I would like to Thank Nancy for being so patient with me today and coming up with some really good techniques for helping me with the sniffing 'problem' and making me realise that it's not the end of the world and will get better but that I have to work out a plan and really stick to it. Consistancy is the word and I'm afraid I not very good at that so will really have to condition myself rather than Tom.
The biggest and hardest thing was for me to not call him to me or nag him in any way but to just go neutral, collect him and just put him back where he was before he went of sniffing. We had done lots of clicker work with him, just walking around the equipment and clicking when I got some good attention and just changing direction and walking away if he got distracted. This worked really well and for 90% of the time his attention was on me and we got some good work done until right at the end he went off for a sniff and Nancy said to just go and pick him up as he wasn't paying any attention to me at all, as I bent down to get him he started running off (you know that close enough but not close enough to catch moment) He ran round and round for ages with us just ignoring him and walking away from him, you could see he was slightly unsure but was determined not to come but couldn't work out why I wasn't calling him until finally he trotted up to me and nudged my leg then sat while I popped him on the lead. This may seem like a bit of a failure but to me it was a major breakthrough which carried on when we went for a walk on Ashdown Forest afterwards.
When we are out on a nice walk and relaxing I have no problem with him sniffing as this is what dogs do but I need him to come back when I call as I would hate for him to get into a dangerous situation because I can't catch him. Today there were two occasions when I needed him to come immediately, one was when we came upon the road unexpectedly and one was when a horse came round the corner and I wanted to put him in the lead as he has chased horses in the past, both times he came first time and sat while I put his lead on.
Dudley, on the other hand, had a whale of a time as he got the scent of something and was off. I could hear him barking in the distance which keep getting closer then further away until he eventually appeared after what seemed like ages but was in fact only 10 minutes. At time like these I usually wait where he left us and do some waits and things with Tom. I know this is not ideal but he's so much better than he used to be and he comes back much quicker if I don't keep calling him. Wish I'd known the stuff I do now when he was a puppy.