It is some time since my last posting and quite a lot has happened. This has to be one of the strangest show seasons I have experienced since I started competing. I have entered the usual shows but as the state of my damaged knee varies from day to day I have missed a lot of them. I do try to train the dogs but a few days ago when I was updating Onenote where I keep all my training notes I found one section had no entries for Roy since mid-July. I thought it was the sync software playing up. But it was simply that I have not been able to train him at home since then. Rafa has a few entries in this same section but not very many.
So basically I am delighted with whatever results the boys achieve when we do go to a show. Roy is finally calming down a fraction and has been placed at most of the shows we have been to including a 4th place in a strong C class from running order 1! Everyone who knows us will understand what an achievement this was. I am not a morning person and Roy needs a lot of time to acclimatise or he takes over as only he can! Literally one or two things have prevented him from winning this season. I still live in hope!
Rafa always tries. But being the super-sensitive little soul he is things do not always go his way. He is still having confidence problems although it is getting better. We could have managed without his dumbbell disappearing into a dumbbell sized hole at our last show. He was totally freaked by it but even then he still came 6th in a big class. I had stopped entering him in B because he just didn’t have the confidence to cope with a variety of different Sendaways and training rounds I can do at home. Then because of one early closing entry we actually worked a B. To my amazement he did the best sendaway of the day and won the class. Now if we can just win 2 more he will be C only and will never have to retrieve a dreaded dumbbell again!!! Time is very much on his side however.
Roy in the meantime has turned his considerable herding skills to a literally lifesaving event. We were walking in the forest with a friend who has recently had heart surgery, our two four month old pups and a very old dog. A rogue wild boar came charging at us from a fair distance. He wasn’t about to stop and we could only stand and hope. Then Roy ran towards him as it was obvious he was set on killing someone. The boar turned his attention to Roy and chased him off into the forest.
I was surprised that the ultra-brave powerhouse that is Roy should run off like that and had visions of those huge tusks ripping my poor boy to shreds. Then a short time later I realised my mistake. The boar broke cover up ahead of us and with Roy in hot pursuit headed off deep into the forest. I have no idea how my brave boy managed to turn the beast after luring it away from us. But he was totally unmarked and we were still rooted to the spot. It was much later before we realised just how much danger we had faced. I always said that Roy would give his life for me if necessary. Thankfully it wasn’t necessary and he certainly saved my life that day. Trifling things like wins at shows pale into insignificance after an experience like that.
Jake is five months old now and is growing rapidly. He has now moved on from puppy class and is enjoying classes with both pups his age and older inexperienced dogs. He loves training and I only have to produce his clicker and treats and he starts to run through his repertoire. I do not use much in the way of paraphernalia so all training is off lead. He wears a light leather collar to distinguish between training and just going out for exercise and that is all.
I am training heelwork the way I trained Rafa on large mainly left handed circles, tossing a treat back so that he has to choose to join me in the heel position again. I think this is the easiest way to train not only heelwork but also the A recall. And it does allow a pup to make the decision to take part which I think is very important. Jake is going to be a very strong dog one day, just like Roy who carries some of the same bloodlines. I do not want confrontation but I do want a pup who wants to work with me. Setting things up so he thinks it is his idea is right for us. But he won’t see the inside of a competition ring this year at least. Time, as with Rafa, is most definitely on Jake’s side.
The show season is drawing to a close and although we have not been to many shows I am pleased with the way my boys have tried for me with not too much in the way of training. At the moment I am just keeping Roy ticking over and working on a more consistent head position for Rafa and of course trying my best to build his confidence. Over the winter I hope my knee will improve a little more so we can do more training. Jake will certainly need more time spending on him as he matures. For now he is just a baby so does not need too much in the way of competition training.
I was really looking forward to judging my first C but unfortunately that proved to be impossible. However I did manage to judge a really good quality novice bitch class last month and was pleased with my line-up. Our sport is not doing well for entries with the rising cost of fuel and the difficulty of winning classes to move up these days. So it is always good to see that there is at least strength in depth. In a class of over 40 nobody looked out of place and the winners were very good indeed. I am so pleased I have dogs but I fear the competition is just as hot in the dog classes. I will just have to work that much harder training Jake for when he does eventually make his debut.