basic commands such as sit, stay, and lay. He still has a bit of puppy in him as he gets very excited and he does like to jump. Although, since we brought him home on Saturday, the jumping has become very minimal which is great.  He is getting along well with all our dogs and is proving to be a great playmate/wrestle buddy for Ruger and Denali.

We took him for a short run on Sunday morning (just under a mile) and he did very well. He is a hard worker, and he wants to run. He is also picking up the commands quickly. He does have a bit of weight to lose, but overall he is doing very well.

We are excited to work with him and to have him as part of our family! 

Prudhoe's first run! He did great. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ruger Joins The Fit Club

We have been helping a friend of ours start a speed work group in our area that will meet once per week and focus on helping local runners get faster and meet their running goals. The group is called The Fit Club and you can learn more here if you are interested.

The first group workout was this morning, and about 12 runners showed up to work on speed. Nick brought Ruger along. It was a good chance to work on his "social skills" as well as passing and commands. The workout was a simple fartlek of 2 minutes hard/2 minutes easy with a warm up and cool down. After the "hard" segments, the front runners loop back to pick up the runners in the rear. This was a great chance to let Ruger go "on by" people moving in an opposite direction. Overall, he did very well and enjoyed the workout. Plus, he received quite a bit of attention which is always nice.

Nick and Ruger were kind enough to be the photographers 
for our post-run group photo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Camping at Klondike Park and Training on the Katy Trail

Over the weekend we took a trip to Klondike Park in Augusta, Missouri. We decided to watch a weight pull hosted by the Gateway Sled Dog Club (our dogs did not participate) and take the dogs out for a run on the Katy Trail.

The park was absolutely beautiful, and you can't help but stay warm with four furry dogs in your tent!
Training with the dogs on rails-to-trails trails is always fun. The Katy Trail is beautiful for running, biking, and of course, dryland mushing. The dogs did very well and we only encountered a few others out enjoying the morning.

The sweet girls were not sure about the whole tent thing!

Running on the trail

Sweet Denali girl

Our campsite

Katy Trail

Taking the rig down this hill was fun!

Pretty Calypso girl enjoying the day

Enjoying the sunshine

Klondike Park

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Running for Nome - 2015 Iditarod

The first Iditarod finisher is in. Dallas Seavy reached Nome this morning. His race time was 8 days, 8 hours, 13 minutes and 6 seconds with 10 dogs. Congratulations! 

We are cheering for one of our favorite mushers, Aliy Zirkle of SP Kennel. Her team of Scout, Scruggs, Nacho, Quito, Scooter, Willie, Chica, Mac, Mismo, Waylon, Izzy, Schmoe and Clyde left the White Mountain checkpoint at 3:24am headed for home! They will be into Nome shortly! 

The Iditarod is a 1,000 mile sled dog race that began on Monday, March 9 with the ceremonial start on Saturday, March 7.  Stay up to date with the mushers here

We asked Ruger, Denali, and Calypso if they dream of running the Iditarod. Our response was a request for belly rubs. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekend Workout - March 14-15

This weekend was great for working with the dogs. We were able to train them on two different trails.

Saturday morning brought a drizzly start to the weekend, which was perfect for the dogs, but not so great for Joy who was racing a St. Patrick's Day 15k. Anyhow - Nick took the dogs to the Friso Trail for an 8 mile run on the rig while Joy ran in Springfield. The dogs did great and both Ruger and Denali had a chance to run in lead. The dogs had a bit of motivation at the end of the run as a cat ran out in front of them.

Sunday was cool, and perfect for a long run. Nick took the dogs on the rig on the 8 mile Lakeview Trail at Stockton State Park and throughout the park as well. This was a great 14 mile run and both Ruger and Denali had a chance to run lead. Calypso did great - we can really see the improvements she has made in both her speed and endurance.

We are looking forward to some Katy Trail training in the near future as well!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Morning Speed Workout

We have been allowing the dogs to do some of our running speed workouts with us. Today we did a 5 mile fartlek (3;00 on/1:30 off). If you are not familiar with the term, "fartlek" is Swedish for speed play. Unlike other types of speed work, a fartlek is a bit more unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy efforts. 

Our moderate-hard efforts today were to be completed at 7:30 pace. Each one was completed closer to 7:00-7:15 pace. Our easy efforts were completed around 7:45-8:00 pace. We were very pleased with how well the dogs ran today, especially Calypso. Calypso has been gaining more speed and endurance. She had completed this workout with us once before and needed several short breaks. Today, she completed it with no breaks (except turnarounds) and pulled hard the entire time.

We are going to start running this workout or one similar to this once per week as it allows us to work on a variety of commands with the dogs. 

It is warming up quickly here so we are trying to be very careful with the dogs as they still have their winter coats. The high today is supposed to be around 70 degrees! The dogs will likely start to blow their coats soon which means excessive amounts of brushing and vacuuming. 

Although we truly love spring, we wouldn't mind a bit more snow!