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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oken Harness Training

Oken, tied to a tree sunk in the lake, practicing his "tighten-up" command.

Here, he's digging in and pulling hard against the leash.
Good boy!

More practice

The proud boy on top of his igloo house after training. His personality reminds me so much of Grandpa Zulu.

This morning temps were 30 below zero F with wind chills at 50 below zero. The winds continue to howl. A warm up is expected by the weekend that would put us in the upper teens to mid twenties.

Last week was the beginning of harness training for the 4 month old Tuloon/Bazil pups. Oken's turn was captured on film by Helen Corlew.

Each pup had an individual lesson. The pup was harnessed and a leash was attached to back of the harness. When the pup walked forward, making the line tight, "good tighten-up" was the praise. When we were en route and the puppy pulled hard, "good pull" was the praise. Otherwise, there was silence. If they let the line slack or turned around or did anything other than pull straight ahead, nothing was said until they pulled or tightened up again then they heard praise with the command included in the praise.

Zodiak did well with the occasional typical puppy distraction; blowing leaf, shiny piece of ice on the trail etc. He wants to pull hard and go, go, go but at this point, he's still too young and immature to have any type of focus.

Oken also did well. He is most concerned with what I think of him and his progress so he continued to look back to me for direction and praise and was a bit more distracted by that than Zodiak, at this stage.

The moment Zala was harnessed, off she went! She lunged and jumped in harness and pushed forward with intense focus and drive, barely being distracted from her task. What a surprise for a puppy that tested in Group 4 of the Mel Fishback's lead dog test. Per Mel, a Group 4 puppy will not likely ever be a good sled dog, being more of a "quitter". This just goes to show that these tests need to be taken with a grain of salt because, even though they give you hard data about that particular pup at that particular time, the results, depending upon how you react to the test results with training, etc., can be false.

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