I will let you into a secret I love my job:) ! especially on days like today! This morning I was working with Sophie, Nessa, Leo, Herbie and Tilly, I have been working with all these dogs on and off over the spring and summer and today was our big
pay-day!!! So often with dog training I and my dogs owners work hard over some period of time, we see improvements which keep us all encouraged to keep going, even though the dogs are not quite where we want them to be. It then seems suddenly that everything starts to fit together, of course it is the hours of work that have been going on over many weeks that produce the result, but so often in dog training there is this moment in time when everything the dogs do seems to go up a gear, when they respond every time to all that we have been teaching them, when even difficult distractions do not put the dogs or handlers off and the thrill is just amazing! This morning was just such a occassion, and even better it was the same for all five of the participants, that is really incredible and unusual.
For Chris and Leo, the Jack Russell cross (chocolate coloured gorgeous boy), the miracle was that at the start of the morning Chris was so anxious about the training session, this was their first time in a group with me. Chris and I have been working one to one to get this little boys confidence with strangers, he had at last come to trust and be friends with me, today was his first big test to see if he could do the same with new people. Guess what, in no time at all he was best mates with Richard and Christine, two of our spectators! Chris really moved me when she explained to us all how she felt to see Leo being stroked by strangers, the first time in along while since she had seen this, and there was hardly a dry eye in the house, especially with me!
Sue and Nessa, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a beauty of a brindle as you can see in her photo’s. Sue started with me back in April with a young thug of a puppy, not sure where that dog went, as we now have a very lady like Staffie in her place!!! Today was the culmination of so much work from Sue, and what a result, Nessa was completely obsessive with toys, especially footballs, today you should have seen her, I was kicking the football around while Sue was doing stays with Nessa and long line recalls, and Sue stayed in charge with Nessa concentrating on Sue!!! I was so amazed it was only a few weeks ago I had to hide the football so that Sue could get Nessa’s attention! Nessa completed every exercise we put to her, weaving off lead in and out of the other dogs she did not falter once! I feel so privileged to have been a witness to their training progress, I am not sure who was proudest today me or Sue :)!
Alex and Tilly, a beautiful ginger and white Border Collie (I have a soft spot for this colour Collie:) ), who not long ago we couldn’t even groom without her having a tantrum, again completed off lead heel work weaving in and out of the other dogs! Another dog obsessed with toys, Alex was able to recall Tilly while I did my utmost to distract her by throwing toys around. And then went on to completing a very controlled retrieve, something that used to be impossible, once Tilly had the toy getting it back was a bit tricky, but today straight back to Alex!!
Sharon and Sophie, a black and white Pointer, I was thrilled to see the bond that has developed over the time I have known these two, who when they first came Sophie thought Sharon was her accessory, today Sophie was responsive and willing to please!!! I know that the work we did on retrieve today (Sharon’s first lesson with me on retrieve) is going to make even more difference to these two, all the more because the relationship is now right between them, that was a joy to see!
Last but not least Cathy and Herbie, a black Labrador, Cathy and I have been working with Herbie in a group and more recently one to one. They had struggled in the group sessions and I was thrilled to work one on one with Cathy, which gave me more time to focus on their needs as well as get to know them both better :), today was a big test to see if they could hold their training together in the group and guess what? They did, Cathy took a while to settle, a little nerves held them both back for the first 30 minutes, which is the nice thing about the recall training sessions as we have two and half hours, so plenty of time for them to settle in and start performing as they both can in private!!! So again a big pay off for us and I was so proud of Cathy as she was feeling the pressure at the start!
It isn’t often I write about the dogs and people I am working with, but today was so special I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!! 🙂 I am hoping some of my proud owners will add their own comments! Sadly I was so engrossed I didn’t even think to get the camera out, but I do have a few photo’s of at least 3 to share with you. The morning left me buzzing, happy and proud and as long as my work keeps giving me odd times like this I will stay addicted:) !