This past week, Ryno Kennel athletes officially began their fall training. All the dogs have been extremely enthusiastic and working hard in harness. Because most of the dogs are yearlings, I've made a few adjustments. Rather than taking one large team, I've split the group into two 6-7 dog teams. This allows me to not only condition the dogs, but also focus on manners. Alaskan Huskies are natural pullers; however, standing patiently next to their partner, not chewing on lines, or even facing the right direction during hookup isn't always as easy. Sometimes it's just too exciting. To help with the chaos, Stormy has come out of retirement, at least for the next few weeks. She and Cartel are tackling one group of yearlings while Fire and Ham lead the other. Stetson, Rucu, and Kindi have all had their time in the spotlight, leading the team for part of the run. Each one was a natural leader, although Stetson did almost drag the whole team off the trail after a squirrel. We all get distracted occasionally.
My main goals in the next months of training are 1) create a solid base, 2) teach manners, and 3) make sure everyone is having a good time. Honestly, the third goal is really the most important. These dogs are the future of the kennel, and like in peewee sports, we're not out to win just yet. It's about having a good time and building a solid foundation for future years. Every time we finish a run with wagging tails and big smiles, I know it was a success.