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!