My friends Bryan French and Tim Bates founded Duluth Folk School earlier this year. I’m constantly thinking of great ways to promote our sled dog sport and the kennel locally. With all the great athletes (human) in this town and our dog friendly city it seemed a perfect fit for the new school and us. Bryan and I brainstormed the idea for quite a few months and came up with a great concept for a class that would take place in the fall at the Lester River Chalet and named it, Adventure Training for Your Best Friend (And You!).
We decided to limit the class size to 10 dogs and humans so that everyone was able to get good quality hands on instruction with their canine companions. With class registration, each participant would also receive a harness, line, and belt from Windigo Outfitters. Deb and Steve made custom fit harnesses for each canine athlete the equipment was a big hit.
The first day of class Jaana came with me to teach a power point presentation on our sled dogs. You can download our version here -> We covered the basics from breeds of our dogs to feeding, conditioning, and racing.
There was a variety of dogs including a rambunctious Pit Bull, a timid Irish Wolf Hound, shepherd crosses, husky crosses, lab crosses, and a mutt. All the dogs and their owners were very eager to learn and super easy to work with which is a real treat.
Day two was outside the Chalet on the Lester Park Ski Trails. The goal of the day was to get all the dogs moving forward. Toivo, Jaana, and Valor came along as assistants as well as Rachel who would run lead in front of the group so the dogs had something to chase. I gave each group some homework to do during the week with tips and tricks to get their dogs moving forward and pulling harder. Most were naturals but some needed a little work.
Day three was at the same location taking the group on a longer scouted loop working on passing and commands with mountain biker and loose dog distractions. Everyone was making great strides and improvements a great thing to see!
Day four, the final day was at the bottom of Lester Park due to a wedding held at the Chalet. Participants had the option of bringing a bike too if they wanted to try bikejoring. We also did a fun relay and traded dogs to mix things up a little bit.
We had great feedback from the participants and will make a few tweaks and put it on again next fall! Congratulations to everyone that came out we had a great time working with you and your dogs. Hope to see you out on the trails!
See all the class photos HERE ->