Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter's Horns

by Greg

When the cold, dark beast of winter lurks outside the door, spewing frosted steam into the icy air, pawing the squealing snow with frigid hooves, waiting to impale flesh on frozen horns, it is easy to sit back in that comfy chair, take another sip of hot tea and stare out the window. But though it's not always easy, it's almost always rewarding to bundle up and step outside, grab winter by those frozen horns and wrestle it around a little bit.

Our valley got enough snow that we skied the local park and used Trina's house and sunny patio as our ski chalet. Local trails are still bikeable -- in a snowy, slippery kind of way. And the local flat-topped mountain has provided for more skiing and some phat-tired snow biking.

Our little dogs --even in their stylish jackets-- lose heat pretty quickly when it's super cold. But when conditions are right, they romp like maniacs in the snow, having more fun than humanly possible, and adding to the human fun, too.

We present this photographic evidence of winter fun. And hope that you're getting out there, too!


  1. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. We have 3 JRT's, and one looks just like a female Zeek. I love all the the doggie/mountain biking pictures. We visit Fruita as much as we can to bike with our dogs. I noticed the electronic collars on the dogs. Are they bark collars or for naughty behavior? Just curious.....we have a couple that could use them.

  2. Hi Amanda! THREE JRTs!?! Is your house in constant chaos?

    To answer your question, the collars are training collars, not bark collars. In the past I had always been appalled at the idea of using them. Two things changed my mind about them. The first was spending a couple of years with a hunter who used them for his hunting dogs in the field and I learned about them with him. I learned that once the dog is trained to the collar, you really only ever have to BEEP him, and I shocked myself with the collar to learn what it actually felt like when you did use that feature.

    The second was when Zeek came into my life, with a collar, already trained to it, for very good reason. As A JRT he has a prey drive like you wouldn’t believe, and if left unchecked he would fight/attack something until one of them was dead. Sprocket isn’t quite so fearless, but it turns out that he too has a hard-wired drive to pursue prey, so I got a second collar (both are synched to a single remote control) to keep him from chasing and harassing wildlife.

    The collars I use are from petsafe dot net. There are loads of options for collars and a few different training techniques (some people use the beep as a rewarding sound; others use it as a corrective sound). You’ll find videos online and how-to instructions with the collars -- it’s way too much to get into here in this context, but I will say that training collars CAN be used humanely, as more of a beep collar than a shock collar, and only in very serious situations is a shock ever required -- the kind of situation where having the ability to remotely stop the dog may well save its life (and some other critter's). Our post titled The Javelina Incident is a perfect example of … well, of how NOT to use them. This was a situation where we didn’t beep (or shock) Zeek quickly enough when he pursued a javelina in the Arizona desert, and he ended up getting gored. Not killed, amazingly enough, just gored. And we don’t know what happened to the javelina. Had we been more effective with the collar, we could’ve prevented the chase from the start… I hope that answers your questions! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    - trina

  3. Hey Trina~
    Thanks so much for your response. It was very helpful, and informative. I think we may be in the market for a couple of training collars now. Our dogs are really good for the most part, but I just want to avoid any Javelina experiences. I can totally see something like that happening to us. YIKES...So scary! Glad Zeek survived the ordeal. Him and Sproket are so stinkin' cute! We really enjoy the mtn bike pics with them.
    The front range has gotten really strict with dogs and leash laws, so we are hoping for lots of fruita/moab trips this spring. Keep your eyes out for 3 wild sprited JRT's!!!

  4. Ah, front range leash laws - yes, we NOTICED that last time we *tried* to bike w/our boys over there. EEgads! It would be super fun to run into you and your pack on our wild-and-free (so far) trails - I wouldn't be surprised if we do one day!