Thursday, 12 November 2009


We have done quite a lot of training just recently. I am desperate to get Zeki into different places to continue work on her dog walk. So far I am happy with progress but I know I can't afford to be complacent.

A few weeks back we had a lovely day out at Liz's training field. It was a bit noisy as there was Zeki and her brother Ziga (neither of whom are known for being very quiet) and then we had Zaz and Itzy with Bernadette, not so noisy for sure but adding to the volume nonetheless!

Bernadette set Liz and I lots of little sequences including, of course, the dog walk and also some tricky weave entries. Bernadette then gave me some hard sequences to work on with Niamh (it was nice and quiet at that point!) particularly one which involved quite a hard, flat weave entry but with an angled jump that was not to be taken. We got it right after a couple of attempts! Then we did some simple exercises with the puppies. Before we knew it 3 hours had flown by. On the way home I stopped and did a long walk on the Ashdown Forest, one that I hadn't done for ages and when I got to the end of it I remembered why - there is a very long, steep hill to get back to the car park. I had taken Poppy along for the day out and so all three of my girls were tired and happy when we got home. I really did enjoy that day. Good company, good training and three tired little dogs at the end of it. My perfect day!

Last week I had a lesson for Zeki and Niamh with Lesley. I travelled down with Bernadette and we were really lucky with the weather. It was quite cold but dry and so we were able to train outdoors. As usual Lesley found some holes in my training and gave me the appropriate exercises to work on to fix the problems. One of these was with Zeki in that we were not very good at jumping diagonally across a hurdle and wing wrapping the hurdle with me pivoting rather than collecting. I hate pivot turns and so avoid them as much as possible but I should still train them. So I have done some with Zeki and now I must do the same with Niamh. More of pivot turns in another post!

I also worked on Zeki's A-frame and think I made some progress on proofing my turns as we got Zeki turning away from her food pot which I hadn't done before.

Her tight turns off the A-Frame are pretty good and I can turn her neatly into a tunnel under the A-Frame (180°) both towards me and away from me. For these turns I use her 'left' and 'right' turns (i.e. same principle as a wing wrap). For turns of a shallower degree such as 90° then I use her name and 'come' if I want her to come towards me and just 'back' or 'out' to turn her away from me. These turns are much weaker and are, at the moment, more likely to make her over stride on her A-Frame partly because I am peeling away to the side within her vision whereas with the tight turns I am holding back. So, more work on those turns off the A-Frame, particularly when they are towards me, is required. I am drilling this type of turn at the moment using a long jump pole at the bottom of the A-Frame to encourage her all the way through and round before she executes the turn.

Here is a tiny film clip of the type of turn I refer to. Thanks to Gran'ma for the videoing and enthusiastic cheerleading!

We also did some work on her dog walk, again trying to get me to move on from where I'm at. I am quite good at getting others to do this but not so good with myself as I enjoy small successes and so I don't always move forward as fast as I should.

Here is a tiny clip of her dog walk which I think you can see has improved as we've lost the horrible stutter. I would say it has come on again in the week since we visited Lesley.

One thing I am very pleased with is that all my 'mental' work on getting myself to learn left and right has paid off. I'm not saying I'm perfect but if I compare my ability to remember left and right now with the beginning of the year then I would say I am 90% better. I have formed a habit of keeping this going and have little drills in my head that I work on. Sad but true! I have found this method really helpful so am putting a link back to it here in case anyone is interested in trying it if they have the same problems that I HAD! The bit about learning left and right is about two thirds of the way through the rather long post (not like me to put up a long post ....)

Zeki trains regularly twice a week, Tuesdays at our own training school and the other time on a Monday evening at Leah's where we have a split class, half with Leah and half with Wendy. It is very good training with the added bonus that Zeki has to concentrate when other dogs are working. She occasionally forgets herself and goes off to chase but it's pretty rare now and the best part is that she comes straight back when I call her.

Niamh also has two regular classes each week, Tuesdays at our school and Thursdays with Leah. I really enjoy this class as the wicked Leah makes us do very difficult stuff. Niamh adores her training and I love training her. She and I have hit a really nice groove and understand each other really well. I hope we can carry this on into next year when we start competing in championship classes. I am so looking forward to that, I can't wait!

Onto Kizzy. Andy has been doing lots to improve their contact performance and I think things have improved a great deal. Again, we need to keep moving them forward but I think they have a good foundation to work from. Kizzy enjoys workshop classes at training club as it means she gets masses of rewards (food and toys) so this is how we plan to work with her over the winter. Next project is to improve their turns as this is still nowhere near what we're after. One thing at a time though ....

Here is a lovely picture of my dogs especially for people who like posts with pictures :o)


  1. Yahoo looking good :-)And all the best in Champ next year.