Yogi is our boss dog. He fell into this position by virtue of being the only male. As we added new puppies to the team, they learned to stay out of Yogi’s way! Even though all the male puppies have grown substantially larger than him, he has still managed to maintain the top position. The only male that challenges Yogi is Spike, our 100 lbs giant.
Yogi is an extremely high energy dog. This is great for running because he never seems to get tired or lose enthusiasm for running and pulling. On the line, this energy is expressed through constant whining and jumping. This drives us crazy, but as soon as we hook him up to the sled, we’re reminded of what an awesome dog he is. He listens so well to the commands and helps us to keep the other dogs in line. Before a run all the dogs are expected to lie down and wait for the “ready, hike” command. This can be a time of chaos if the dogs don’t listen to the “down” command. When they move around, the lines get tangled around them and their excitement can turn into aggression towards the other dogs. When we introduce new puppies to the sled and these expectations, it is usually very chaotic until they get the hang of it. Luckily for us, Yogi helps us out. Once we’ve given the down command, Yogi is always one of the first to lie down and he won’t get up. We’ve watched him crawl on his belly to one of the puppies who was up and jumping around, and firmly but gently pulled them down to the ground and give a little growl any time the puppy tried to get back up. You can always use an extra set of hands when you’re calmly trying to get 9 dogs to lie down and stay.