Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Took Tom to the G1-3 show at WAG on Sunday with Wendy and Woody, it's really nice to have just the one dog to run and walk as I left Duds and Suzi at home with Dad. I love the venue as it's close to the sea and we have a lovely walk at lunch time.

Amanda Pigg was judging and had set some really nice courses with long straight finishes so lots of running for me but it meant that I could keep Tom going and hopefully avoid his nose going down. His agility run was lovely and apart from a glitch in the weaves and an almighty leap from the A frame made me feel that this season may be a success after all. I wasn't too worried about the A frame as at training a couple a weeks ago he kept stopping on the the top and when we did the accumulator he ran right to the bottom, I was more worried about the weaves as in each class he got the entry but then came out. I'm not going to stress about it but am not sure what the problem is, whether it's me or the environment or just Tom.

I worked really hard on making sure that I was behind him throughout the course and I really feel that this helped to stop his nose going down and the only time I got ahead of him, in the helter skelter, he got a sniff of something and actually found something to eat, but once I got his toy out of my pocket and back behind him he shot off like a bullet.

His finishes were amazing as he had no problem powering ahead of me 5 jumps to the finish and didn't slow down or look back at me until I shouted 'YEAH' in a breathless but pleased way when he'd gone over the last jump, I would have been a bit buggered if there had been a pull through at the end but Hey we'll cross that bridge when we come to it at least I know that when I start to slow down at the finish he doesn't.

All in all it was a very positive day and if I can keep from getting a weave complex with him I'll be even happier.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Can't believe the difference.......

between this, taken at Christmas 2004 a couple of weeks after we got her,....

to this taken last summer.

She was a scrawny, cow hocked little thing wasn't she :)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


I'd forgotten I'd been tagged so thought I'd better have a go and have found, possibly, one of the most boring of all my photos.

It's one showing the trophies waiting to be presented at the 2007 AGM of Sevenoaks and District Dog Training Society.

I'm not going to tag anyone else as everyone's blog I follow has already been tagged.

Working Trials

Turned up for the course to find that I was the only one as the other person didn't show so Tom and I had 1-1 training!

Firstly we had a go at tracking and apparently Tom is quite talented even though I wasn't so sure as he didn't follow my track exactly but this wasn't a problem as he was air scenting and following my track and finding his toy even though I'd hidden it. We were working in a public park with loads of dogs and he didn't get distracted by them except when two labs came charging over to see what we were doing and even then he only briefly acknowledged them before dragging me off along my track to get his reward. The wind got up a bit which makes it hard for the dog but I was really pleased with him even when I put a slight turn in. The track length was less than 10 metres but I'm hoping that I can build that up over time, I'm going to have a go with Duds and Suzi too as I can use one of the fields at the stables where I keep Fenella.

Retrieve wasn't quite as successful, the exercise they have to do is retrieve 5 articles from a set sized square and although he was quite happy to go to each toy he tended to choose one he wanted and bring it back to me to play with, more work required on this one.

Speak on command - well he may be gobby but we couldn't get him to bark at all even though we teased him with his toy and food and by me leaving him with the instructor, the only time he barked was when I put him back in the car and only when I closed the door.

Sendaway - a resounding success. I tried to teach this to Dudley when we did obedience but he wouldn't always go away from me or lie down but Tom got the idea of this very quickly and went 'Away' at his usual full speed and once he got the idea of lying down as soon as I said it he dropped like a stone. I used his tuggy with the velcro bag as a target and will carry on using this for a while but once I'm sure he's got the idea I'll wean it off. While we were doing this we talked about having to do an instant stop in the Gold Good Citizens and how I struggled with Duds which was why we stopped at Silver, as Tom was so good targeting to the toy I put him in a wait and recalled him to me and threw the tuggy down about half way between us and told him lie down, he soon got the idea of this too and I'm really going to practice this as I think having an instant stop would be great in case of emergancy.

Tom found a sock while we were talking and had a great game flirting it at us, coming just close enough for us to think we could grab it then dodging away and wasn't interested in the dogs that kept coming up and looking at him.

I would love to have another go at Working Trials training but Baskingstoke is quite a long way to go so think I may have to Google and see if there is anything closer, the only thing that puts me off is the scale as I think he would launch himself off the top and probably do himself an injury.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Most excellent training session

Sunday morning I took Tom to a training session with Nancy and Andy Hudson at Dartford, I was a bit apprehensive as I wasn’t sure that his concentration would last for a 3 hour stint and I didn’t what to make everyone else wait why he went on a sniff-a-thon especially as the venue was an indoor riding school. I had thought about taking Suzi instead but at the last minute decided to take Tom as I knew both Andy and Nancy break things down in to nice manageable chunks which meant I could carry on with praising him every 3-4 obstacles. Well I’m really glad I took him as he worked his little socks off, only went for a couple of sniffs but came as soon as I called him. Nancy said to not correct him if things didn’t go quite to plan but to carry on to keep him interested, this really worked as a couple, well more than a couple, of times my handling gave him mixed signals and sent him wide or past jumps. Some things I know but forgot were picked up on so I’m going to really try and remember to work the dogwalk behind him and not race ahead as this really slows him down. This is going to be hard as both Dudley and Suzi are chasers and work better if I’m ahead of them or right with them, this isn’t the case with Suzi all the time but she does sometimes need to be really encouraged by having me close to her.

The great thing about the session was that the dogs were all small with one medium which meant we weren’t putting jumps up and down all the time and could all benefit from watching each other, I think this is important as the large dogs have such different stride patterns and you can’t always run a small or medium dog the same way as you would a large dog even if you have one that has a very high drive and works ahead of you.

Although we had over and hour with each instructor I didn’t feel that we overdid anything so the dogs didn’t switch off and most of them were as fresh at the end as they were at the beginning although you could see that some of the dogs were getting a bit tired, I stopped with Tom about 15 minutes before the end as I could see that he was starting to flag a bit and wanted to finish on a good run and not go just a bit too far and finish on a down.

Tom did some really good weaving in the first half, with Nancy, really focusing ahead and fast with me able to work a bit further away but when we swapped it was as if he couldn’t so them at all and although he was getting the entry he just ran straight out, I thought he’s had enough then but Andy said to stay and gave me slightly different exercises which didn’t include the weaves. We worked on sections of a course then towards the end we did the whole course, I skipped that bit as I didn’t want to push my luck.

Afterwards I went to the Harvester for lunch with one of the other handlers then went home and collapsed, I don’t know about Tom being tired but I was knackered.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Working Trials Workshop

As Tom is cutting down on his agility training I thought I'd look round and see if there was anything we could do to give him something to think about and found a Working Trials workshop on agilitynet which includes tracking, sendaway and retrieve. I thought the tracking might be a way of focusing his sniffing which may help to stop him sniffing in the ring even if it doesn't it's something different to try with him and looks like fun.

I'm off to look at buying some good warm, waterproof gloves as it's all outside plus after the last couple of days I've realised I need some thinner gloves to walk the dogs in as trying to get my hand through the lead with my fleecy ones is quite hard.
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