Yesterday was the drafting workshop in Barrie. There were about 11 or 12 dogs in attendance. There were about 5 or 6 Bernese Mountain Dogs, 1 Great Dane, 1 Leonberger, 1 mixed breed dog, 1 Swiss Mountain Dog and then Canyon.
The first half hour or so was spent learning about the importance of equipment and gaining the respect of your dog. Then we were given a short demonstration using an older female Bernie named Merlot.
Then we got our chance to start trying things out.
First, they had us walk our dogs around wearing a harness.
Then they had us attach the tracers to the harness and walk around the room.
Next, we placed the spacer between the tracers and had our dogs become comfortable with something dragging behind them. At this point they only used a hockey stick sized spacer.
When the dogs were comfortable, they attached a jug filled with water to the spacer.
Because Canyon had no issues with having the spacer and jug of water following him around the room, the instructor replaced his hockey stick spacer with a larger 4 by 4 sized spacer and a jug filled with rocks.
We then took a break for lunch, which consisted of a sandwich, soup, a cinnamon bun and coffee or a cold beverage. Canyon chilled out in his crate, playing with his new pink squeaky ball he had gotten from the workshop hosts while Huib and I ate lunch.
When the workshop re-commenced, the instructor had us all try out new harnesses with our dogs. The first harness we had used with Canyon in the morning was a red nylon harness, but in the afternoon we used a less stroppy dark leather harness. Once we had the harness secured, the instructor told us that Canyon was such a rock star that she felt he was ready for his first “training wheels”.
Canyon wasn’t too much of a fan of this first “cart” because it was not overly sturdy. He slowly became tolerant of it though, I think because we were comfortable with it.
The final stage of the workshop was with Canyon having an actual cart hooked up to him. This cart is called a training cart and will be similar to the one we purchase for him to use in his initial drafting lessons.
All throughout the workshop we had people come up to us complimenting Canyon on his quick progression through the various stages. I think the main thing which contributed to his success, was that he trusted us and as long as we were comfortable with stuff, then Canyon was also comfortable. Seeing how well Canyon did with his initial introduction to carting, we definitely think drafting will be our next adventure with the golden boy. It costs about $500 to get all of the necessary carting equipment – harness, tracers and training cart – so with a few over time shifts, we’re hoping to have things by the end of the summer.