Blair Braverman @BlairBraverman Dogsledder. Author. Adventurer. If you like these tweets, you'll love WELCOME TO THE GODDAMN ICE CUBE (@eccobooks). Jun. 04, 2019 3 min read

Today’s Yearling of the Day is a force of nature.

She grew up as the only girl with seven brothers—and even though she was much smaller than them, she never let them push her around.

She’s always known exactly what she wants.

Whether that’s milk...


...or attention.

Lately Dora has been sharing a pen with her uncle Spike, which suits both of them very well, because they are both big puppies—and big hams—and they play-wrestle CONSTANTLY.

She is always moving. Most of my pictures of her look like this.

Luckily, we have a secret trick to help calm down dogs who, like Dora, are living tornados.

It’s called belly rubs.

Even the most hyper-energetic sled dogs can become paralyzed with bliss when you rub their bellies.

For instance, here is Wickson enjoying his belly rub this morning.

But Wickson didn’t used to understand belly rubs. He used to be so excitable that he would never chill out enough to let someone touch his belly. He’d roll on the ground and then bounce back to his feet immediately. And then knock his face into your skull—with love, of course.

That’s the stage that Dora’s currently at.

So I bet you can guess my current training goal for her.

Yup! I am trying to teach her to get belly rubs.

In other words, to relax enough to enjoy it. Then we’ll be able to use belly rubs to help her chill out when it’s time to put on booties, clip toenails, go to the vet, etc.

Most importantly, we’ll just have a nice time together.

We started today’s session in the garden, of course, where Dora scooted around the grass with such vigor that Hari found her alarming.


Refried seemed to find the chaos pleasant.

(Don’t worry, I pet Hari a lot to reassure him. He likes to stand so he’s touching my leg.)

Anyway, it was hot this afternoon. The dogs learn pretty quickly that the space under their dog houses stays cool, no matter how warm it is, so Dora alternated between running around, cooling off under a house, and running around some more.

Refried and Dora were pals at this point so Refried decided to join her

This seemed like a good opportunity for snuggles, so I tried to crawl under there with them. I didn’t quite fit, but it was nice and cool and we got to do some semi-calm petting. Step 1 toward accomplishing belly rubs!

This happened a couple more times. Each time Dora has cooled off, she would go run around until she was warm, then come back to chill in the shade. She played and stretched and ate grass.

(I just had to go outside to investigate barking, it was Colbert barking at Zagat because apparently Zagat hid a salmon yesterday after the Meat Parade and just pulled it out so he could flaunt it to all the other dogs)

Anyway, after maybe half an hour, something happened. Dora flopped in the grass!

This was my chance. I flopped beside her and pet her head—and made contact with her belly!

It didn’t last long before she bounced to her feet again, but it was a start. Our first remedial belly rubs class was complete.

My predictions for this girl? She’s a force to be reckoned with. Just like Wickson last year, her biggest challenge will be learning to point her energy in a single direction. After that, she’ll be unstoppable.

Oh, and her SDSI is 7.8. Thanks for tuning in for Yearling of the Day!

You can follow @BlairBraverman.


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