Yearling Squad

There's a great group of yearlings this winter at Ryno Kennel! Even though I say that every year, I am really excited about these goons. Their tails are always wagging, they love to run, and several already lead!

In the video below, Frosty dutifully took on the job of chaperone for our all-yearling team. Co-leading with Frosty is Blitz, followed by Wombat and Gringa, Fish and Wingman, Yuker and Uno, and Crunch and Ewok in wheel.

A common question is how does a dog become a leader?

Some dogs are comfortable at an early age leading the team and handling the extra pressure of running in front of all their companions. Others take one, two, or five+ years. Others are never lead dogs. When training a lead dog, I give every dog an opportunity to run up front. Sometimes a shy dog with little self-confidence will surprise you and really shine at the front of the team. Once I've determined that they like to lead the team, then I begin focusing on all the manners and commands. A good lead dog should know how to "line out" (hold the gangline taut and not turn the team around), go "Gee" (right), go "Haw" (left), go "Straight Ahead", go "Gee Over" (run on the right side of the trail), go "Haw Over" (run on the left side of the trail), and be willing to run through deep powder, overflow, across glare ice, or any other obstacle we may encounter. Not every leader is perfect in all conditions, so it's important to learn the strengths and weakness of each dog. Some prefer speed, some like twisty trails with lots of Geeing and Hawing- it just depends on their personality. But for now with the yearlings- it's all about having FUN!

Autumn in Two Rivers

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Not only do the leaves change color (as shown by the incredible picture of Two Rivers by photographer Scott Chesney), but the temperatures drop each night, freezing the ground and crisping the air- it's time to run dogs!

We've been training lots of new leaders, including Lefty and his sister Belle! These two are probably the cutest siblings leading down the trail.

The puppies, as you can see, now resemble small dogs! That's Elmer front left, followed by Flash, Amelia, King Louie, Badger, Nile, and Nessie. I'm guessing this group will increase the average weight of the kennel by at least 10 lbs! They're huge!

Fall is also official project time. We're building new dog houses (aka giant chew toys), expanding the dog yard for our growing numbers, painting new name plates, stockpiling straw, ordering supplies, and prepping for the upcoming race season. 

And in between running dogs and prepping for winter, we like to get out for a bit of fun with Jezzy, the grouse sniper. Plus, it helps to fill the freezer!

Fall Training Has Officially Begun!

We've had several freezing mornings in the past week, and the dogs are LOVING it. This season, we're beginning training with 9 yearlings and 22 adults. The yearlings build mileage slower than the experienced adults and only prep for a 200 or 300 mile race. This season, the adults are comprised of 1 two-year-old, 8 three-year-olds, 7 four-year-olds, 5 five-year-olds, and 1 seven-year-old. Most have completed the Iditarod, Yukon Quest, or both, so we're ready to rock and roll!

In this video, Lefty and Boone are leading the charge, Niagra is in single swing, Cartel and Kindi, Fish and Crunch, Wombat and Chagga, and Blitz and Wingman are in wheel.

Athlete Portraits

Scott Chesney with Tailspin Media has been visiting the kennel to update the athlete portraits for the upcoming season. Here are a few teasers until they have all been finalized. It's particularly fun to see how much the puppies have changed! Enjoy!

Blitz- Yearling

Yuker- Yearling

Wingman- Yearling

Uno- Yearling

Fish- Yearling

Crunch- Yearling

Blitz- Puppy

Yuker- Puppy

Wingman- Puppy

Uno- Puppy

Fish- Puppy

Crunch- Puppy