Written by MJ
Follow the Training Journey of Surf N'Turf Racing Team Sponsered by MJ's
Trying something new with your dog can teach you more about your best friend than you could have imagined. When I came across the Green Mountain Iron Dog Race while looking for dog-friendly races for Mint and me, I couldn't stop revisiting the page.
When I showed Michelle, her response was, "let's sign up!"
Sure, Mint (one of my standard poodles) can handle a 5k race with some training, but can he handle obstacles, water, and even being carried? What kind of race is this anyways?
From what I can find, Green Mountain is full of surprises. The race began as a challenge for Police K9 Handlers before being opened to the public. According to their website, the obstacles will be a surprise, but the race is open to all levels.
As Michelle and I embark on this training journey and prepare for our October road trip to upstate Vermont, I am having a great time challenging myself and Mint.
Having a goal, can be a great motivator. I may not have put this much focus on things such as teaching Mint water (his least favorite and most challenging), but now I find myself booking pool sessions and teaching Mint to let me carry him (another skill).
From the videos I could find, it looks like there is a good chance we might have to do a bit of running while carrying our rather large dogs too. This challenge makes me think about a new area of training for all of my dogs. Are my dogs comfortable being carried on my arms or shoulders? Will they wiggle or get stressed out?
I would have never thought to train this skill, but now all of my dogs are learning to be carried (not natural for larger dogs). I think of this as being a skill that I may never need outside of obstacle races, but will be happy I trained it in the event of an injury to my dog or an emergency that requires lifting the dog.
My goal with my dogs is to find things they enjoy. If I can spend my free time being dragged (yes, we train them to pull for this), by my dog through the woods and my dog is getting exercise and enrichment in the process, then I think I found my sport.
We have a long way to go as the journey has just begun.
I hope this post inspires you to try something new with your dog!
PS: Our team still needs a few more members for the race. If this sounds fun to you, please reach out!