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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Zala and Journey Training Moments

Stacy sets up the cart and lines and performs the safety checks prior to hooking up dogs.

Zala is the star leader today

Water time! Leaders always first.

Back at the truck, the puppies come out to, again, join the big dogs.

Temps were in the 30s this morning when we loaded the dogs up and headed out to the trail head. Stacy, who has attended one of our Points Unknown Women's Winter Adventures, drove in from Minneapolis to try her hand had some fall cart training. Being an avid dog trainer in obedience, flyball and agility with her own dog, Guinness, she could apply these skills when working with the sled dogs. That is, once they grow to respect her. Right now, she's just another person tagging along that, in their eyes, doesn't know too much about them or what they do or what the expectations are so they think they can get away with things. They're real good at finding vulnerabilities as is any dog! And Stacy knows this. She's got one up on them already.

Klaus and Oken did fairly well at working in lead as a team today. Oken responded much better to the "gee over" commands. I didn't have to get off the cart 24 times today to remind him what that meant! Zodiak was a peach as was Ilu and Icoa. Well, other than the typical Inuit Dog "scuffle" at the beginning of each run. This lasts for only a moment. I think Icoa just wants to remind her son that she is in charge and that he had better be good.

Zala got to begin the run in lead with Phoenix and ended it with Journey. On the way out, Zala got a surprising training moment, the kind that I just watch quietly and then chuckle to myself. Straight ahead they went and then Zala noticed something run off into the bushes to the right. Not thinking, she immediately took a sharp right into the bush and the ditch. Little 45lb Zala is no match for 70+ Phoenix so he just continued running straight ahead. Zala quickly realized as she faced the rest of the team, now being dragged backwards by Phoenix, that she probably shouldn't have done what she just had. Around she turned and straight ahead she went. I did make sure to reinforce it with a couple of strategically placed "on by" (leave whatever it is and continue on by) commands.

Journey also did a couple of very good recoveries. Same thing, she noticed something off to the left while she was running in lead on the right. She didn't take a quick left but did show an awful lot of interest as she slowly crept to the left. "On by" command and "on by" we went.

I train all my dogs to poop on the run and most do it just fine, however when in lead, it is a different story and some try to stop the team while doing it. Not Journey! We were amazed to see her drift to the right, I can only suppose to keep it off the path of the team, and poop as she ran in lead. Good girl!

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