Training the pup

Ivan @ Cooper School Day 2: Dogs teaching dogs. I did all 3 dogs together early this morning necklined together. It went really well. This was a quick afternoon training session with the young pup. You can see that Cooper looks before he crosses the road. Ivan learns from being pulled by the neckline and has to follow. I don’t use “Gee Over, Haw Over” because Cooper knows we are not going into the ditch, and why would I complicate it with another word? He would go into the ditch if I said “Straight” after the “Gee.” But we have enough road time together he knows what I want. The proof is at the end when I didn’t see the driveway and told him “Straight.” It was quickly fixed by another “Gee.” Good dog!

I walked Cooper at least 500 miles his first year and taught him the commands before I ever hooked him up to a bike. Even then a squirrel can ruin your day. Now that he is almost 6 years old he’s a veteran and the best one I can think of to train Ivan. Ivan will learn faster this way and I won’t have to put in the miles on foot starting from scratch.

I’ve had people ask me why “Gee and Haw” instead of right and left. There are a couple of reasons. One is that it is a traditional command for sled dogs. That makes the dogs and musher’s interchangeable. Two is about how easy it is to issue a command at -20F and your face is frozen. You can’t issue a command that takes enunciation when your lips are frozen. Haw, and Gee, are easy to grunt out. Nobody knows where this started but it was used in the early days when directing draft animals to pull wagons, plows, etc. If it works don’t try to fix it.

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