Signing up to a dog training class can be daunting. On night one, people and dogs can suffer nerves. Last year I had a lady tell me that for the first 2 weeks of the course, she felt physically sick before class she was so worried about what might happen. My aim to make everyone feel comfortable, to enjoy training their dogs and to want to do more with them. One customer told me ‘class night is the best night of the week for me and my boy’. That made me so happy, though did make his wife wonder if maybe they should get out more.
I’m going to mention the recent Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze group and give all the dogs & owners credit, regardless what happened on assessment night. Individually, they all worked extremely hard to make progress. The group started as 7 but dwindled to 3 on the final night due to circumstances beyond owner’s control. Sometimes, life gets in the way of even the best intentions when it comes to training our dogs.
My first shout out is to rescue dog Mario, one of the sweetest ESS I’ve come across and his new mum Lynn, who he adores. Despite having just re-homed him a few days before the course started, he made fabulous progress with loose leash training & his confidence grew week by week. Next terrier X Titch & owner Dan deserve a mention as they have so much potential. I know it took a lot of preparation for Dan to come along to a group session.
Huge credit needs to go to rescue BC Monty’s owner, who has worked consistently over the past 6 months to get to know her new 6 year old dog and learn how to bring out the best in him (a great achievement for any dog owner). Here he is on a walk with my boys a few weeks ago, running free & waiting for his ball-his of 2 favourite things on life.
Despite how keen an owner is, and how ready a dog is to take the test, occasionally something happens to get in the way. Lagotto Romagnolo, Tosca came into season towards the end of the course and so had to miss the assessment. Her owners have worked so hard to get this far and I’ve no doubt they will get their Bronze soon and go all the way to Gold in the near future.
And so on assessment night, we were down from 7 to 3 dogs. Rescue dog Paws, all the way from Ireland via the wonderful Black Retriever X rescue, did a super job of showing off the hard work his owner had put in, having rehomed him a year ago with little or no training. This sweet boy overcame some teething problems with his confidence to allow his true personality to shine through.
Alfie pug is a comic and has such a happy outlook on life. He is keen, willing (food obsession helps) and more than able to go all the way to Gold level and what a brilliant achievement that would be! The first pug to reach Muttamorphosis Goldies Club status? On assessment night, with the help of his ever-calm owner, he strutted his stuff & breezed through his Bronze award in less than 20 minutes.
From the first time I met him 5 months ago, German Shorthaired Pointer Monty has done nothing but confirm my delight in the breed and assessment night was no exception. Despite not being in the mood for his stay exercise (what 7 month old gundog is?), he is a joy to be around and his wonderful owner has taken on board everything she’s learnt.
Dog trainers are people trainers first and foremost and my love of training should, I hope, be passed on to the people I work with. I need to make sure owners take away with them, not just how to get a dog to sit and stay, but how to enjoy every minute of the process and ensure their dogs do too. Assessment night is one night only. The love of spending time with their dogs will hopefully last for years to come. This recent Bronze group showed me that, in this instance at least, they all walked away having learnt this lesson and I’m certain their dogs will thank them for it.
My thanks, as always to the wonderful Muriel Coates, who assesses my Bronze and Silver Awards.