Monday, 14 January 2008

Getting fit for Crufts

I am trying very hard to get a bit fitter for Crufts. I've cut out all cake, biscuits and the hardest thing of all .... bread! I have cereal for breakfast and just a bowl of soup for lunch. I always feel so much better when I don't eat bread but I love it, so it's hard! I'm also trying to cut back on alcohol consumption (not easy either!). I'm going to start playing Badminton again and hopefully that will make me feel a bit fitter.

The other thing I'm trying to sort out for Crufts is Niamh's dog walk. She has started creeping on the down plank and stopping before the contact or only just on it. I'm not sure how this has happened but it's obviously something I've done. She is a very obedient girl and always wants to get things right so I know it's my fault. Bernadette gave me a good tip about not eye balling her when she's doing the down plank and I think that's very good advice because I think that worries her. So, I'm trying hard not to look at her in training which I always want to do for some reason. This weekend I started to re-train her position on the down dog walk. I rested a down plank on a low stool and moved her target out further than her original point of contact. I'm using a new phrase "find it" to send her onto the plank and then keeping quiet as she takes me to the new position and lays her chin on her target.

This position is much further off the dog walk, at least half of her body is lying on the ground in order to encourage her to go further down the plank before stopping. At the moment she's on the lead and the next stage will be to do the plank without the lead until she's doing the whole exercise by herself with me staying back at the start point. I am using my clicker and sometimes I put a piece of sausage on the target and other times not. I am not holding her in the position for too long either and releasing her onto a toy which I throw. Any further ideas/suggestions welcome!

The other thing I'm going to do before Crufts is take her up to Pete and Val's a couple of times to do a little bit of jumping on their artificial grass surface. She's never been on anything like that so it'll be interesting to see how she copes. Niamh is the sort of dog who likes to find her feet with anything new so it will be well worth the effort doing this.

Tomorrow night we're back to training which is good as we all need to get back into routine.

Time to stop being a couch potato and get back to training!


  1. I have been doing the same re your getting fitter diet and giving up bread nearly as bad as cutting out beer !

  2. You could use a mirror ( charity shop ) about 10 metres from the end of the dogwalk to avoid staring at her - also great for when you continue running so you don't have to look back over your shoulder. I train in a riding hall so we are lucky and have a big one on the wall. But for HTM with Soda when she is behind me I need a full size mirror to avoid turning around all the time to look at her :o)

  3. You could try to strengthen her behaviour with the target away from the plank using the clicker and her prefered rewards/motivators (as with the plank) to reinforce your command that means 'go to the target'. On lead so she pulls to it and follow her up as she goes forward rather than overtaking her. Just a thought!

  4. We are united in our fight against the flab gals! Started dieting this week & a bit of a Crufts fitness regime.
    My hint & tip for the dog walk - PMA (positive mental attitude) & don't stress about it you are a brilliant trainer Nancy it'll all work out.

  5. Looks like we are all on diets! I actually felt so lardy at the end of November that I started cutting back then, and despite Xmas in the middle, have managed to lose 13lbs so far.
    Nancy, can you let me know what day or days you will be competing at Crufts. I am trying to finalise my arrangements for my visit this year and want to make sure I will be there to cheer you both on.
    PS Poppy's elephant trick is on hold due to a strained ligament (possibly cruciate).

  6. Hi Sara

    God 13 lbs, I think I'm going to stop talking to you!

    Will be at Crufts on the Saturday.

    Hope Poppy's OK, keep us informed.