Future Draft Dogs

This is another one of the Sparklers — Lucas, who lives in Arizona with Kay and Sue (humans), and canine relations, Ruben (Glitterati) and Micah.

Lucas with cart March 2019.jpg

It is clearly draft season!

Lucas Draft March 2019.jpg

Lucas looks very relaxed in his cart — nice job! And thanks to Kay for sending along those great photos :)

Here in Montana we continue to be buried in snow but that has not stopped the draft training. Our long straight driveway is really perfect for draft because it allows a novice dog to get used to the whole thing without the need to do a bunch of turns or deal with distractions.

Yesterday Claire did the entire 1/2 mile round-trip on the snow covered driveway for the first time — of course I went with her! I give pretty continuous treats to reinforce the happiness of pulling a cart and to reward her attention on me; a draft dog needs to pay attention to the handler.

On these long forays down the driveway, I also work on stops (ALWAYS a sit and always rewarded), the change of pace, and I throw in a few “back” as well. My main goal, however, is just developing comfort in the cart.

We will do the driveway again today and then go to Missoula for the next two days to practice at a park. I will set up a very basic course in a large parking lot and we will evaluate our progress to get info about what needs extra focus.

My hope is that we will be ready for the draft test in southern California on April 6 - 7. If we can get that NDD, Claire will be a Versatility Dog and can be entered in that class at the Specialty. This is a lofty goal because of the winter challenges but we will keep training and see how it goes.

Draft Questions? Send me an email!

And have a terrific Sunday, even with the lost hour.