Thanks to the support of community volunteers, the youth are sometimes offered a chance to learn new and exciting ways to bond with their dogs. These special events are not only fun for the youth and dogs, but give the youth an opportunity to develop their problem solving skills, increase their listening skills and practice their social skills. In addition, positive experiences like these help the to youth develop the self confidence they will need to build healthy relationships in the future.
On a recent Saturday, volunteers from Cascade Sled Dog Club showed the human side of POOCH how to harness their dogs’ natural abilities and enjoy dog-powered sports. The youth guided their dogs through drills aimed at teaching both dogs and soon-to-be- mushers the skills and commands necessary to pull a sled scooter, or a person on skis. Both dogs and youth were receptive to the training, so everyone was ready to try his or her hands (or paws) at scootering by the end of the session. The young men put on special belts, helped their dogs into harnesses connected from a tow line to their belts, mounted scooters. and told their dogs to “Go!” Every dog/youth team made its way at least once around the POOCH kennel. They were encouraged by a lot of yelling and laughter from the volunteers and each other. It’s tough to say who had the most fun—the volunteers, the dogs, or the youth. There are definitely some promising mushers and sled dogs in POOCH!
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