This morning it was cool enough to hook up dogs and take them for a little run. Ted, Clare (Ted's wife) and I took two different teams for their first fourwheeler outing of the season. As expected the dogs were wildly excited and largely brainless until we got them moving.
Our route is only 1 mile, leaving the yard and then traveling 1/2 mile up the neighbor's driveway, going around a "lollipop" loop that Ted and I cleared out yesterday, and returning home. Special thanks go to Rod Boyce and Julie Stricker for allowing us to run the dogs on their property.
The first team consisted of:
Grace and Torus in lead
Nels and Cassie (Cassiopeia) in team
Beau and Gump in wheel.
Nels was the problem child on this team. He likes to see what the humans are doing, and sometimes gets into big harness tangles when he does so. With Clare's help holding the leaders in line and distracting Nels we were able to get off to a good start, but two-year old Cassie spun in her harness as we were launching. I got the dogs out of the yard, onto the proper trail and stopped them about a quarter mile or less from the start to get Cassie untangled. Grace missed the "gee" cue to go into the loop, but Torus pulled her through the turn and the remainder of the run was easy duty. Gump wasn't a lot of help, but he did enjoy running with the team and didn't slow us down any, so that is no big deal. He is basically a retiree anyway.
The second team consisted of:
Rose and Just in Lead
Orion and Capella (two year olds) in team
Seamus and Sheenjek in wheel.
Just was being a little sh*t about lining out, which prompted Rose to want to wander around as well. Meanwhile Orion and Cassie were way too busy playing to pay attention, so we had three harness tangles to deal with before we could even get going. Again Clare came to the rescue, holding the leaders out so we could get the other dogs sorted out and moving.
As we came out of the yard Just missed the haw cue to run down our driveway and Ted had to run up to show him the difference between his left and right. Ted also had to guide him into the gee to do a bit of a U-turn onto Rod and Julie's drive. From that point on you couldn't have asked for a better run. Rose and Just were both responding to the directional cues, the young pups were pulling like champs and Seamus and Sheenjek were just tending to business, like they always do.
The goal of these first few runs of the season is to remind the dogs of their job and let them settle their brains a little bit. We keep them in small teams to minimize issues, keep the runs short and try to make them as fun as possible. It generally takes a few 'hook ups' for the dogs to remember how they are supposed to behave.
I think these little runs achieved the goals. Since there were no fights, injuries or unintentional breedings they can be declared fully successful.
In between helping us, I believe Clare was able to capture some photographs. If so, I'll post them once they are available.