But for now, this post is for Jed… Jed is not usually in the limelight… in fact for him it’s usually the opposite. So this is a ‘Jed brag’.
Jed is now 4, and Garth got him 3 years ago from Many Tears. Shortly after Garth got him, I took him to Shelley’s lifeskills classes, aptly named, for Jed, as he had none. He spent most of the hour in the class in the ‘naughty corner’ or cloakroom, where despite not being able to see any dogs, just the sound of them walking in the hall was enough to send him crazy. When it was Jed’s turn, everyone else would find a corner (or nearest exit!) so Jed could attempt to do what the rest of the class were doing. Jed wasn’t the best pupil, he usually sent all the cavaletti flying as he bulldozed through them to try and take a run up at the Labrador in the corner which was one of the nicest tempered labs I have ever known, he would knock the stools over that he was supposed to walk across, and just be a total pain (and embarrassment). I couldn’t even think about letting him off the lead as he would barely pay any attention to me for more than about 3 steps, so agility at that point wasn’t even a consideration.
After about 6 months of attending these classes, Jed started to settle down, and was able to spend a bit more time in the hall with the other dogs, rather than spending almost the whole session in the naughty corner. I did a bit of agility training with him at home, but he was so clumsy, and very immature, oh and we never quite mastered ‘bring the toy back and give it to me’ so he either ran off with his ‘prize’ or let me take hold of it to have a mammoth tug-of-war-shake-my-arm-out-of-its-socket. Eventually we were able to join Shelley’s outdoor foundation agility classes, and by this time Jed was able to go off lead for very short periods of time, and it was actually starting to feel slightly closer to having a ‘normal’ dog.
Jed started competing in April 2013, only doing a few shows, as although 2.5 years at this point, he was still very mentally immature. He won out of grade 3 in July 2013, and then I didn’t do much more with him as I wanted to keep him in novice.
So, 2014, and he’s done a total of 10 shows, 2 of them he was only entered in 1 ABC class and most of them I only did a maximum of 2 classes until August, as his brain couldn’t cope with anything more. So out of the 10 shows, he has had 14 wins (ok, 7 of them were this weekend), won out of grade 4, 5 and 6, won at large shows such as Thames, KC Festival and Chippenham, qualified for the Crufts ABC Final and Novice Olympia (as well as the ABC Olympia semis, but as he qualified for the Novice first we had to pull out of ABC).
This weekend I wanted to see what he’d be like running indoors and also over more technical courses than he has been used to. I haven’t really felt like we have been a partnership, although Chippenham in October felt better. However as Scandal has been on rest since FCI, the little training I have done has been spent on Jed, and he has really benefitted from it, the difference in him is huge. This weekend he had had grade 1-7, 4-7, 5-7 and 6-7 classes, so a real step up for him, as apart from 1-7 ABC, I don’t think he has ever done a class with grade 6/7 in it.
The first run we did, Jed wasn’t sure, he tends to compensate for his unsure-ness by doing a jumping like a pony. But he listened, nailed a weave entry that my bum totally blocked from his view, pulled through a tiny tiny tight gap in one of the first pull through’s he has had to do in the ring, and a lovely running dogwalk 90 degree turn, and won it. So, 1st run, off to a good start :-) on the first day he won 3 agility classes and 1 jumping. I loved his jumping run, it felt like he was more settled, his head was lower (rather than prancy pony upright), he was jumping more extendedly and his weaves were awesome. And by the 3rd run I was starting to trust him more, and push him, rather than having to be so cautious. The only thing was he was back to doing slow seesaws – he finds seesaws hard, but had been a lot more confident on them, until Discover Dogs, where he got the seesaw totally wrong and ended up falling/panicking/leaping off it, so was back to doing steady-seesaws this weekend.
Sunday, and he won 2 more agility’s and 1 jumping. He also nailed every weave entry and got a couple of pretty testing ones, so I was really pleased with that, think it’s the first difficult ones he has had to do in the ring. Plus I was running him like I would want to run him in G7, leaving him to do stuff and racing him, which was so much fun, and I really enjoyed running him. So Jed is now G7, and next year can enter champ. I am not under any illusions that he will set the champ-world alight, in fact he will probably only do a couple, under judges who set courses that I think will suit him. But to think that 3 years ago he wasn’t able to work in a calm pet-type environment without losing his head, and now this weekend has managed to keep his head in a far more exciting atmosphere, just makes me very happy :-)