Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Spring Approaches

This time of the year seems really bleak and dark,
but we have snowdrops in bloom and daffodil buds waiting for the sunshine to open them, giving a promise of the spring to come.
The other pointers to the approaching season is having the last of our scheduled in house training days (lovely feedback thanks) and the fight to secure camping at shows LOL.
We still have our regular training at Devon Dogs and our new regular training with Joy Costello's group to do.
We are lucky to be able to do all kinds of instructing - one to one's, weekly groups, seasonal regulars and one off training days (not many of those as we usually get asked back again).
I enjoy all types for different reasons.
At this time of year at club we go back to basics with even more places to reward your dog than you'd ever have thought possible. There is a slight buzz of excitement with
people looking forward for the competitions to start to see how they've progressed over the winter :)
Personally I am looking forward to Mid Downs to get in the ring and enjoy running Torro - no pressure to do well this early, just a chance to see if what we practised in the winter has put us in a good place.
Kodi is looking superb - last season he didn't seem right but is totally on one now.
Devo will be fun to watch develop, starting this year in Grade 5 - an exciting place to be.
I have entered Flint in quite a few any size so he should still be able to have some fun :)
Christie (nearly 16) nearly had a one way trip to the vets in January but has rallied round and hopefully will still be able to walk to the exercise area and back.
Did somebody ask about Rhyme? - well I won't start talking about him again or I'll turn into Tolstoy.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Socialising Rhyme

Socialising is of course very important for an up and coming agility puppy. Most weekends in competition season we are at Agility shows so anything encountered there is easily ticked off the list. That may be all they need to cope with our day to day stuff as that is what we mostly do LOL.
I think it is also important that our dogs can cope with anything else too.
Armed with this in mind Rhyme and I have been on adventures to do things we wouldn't normally do so if something not normal happens he can deal with it.
I've been very lucky as any planned excursion to meet one thing usually ends up ticking a couple of other things off the list. The other great thing is that thanks to Lauren and especially Carol and Alan, Rhyme LOVES people and then thanks to Katie and Thomas, Rhyme LOVES children. Any other reward that I give him pales into insignificance compared to any opportunity to interact with people. And because of his gorgeous face & waggy tail people also love to interact with him.
On Friday I went to Waitrose in Salisbury. the car park opens onto a river walk and cycleway that goes under the dual carriageway. Opportunities - cars, cycles, ducks and traffic moving at various speed due to traffic lights at other end. Plenty to be going on with. Then we saw a lady in an electric mobility scooter.
Rhyme is terrified of the hoover and hairdryer so this caused him real alarm. Luckily for me the lady also had a primary school aged girl with her. On hearing the little girls voice Rhyme had a real dilemma - LOVE little girl V HATE electric noises. The little girl won and the lady was a collie lover so we spent some time letting Rhyme feel confident that there was only good things about electric scooters. Result :)
Today we went to post a letter. The letter box is not far away but we have no pavements so quite a big ask. Now cars are fine but Land Rovers must make an unique unpleasant to Rhyme noise, 2 went past and he was not happy. Then we went down steps to Railway Station Car park. 2 trains, slight fear but happy to then continue and take rewards. On our way home we met the water board testing for leaks, 2 men in big fluorescent coats carrying large metal rods, one in a woolly hat. One saw Rhyme was fearful and crouched down and spoke to him and suddenly these scary things were the best things because they were in fact people :) Just as we got home another Land Rover drove past as we stopped to talk to the neighbour. Rhyme looked but decided that the noise was ok as there were people to fuss him :)
Very lucky to have these extra experiences dropped in and some gooey dog people happy to help a cute puppy gain confidences in his world.