On why it's called 'Training'

Every time we stopped, the dogs grew more frenetic, the pitch and tenor of their screams accelerated. They didn’t like stopping, especially so much in the first mile. They had had a few days off and were super-charged. As I chopped and moved the trees, heavy and iced into the ground, it wasn’t the barking that bothered me but concern that Hilde or Nibbler would stop barking and start chewing. While I had brought my axe, as always, I didn’t have a rope to tie the ATV off to, so I worried also about the brakes giving way. When the dogs occasionally grew silent, I expected to see loose dogs running at me. I pushed those thoughts aside and focused on chopping trees efficiently and clearing a path.

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Sally Manikian
On the Seeds of Teamwork

Earlier in the month, I watched the team and couldn’t tell what was going on. The rhythm and flow seemed off, there was no snapped-in-line-symmetry looking down the line. Everyone was happy, but I couldn’t tell if they, if we, were becoming a team.

 

That is already changing. The intuition that had me unclip everyone at the end of the run came from the gut feeling, from the knowledge, that the teamwork was forming. The identity was coming into being. The shared sense of purpose, the electricity that runs from my hands along the lines of the team, those are some of the reasons I train a dog team. The first step is teamwork. The next step is resilience.

 

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Sally Manikian