On Wednesday Leah and I took ourselves off to Bernadette's to play with the puppies; do some training but most importantly to deliver some much needed newspaper. I had no idea Bernadette was so into current affairs and suchlike.
We had a good play with the puppies and a tiny little bit of training with Kizzy (but don't tell Andy). Then we did some tricky sequences that Bernadette had set up in her garden along with some positive push through training facilitated by Leah.
I found it really useful to run Herbie on the push throughs, having such a competent dog made me relax a bit and concentrate on what I should be doing (despite the fact I got it wrong on the initial go round - too complacent). What I found very useful was seeing Bernadette and Leah run Niamh over the sequence as it made me fully realise how well she now understands the process. This has given me a huge confidence boost.
I also found it useful watching Bernadette do Niamh's startline set up. She was more relaxed than me (ok I know it wasn't at a show) and Niamh was so cute offering her kisses and little paw swipes. I'm going to try to lighten up a bit on her to see if I can get her to relax. She is getting more and more tense on startlines as each competition comes and even at our own training school. I tried it at Leah's last night and it really helped. Will I be brave enough at WBSD on Saturday ...... I'll let you know!
Last night at training Niamh and I had a really good session. Leah had set up some weave training which we found really helpful and also a hexagon of jumps where we could practise our pull throughs and push throughs. This was a really useful exercise as we were able to concentrate on our physical and verbal cues being spot on for the dogs without the need to move as much as you would in a straight line. It's a really good way of honing your skills on these exercises. I've often done this sort of thing on a box but a hexagon is a much better idea. Niamh and I came home very happy - thank you Leah! As reward you get to run Murphy again on Saturday - tee hee!