We went to a sled dog kids weekend with 12 dogs and Morgan, my daughter age 10 and a family friend, Julia age 12.
This was a great chance for the kids to expand their dog running ability, be able to be around other kids with the same passion and have access to some great trails. The trails were a spider web, which provided many twists and turns. The kids have to than build up their relationship with their lead dog to be able to get anywhere. A lead dog no matter how well trained is not going to listen if they do not have a working relationship with you. Previously the kids had followed along with another team up front.
They each ran a three-dog team, as we only had one cart, the other kid went along as a helper. Sending them off on their own was very exciting for them and very nerve wracking for me. Even though they would never be far away it is still hard to let go of the control.
They returned glowing with stories, accomplishments and pride. They were so excited, for example, when they got the cart stuck in a particularly large mud hole and got it out again on their own.
During the heat of the day we gave the teams off. However still wanting to learn about dogs we had the kids work one on one with a dog on the agility coarse. Teaching the dogs to go over all the obstacles is a great way to build a relationship with them.
One evening two vets came and answered the kids questions. I was very impressed with how thoughtful they were.
Having kids work together and with animals to accomplish a task is a great way to learn so many different lessons.