All the Juliet/Silver pups have been in harness and these are my impressions:
Yanna is a little black blur. She took off straight out of the yard and only looked back once or twice. I’ve seen other pups with good starts, but none better than Yanna had. Very impressive little dog.
Ita also had a great first run. Not only did Ita run hard when the going was good, she also geared down and pulled hard when necessary. Young dogs don’t always pull super hard in the beginning. Often they run hard when the going is good then alternate between pulling and looking around when things slow down. Ita was not looking around. She was pulling. Planning to breed both Yanna and Ita this summer and am even more excited about it now that I’ve seen them in harness. So far they are the two best pups in the litter.
Mikhail is easily the prettiest dog in the yard. He looks like a red Siberian with his thick coat and perfect markings. He had a good first run. His running mate Duncan had a lot to deal with when Mikhail wanted to play instead of work, but he pulled more often than not and finished strong.
Sacha is probably the third best pup in the litter behind his sisters. He ran hard, pulled hard and enjoyed himself every minute of the run. Was interesting seeing how tall he is next to Jack. Sacha will be a very rangy dog.
Ivan had a tough start and didn’t like the icy spots. Many pups have tough beginnings only to become solid sled dogs. He gets better with every mile and that’s what counts. Ivan will be a fine sled dog by the end of the winter.
Sergei is huge. I keep a certain set of x-back harnesses for young dogs. The harnesses fit everyone fine but Sergei. It only went halfway down his back. He’s only 10 months old and already fits a large/x-large harness. There’s only one more size to go before he needs a custom fit. Sergei has always had a real “throw-back, old school” feel to him. It’s the same thing in harness. He has a smooth strong gait preferring a slower pace. Look forward to great things from Sergei.
Koda is the furry little dog Alethia saved when he was a pup. He’s grown into a happy young dog and is learning his job in harness. His beginning has not been earth shattering, but he’s doing very well and really having fun. Lot to be said for enjoying your job.
Boris was rock solid. He ran hard, pulled hard, he did very well. His only challenge came when Bernard grew tired of him jumping over the line. Bernard likes, and expects, manners from young dogs. Boris is one of the larger pups and is used to being the tough guy so he didn’t know how to handle being put in his place by old Bernard. As long as he keeps his line tight Bernard will learn to tolerate him.
Flynn is not from the same litter, but is a few months older so is training with this group. He’s related to my dogs so he fits right in. Flynn is doing very well. He’s pulling hard and doing his job. No complaints so far.
It’s like the 8th grade kid who can dunk. It doesn’t mean he’ll be the next Lebron James. Doesn’t mean anything for certain, but it means he can dunk and that’s a good start. These young dogs are off to a good start. They were well bred, well socialized and are now learning their jobs in harness. They should be doing as well as they are. Like turning good grapes into a good bottle of wine, don’t do too much. Put trust in the fruit and time will take care of the rest.