No, No, The Other Haw

23 March 2011                 2.00PM      Temperature  36 F      Cloudy

So, it seems that “they”, who ever they are, have declared that winter is over and Spring is officially here. As I look outside, it seems “they” are wrong, the yard is still covered with snow, our trails are still runnable and the dogs still need soup to get their fluids as the water bowls still freeze overnight. But closer examination shows icicles forming from the snowmelt on the roof, bare spots on the deck and an ice rink where the gutter downspouts end. I guess maybe it is Spring after all……………….

Icicles dropping from the dog truck
I'm thinking maybe I need to move the truck soon.
Icicle and snow overhanging from our porch roof
Must remember not to park in front of the house for the next few days












However, we’re not ready to give in just yet. I’m actually wishing it was next September already – this winter is barely done and I want the next one here now. The dogs are not ready to laze about either, probably mostly because they’ve been lazing about since January as it is. Faced with the knowledge that once the snow goes, we’re not really able to train very much because of the state the trails get in, I decided to try and run the young dogs to let them see what all the fuss is about. They have spent the winter watching the older dogs go crazy each time we start to hook up and for some of them, that seems to have triggered a response.

However, running young dogs, who don’t know what they are doing, or why they are being asked to do it can be  somewhat akin to herding cats, if it all goes horribly pear-shaped. There are as many ideas about the best way to do this as there are ways to skin one of the aforementioned cats. We prefer the as easy as it can be option, which usually means sensible older dog paired with enthusiastic (hopefully) but unfocused (usually) youngster. Being of the sensible and cautious camp, I also prefer to do this with a small team. It does mean multiple runs to get any number of dogs out but it also reduces the chances of me having a heart attack from trying to untangle 10 or 12 dogs, half of whom don’t think that standing still at that precise moment is a good idea. It also is a good chance to nip bad habits in the bud. Much easier to catch a prospective harness or line chewer in mid-munch when you only have 4 dogs to look at, and you know 2 of them can be trusted, unless of course Harry is on the team.

So, that’s what’s been going on here for the last couple of weeks. It’s fun to see the dogs starting to get the hang of what we want, and to see them develop in such a short space of time. It doesn’t take them long to figure out the important stuff, they are all very good at keeping feet out of the gangline, not bugging their running mates, not chewing anything and always pulling.

We’re not quite so clever at the turn taking. Lily, in particular seemed to not realise that haw and gee were actually commands and not just suggestions or random words being spoken for no useful reason. She got herself pushed round several turns when she was on the inside and got a bit of a jerk on her neckline when she missed the haw turn for home. Ruya knows her way home and was a bit perturbed to find her path blocked by a body going the wrong way.  And that’s the joy of running dogs, teaching new things and watching those individuals become part of a team.

Small 4 dog team at work
Rosie has her first run in lead, with Oscar for support
Different small 4 dog team at work
Lily has her chance to shine at lead. Ruya beside her.













Dogs drinking after a run
Irina and Kazek may be rookies, but they have their priorities straight !

One thought on “No, No, The Other Haw

  1. Beggin’ yer parden, but I have a four year old black cat who knows what haw means, and believe it or not even “come haw.” LOL He’s not the first cat I’ve had pick up on dog training, either.


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