Feet back on the ground now 😉 No firm plans are in place but all we DO know is we want a tiny ceremony and a huge party!!! And definatly not a hotel type ‘do’, nothing traditional. Just something at a country pub, with a big hog roast and a bigger knees up! So you can take it that will be with the better weather…. if there is such a thing these days 😉
The dogs ‘kind of’ enjoyed Christmas, we had everyone here and with such a tiny house its all about them having the legs run off them then put away for several hours at a time 😉
Training has been so slack on my part lately ,so come Jan 1st we need to get some kind of rota going. By god, I have Mallie needing tweeking back up for Open tests starting end of March, then Bondy and Tom very seriously needing a bit of a planned campaign. I realise I’ve had a bit of a misconception with them. I’ve pushed Tom ahead as he is older….. expected more, but infact his own ability level, and more importantly, ability to retain information, is less than Bonds. Possibly not suprisingly considering Bonds breeding consisting of sharp driven dogs (Not that Toms DAD isn’t, but his mum wouldn’t be anyones idea of ‘driven’ except under her own terms when she is a Ferarri when SHE wants!), but its a misjudgement on my part and Tom has hit a bit of a wall. Where as everytime I train BOND he gets better and better and seems to remember everything previously. Smart arse Meercat eh? 😉
I’ll give an actual example. Initally Tom had a huge desire to retrieve and hold. and deliver. Bondy was more concerned about ‘being’ with me, so his heelwork and general obedience was superb for a puppy, he made you feel like a good trainer, smooth, sharp, clean and that you were doing it all ‘right’. Toms obedience was more hit and miss, willing but more fidgety. He was more hesitatnt and certainly his heelwork was harder to feel comfortable with. But get a dummy out and Tom would go out on memory backs from great distances and even blinds. He WANTED to be ‘out there’ and ‘wanted’ to find something. Bondy only wanted to please me. Retrieving for the love of retrieving was not his game. So I said ‘Back’ and once he understood the word he went, but sometimes only a few feet, and he would dance back to my side and sit quivering with confusion and knowing that it was not what was wanted but he didn’t want to leave me, especially if I THEN gave off ‘cheesed off but trying desperately to be patient’ vibes. If I got cross, keeping it inside of course, he still felt it and wouldn’t go out at all! Even if he could see it on the ground… Where as Tom didn’t give a stuff and would fly out. So vicious circle. I would get fustrated with Bondy, making him more concerned, and Tom would be king boy, and so lept in confidence as he was always having something to be hugely praised about.
So fast forward to me realising this a while back and playing a different tack with Bondy and suddenly, that and increasing age and general confdence, and he now will do the flying out Tom did when younger. However, in doing one too many memory backs with Tom, as I walked back to him to heel away before sending him, Tom started running in as I turned him at heel. So the first time or so you smile and consider his enthusiasm appealling and promising. And you slip the lead on as you heel away to prevent it. But then trying to progress from that, but having the lead on sometimes, and not slipping it on others, resulted in a puppy that several times, as he went to run in, get bawled at to stop (stupidly…. but part of my misjudgement was I thought him harder than he really is)…. and now, in just a few sessions I have a dog that still can run in on a memory back but does it from a belly crawl and sometimes won’t go out at all if he got a bawl where I tried one without a lead and it all went pearshaped! So I have to do something easy like running in on a thrown mark and call it a day, and the fretfully wonder why I was so stuipid as to open my gob in such a sergent major fashion, and have to wait till the next day to undo it…. but this only needs to happen a couple of times with a soft youngster and without any brash self confidence to shake it off, they start to fret and stress and pack it in.
As I say, the dog blog is a ‘warts and all’ admitance that this is a hard game and its all a learning curve and a juggling act. Tom, from Jan 1st is going back to basics to get my confident, happy boy back. Hes not gone far, but I’ve been a pratt to knock his confidence. Bondy will push ahead but I feel now we need to hook up and train with a person or two to see if it all falls apart in company 😉 I am also going to shorten his sessions and work on one thing at a time. Its about time Bondy started going left and right, for example, but have been quite tied up in distances that this has been skipped over. But there is STACKS of time, he is only 8 months and Tom 9. They are streets ahead of any dog I’ve trained myself before, but I need to just think them through a bit more and go back to doing a bit of presession planning or it will start to fall apart!
Somehow, with Grahams help, Fish has just lept in confidence, keeness and ability. There are many areas need sorting now, including his stop whistle at a distance, and his hunting (he marking is excellent… but if he hasn’t marked something he does tend to hold an unfeasibly larfge ‘area’ when hunting, he travels so quickly, and its something I am SO not used to! Deeds and Jade holding an area, for example, consisted of them standing still and looking around their feet… before declaring ‘not here! Handle me!’ So an expansive throw of the arm and a ‘OUT!’ would move them fifteen foot and another look round their feet…. ditto ‘BACK!!!’ However with Fish. If you stop him and want him to hunt or move fifteen foot to his left you have to whisper ‘there’ and indicate with a gentle left hand down hunting motion. A loud out and a throw of an arm would put him in Kent… instantly…. and thats 60 miles away 😉 😉
Have pity for me, so many different combinations of both pedigrees, personalities and natural abilities here from Mallie to Jade to Deeds to Shiney to Fish to Tom to Bond makes for some seriously sleepless nights thinking stuff through! I can see why show people linebreed, to get a familiar and pleasing to their eye kind of a dog, basically every time. I can see why working folks would do so to get something that you could train even remotely like their other dogs! Its like having a old Mini, a Landrover, and a couple of Porches and occasionally forgetting not to slam the accelerator down in the Porche too hard, and not just tap the brakes in the landrover or you would end up in the ditch! 😉
However the blinding good news is that Fish loves Humpy Pumpy and his two bitches, last couple of weeks, have both come and gone to their owners satisfaction (if you pardon the phrase) and he, whilst needing a little shoving in the right direction, fully justified ironing his best shagging trousers and is a silent deadly demon! Roll on Shiney coming into season now, probably his next ‘target’ 😉 Happy Christmas all !!!