Cool mornings mean a start to fall training, an exciting time for us as well as the dogs. Oftentimes, a young dog that we have worked with the winter before will seemingly spend the summer reflecting on the lessons learned. This makes the first runs of fall exciting, since we get to see who has taken hold of those lessons and understands them, and who has forgotten everything and is maybe destined to be a wheel dog for the rest of their life.
Today we were pleasantly surprised by Fluke, whom we had begun to train as a leader last year. Our runs last fall with him in lead could drag on and on, as we tried to teach him how to pass another team without weaving into it and creating a mess. Today, his first pass wasn’t exactly picture perfect, but with a little bit of encouragement we made it by smoothly. Since we always try to end a training session with success, it is important to work through these passing problems until a successful pass occurs, which is why last fall a 30 minute run could turn into an hour run as we patiently worked with Fluke to get by the other team. Today on our run, in the cold pouring rain, as Fluke sped up to pass the team in front of us, we had flashbacks to last fall. However we were overjoyed that it took just five minutes for Fluke to remember the passing lessons from last year, letting us return home to a warm fire and dry out before we became too miserable.