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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Journey in Lead

7 month old Journey after a successful 3 mile run in lead

Journey; keeping the line tight during a break on the trail

Zulu happily accepting another apprentice

Journey is now 7 months old. She is hovering between the stages of puppy and adulthood. She’s still too rough to play with the 14 week old pups and she’s still too young to join the team on any extensive adventures. I often forget she’s still a puppy because of her size and appearance, but she is still very much a puppy.

The team I ran today included the geriatric dogs, the loaner dogs(Frankie and Lily, my handler’s dogs that are fill-ins for my “A” team) and the big puppy. Keeping in mind that Journey has a tendency to bite the lines, I thought I would try her up in lead with Zulu to put a stop to that behavior and to see what the little ball of fire could do up there supported by Zulu. Having heard from a dear friend that her two pups who are also Journey's siblings, Nellie and Daisey from Uktousa kennel, did a fabulous job in lead the other day, made me even more curious. I apologized to Zulu for yet another unruly apprentice as I neck lined her to him. She did a few puppy moves such as winding up then lurching forward but quickly calmed herself before I gave the command “Ready? Lets go!”

Ready to place her back in the team at anytime if she lost her desire to be in front or if I was concerned about her ability or stress level, I watched as this 7 month old pup was focused dead ahead, looking back only for direction and pulling her little heart out. Journey continued to lead successfully for our entire 3 mile run which included three fairly steep hills, up and down. Since this team isn’t as powerful as my core team, I was able to keep them under control going down the hills so none of the older dogs would trip and tangle.

Journey is continuing to amaze me and I am anxious to see just how far her abilities extend. That’s my Journey girl!

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