Platforms, Puppies & Pesky Pooches

Wow! What an action packed weekend it has been, we are all thoroughly tired not least Monty our very youngest addition to the Barking Mad gang. Monty joined Annie’s 13:30 puppy class today and despite being small in stature he made a big impact! 

Sarah’s puppy class is now on week 4 and everyone is doing brilliantly. The Border Terrier Brothers Billy & Alfie are wowing us all with their lovely focus and heelwork, Daisy the Golden Retriever and Sammie the Cavapoo are our Trick Queens with fab displays of ‘Touch’, ‘Spin’ and ‘Paw’. Phoebe has fantastic drive for a toy and her owner Claire is building on that drive to work on retrieve and recall. Alfie our clever and curious Staffordshire Bull Terrier has shown that he has the edge in competition, he performed for his owner Andy to help his team come from behind to clinch the half time competition? It is brilliant to watch the pups grow (so quickly Sammie!) and progess. Well done everyone ??

Lovely Annie hosted our very first Platform Taster Session yesterday. Both handlers and dogs tackled the training with gusto and did amazingly well. Platform Training has a range of benefits, ranging from improving your dogs position for heelwork, helping your dog to stay in one place when performing distance commands and as a low impact exercise for when your dog may be recovering from illness or injury. Karen, with Millie, a blond Labrador, found it ‘very interesting, with challenges and good fun!’ Further sessions will follow in the future – so watch this space ?

Lots of obedience classes took place today. Annie’s 11:30 class ventured to Chorleywood House Estate to incorporate some Out & About training into the regular lesson. Incorporating what we learn in lessons when you’re out on a walk is an invaluable way of proofing your dogs training. We often hear that dogs can ‘do it at home’ which is brilliant. The next step is to work on him being able to do it when he is outside and faced with a myriad of distractions, whether it be on the training field or out on a walk. To achieve solid reliability and focus from your dog practise what you learn in training when you are out and about… and don’t be shy! Your dog will love it and you will soon be the star in your class! ? 
Annie’s class faced all manner of distractions this afternoon…from a football tournament, with children and footballs passing close by ⚽️, a burger van with a very tempting aroma ? and one or two pesky pooches who obviously realised that we were having so much fun that they wanted to join in… Nonetheless everyone’s heelwork, distance work and recall & focus was brilliant (almost brilliant if your name is Mikey ?).

The gang also worked on shaping exercises – sending their dogs out around a tree and  search and retrieves for small articles such as toothbrushes, spoons, socks and bizarrely a tourniquet ?

Thank you to everyone who trained with us this weekend, we hope you had as much fun as we did!?

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Better Pivots than the English Netball Team ?

Beginners and Advanced Agility met today, on what turned out to be a glorious spring day.

The Beginners Agility group welcomed three new members, a very clever cockapoo called Rue, a brave and dashing cocker spaniel and a beautiful Gordon Setter, Georgie. The class was held by Lovely Annie and it started by introducing  the dogs and their handlers to some warm up exercises, including stretches, light massage and an introduction to foot placement and spatial awareness. Luckily Mark, one of our trainers, and his two year old Dobermann Zeus were on hand to show everyone how it is done. Zeus wowed the class with his fabulous pivots, gamely rotating around the bucket with two legs on the ground and two on the bucket.  Mark cued the direction that he wanted Zeus to move in by moving his body around the bucket and without luring with food.

The class then went on to introduce their dogs to the various pieces of agility equipment. All dogs did extremely well and tackled each obstacle confidently. 

More experienced members of the groups went on to perform more complex tunnel work and redirections.

The advanced Agility class met later  and after a similar warm up spent some time practising the welcome art of sending dogs over jumps without the need to run with them. This involved working on impulse control and ensuring that the dogs understood handsignals and directions. Much of the redirection work that we learn in obedience classes comes into play during Agility training and as a handler you become very aware of how important it is that your hand is in the right position, otherwise you watch in dismay as your dog races around the wrong course….?

??Spring was definitely in the air, and in the dogs paws… it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. ??

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