Session 18 ...
Eighteen weeks in and I confess I still have to give myself a firm talking to make sure I haul myself out from under the duvet and tackle the drive to dog school. Not only are my dog training skills very much a work in progress, so is my driving. Coping with oncoming vehicles on twisty country lanes is a challenge beyond anything I anticipated when I booked Polly's lessons ... and some of those oncoming vehicles are far from gentlemanly! Mind you, they usually relent when they see my nervous wiggly reverse in action, ha!
Hurry up Mum, it's a school day!
Polly is always eager to go to school and because of that, keeps me on the straight and narrow with my commitment to the dog training cause. No matter how lacking in enthusiasm I may be first thing in the morning, by the time the session is over I am always glad we took part. Training in a group situation has been a significant undertaking for me because this is the first time I have ever been involved in taking on anything quite so far from my comfort zone ... I guess it goes to prove you can teach both young and old dogs new tricks eh?!
Today's session was productive in terms of heel work (give or take the odd rabbit poo distraction) down staying, sit staying, coming to heel when called, recall and so on. There was a brief moment of chaos entirely created by Polly at the start of the agility session, when she decided it must be time to run from the seesaw across the course to say hello to her pal Molly, who then decided if Polly was up for giving her owner the runaround, she would join in the mischief. Nearby, like the good boy he is, dear old Dudley the black labrador sat completely still the moment Sue asked him to, waiting patiently for us to reclaim our naughty girls.
Once we'd restored order, Polly returned to the matter in hand and tackled three or four pieces of equipment at a time, in a fairly controlled style. As I was unsure of completing the entire course in a single circuit because of the problem with my hip, Kevin kindly offered to put Polly (Molly too - as Jane also could have done with an 'excused P.E 'note!) through her paces by running the course with her. Not only was this a treat for me to watch, it was also interesting to see how the job is done properly. Polly was clearly excited to work for Kevin and by watching rather than doing, I could see how sharpening up control pays dividends in terms of focus and outcome. I also clearly saw Polly is beginning to know her stuff and is eager to show it off!
Many thanks Kevin for patiently helping us this far and also for going well beyond the call of duty today to ensure our dogs had the opportunity to participate fully and have fun doing so ... now that's what I call a good instructor!