Sunday, March 11, 2012

Drafting Dog

I'm exhausted, sun-burnt, and my foot is killing me, but it was SOOO worth it! Duncan and I attended a drafting workshop near Charlottesville, VA, yesterday. We left the house at 5:15am, got home at 7:30pm, and were passed out on the couch by 8:30pm. It was a long day but so much fun. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Central Virginia hosted the workshop and allowed all breeds to attend. Duncan was the only GSD, but we also saw a Siberian husky, a poodle, two corgis and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. The workshop was geared primarily towards new dogs and handlers, but there were several advanced handlers there to both help and show their skills. Duncan and I were assisted by Jerry, a fellow who's had drafting dogs for many years - several of them with Master Draft Dog titles.

After taking Duncan through the basic steps of pulling a drag, a sled, and walking with shafts near his face, Jerry quickly realized Duncan was ready to be hitched to a wagon. Duncan definitely liked this wagon a lot more than the cart that was made for him a couple of years ago. This one was much, much lighter and very nicely balanced. Before the morning was over, Duncan was handling bumpy terrain and making turns like he'd been doing it for ages. After lunch, we put Duncan through the paces of a Novice Draft Dog test (without the additional 20lbs he'd have to pull). He did everything just fine, including the weave poles, the narrows, and even backing the cart up. There's a two day Draft Dog test at the end of September near DC - I really hope Duncan and I can get there.


Anonymous said...

Looks like you both had some good fun!!!!!
:)Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

It looks like Duncan and you both enjoyed yourselves.

Love, Krysti

Anonymous said...

john had a german shepherd as a little child named fawn it was joes dog at unc and the dog was highly protective of john just like he was her child fawn even climbed in the car of a very wealthy person to keep him from john