Kennel/crate training is the way to go. Coincidently, before I rescued/found my mutt, I had read several articles and books on crate training. I knew I was ready for a dog, but didn't know when. At the time, I lived in a loft with no doors, only a couple of interior walls, with no way of segregating my living area from her area. I knew she was going to be kennel trained for a couple of reasons. First, because of the living arrangements – city loft, and second, I knew she’d be spending a ton of time commuting to the mountains year round.
During her kennel training, I’d leave her in the kennel for two to three hour stretches during the weekdays. Conveniently, my office was only five minutes away by foot; therefore, I could slip out and hang with the pup every couple of hours. Now she has free reign of the house – bought her a fenced yard with a doggie door this year, but she still loves her kennel for sleeping and hanging out. For transportation, her kennel completely fills the way back of my Grand Cherokee, and all our gear is stowed up in the pod.
Now, when I pull the kennel out of the bedroom, pull out the packs, tent, stuff sacks, and begin taking inventory of the gear, her anticipation of doing something “fun” skyrockets. She knows she’s going for R – I – D – E, and will see her other doggie friends for some fun in the mountains. To her, the kennel + packs + jeep = fun.
As for skiing with her, we only take them backcountry when we know the terrain is not going to be too technical. She’s a Shepard/chow/heeler mix, about 50 pounds, with a medium haired thick coat and doesn’t get too cold, but I carry booties and a fleece for her just in case. The booties are great for ice and crud in the winter and hot slickrock and in the summer. In addition to our hydration, we typically carry a couple of Nalgenes per dog. In addition to our beacons, AS A JOKE, I throw in those bacon flavored beggin’ strips in case I get buried – hoping they can sniff me out. Actually, they work great as treats for listening to your commands; for energy, we give them doggie powerbars on the mountain. Just don’t get your powerbars confused with theirs. I love seeing the reaction on my dog's face, ear to ear smiles, as she runs besides me taking in face shots.
Good luck with Volkl. Just beaware of the conditions; train, train, and train your dog to listen to your commands using positive reinforcement. And train some more. As Mikla stated, you're going to have to think for your dog.
<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 21, 2001 12:43 PM: Message edited 1 time, by woodpile ]</font>