August has now rolled around and while everyone else is reminiscing on where the summer went I'm relieved to see those first few leaves starting to change. Fall, leaves changing and cooler weather means the fun is just beginning. Fall training and more time spent with each other on the trail. Granted, we're still in the summer warmth with kitty pools full of cool water and water misters for the team,
but with fall coming my brain has started playing with new leader try outs. Everyday thus far in Juneau has had Fitz and Floki in lead and their kicking butt. Floki has been taking commands noticeably before the veteran leaders to the point of him pulling on neck lines and giving a "COME ON!" bark expressing his impatience at reaction times slower then his and honestly probably his pleasure in being the quickest brain to feet ratio. Fitz has been a little goofy in taking weird turns which are occasionally in the wrong direction lol. Although not good in the obvious way I love how confident he's been with it. Lead dogs need to take charge and have courage that drives them hard forward when there's no one else to follow. He's been showing me that! Right and left will come easily with time but I see a good off trail runner and drive through everything leader in our future.
Now this is our team stats so far:
Leaders (in training but already a base):
Fitz, Floki, Ghost
Potential leaders to try up-front:
1st Stevie, Schnapps
2nd Mania, George, Ridge
My hard worker and wonderful team dog:
Every single one of these dogs I know a reason why they could make an incredible lead dog and one reason they've shown why they might not. Different conditions and different environments they could potentially thrive in lead as long as they're comfortable to charge up front. So! We've got some work cut out for us. Probably some of the most exciting part of my job, testing potential and watching who excels. So the plan is the next few weeks to start putting up those potentials in lead with a hard driving vet to show them the right way during tours. See who's comfy leading the team and who would rather stay in the middle of it. My fingers are crossed and I'll let you know how it goes!
My two girls will be first, in the photo at the top is Schnaps on left and Stevie on right. Schnaps will be 2 years old in October and Stevie just turned 1 this June. Let's go girls!