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Working our Kai-Ken: Kona’s jobs

>Kona, our male Kia-Ken, is an interesting pup. We have a love/hate relationship with him. He is an amazing dog, he is extremely alert, tough as nails, and very intelligent – but he is also hardheaded, reactive, and extremely difficult to read. We have found that, at least with our Kai-Ken, working is a must in keeping his energy and behavior in check.

We have been working with Kona to give him jobs we feel are acceptable and constructive. The job he gave himself is the role of “Alarm Dog”, this means he alerts the rest of the pack to any thing he finds “alarming”… the issue with this is Kona finds EVERYTHING alarming (lol). So what we get is a group of dogs constantly running to an area of the yard [2.5 acres] to bark at something Kona feels fit to bark at.

In our opinion this isn’t acceptable, and rather annoying.

So to curve this behavior we have starting giving him more constructive jobs. Right now the job I am working with him on is keeping bird off our property in certain areas. We have planted grass seed around our yard and the birds love to eat the seed. So I have trained him to run them off the property, he is really very good at it. The only issue is the heat this month has been to high to leave him in the yard for long periods.

Another way we work our Kai is packing – he really seems to enjoy carrying weight! It’s a lot of fun. We live about 10 miles from the Sangre De Cristo mountains [southern Rockies], so we have plenty of amazing trails to hike with our pack. Kona took to packing like a natural, we started him at “Garden of The Gods” in Colorado Springs with very little weight and on a paved train. Now he carries around 8 pounds in his pack and regularly traverses and climbs rather difficult rocky trails with ease carrying his pack.

We plan to add some more weight to his pack as he matures – don’t want to over do it since he is still a pup. Fully grown [~50 pounds] I expect him to carry around 15 pounds of weight [that’s almost 2 gallons of water]!

We use a Ruff Wear “Palisades” pack on Kona, its great – very good quality!

Here are some pics from packing with him…

His first time:
Kona - Colorado Springs

Kona - Colorado Springs

Taos Gorge:
Kona - Taos Gorge

Kona - Taos Gorge

Taos Canyon:
Kona - Taos Canyon

This winter I plan to try mushing with him, maybe Skijoring as well! I’m really excited to do this!

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