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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Heart and Soul

Is the line tight enough for ya?

Passing training with our friends on a scooter.

Frankie and Lilly doing an excellent "on-by" with the temptation of baited water.

Klaus puts his heart and soul into every second he spends in harness. His work ethic is exceptional and its a pleasure to work with him. Since Zulu is his father, he has big boots to fill. He's coming along nicely with his open country leader training and is beginning to turn on a dime like dad, however if he feels hesitation from his team members he seems to lose his confidence and will occasionally go back to his original route. I'm sure there is trainer error involved so I need to make sure I am more consistent with the feedback I give him. As for pulling, I would have to say that I don't think I ever saw Zulu pull as hard as his son. (Sorry, Zu)

Our training on this day consisted of two runs as usual but with a twist. Our friends Chris and Sarah rode their scooter pulled by Frankie and Lilly. We practiced team passing; side by side and head on. Frankie and Lilly had never done a head on pass before and after one "training moment" every other head on pass went off without a hitch.

This reminds me of the very first head on pass Klaus ever made(or didn't make). It may have been one of his first solo runs in lead. We were on a bush trail beginning to go up a steep hill. I saw another team coming down the hill. I had never seen another team while on this trail. Klaus saw the team coming too and must have thought the same thing. He took one look at me, one look at the team, another look at me then he proceeded to come right back to me for comfort, forgetting he was at the front of a string of dogs. At that time, there were dogs in the team that certainly shouldn't be making contact with other dogs in the team and with Klaus heading my way, they most certainly would be making contact if I didn't think quickly. Planting my snow hook then tipping my sled on the snow hook, I ran to meet him halfway down the team where I briskly scooped him up(as much as you can "scoop up" a 70lb dog), moved him back to the front and off to the right because the trail was only one dog team wide. I then planted him safely in a snowbank just as I thought the other team would pass. But the team didn't pass. They stopped right along side of my team. My assumption was that these were yearlings and couldn't sense the stress coming from me or my dogs at that moment. After several of them licked the chin of my very well behaved at the moment, burly Inuit Dog wheel dog, they continued on only to weave through our friend Sandy's team behind us. This was Sandy's first year mushing. What a time she and the other musher had as they untangled the dogs.

So that was Klaus' introduction to head on passing. (and Sandy's) What an adventure for all! I was thankful that Frankie and Lilly got a much more controlled introduction.

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