Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Looks like we will be having a white Christmas then! After tomorrow it has to go ... please .... bored of it now!

All D-Force classes are now over until the new year, we are looking forward to seeing dogs owners and instructors re-energised and ready to take 2011 by storm :-) Great to see pictures of so many club dogs having a great time in the snow on the front of Xmas cards and on facebook.

Ditto is so bright! Since the snow has arrived her 'hurry up' rewards have all come from weeing on the snow. Now a lot of the snow is melting in the garden she makes sure she finds a snowy area to use. In her head, using concrete and grass is not for ladies. She seems to be getting madder every day, loving her clicker training and playing like crazy bringing her toy back as quick as she can for a game of tug.

I like to use and support my local, small pet shops rather than the large chains as often as I can. However I think the large stores are great for puppy socialisation (Ditto wants a Degu!). A large display entitled recommended reading is covered from head to toe in books by one author. Our 'famous friend' from TV in which the general public are taught how to bite their dog using their hand. I asked the manager why only these books were in the recommended reading section ... 'it's what head office tell us to do'. For those positive reinforcement dog lovers out their, please message me for the email address for head office in an attempt to get some modern, science based dog training books on the shelves!

Anyway, best go and wrap the dogs presents. Have a great Christmas and eat lots! :)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Dave Munnings Winter Strips 1

Friday proved just how committed/crazy us dog lovers are to agility! Anna organised a 9am-5pm training day with Dave which stripped training right back to basics looking at individual pieces of equipment, analysing  performance, setting individual exercises for improvement and explaining and demonstrating how he trains it. Handlers were all given a work book to complete. Everyone loved the workbook idea  as there was so much information to take in, having a book to complete meant handlers could go home and re-read.

The group contained 10 handlers, some D-Force members and some from other clubs (many travelling miles). The abilities ranged from those not yet competing to grade 6 dogs. This worked fantastically well as handlers could view dogs at every stage of training.

Lunch time arrived and we warmed up at our local, dog friendly pub. Great food, great company!

The feedback from the day was brilliant. Anna did a great job organising and Dave's training was as usual fab ... just proving why we keep inviting him back! Everyone is looking forward to Winter Strips 2 in Jan :D

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

And the winner is ...

Mika (GSP) - Most Promosing
Fergus (collie x springer) and Emma - Perfect Paire ;-)

Tiger - Most Memorable Moment

Above are some of the dogs that recieved awards at this years xmas meal.
Well done : ) x

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ditto Video :-)

Hope you enjoy the video below of little Ditto playing hard but learning LOADS at the same time. What a positive and confident response to such a new and different environment and animals.

People often say to me 'yes I socialised my puppy in environment X' or 'yes I socialised my puppy with new experience/object X'. This means very little. The information missing is how many times did the puppy meet 'X', at how many points throughout its development and how was the socialisation managed/controlled. As we say at D-Force ... don't go socialisation hunting, go socialisation training.

Canines go through a number of developmental stage. With each stage, a puppies outlook on a situation can change massively. Lets take Ditto and the Shetland pony for example.
  • At 7 weeks Ditto meets her first horse (OK, more of a goat is size). As the video shows, her reaction is confident and friendly and to top it all she comes back to her tuggy when called every time.
  • Within the next month or so, Ditto will being to understand flight and flight distance. "I'm scared I'm going to run this far" type attitude.
  • If in between now (first horse encounter) and four months Ditto meats no  more horses, her outlook response to horses could be unrecognisable.
  • Ditto therefore needs to meet horses regularly
  • The way in which Ditto meets horses needs to adapt through her developmental stages i.e going back to on-lead training throughout flight distance stage.
Google 'canine developmental stages' - it may just change how you raise your pup!

"100 new people by 12 weeks" - Dr. Ian Dunbar, PhD
Apply this to everything not just people and whatever you do, don't stop at 12 weeks!


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Loving D-Force

D-Force club members just keep making us smile this week ...

  1. After training on Monday I did a quick facebook check to find Alison's (club member) status to read  'Alison says if you have a dog and want a fun packed evening and a very tired dog- sign up to D Force!!!'  It's so nice read such nice feedback. So many clubs advertise their classes as 'fun' but few really are. We're glad you think ours are :-)
  2. Scrolling down further I saw another great status that really made me smile. Pelly (club member) wrote 'Pelly is so proud of disney,she got the trophy for instructors dog of the year tonight at jack russell eva!!!!' So great to see the bond between owner and dog strengthen through agility, it's what it's all about.
  3. Club friend Dave Munnings then said 'one thing that really sticks with me that you have said is; why would I want to be my dogs pack leader. That would involve bulling my dog and weaken our bond. I want to be my dogs best friend'  After thinking 'surley I've said more than one interesting statement', I was so happy that such a positive statement had been memorised and hopefully passed on to many more.
  4. Unfortunately, a club dog has found out they need a highly expensive operation. The dog isn't insured. Did D-Force sit there and do nothing? NO! A fundraising event is in the planning stages. There really is such a great community spirit in the club.
Below is Ditto, taking a rare moment to chill. This puppy is full of energy and is great fun!