It's that time of year when the puppies learn what it is to be in harness to give them a taste of what they are destined to do! It's always a race against time to get some training runs in before the snow melts.
We ran the the Fire pups in groups of three with some adults in front leading the way including Mamma Olivia and Pappa Nacho, Schmoe, Boondocks, Pepe, Quito, Chemo and Pud. We stopped frequently to give them lots of positive encouragement and praise and to (hopefully) teach them to face forward when stopped. We did that by walking right past them then turning and praising them when we were standing in front of them.
The first group in harness was Hotshot, Coal and Amber. HOTSHOT was a "hotshot" and knew exactly what to do, you could not tell this was his first time in harness. COAL was a little hesitant at first and you could almost read his thoughts: "Woah, this is weird, what's going on… hang on… not too sure… wait, wow, THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!" and from that moment there was no turning back! AMBER settled in to a smooth, steady lope early and has a compact, efficient form like her mama.
Next up was Tinder, Torch and Daisy. DAISY looked a bit like a dolphin as she took huge leaps and bounds in the snow. TORCH got right down to business, which is true to his character - somewhat serious and no nonsense. TINDER pulled hard and looked just like a real sled dog. He is big and strong and looks remarkably like his Papa.
Next we took Commando, Spark and Violet. COMMANDO looked supremely confident which is unlike him. In the yard he is somewhat reserved, even a little shy but in harness he was like a different dog. SPARK was fun, he seemed to enjoy himself very much but then he always seems to enjoy himself! He's inherited his father's happy-go-lucky personality. VIOLET looked gorgeous bounding and loping along the trail. She is very vocal, like her older sister Junior and she was "woo woo" talking all the way around.
The final group had Chena and Nomex. CHENA was very vocal and gave little "yips" of joy as they ran their two mile route. NOMEX looked strong and focussed on the trail ahead, he was particularly well behaved when the team was stopped.
We didn't managed to capture any footage, there is a lot to do when running puppies and we each have only one pair of hands. Instead I have some updated pictures of the pups in the yard so you can see how much they have grown.
Amber and Chena
Coal and Commando
Daisy and Hotshot
Nomex (with Spark photobomb) and Spark
Tinder and Torch
Violet (that's mud on her face, not freckles!) and - just for fun - here they are six months ago
Every year we say it but it is so fun to see the pups instinctively know what to do. Like a labrador retrieves a stick or a cattle dog rounds up cattle, a husky runs and pulls.