SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The "Five" Puppies

Chica and Clyde's puppies are running, romping and loving life. They live in a raised wooden pen that can be washed and scrubbed throughly. The pen has two houses and many puppy toys. Olivia resides next to this pen and she is the perfect auntie ('half' auntie genetically.) The pups often spend the daytime in one of the other SP "play pens" on the property.

Chica visits periodically, but does not nurse them. She likes to check that they are okay but she isn't over concerned about being near them all the time.

This litter is very food motivated -- which isn't a shocker, considering Clyde "the food fanatic"-- is their father. They come when called, especially when there are biscuits or a dish of food involved. Their daily walks are sometimes abbreviated when one of them thinks "Hey… there might be more food back at the kennel!" Then they all 'high tail' it back to their pen in hopes of finding a random piece of kibble.

We did Past Hasting's 8 week old 'Puppy Puzzle Tests' last week. Each pup is looked at very critically in terms of personality, conformation and overall body structure. Since we don't often sell or give away pups, these tests are simply for our in-house records. It is fun to look back on the tests years later.

Aliy looks at Ernie's body structure (he is a miniature Beemer); Scooby wonders what all the fuss is about as Mickey takes notes.

We also took some 8 week Puppy Portraits. As you can imagine, these kids will change tremendously over the next few months, so we will update the portraits soon. But, here they are:

  L to R: Rodney: big loudmouth; Ginger: confident little girl; Scooby: a bit of a bully

  L to R: Ernie: real sweetheart; Five: a little sensitive.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Training Teams

We have had a consistent schedule for the dogs since the start of training. The veterans are excited to be out tromping through the puddles. The youngsters are eager - sometimes a little too much so!

Here is a video of our last of five training teams for the morning. We ran quite a few dogs single to get them used to lining out and listening to commands. At the beginning of training you want everyone to start learning what you expect. (Youngsters have an easier time focusing when they don't have their brother or sister yelling in their ear.)

The team is: Viper and Waylon (Lead), Schmoe and Chemo, Clyde and Amber, Violet (single), Spark (single), Iron (single), Felix (single).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tony Baloney

Here is a peek into the life of yet another retired SP Kennel racing dog.

Tony was born over 12 years ago in the spring of 2002. He was one of a litter of 5 boys, also including Maurice, Hoss, Leroy and Oddball. He followed quickly in the footsteps of his parents, AJ and Girlfriend, to become a critical member of SP's racing squad from 2006 to his retirement in 2012.

Tony, third pair back, on right. In racing form!

Tony, AKA Baloney, raced at about 49 pounds and was one of the physically strongest team dogs. He raced the Iditarod in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. During training, racing, traveling or meeting scores of volunteers and fans he had "a positive attitude ALL OF THE TIME", according to Aliy's training logs. He has that exact same positive attitude today. Even as a retiree, he is a joy to be around!

Tony's current lifestyle is a bit nomadic and he is perfectly happy with it. Though he is officially still an SP Kennel resident, he was semi-adopted a short time ago by Wes and Wendy Brightman, former kennel handlers. When they are in Two Rivers, tending their peony farm, Tony hangs out with them and 'helps'. Their driveway is adjacent to one of the main dog mushing trails in our area. Tony watches the teams go by, standing at Wes' side. He perks his ears and wags his tail thinking, 'My life is different now'.  Tony takes fun runs along side Wes' ATV and then sleeps on a striped cushion inside. The Brightman's traveled to Valdez, AK with Tony this summer and introduced him to motor home camping and panning for gold. Different, indeed!

In Valdez this summer. What a handsome dude!

Now that Wes and Wendy are out of state for a month, Doug and I are enjoying Tony's company and he is very much at home with us. He loves chasing grouse and butterflies around our yard. He loves jaunting around the neighborhood while Sammy and I ride our bikes. He has been helping us harvest the last of our veggies and get our little place ready for winter. And sometimes we visit the kennel, to keep tabs on Aliy and Allen.

Sammy and Tony on a late summer jaunt.

What is this little creature? Tony meets Scooby the pup.

When Wes and Wendy return Tony will be peony farming again. And sometime this winter, when the Brightmans travel to their work overseas and we are back in Florida, Tony will move his striped cushion into Aliy and Allen's house. Accompanied by the old girls, ChaCha and Bullet, he will look out the widow at the training teams leaving the dog yard and think, 'my life is different now'. And he'll perk his ears and wag his tail and have "a positive attitude ALL OF THE TIME".

Kennel Mom

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pet Appreciation Day

Coldspot in Fairbanks asked Aliy if she'd drop by during this weekend's "Pet Appreciation Celebration". Saturday from 11pm to 3pm, Aliy, Mickey (Kennel Mom), Beemer and Viper were special guests at the Coldspot celebration. All four of them talked about dogs, to dogs and with dogs. (See a theme here?)

A great time was had by all!

Beemer enjoyed the Crowd; A young fan knows the secret ear scratch.

Beemer says "Can we take her home?"; Beemer's long lost niece (just kidding!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Day of Training!

It here. The temperature was 29 degrees this morning. I guess Mother Nature has decided to cooperate with us today.

The dogs are excited and the Mushers are excited. What a GREAT day to start training. The first team of the year is a mixture of young and old.

Pud is in lead with Scruggs. Pud is flying to New Hampshire next week for his retirement from SP Kennel so we thought it was only appropriate for him to step in and run as the primary leader on the first team of the season. Why not go out in style?

In swing is Dingle and Nacho. Both Rock Star solid SP dogs.

The next two dogs are very young. Cayenne and Champ turn one year old on September 7th. This was a big day for them and they were happy to be a part of it. Each of these youngsters is attached to the mainline with both a tug line and a neck line. They are running by themselves so that they don't get confused with a partner. This is necessary on the first few runs so that they get the "forward" concept from the beginning. As you can see by 1/4 mile down the trail… they got it! (Of course, Aliy did run in front and beside them for just a little ways!)

Puppet and Woody are next in the team. They are a nice solid, long legged pair.

Nelson is in wheel by himself. His twirling and crazy nature hasn't seemed to let up through the summer -- thank goodness!

Here we go!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Time to Move the Harnesses

Is your clock ticking?

Our clock is ticking!

September 1st is the first day that SP Kennel dogs train in harness.

Our harness rack has been empty throughout the summer. But… it's time to move the harnesses. Thanks to Howling Dog Alaska for providing us with fantastic harnesses for our dogs. Our system is a little bit different than your traditional set up. But, we love it. And better yet… our dogs LOVE it. I think we'll stick with it!

Here is an older post to our harness system: HARNESSES

An Empty Harness Rack; Harnesses still hang indoors

Monday, August 25, 2014

Puppy Portraits

The pups will be 6 weeks old tomorrow! To celebrate their birthday and a beautiful late summer day in Two Rivers, Doug and I took the fivesome for a romp in the field. Their personalities are developing. Scooby just loves everybody and everything. Rodney is an instigator. Ginger is Ms. Independent. Ernie is mellow. Five seems pensive.

These pups are just so wiggly. With much trial and error, we did get puppy portraits to document this 6 week milestone and hopefully show a bit of their individualism.

Scooby, the social butterfly.

Rodney, the instigator, tries to look innocent.

Ginger, the Adventurer.

Mellow fellow, Ernie. Almost a twin to Five, below.
Five, the Thinker. His all black nose and longer guard hairs distinguish him from Ernie.

Hope you enjoy. We sure had fun running around the field with them.
Kennel Mom

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mushing Trails in Summer

Have you ever wondered what some of our mushing trails look like in the summer? Let Tig show you the Chena River during the summer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thank you Chenega!

Chenega Native Corporation has sold the Clarion Suites in Downtown Anchorage. As many people know, Clarion Suites has been SP Kennel's home away from home for many years. We are greatly appreciative to Chenega for the many years that our dogs, mushers, handlers, family and fans all stayed at Clarion Suites. We were treated like royalty.

Aliy stands underneath the "Aliy Hotel Banner"; SP Kennel dog truck sits in its reserved parking space in front of Clarion Suites

We have met so many great people through our relationship with Chenega that we have come out far ahead. Our business relationships have turned into life-long personal friendships.

Linda Steiner ~ Director or Sales and Marketing; Barbara Swenson ~ General Manager

Aliy and one of her best buddies; Allen, Aliy and Ranger at a hotel sponsored event

Clarion Suites team with Scruggs before the start of the 2013 Iditarod

Charlotte, Aliy and Dingle at a downtown event; Aliy carried a laminated photo of the Clarion Suites team in her Iditarod sled every year

Thank you Chenega! And thank you to the dedicated staff and personnel of the Clarion Suites Downtown Anchorage.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five Pups at 4 1/2 Weeks Old

Here is a video of the Chica x Clyde puppies: