Thursday, 27 September 2007

There were 8 newbies last night and 4 had done a bit so we were put in one group and the others went in the other group. Wendy started us off by targeting the dogs to a treat over 4 small jumps to see how they worked ahead of us, some were better than others so we did this few times to give the dogs a chance to work out what we wanted then we moved on to sending them through a tunnel to the target. It's amazing how quick they pick this up and how quickly they get used to going ahead of you.

Then we had a go at weaves, we used V weaves right open to start with so that Wendy could see if the dogs understood them and to see how we handled them then they were put closer together but not upright. Thomas thought they were great and was whizzing through like a pro even though we've only done a bit but I started off by rushing him a bit and trying to race him which made him pop put. I have to be a bit more patient and try and remember he's a baby.

The lesson was half an hour which I think was just right and a group of 4 works really well, we're looking forward to next week

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Grabbed a lead for Thomas that just happened to have a whistle on, I tried but failed to get Dudley to come to one, and thought I'd give it a blow and see what Thomas' reaction would be. Well in one session Tom now comes to the whistle even when distracted which is something Dudley has absolutley refused to do even with juiciest treats. Just shows the difference between terriers and all other dogs I suppose!

Tom starts training at Sevenoaks tonight and although he will be slightly ahead of most of the other new starters I'm looking forward to it as we will be doing lots of targeting and sending on stuff which we really enjoy and he will be among new dogs which is another bonus as it's more things for him to get used to.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Why does fox poo smell so bad? What can they possibly eat that makes it so disgusting to us and so inviting to dogs? I thought Dudley was bad but Thomas is ten times worse and he can find it from 100 yards, home in and roll. Last night he came back with it down both front legs and all round his neck, underneath and on top. I thought I was going to be sick and actually told him to pack his bags as I'd had enough!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Suffolk Five Rivers

Well we're back and what a great show Suffolk Five Rivers is, I have never been before but will definatly be back.

The boys spent most of the weekend wrestling around the garden with odd breaks for Thomas to play with Suzi whilst Dudley looked on barking as he thought he was being left out. It's so relaxing to be able to sit and watch them play and enjoy themselves.

Tom loves walking round the rings and watching all the other dogs and I really think being able to do this will help when we start to compete as he will be so used to the noise and bustle of what's going on. I have even queued with him with someone holding Dudley for me and he's totally unfazed by it.

I had a good weekend results wise too as I came home with 5 3rds, 2 for Dudley and 3 for Suzi I was chuffed to bits as you can imagine. Poor Suzi had an unfortunate collision with the side of a collapsy tunnel which was partly my fault as I should have worked it a bit harder instead of assuming she would go in, she was the 2nd dog out of 4 that had run to do the same thing and luckily after someone had a chat with the Show Secretary the course was adjusted and restarted and Suzi went back to come 3rd having got all her contacts again. It was great to actually have graded classes for the small and mediums and compete against our peers and know that they are competive within their grades.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Isn't it about time he went home?

This is my favourite picture of Dudley and Thomas at the moment, poor Dudley's face says it all.
In reality they play for most of the day and get on really well for most of the time it's just Thomas can be a bit overpowering and Duds hates having his photo taken.
Not much to add today other than we are all off to Suffolk Five Rivers show tomorrow for the weekend, all the dogs seem to like being away in my tiny camper van but Dudley and Thomas are quite adept at getting under the fence and going to chat to the neighbours, usually when I'm washing up so that I glance out of the window and see two dogs that look just like mine!

Dudley has never had to be the boss before and at the moment there seems to be a slight power struggle going on between him and Thomas. Poor Duds tries to tell Tom off when he's being over the top or has got something he wants but Tom doesn't back down which then turns into a slanging match, bit like the fight in Bridget Jones' Diary all noise and nothing else, one big 'Oi' from me usually stops it but it's something I'll have to keep an eye on as I think it'll be poor old Dudley that comes off worse if it develops into anything more.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Training cont.

I've found with Dudley and Suzi that I tend to 'chat' all round the course with them which I think may make it harder for them to actually hear when I give a command to do something like turn, steady or actually get your feet on the white bit so am really trying not to say too much to Tom. I want him to do his contacts by running to the end and stopping without the need for me to keep shouting a contact command as I do with the other two, to try and achieve this I have been targeting to treats at the bottom and just saying 'up' then praising him for being in the right position, I have also been doing something I learned from Nancy Hudson, I always adjust the position he is in to the one I actually want even if he is nearly perfect.

I train with Leah Gardner and Wendy Card at ANJU and Malcolm Card at Sevenoaks & District DTS and they all have similar training methods so I have very consistant training with all three of my dogs (they all do tell me not to say so much but I can't help it and I think if I stopped Duds and Suzi would probably want to know what's going on!!)

Bisto gravy granule lids are great for targeting to and I have loads in my training bag so I can put one at each contact if need be and as they are flat Thomas starts to look at the ground rather than at me or the next bit of equipment so hopefully wont take it in to his head to go until I say so. I know running contacts are faster but I really want to have some sort of control with him as he is so much faster over them than the other two, they wait for me he doesn't.

With the seesaw I'm still holding him by the collar as he can be a bit kamakaze and having had Suzi run into mid air at shows I'm going to be very sure he understands the tip before we compete.


If you fancy voting on my poll, it's just for fun and you can tick as many boxes as you want.

Just wanted to post this picture of the three dogs, it's not the best quality as it's been taken on my phone but at least you can see what they all look like.

Thomas has to travel in a crate as if he can see out he barks all the time and this is very distracting when I'm driving, he also jumps all over poor Suzi who is so tiny I'm worried she's going to get hurt.

When we get to shows he sits in with the others and watches the world go by only barking when I walk away, he's a funny little fella with some funny little ways.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Thomas' agility training

I have started this blog so I can keep an online record of Thomas' agility training.

He has had 10 lessons now and has taken to it like duck to water, he loves doing his contacts and has realised that he needs to go over the jumps rather than round them and even with the handicap of my handling has started to show some real potential.

It's lovely to train a dog that wants to learn as much as he does and is so enthusiastic, Dudley loves his agility but thinks doing something more than once is boring so is hard work to keep motivated for the whole lesson. I find myself forgetting that he's only a baby and has only had a few lessons and keep expecting him to be able to do some of the things Dudley and Suzi can do.

We have just started back at training after out summer break and he seems to have remembered all he's learnt up til now and has just started to weave, he will find the entrance almost every time but gets a bit excited and misses a few, at the moment I'm not correcting this overly and let him finish the weaves and bring him back a bit later to have another go. We have also been working on directional commands such as left and right and he's picked these up quickly, I just need to remember them now!.

Could you resist a face like this?

This photo was taken on the day I met him by a lady at the show who kindly let me have it after I'd officially adopted him.

I spent the day talking about him with Leah (my instructor) playing with him and introducing him to Dudley and Suzi before taking him home that night for a trial to see how he settled in.

Well as you've guessed he didn't go back and this fluffy, noisy little ginger dog is now a definate part of the family.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Thomas comes to live with Dudley

Dudley had been a happy only dog for over 5 years when the Thomas joined us on 21st April 2007, he was 7 months old and was being rehomed by an elderly couple through Many Tears Rescue as he was bought as a pomeranian to be a companion/lap dog but had kept growing. When they contacted the breeder they were told that the sheltie must have got in with the mother. Thomas is not a lap dog and needs to be kept amused or he finds is own amusements and these lovely people took the heartbreaking decision to rehome him for his own good which resulted in me getting a phone call from my agility instructor saying that she was fostering this fantastic dog that she thought would suit me down to the ground. I was not so sure but said I'd have a look at him the next day as we were going to a show and I could let him meet Dudley and my Dad's dog Suzi.

All night and for the whole drive to the show I kept telling myself I don't want another dog yet, the time isn't right but as soon as I saw him I knew he was the dog for me.
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