Smudge and I have been having a great time, and I am excited to see what next season brings if we can carry on with the momentum we have had this year. Notable achievements are running in the Nations Cup Team event at the KC International in August, where we won the jumping round, the agility round, and placed 1st overall! He also won into Grade 7 in the UK this year, so I am excited for when we start running together in championship classes next year. Smudge has gone from strength to strength this year, and every single time I step into the ring with him it makes me smile. We are working as such a great team at the moment!
Mayzee and Oliver have also has a successful year, winning into Novice Jumping and Novice Agility in Jersey, and winning into UK Grade 4. Not bad for a beginner dog and handler. When she becomes more consistent she is going to be fab!
Even little Maisie managed to have a good year in her jumping classes :-) And she couldn't be left out of the photos! Although she doesn't do much now, when she does run, she shows the youngsters how it should be done!!
Agility has now ended for the year for us, and we have no more shows planned until February next year. I have to admit that I am looking forward to the break, and having the time to look at my training and perhaps change a few things. However this winter is not going to be quite as quiet as usual, and that is due to one very special reason……..
Introducing “Fuze” Obay The Boyz High Voltage
Yes I have a puppy! Fuze came to join our household from Obay shelties last weekend, and has already made himself quite at home! He has a personality to die for, and is the cheekiest little man in the world. He is the sweetest puppy, who loves his toys, is dying to please and is very eager to learn with just a hint of crazyness! My kind of boy! I am so excited to see where our journey is going to take us, and for all the experiences we will have along the way. The next few weeks will be spent focusing on socialisation, and getting Fuze out and about as much as possible. So far he has taken everything in his stride, and nothing has fazed him. I try to plan at least one new experience every day, and so far we have done pet shops, garden centres, stables, a childrens party, lots of different walks......to name but a few!! I am determined to keep this up, although it is hard work!! And of course he travelled back by plane, sitting next to me on the seat. Even that didn't bother him! Here was the inside of the plane we were on - tiny!! And terrifying for me!!
We are also focusing on teaching him puppy tricks, which we both really enjoy doing. I am amazed by how quickly Fuze picks things up. He is so keen to learn, and will throw out all sorts of behaviours to try to earn the reward. So far we have been doing a few short sessions a day working on going out around a cone (he prefers going to the left, so I have been a mean owner and have been working more on going to the right!), the elephant trick, shaking a paw (something which Johanna taught him when he was just 7 weeks old!), a spot of skateboarding, a bit on the balance disk, kicking his back feet and the basics like sit! All great fun!! We try to take our clicker training ‘on the road’ as it were, and have started to do quick five minute sessions in lots of different places, so that he gets used to working with different distractions and in new enviroments, and even then he is really focused on what he is doing. He is a super puppy!!
Right now he has a really good drive to play with toys, and I am keen to keep that going, so we play lots and lots of games. Having learnt my lesson with Smudge, I really would like to be able to switch between toy and food as a reward with Fuze, so I am working hard on keeping both high value. This is easier said than done with me, as I have to admit I am a natural ‘feeder’!! Bernadette had advised us to start and finish each play session with a game, right from the start, and for the first few days this was hard!! Fuze just did not want to play with toys when the food had been out!! But in the last day or so we have made a real breakthrough, and he now goes wild for his toy at the end. He even seems to enjoy it more than the food, which is definite progress!! I have even started calling him away from distractions (such as other dogs at the agilty field) and rewarding this with a game of tug, and he is really keen!! I am not taking it for granted though, and am trying to build the drive for his toys even more.
So there we are, mammoth update done. I am going to try to keep this updated with Fuze’s progress, as a couple of people have asked me to, and I do find it interesting, and sometimes actually helpful to put down what I am doing with him in words. I had almost forgotten just what hard work a puppy is, and I have to admit that he is exhausting, but already he is so rewarding, and I feel very lucky that he is mine. I just look at his little face and it makes me smile. I am very excited to see how he grows and what we will learn together!!