Willow in Harness

At a little over four-months-old, Willow is now big enough for the adjustable x-back puppy harness that Denali and Knox each trained in when they were first starting out. She won't be doing any serious pulling or long-distance running until she's done growing (it's a bad idea to put too much strain on her little puppy bones and joints), but it's important to get her used to how the harness feels.

When she's wearing the harness, she'll learn to trot out in front of me instead of staying at my side (or that's the idea, at least). The harness means time to focus and work. This training will help to build her confidence before I start walking her with one of the older dogs. She's quickly catching on to the mushing commands, but walking with Denali will really solidify them. 

For our first trip out in harness, we walked along the same path I took the big dogs earlier that day. She must have been following their scent, because she was galloping through the woods loop trail just like they did a few hours before. It was amazing to see her instincts kick into gear as she loped around the trail in front of me. She really is a mini-Denali, and I cannot wait to have her run with the team.

Jessica Kizmann

Dog musher, New Jersey.