Positive dog training and choosing the right dog works!

I haven’t updated the blog recently because to be honest there isn’t much happening at this time of year. But just over a week ago I managed to brave the freezing fog and go a fair distance to an obedience show. The show was a well run friendly affair and held in an equestrian centre just outside Blackpool. I don’t think I stopped moving all day because I had four classes so four separate sets of stays and 3 scents in addition to the four rounds.

We started early because Rafa was drawn in A. After the stressful journey I don’t think either of us were at our best. It was Rafa’s first time in this type of indoor venue and he wasn’t sure about it. So I took him in at lunchtime when it was fairly quiet and made sure he had a positive experience. This certainly paid off because when he went in to compete in novice later on he was more than happy and actually won the class.

So next year he will be working the higher classes. He clearly showed that he is ready because although our morning performance in A was less than stellar we still finished 4th.

Back down to earth with a bang though because Roy was so full of himself that I was hardly able to keep up with him. The lack of training showed. Roy needs much more than I can manage at the moment. Unfortunately the consultant had to cancel my knee appointment. It’s a shame but couldn’t’ be helped. I will now have to wait until next year. In the meantime it’s not too easy to cope with fast pace and multiple turns and even halts. So Roy in particular has been affected.

But the show was a welcome respite from the unusually cold weather we are having in most parts of the UK this year. If it had been held last weekend we wouldn’t have been able to go because we are snowed in here in the forest. I did have a training day planned at the weekend but that was obviously cancelled.

Roy and Rafa in the snowy garden

So my boys have had to be content with their walks. We are very fortunate that one of the boundaries to our property is woodland so my dogs can exercise all the year round whatever the weather. Training requires a reasonably flat dry surface though and at this time of year these are in short supply. It will be good to be back at our training club at the start of the New Year.

Being pretty philosophical both Roy and Rafa have taken up a new hobby. They love watching television. Rafa has been glued to the snooker and ‘Strictly come dancing’ and never missed a single minute. Roy has greatly enjoyed ‘One man and his dog’ but then he never misses a single sheepdog trial on TV and no sheep ever gets away!

Watching 'One Man and his Dog'

Although we can’t train outside we are still doing little bits of tightening up work indoors. Valuable marks are lost for less than perfect presents and finishes and positions and starts and elements of retrieve are also possible. So it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact at times it is hilarious as Roy and Rafa both try to outdo each other.Molly likes to make as much noise as possible and the sound level rises considerably. Everyone works round Keeta who is not about to give up her place to anybody.

The snow and freezing conditions show no sign of letting up and it already feels like an unusually long winter. But no doubt we will manage somehow. And they do say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Before long the winter will be over and a new year will start.

Our training club has a series of matches over the winter so we will at least have something to occupy us before the next show season. In the meantime Rafa needs to gain confidence in scent and sendaways so there will be plenty to do before the next show season starts in earnest.

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About B Colledge

Dogs in general and Collies in particular are my passion. I have been training dogs since I could walk and competitively for over 30 years. My ambition is to pass on some of my knowledge to people and so help dogs to have better lives.
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