Well I'm quite glad to see the back of 2008, I think the only good thing that came out of it was that my pup was born. I've chosen the pup I want (99.9% sure) and will tell you all on Sunday after my visit to the pups who will then be 5 weeks old.
Last weekend I went on an obedience training weekend with a guy called Kamal Fernandez, he's got collies and a couple of working type Malis, I knew he was very up on motivation, but geez, not that much!!! He has done (or is doing?!) a degree in psychology so placed a very different perspective on a lot of his training, things such as postive and negative reinforcements (which until he said what they meant, I didnt realise) and lots of other things. Everyone I work with at Airbus seems to have a degree in psychology so it was interesting to see it in a dog training light, rather than human...
Tia was great, I have got lots of things to work on, mainly teaching her the EXACT heel position I require (she has a tendancy to surge forward basically as I've never been totally clear with where I want her and still reward even if she gives a variety of positions) and getting her a lot more drivey and intense. I made the mistake of training with her holee rolee ball (aka blue cage ball) and she was refusing to give it back, so put my hand in her mouth to remove said ball and she thought I was still playing and crunched down as hard as she could on my hand... ouch. At least it is teaching my reflexes to be a bit quicker. Also got some new ideas for sendaway training. Kamal did some work with his dogs, ohhh they have attitude to die for. All what he has 'put' into them, they weren't all naturally very strong dogs so it was great to see what you could get if you really put enough effort in. He also did some work with Claire's little 9 week old pup Roody which of course I thought was great as it'll be useful for when I bring pupster home.
Certainly a lot of food for thought when I get pup, making the most of prey drive and getting her obsessed on to a toy, like, REALLY obsessed. Kamal did a really funny demonstration of the 'typical obedience handler' who plays with the dog, toy and dog infront of them, with a "bounce bounce up and down" with the toy in dogs mouth, if the handler is pushing the boat out the dog may get a side to side bounce as well. Lol, it's so true of how we get lazy when 'playing' with the dog. I've been making a real effort to go crazy rewarding and playing with Tia and she loves it, I just wish she'd learn bite inhibition at the same time so she doesn't crunch my fingers again!!!
Oh and one more thing to round up the summary of the training weekend - finished on a bum note when I managed to lock my keys in the car at the venue!!! What an idiot!! I managed to do it because I put Tia in the car and then think I was trying to take her coat off (or put it on properly) and she was being a bit of a pansy as had been scared from walking along a road from her walk so I'd been fiddling with that so put the keys next to her and then was so relieved to have sorted her that just shut the boot without thinking. I didn't even realise until I went to get her out the car an hour later!! Glad I've got AA membership although they took 2 hours to come out, thanks Claire for waiting, you're an angel.
So yep, Tia's getting good on her fitness now, she's still lame, although most people can't tell now. She's a bit more lame if she's just done some intense running about, e.g. chasing too many bunny rabbits, but is loving life all the same. We are doing bits of obedience but it's mainly play play play with a diddy bit of heelwork training thrown in the middle. I'm looking forward to bringing the pup home in 3 weeks time but not so much looking forward to the chaos that I'm sure will follow!
I also can't believe Rix will be 10 in a months time, I can remember going to a show with Angela and her dogs years ago now, Rix must have been about 4 at the time, and Ange said to me "how old is Ricky now" and I said 4, so young, and she said those years will fly by. I can remember thinking don't be silly, we have AGES yet! I can remember that conversation clear as daylight, and yet here we are nearly 6 years later with me wondering where on earth those years have gone. He is doing brilliantly at the moment, looking fab. He has a half an hours lesson with Lee each week which he loves, Lee and him had their first show last week together at UKA at Cheltenham racecourse, Rix did a lovely round but just knocked a pole, I will have to put the video up as its so nice to see Rix having the time of his life out there. Thanks for being his surrogate handler Lee :o)
Wow thats a long post :o)) off to bed now, Claire or Mish managed to give me their damn cold on the weekend so I've been ill the last few days, haven't had a cold since June so have been expecting one as have been smug at how healthy I've been whilst everyone else has been coughing and spluttering around me lolol. Got a long weekend of lessons and then pup visiting. Laura trained Elmo her GSD today at the field just for 15 mins, he's been going to Lowri's too and wow what a difference, he is looking so powerful and strong now, has lost the roach in his back and is really striding out... hopefully 2009 will be a good year for him.